It’s day 4 of our honeymoon, and I’m sitting by a little gas fire, alone.
My fiancé —no, husband, I remind myself— is fast asleep in the middle of the afternoon. He’s sick, poor thing, and though I want to somehow make him better, my excited chatter and restless limbs won’t do him much good. So I tuck him into bed with a cup of tea and a kiss on the forehead, and come and pour myself a glass of wine.
The sun is setting already, and I’m left wondering what we’ll do for dinner; we’d planned to go out somewhere special, but now we’re bound for a night in. I haven’t got phone reception to find the nearest grocery store, so we’ll have to make do with our loaf of bread and a packet of spinach. Not quite the evening I'd envisioned.
I didn’t think it would be like this.
And by ‘this’ I don’t mean that anything is wrong, I simply mean that the mirage of a perfect start to a perfect life together has been, well… almost laughable.
In the week of our wedding, I cried more than I had done in months. With one blow after another, our perfect plans were unravelled. We learned that 28 family members wouldn’t be able to come, Matt needed to find 3 new groomsmen, my dress wasn’t fitting, I hadn’t been sleeping, and we were both battling colds. We were done. Tired of waiting. Ready for it to be over.
When Matt proposed in January this year, I was determined; we would be the couple who weren’t phased by anything, who would agree on most things, and who would have a whole bunch of fun planning our wedding.
After all, I’d finally made it. I had the security and commitment of the person I loved, I got to throw a bunch of parties to celebrate, and, of course, I had a pretty ring to stare at.
I took pride in being organised and easy-going, and I believed in our ability to remain unscathed by the stresses of wedding-planning.
Spoiler alert: that was not the case.
It’s not that I’m cynical or jaded just days after skipping down the aisle; of course not. But I do wish that somewhere between the glamour and excitement, amidst the Pinterest boards and wedding albums and hype, I wish someone had told me that preparing for a wedding—and a marriage—would be hard. It would be time-consuming. It would be stressful and draining and often far from magical.
The stress and disappointment of changed plans did nothing to quell the joy of marrying each other. Our wedding day was spectacular fun, and I wouldn’t take it back. But I would go back and tell newly-engaged me what she was in for.
I would be real with her; marrying Matt would be the best thing she’d ever done, but it wouldn't come easily.
I would tell her the truth; that she wouldn’t have time to read the pre-marriage books she set out to; that they’d spend more time pouring over the guest list than looking each other in the eye over dinner; that the ‘waiting’ would get harder; that she would feel lonely and isolated but yet too overwhelmed to see friends; that moving homes would often feel more sad than fun.
I would tell newly-engaged me that she didn’t have to have a teary moment of elation to prove she'd found ‘the dress’. Maybe then she wouldn’t have run out of the bridal boutique with sobs in her chest, because the dresses were itchy and the ladies were bossy and her mum was overseas and the price-tags had too many zeros and she could barely breathe and she was absolutely and utterly out of her depth.
I would tell newly-engaged me that despite her being ridiculously in love, she and Matt would argue more than they ever had while dating. I would tell her that it was okay to disagree on the wedding songs and the dessert options and whether or not the canapés needed to start at 3:30 or 4:00, because through it all, they'd learn to communicate and compromise and say “I’m sorry".
And now, in the middle of the honeymoon that I thought would be the most incredible 10 days of my life, I find myself worried that it isn't perfect. Our trip to Tasmania was cancelled, and we don’t know where we're staying tomorrow. We’re so exhausted from the last few weeks that making new plans is more draining than exciting.
But amidst the frustration of readjusting to a week we didn’t plan for, I take comfort in this: We didn’t get married because being together feels good all the time or ‘just makes sense’. We got married because we recognised that we’re two imperfect people who want to serve God and make him known, and that in that, we’re a good team. Whether things go to plan or not. In the ups and the downs.
So yes: You will see us posting pictures of our first dance under twinkle lights and our happy tears during wedding speeches. You will see film photos from our honeymoon, and videos of Matt and I saying our vows, because those moments are beautiful and real and worth documenting.
But just know, because I didn’t… That you do not have to have a wonderful lead-up to your wedding for it to be right. That your honeymoon does not have to be wild and adventurous and extravagant to be special.
And that, if you’re lucky enough to find yourself on the other side of it all, kneeling on the tiles by a little gas heater while your husband sleeps beside you…
You’ll be so, so happy.
—A contented bride.
p.s. As with all of my blog posts that mention Matt, this one has his full permission to be shared. (Thank you, my love, for always pushing me to keep writing.)
p.p.s. Enjoy a sneak-peek of our wedding photos below! All photos were taken by our incredible photographer, Alex, from Third Wheelin' Co..