Or you are never to old to learn – and you can teach an old dog new tricks.
A week ago I got married. A beautiful, small, personal wedding with John (my partner of ten years), my son O and our children S and P.
I never imagined I would have children, in fact sometimes I look at my brood with amazement as if they somehow magically appeared. I never imagined I would get married. This wasn’t an issue as at a young age I decided that I would work on my personality and be interesting and have an exciting life.
I remember as a child people always commenting on my gorgeous little sister and then turning to me to comment about my personality. I was told I had ‘interesting looks’ that would get better with age. So at the age of 7, with a big personality and not quite fitting yet into my face (all curly hair and freckles and a huge gappy grin) I imagined I was destined for an exciting life of exploration and adventure. I also spent hours in my clothes cupboard , with my eyes shut, ruffling my clothes and imagining I would get to Narnia if I thought hard enough – which also brings back the memory of my fantasy that our Loo was in fact a tardis, a time machine that would take me somewhere else, but I digress and that is infact another story.
So time passed, my hair got straight then went curly again, I left school, went to train as an actor and drama practitioner, worked in theatre, did stand up comedy, travelled, made theatre, directed, wrote stuff, made films, did big art events and travelled. Never staying still.
I made lots of friends, had relationships, fell in love, fell out of love, travelled, did more art stuff, but moved on and on and on.
I had an exciting life that was full of exploration and adventure. I took risks, huge risks, but I was always felt protected, like something someone was watching and looking after me. Sometimes I thought it was my Grandpa Henry, other times I felt I had a guardian angel, particulary after surviving a kidnapping (yes really – but another story) and a potentially bad car accident with my oldest when he was a baby, and other dramas. Maybe I had so much drama because I was open to having it. I still have dramas now, but in a safer more handleable way.
Eleven years ago, I met John.
A simple strong name for a man who was actually very complex and interesting. When I met him we were both not necessarily looking for a long term commitment. We both didn’t ever play games.
Actually I lie.
I once played a game.
When I felt that he was taking me for granted and thinking if he called me on a Friday night after not seeing me all week I would see him on the Saturday. I told him I was busy and that he would have to make an appointment in advance if he really wanted to see me. He did, and then another, and another, and another – and now 11 years on, with two amazing children of our own, and a rather lovely photography career, we have just got married.
We got engaged ten years ago – under the Humber bridge. Then life got in the way of our plans, and we didn’t quite get around to arranging the date.
We didn’t but my children tried to.
My youngest had a cunning wheeze. She got all her siblings together, the plan being to contact a children’s tv channel with a plan to get us married. She had to have our permission. I said “yes” why not? It would have saved me from organising it, and I had done reality Tv before. Then she asked her Daddy. He said – ‘NO!’ under no circumstances would he be on TV. I can understand that. The problem was our youngest couldn’t . She was devastated. So I asked her what the plan had been.
“We wanted you to have a Dr. Who wedding, with Darleks, and a Tardis and everything”
” But P, I don’t want to be an assistant” I told her.
“Mummy, you could have been a cyberman!”
John told her that ofcourse we would get married but not on TV.
He (With P’s help) proposed on Valentines Day this year. He got down on his knees and sang me a song of proposal. P stood by; I cried and said “yes!”, and then asked if we could run away somewhere.
He said “Yes”
So two months later we got married on St. Mary’s, on the Isles of Scilly. A place very dear to us as we stay on one of the Islands every year.
I was worried, I was anxious, I was scared. Not of being married, no. I was scared of the day.
The day came. It was raining, I got onto the little boat in Bryher, and Left J, his brother Dave and the children to get ready. It was really raining, pouring infact. The boat came into St. Mary’s Harbour accompanied by a dolphin! I was met by my Dad, and Andrea Denniss of Pink Lily Photography. She took the photos, and was a complete star.
I had my hair done, got my wedding clothes on, and put on my new sparkly gold shoes. My Dad and Mum and I went to Porthcressa beach by taxi, where my gang (having arrived separately) where patiently waiting.
My anxieties lifted as the sun came out, and shone high in the sky creating the special and unique Scillonian light.
Dad and I walked arm in arm down the (very small) aisle. Time stilled momentarily as all our eyes met. All people I love in one small beautiful space. I saw John and felt like crying.
The service was very special, simple, personal, emotional with the right kind of solemnity and humour too. The children read their pieces so so beautifully and John and I exchanged rings. We signed the register, which was witnessed and signed by Amy and the children. I felt like this was so much more than I could ever have imagined. That we were together in the best and most profound of ways.
Then we went onto the beach, Andrea took our photos (she also documented every beautiful part of that day) and we played about, had champagne, followed by a coffee and cake at Dibble and Grub.
As my parents, John’s brother, Amy L (from Bryher) and the kids walked ahead to catch the boat back to Bryher, John and I held back and walk together. We were stopped by two couples one after the other. The first were celebrating because they had got married at the same place and wanted to share that with us. The other couple asked to take our photo and continued to tell us that today was their very happy 30th wedding anniversary .
We eventually got to our boat. Said goodbye to Andrea, and sailed back to Bryher accompanied by the bottle nose Dolphin.
This was just a week ago, in some ways it seems like it was ages ago, and at the same time yesterday. Thinking about it makes me happy and so glad that we decided to publicly, legally and officially declare our commitment to each other and our family.
When I started this post, it was really going to be about photography, but there you go.
What have I learnt?
As a photographer, I have learnt how to be the subject, and allow someone to take control. How to go with it, though I am uncomfortable in front of a camera. Andrea was amazing. Truly amazing. Lovely. My whole family loved her. She is infectiously enthusiastic and sensitive too.
In many ways I would have been happy for all the photos to be blurred moments, but when Andrea sent the first images over a few days later, I cried. They were truly beautiful, real and us. Completely us.
I understood what it is like to receive this great gift. The pictorial memory that will now be with us too. I am so happy and thankful for that. I understand too, what it is like to be a client when they receive the images . Andrea says there are many many more, but you know what? If it was just this nine, I would be completely happy.
Thank you universe, thank you Mum and Dad, Thank you Dave (who travelled all the way from the USA), thank you Amy, and thank you my children, and thank you , thank you Andrea and a big Thank you to my now husband – John xxx
Finally, if you have got this far. Thank you for reading
All photographs (C) Pink Lily Photography
A beautiful post and a beautiful wedding. Makes me want to go back and do it again…but your way!
Claire – thanks so much. Why don’t you renew your vows then you can do it all over again x
Such a lovely story … A beautiful insight into your wonder day. Many congratulations. Jo xx
Thank you very much Jo. x
Beautiful Carolyn x
Thanks Rachel, glad you enjoyed it x
I love this post! Few tears reading it! What a beautiful memory and what beautiful pictures to capture it for you. Andreas amazing! And I get to hug both of you in a couple of weeks! Xxxx
Thanks Boo. Big smile from me too. I am sooo looking forward to seeing you x
Very early in the morning to have tears in my eyes. Thank you for writing this, it is beautiful and honest. x
Thank you for reading it Ruth. Lovely to see your fabulous work and website too x
What a beautiful read – many happy congratulations to you all! X
So glad you enjoyed it Erin, and thanks for your congrats 🙂
Made Mum and I feel very emotional but very happy for you, John and the children – a lovely post. Thanks for including us we are very honoured to have you as our daughter, even if you did not think you were as pretty as your sister – you were lovely and full of personality and all that goes with that. xxxxxx
It was wonderful having you there D & M, I am so glad that you could share it with us. xxxxxx
So beautiful, I have to admit that I have just shed an emotionally happy tear for you as I was reading through this. Congratulations and long may your adventures together continue xx
Thanks Lel – lets hope we all have the most brilliant adventures x
I really enjoyed reading that. What a great way to get married. Congratulations to all of you. Neill
Thanks Neill – you must get yourselves to the Isles of Scilly. A magical place.
Congratulations to you all, what a beautiful post. Thanks for sharing your day xxx
Sara, I really appreciate your comment. Particularly because I wasn’t sure about the post, so it is lovely to have such a positive response. x
An absolutely wonderful post and an amazing story. I am honoured to have been part of it. You are an amazing lady who is a wonderful friend and fantastic mother. Stop making me cry! Xxxx
Awwwww Andrea! Where’s your Yorkshire grit! 😉 Loved having you with us x
Thank you for inviting me to be part of your special day. It was great to see you all again, and thank you so much for your beautiful photos of my family. See you next year! xxx
Beautiful. I shed a little tear and am raising a large glass to you, to you both, to you all. Cheers!
Congratulations to you all. What a simply fabulous way to be. Good luck xx
Carolyn this moved me so much I sat at my computer sobbing (in a good way). I’m so happy for you xx
awww Lucy thanks so much. Thanks for reading it too, it brings it all back x
Wow, what a beautiful story – who else can say to be accompanied to her wedding by a dolphin.
Thank you Ursula. It is such a lovely memory x
What a beautiful day it sounds, and a lovely dedication to John and your family. Many congratulations x
Thanks so much Jo x
That was gorgeous, it felt like I was there and taking part, sorry I missed it first time round. Its now very clear how O has become the brilliant young man he has. X
Awwww thanks Elizabeth, that is a lovely thing to say x