'Every love story is beautiful but ours is my favourite...' 11th August 2012

THE BLURB So, who am I? I am a teacher which means I am many things - controlling, easily angered, too organised, unwilling to compromise but generally creative. Not really the best recipe for a bride and stressful wedding planning! Who is he? He is laid back, obsessed by computers, easily bored and even more easily distracted. He had NO interest in weddings or planning at all! So, did we end up throttling each other? Did he do anything at all for the wedding! Did I become Britons worst bridezilla? Or was our wedding just perfect? Read our story and find out!


  • thirdthingthirdthing Posts: 582

    Love your blurb!

  • EXCITED....

  • Aww love the start! Im a teacher too so completely agree with the way you've summed yourself up image x
  • nats2013nats2013 Posts: 6,253
    please hurry with some action....your op was a disgustingly small apetiser which REALLY makes me want some more!!!!!

    can't wait! image
  • ClarkieClarkie Posts: 586

    So just read your blurb out to the OH, his response was 'Why are you reading me what you've written?' So similar!! Haha. Can't wait x

  • annacwcannacwc Posts: 803
    Can't wait for this thread! Love the blurb!
  • Very good intro! I want to hear more now!!!!

  • MrsSMcMrsSMc Posts: 384
    More More More!!!
  • Loralys1Loralys1 Posts: 52

    Need to hear more now!! The blurb is great x

  • JoeyClareJoeyClare Posts: 2,737

    Love the blurb. I too am a teacher with a husband who is far too interested by his computer!!

  • TheWifeTheWife Posts: 188

    This sounds exactly like us - can't wait to hear the story!

  • jayellekayjayellekay Posts: 793
    The suspense is killing me!! image
  • The Main Characters

    Clare Howard - Le Vierge - That's me! Or at least, who I used to be. Somehow, I seem to have turned 28 but I'm not too sure how I got that old so quickly. I grew up in a tiny town in North Wales called Harlech where I lived a very sheltered life. I made some mistakes in my younger years (more about that later) but moved from Harlech to Reading to Worcester to Uxbridge and now live in Amersham with my now husband. I am a teacher and have been for 5 years now (sadly!). I work in the secondary sector and teach English and Media Studies. 

    J Mabon - That's him! A mere whippersnapper at 25 and thus, a toyboy. His roots are in Hastings and we have plans to settle there as soon as we can both find a window to comfortably uproot our lives. He moved to Uxbridge (where we met) and now lives in Amersham too!. He is an engineer for a large company which shall remain nameless and he does stuff with lasers and dust... I think. Being a bear with little brains for all things technical, I barely understand his job but I do know it makes him supremely stressed!

    That's us. Here are some extra interesting facts.

    #1 - He is an identical twin.

    #2 - His twin-ness is not always as fantastic as it sounds. 

    #3 - We are both blonde with blue eyes. People mistake us for brother and sister. We find this disturbing. Always. 

    #4 - He has three loves in life. Computer games, food and me. In that order. 

    #5 - He is my best friend and I adore him. That is all. 




  • Once upon a time...

    We certainly didn't meet in a conventional way and Fate surely hand a hand in our meeting. At the time, I was living and working in Worcester with my then boyfriend (the mistake of my youth). It was an appalling relationship which was the result of an adulterous affair. At the age of 22, I was a step mother and desperately unhappy. It was a relationship which was always destined to fail as my 22 year self gradually woke up to the fact that fantasies rather live up to themself in reality. 

    My relationship came to it's natural end and I was suddenly alone and lonely. So I did what every 21st century girl does - I turned to wonderful healing hands of the internet and decided to chat to people on a chatroom. On the night in question, I had just signed up to a room for the first time in my life when I had a message. And just like that, on my first ever visit to a chat room, I met my husband!

    There really was nothing seedy about our exchanges - honest! (this was, after all, years before 50 Shades of Grey was even a twinkle in James' eye). We chatted, then texted, then talked and then we met in the flesh a month later. He was still in university in his third year but was completing a placement year in industry so I went to Uxbridge for the day to see him and ended up staying the night (*blushes) and then the whole week (*further blushes*). Within a month we were driving to stay with each other every weekend and I was staying with him through all my school holidays.

    Things progressed and we decided to move in together at the end of our first year together. It was a huge leap for me. I gave up my job, my beautiful flat, my even more beautiful independence and moved to Uxbridge. Into his student house. With 2 other boys.  I met his family and he met mine and that is our opening chapter.


     This is us soon after we metimage

  • A dramatic twist

    Without doubt, things were not rosy in our first year living together. I was a professional woman with a full time teaching job living with three young lads in university. They went out clubbing - I stayed in marking.  In hindsight, it was an appalling idea for us to start out our cohibitation in such conditions. We argued. A lot. And I demanded. A lot. Being older and pretty established in a career, I wanted to start thinking about marriage and babies whilst he was just turning 21 and trying to graduate. 

    The inevitable happened and we broke up. I was devastated. He moved home to Hastings after his degree and I moved to Amersham with a friend. But something kept on gnawing at me. I asked it we could meet up again and he agreed. We went out for dinner and realised that our problems were problems we could work through together. So we did. And we got back together. And we have been together ever since. Sometimes things are just meant to be. 

  • Waiting 

    We moved back in together (just the two of us this time which was far more agreeable!) and settled into 'life'. We worked hard and partied hard and suddenly, I was 26. I was also getting a little impatient. I had made it clear to him that marriage and children were essential for me. This was not the case for him. Coming from a divorced family, he saw marriage as nothing more than a piece of paper. He hated being the centre of attention, he is a tighter than a ________'s ________ (nsert own words here) so didn't want to spend money on a wedding and had never seen himself as a father. 

    To be honest though, he was just scared. Scared of the commitement. He agreed that we would get married one day as he knew it meant a lot to me but I knew I would have to wait. And wait I did. 

    But then, his twin got married. It was a beautiful wedding and suddenly, it didn't seem so scary any more. In fact, weddings suddenly seemed fun and the life commmitment didn't seem to be as terrifiying as it once had. Here we are at the wedding image


     The day after the wedding, we went for a break to the New Forest and while we were there, we ended up buying an engagement ring! Eek! We were totally broke so bought a second hand antique ring. He told me to forget about it as I wouldn't be getting it until he was ready. And so it was whisked away. Until...

  • The Proposal

    Every day was a day when I thought it ‘might’ happen… but no. He made me wait until JULY! (He had had the ring since April!) My birthday arrived and I was sure it would happen. I waited all night with great excitement and then…nothing. Talk about anti-climax. I had an epic tantrum. It certainly wasn’t my finest hour and, looking back, I am surprised he ever wanted to marry me. Anyway, one of my birthday gifts was a meal at a super posh restaurant. We went along on 27th July (the day after I turned 27) and I was still sulking. We were having a quiet (and tense) drink on the veranda when all of a sudden, a waiter bought out a HUGE bunch of sunflowers and there, sewn into one of the flowers was MY RING! He asked me and I was over the moon image 



    Here's the ring he proposed with. That very night we started talking about dates and decided we would get married in a years time. The planning began!

    My mum was utterly over the moon. She loved Jack as the son she had never had and Jack had phoned her to ask for her permission a few weeks before. This meant a huge amount as my dad had passed away from a brain tumour 5 years before. My mum had just battled breast cancer and our imminent wedding seemed like a real turning point in our lives – something to celebrate! My mum and I started planning immediately. We were so excited…


  • A moment to mention money...

    We both have good jobs but no savings AT ALL. Before the wedding we lived a very comfortable life of meals out and pub visits. We lived today rather than saved for tomorrow. I have an appalling track record with money too so we knew it would be a struggle to pay for a wedding. 

    We set a budget of £10,000 maximum. My mum said she would give us £1,500 as a gift towards the wedding so Jack and I had to save the rest. We decided that we would ask for money as wedding presents so that we would be able to afford a honeymoon. I sold everything we no longer used or needed to add to the fund and took on exam marking (which is hell on earth!) It was also at this point that I realised a lot of my wedding would have to be homemade or our budget would never stretch to what we wanted. 

    It seemed like an impossible mountain to climb. I'll tell you later how we got onimage

  • I love this!image

  • Jennytay08Jennytay08 Posts: 693

    I also love this. totally agree with marking being hell on earth - i also took on this almighty task to contribute to wedding savings!

    cannot wait for next installment!

  • The Place

    I had planned our Year 11 school prom and loved the venue we had used for that. During the promI kept going around to the children and telling them not to misbehave and ruin my chances of getting married there! I knew that that was where I wanted to get married! I loved the style of the venue and imost importantly, it was afforable!

     We visited together and Jack agreed and we booked our date for 11th August 2012! A year to plan. I was too excited for words whilst Jack approached it like everything in his life – with calm indifference…

    The venue offered three different packages with different menu choices. As we were only planning on having 50 guests, we went for the most expensive package which worked out at £79 a head. 

    Here are so pictures of the venue. 







  • Thinking theme...

    I was struggling with themes and ideas for the wedding as I had so many ideas. Very early on, Jack said he didn't want to be involved at all. Which was PERFECT! I love being in control and knew that his lack of vision would only have curbed my creativityimage I loved vintage and shabby chic but it just wasn't quite us...

    Then...someone commented on my ring and said it had an art deco look and THERE it was. I didn't understand why I hadn't thought of it sooner. I LOVE the fashions and styles of 1920s and I knew that it was perfect for us. I researched some colours and immediately decided on black and cream. Lots of people judged those colour choices - they felt they just weren't 'wedding-y' enough but I ignored themimage And I am so glad I did!

    So with these decisions made, I started some serious research ideas. My main tools? Google, Etsy and eBay. I developed a clear idea of what I wanted and then sourced them in my price range or made my own. It was at this point that I embraced crafting! And boy, did I embrace it...

    Here is some of my inspiration...





  • An evolution

    As time progressed, my inner nerd took over. I really wanted the wedding to have a little quirkiness to it and wanted it to be personal to us and so, the little inner English teacher in my head suggested that I maybe I should include my love of books. And so I did! More on that later though...

  • Mrs BoundsMrs Bounds Posts: 1,311

    ooh, lovely report so far! Can't wait for the rest! xx

  • And now, my least favourite part...

    Ok, the dress. This is going to take a while. I apologise. 

    I have giant boobs and an even more giant confidence problem with my weight. I have been a very large lady and a very skinny lady and am now somewhere in the middle. I hate being the centre of attention and hate wearing light colours... Finding a dress was always destined to be hell on earth. On top of that, I couldn't spend more than £300 on a dress. 

    I was sure I wanted a lace dress and that I wanted straps to give me the support I needed. I found one I liked the look of from China and told my mum I was going to order it. 

    She had other ideas. I went to visit her with my best friend and all of a sudden, I found myself in a tiny wedding dress shop in Wales! I had never tried a dress on before, had no real idea what suited me and before I knew it, I had a dress! 

    This is the dress I tried first.


     The face says everything. I was not happy in this at all. 

    This is the second dress I tried on. My mum cried... I cried... And then, she had paid for it!


     And this is the dress on a skinny minny (the way it should look...)


     I opted not to have the large flowers on it and loved the sparkle and lace all over the bodice. It was nothing like what I had pictured but I was very happy...

    And then the wobbles set in...

    I really had been rushed into buying the dress. The more I thought about it, the less I liked it. I had felt too exposed it it because of my big boobs and I HATED the ruffles in the train - I felt they were too dated. I was gutted. Everyone told me to get a new one but I knew that mum would have been devasted and it was such an ungrateful thing to think. So I decided to suck it up. And then, over time, I came up with some ideas to make the existing dress even better. But I will come to that later. 


  • Fantastic report so far!! Can't wait to read the rest image

  • My Maid of Honour

    There was only one person as bridesmaid - my closest friend Steph. She is Canadian and just amazing. Jack and I didn't want a fussy, large wedding party so we decided on one bridesmaid and the best man. 

    When we went to buy my dress, there was a great Alfred Angelo dress that I loved so I made her try it on. It was amazing on her so we ordered it there and then - in the wedding colours of black and cream. 

    Here it is image


    The dress on the website...



    In my wedding colours image

    And with that purchase, the dresses were DONE! 

  • Accessorising...

    In all my research for the Art Deco period, the one thing I kept coming across was FEATHERS! They helped to solve a big problem for me... the problem of flowers. I am not and never have been a huge fan of flowers. I hate the fact that they die - they just make me feel very sad when they start to droop so I didn't want to use flowers for the bouquets or the centrepieces and feathers seemed to be the way forward. I found an amazing seller on eBay and suddenly, I had bought bouquets for myself and my MOH!

    This is my  MOHs... There are some pictures of my larger one later!


     I regret not having a go at making it myself as I became a lot more confident at crafting later in the process. I would absolutely recommend making your own. I made another bouquet for decoration from buttons but I will talk about that later. 

    With my choice of feathers, I then went about sourcing the our headpieces and button holes from Etsy from various sellers. I absolutely loved them! They tied in with the deco perfectly and they were so soft and sleek. Here are some sneak peaks image


     The groom's buttonhole (TheHeadbandShoppe)


     The button hole for the best man and the dads (TheHeadbandShoppe)


     The buttonhole for the mums


     My hairpiece


     Hair piece for MOH

    That's it for feathers now! But rest assured, they will be making an appearance later. 

    There is a lot to be said for not having real flowers in my opinion. I was able to spread the cost and buy them whenever I wanted. Also, I will get to keep them forever!



  • And then our world got turned upside down... (WARNING - LONG POST!)

    As I mentioned earlier, my mum had been fighting breast cancer throughout 2010 and the beginning of 2011. We were all delighted that she was in remission and we were all throwing ourselves into wedding planning. I had never seen her so excited. She would email me, text me, phone me every day with new ideas. She was loving her mother of the bride role. As her only child, she knew she was only going to do it once and she was planning on doing it properly!

    She came to visit us in November to visit the wedding venue and do some wedding shopping. Immediately, I realised that she wasn’t herself. She had been a little distant for a few weeks and her partner had told me he was worried that she might be depressed so I was already on alert and looking out for signs. In fact, she was a different woman and I had a pretty good idea straight away what was wrong. I remember sitting down with Jack on my bed and telling him she had a brain tumour and just crying and crying. He told me to pull myself together and told me I was being ridiculous and that I couldn’t know that. But I did – I recognised the same symptoms that my dad had had the years before.

    I asked her partner to take her back to the doctor and they diagnosed depression and set up some counselling but I just wasn’t happy with this. I phoned the doctor myself and arranged to see her myself with my mum the following week. I explained the symptoms fully and the doctor immediately arranged for her to go for a scan the following week to check for signs of cancer in the brain. I felt a little happier.

    The following morning, mum wasn’t able to get out of bed and was struggling with her consciousness. We took her to an emergency GP and she was immediately taken to hospital. A few scans later and two tumours were found on her brain. Our world crashed down around us.


    *Apologies for such a long interlude. Please feel free to skip down to the happy stuff again but it is strangely therapeutic to write this all down.*

     At this point, Jack and I decided to bring the wedding forward so that mum could be there with us. We decided to have the legal ceremony in Wales with my mum and then have a renewal of vows on 11th August with the rest of the family and hopefully mum too. Within a few days, I had bought a new dress, arranged a new ceremony, bought new bouquets, arranged a reception. EVERYTHING! We were ready to go...

    Mum was in hospital for a few weeks while they dealt with the swelling in her brain. She went to see a specialist in Birmingham and they were very positive. They said they could remove the tumours with ease and that mum wouldn’t need any further treatment after that. We were on cloud 9 again and went home to enjoy a family Christmas. After fearing the worst, we had a great time. With this in mind, we felt so silly for booking the January wedding and so we cancelled everything and went about selling all the things for the second wedding. It wasn't the best Christmas ever. Mum was still very poorly but we were together at least with plenty to look forward to.


    In January mum had her brain surgery and was back home in days. She made a rapid recovery and we were delighted. She was in a wheelchair to begin with but was determined that she would be walking down the aisle with me at the wedding. Wedding planning was back on and she was back to sending me her lists of things to do.


    At the end of January, she lost the use of her legs out of the blue. The doctors immediately diagnosed a stroke and she ended up in hospital again. With a little time with the physio, she gained some strength and started planning to go home but had another setback which left her bedridden. 

  •  I went up to see her and was shocked by how ill she was. I had a meeting with her medical team who seemed at a loss as to what was wrong. They were starting to doubt whether it was a stroke after all. It was at this point that I began to suspect that the cancer had returned and was affecting her bones. I did some (dangerous) internet research and kept coming back to cancer of the bonemarrow… I spent the day with her and we had a great chat. She told me she had been thinking about my future children and that she thought I should name my son Noah. I called Jack up to see her because I was worried that she was far worse than anyone had acknowledged…


    The following day she was transported to the specialist in Birmingham who admitted her immediately. They suspected she had an infection from her brain surgery and were concerned that she may have meningitis. I travelled with her and she was asleep for most of the day. She slept for most of the night and the next day and was barely conscious when she was eventually taken down for more surgery. Before going I asked her if she was ok and she asked me to take her home and I promised I would take her when she was better…


    I didn’t get to speak to her again sadly. She came back from the theatre to ICU and stayed there for four days before we eventually took the awful decision to withdraw medical support. She passed away quickly and peacefully with her closest family with her. Sometimes cancer just can’t be beaten.


    This is one of my favourite pictures of her and one of us together. She was a fantastic woman and an indescribable mother. She was my inspiration and I miss her every day x


    We wondered whether we should cancel the wedding. It would have been easier to. But we knew that she would have been very angry if we had. So we pushed ahead and I made sure that I included mum in the planning. We had Kir Royale cocktails after the ceremony as this was her favourite drink. I also carried a photo of my mum with my bouquet in a pretty frame so that she was able to walk up the aisle with me. We missed her desperately on the day but we did everything we could to make it a day of celebration as well as a day of rememberance. 

    We asked the registrar to say these words at the beginning of the service. We used the same words at her funeral. 

    "Unable are the Loved to die for Love is Immortality" - Emily Dickinson

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