When Gareth and I got married, there was one couple we really looked up to as an amazing example, a benchmark if you will, of a successful marriage – my parents. They not only got married around the same age as I did (at 24) but they have now been married for over 30 years. Although their backgrounds were quite different (my Mum grew up in Dublin and my Dad in the UK) we admire how they always seem so happy and in love, even after all those years.
As a child, I don’t ever remember them fighting. As the oldest of three girls, I got in trouble a lot (especially as a teenager – yes, I was absolutely terrible) but they were always a team. They never allowed themselves to be played off each other. At the time this was incredibly frustrating (I honestly couldn’t get away with anything!) but looking back that’s another thing I deeply respect about them. It’s definitely something Gareth and I have learnt from them too – we are Team Williams all the way!
So as we’re just over the halfway point to this Marriage Mantras series I thought it might be kind of awesome to have a chat with my Mum and see if she had any secrets to spill. She is also a trained marriage counsellor so if anyone knows what makes for a happy and successful long term partnership, its her!
You and Dad have been married for over 30 years! What’s your secret?
We are compatible on many levels and we like and admire each other a lot, as well as loving each other. We love our family and our friends but we also enjoy being on our own. We want the same things out of life too, despite our very different backgrounds.
Yet we are not identical clones! Our gifts compliment each other so that together we are a stronger team.
What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learnt since being married?
We are both loveable, we both have significance and we can make a difference to others. We are accepted as we are – ‘warts & all’ as Dad says…
Why should people get married at all? What’s the difference from just living together?
Marriage is a public, legal, emotional and spiritual declaration of your love for and commitment to each other. Unlike just being in a long term relationship its not easy to get married – or to walk away from a marriage – so it shows your intention to love each other through thick and thin, for better for worse.
Being in a committed relationship can also make a big difference to our self esteem and our sense of being significant and loveable.
Well here’s something you don’t see everyday! The wedding of Joanna and Stephen was held at Lusty Glaze Beach in Newquay, but instead of just walking down the aisle, Joanna and her father zipwired from the clifftop above down on to the beach. AH-MAZING!
“We have been together for nearly 10 years and did not feel that a traditional wedding suited us, we are both quirky and creative and we really wanted a wedding that encompassed that”, began Joanna. “We wanted our guests to have fun, we wanted them to not have to think, just turn up and be guided by our excellent ushers and best men to each part of the day. We wanted the day to be an event, to showcase us and our family and friends. The entrance via zipline was so exciting and my Dad and I really felt like James Bonds as we abseiled down to the beach. My Dad hates heights so he did incredibly well! The whole beach when silent before we descended and as soon as our feet left the platform the whole beach cheered!”
I have no idea what’s in store for me over the next three and a half weeks. Having such a packed schedule recently means that I’ve had little to no time to research much of what Gala, Shauna and I will be getting up to while we’re down under. Thank goodness for Virgo friends who obsessively arrange everything on your behalf! All I do know is the week before our first class in Brisbane I’ve been promised a spa day, surfing lessons, koala cuddling and zip-wiring through a rainforest. WHAT!? Oh you bet ya I’ll be reporting back on all this stuff when I return.
I fly out of Heathrow tomorrow afternoon and after a 7 hour flight to Dubai and a 14 and a half (GROAN!) hour jaunt to Brisbane I touch down on Sunday night, just past midnight. The time zone difference is kinda messing with my mind a little but thank goodness I just treated myself to a swanky new Samsung laptop which will keep me plenty entertained on my epic journey (I’m obsessed with it!)
I’ve worked my little bloggy butt off in preparation for this trip. It’s the longest one we’ve done for The Blogcademy so far and I know I’m going to miss Gareth, Henry and Rachel like crazy but at least the blog will be ticking over nicely! The post schedule won’t be changing while I’m gone, with two posts still going up every weekday and even a couple on the weekends, so don’t go anywhere ya here?!
As usual you’ll be able to follow my obnoxious travel updates via Twitter and Instagram too. OMG I am just so excited. See you soon Australia!
Weddings & Weddingy Things
♥ A wedding with a Tardis photo booth!
♥ Canadian mountain wedding
♥ When Trekkies wed
♥ Gorgeous Pioneertown wedding
♥ Oregon camp wedding
Photography: Blue Window Creative
Kat and Andrew had a colourful wedding and took inspiration from the bride’s tattoos and of times gone by. “We planned our wedding by the rule ‘do what you’d do if you didn’t know what was done’, as we didn’t want to go along with traditions that we didn’t understand or necessarily agree with”, Kat wrote. “We both saw our wedding day as an opportunity to throw a massive party for all of our family and friends, which made planning so much more fun! It’s far easier to be creative when you’re not preoccupied with what you think you ought to be doing, or with what you think people expect of you.”
“At our reception we created an informal, summer party atmosphere by hiring lots of vintage games from Matt and Annabel (our gramophone DJs). We both had an amazing time splatting rats, hooking ducks and throwing coconuts with our friends and family! It was great to see how involved everybody was and how competitive some people became over the egg and spoon race.”
When Gareth and I came to buying our wedding rings, it sounds awful, but they were a bit of an after-thought. We didn’t have a lot of money and the costs of even the most budget-friendly rings in traditional high street jewellers were just completely out of the question.
Gareth is also very particular and wanted us to have rings that were not only awesome, but would last forever. He wanted titanium, and as he’d found my platinum engagement ring at an amazing price, having my wedding band matching was really important.
A hell of a lot of of research and a staunch determination to not have to re-mortgage our house later, we were able to find beautiful rings from Wedding Rings Direct at amazingly competitive prices. I opted for a 2mm flat profile platinum band and Gareth went for one made from titanium with a white gold inlay.
Our rings – photo by Devlin Photos
We are proof that expensive high street shops are not your only option when looking for an engagement or wedding rings. Although it might not feel as romantic as browsing boutique jewellery stores together to find ‘the one’, sometimes the budget really does win out. Which is why I’m thrilled that online jewellers like Wedding Rings Direct exist.
Alongside the traditional metals like platinum and gold they also offer materials such as wood, titanium, black zirconium and ceramic. The designs they hold also vary widely – from classic bands to much more decorative and elaborate designs.
And if you don’t find anything suitable from their extensive catalogue, they even offer a bespoke design service where you are able to work with an experienced jeweller to design a ring yourself.
With just £3000, a mountain of ideas and a hell of a lot of hard work, Abby and Liam planned their DIY village hall wedding for August this year. The day was held at Eccleston Village Hall, with the ceremony in the garden. They saved a lot of money by not going for traditional wedding stuff. Abby’s amazing dress was vintage, bought at Pillbox Vintage Wedding Fair, which she then had reworked by Carla at Mon Ami. Liam’s outfit was from River Island. The flowers were all grown in the bride’s mother’s garden and their transport for the day was their own vintage yellow Beetle!
“We were very, very keen on not having any kind of concrete theme”, Abby began. “Simply because it was too much hassle. I couldn’t be bothered matching a napkin to someone’s shoes and other silly things. I knew we could obsess over this and see costs soar. Our life and general belongings are quite random – and that’s why it all works! We literally chose something if we liked it, and hoped it wouldn’t look like a jumble sale on the day.”