Monday, 7 July 2014

07/07/2007 - memories of a very special day

Today is our 7th wedding anniversary and I feel that a post about our wedding is in order. If for no other reason, then at least as an excuse for me to look at some of my favourite photos again...

When Wayne proposed to me one warm September evening in Liverpool, my head was awash with excitement but also full of questions about the future event. When would we get married? Would it be a big wedding or a small, intimate one? How hard will it be to organise? What sort of cake do I want? And many many other ones. But one thing there was never any question about in my mind, was where the wedding would be. I knew that I wanted to get married in my hometown, in my home country of Serbia. Why? Well...

Serbian weddings are a slightly different affair to the British ones. For starters, nobody wears a hat. There isn't a day time event, a break and then an evening event, but rather one very long celebration from morning till midnight (or later) where everyone parties together until they drop dead (hopefully not literally!) There are no speeches (although, to accommodate both traditions, we did have some). There are no bridesmaids (but we do have the best man and a maid of honour). There is food - courses and courses of it. There is music - lots of it (and loud). There are guests - many of them (in Serbian villages it is not uncommon to see weddings with 1000 people, lasting two or three days). Most of all, there is one great big party, with a live brass band getting everyone up on their feet, and lots of dancing and lots of whooping and cheering and wolf-whistling and generally everyone having a LOT of fun.

So that is, basically, what we did :-)

We ended up having around 140 guests, which is a fairly small wedding by Serbian standards, but we felt that it was just right for us - everyone who we are close with was there. Over 40 guests flew in from the UK and comprised of a mixture of Londoners, Scousers, Australians, Irish, Welsh, American and no doubt I have forgotten some other nationalities. Everyone arrived on Friday, had a great big pig roast and a bonding session on Friday night, and then the main event was on Saturday. The venue was a hotel in the middle of my hometown, where all the foreign guests stayed too. In the morning, once everyone was ready, the groom and all the foreign guests were driven over to my parent's flat, where I was. They stayed outside of the building while my husband-to-be had to negotiate a payment for me (a very old custom, now done for entertainment purposes. Although I don't think that Wayne was quite prepared for what a hard bargain my family would drive!) After some food, music from a live brass band and dancing, we all made our way back to the hotel. This is us arriving:

 The room awaiting us looked like this:

I was ushered into a suite upstairs until all the guests got settled, and then finally it was time to descend into the surreal world of 'Getting Married'.

Our ceremony was not long and, although we look serious in some of the pictures, it was punctuated by laughter (and I imagine a few tears). 

From this...

to this...

to this...

and finally this!

We were married! The celebration, and our new life, could begin!

As you can see, I was not a shy bride :-)  My idea of a good wedding is one where I dance, then talk to all my guests, then dance some more, then dance with my guests, then maybe have a sip of champagne (I couldn't eat a single bite of food all day), then dance again. I didn't climb on any tables which Serbian brides often do, so I can actually say that I was quite reserved and demure!

In the evening, the time came for our cake. On the main wall we projected a slide-show of photographs from our life together. The guests really enjoyed this because it contained many photos no one had ever seen before, from our various travels and good times spent with friends all over the world.

We carried on into the night, and ended the evening with fireworks.

It was the single best day of my life (that title would change hands later, with the arrival of first Ana, then Sacha – but those stories are probably best left for another time!) Every day I feel lucky and grateful to have met my soulmate, so on our anniversary I hope I can be forgiven for saying that so publicly, too…

Thank you for looking at these photos with me. They mean the world to me and it feels very special to share them. Are you married? What was your wedding day like?