When I got a text from Roo just before Christmas saying “erm…I think we might have to cancel our wedding…our wedding venue is being shut down” my heart skipped a beat. You know when people say “oh I know exactly how you feel…” but actually, really, they don’t? Well in this case I could reply those words with utmost sincerity. Our wedding venue pulled out of our wedding just three months before our day. That’s a story for another time, but I did have 100% confidence in my reply “Roo, everything with be OKAY. You won’t have to cancel your wedding”…
Photography Credit: internet k-hole
You know that phrase “rollercoaster of emotions”? I hate it. It’s up there with countless other overused phrases that initially sound incredibly profound, but actually they’re just unbearably hollow and totally meaningless. When you have a hatred for something that burns as deep as mine does for this, then you can imagine my turmoil when suddenly, out of nowhere, I found that it actually applied to me. A bitter taste, I’m sure you’ll agree.
Now, I won’t be offended if you’re sitting there and thinking what on earth is she rabbiting on about? – because really, I get that all the time. So I’ll tell you: after all the fussing and fighting of finding our wedding venue, we all sank comfortably into the cushions of wedding planning bliss, and looked forward to enjoying a real family-orientated Christmas before we thunder-bolted into the new year with the rest of our arrangements.
It’s funny, isn’t it, how you always remember where you were when you received bad news? It was a dull afternoon on December 2nd, 2011, and I had just come home to show Lamb some of the Christmas gifts I’d managed to pick up. My phone chirruped with a text message from my friend and bridesmaid, Rea, and I glanced to read it almost absent-mindedly (my attention span is mortifyingly weak) until I saw what it said. Simply, “have you heard about the CUC?”
You know when you just know? Well I just knew. My fingers sort of became haunted with this ghost that wanted to text back and ask the question that I already knew the answer to: what about the CUC? – but the truth is that I already knew in my heart of hearts that what it was about was that it was no longer our wedding venue. To read her reply, “it’s closing down” was no more illuminating than my intuition, which had supposed that our gorgeous venue had either been washed away by a flash flood or had been completely overrun by mean and scary ghosts – two perfectly understandable reasons for closure that I absolutely could not have argued with no matter how much I was crying. And I was crying a lot. Buckets, you might say. Rea told us to look online, and sure enough in black and blue it was there for all to see on their website:
“CUC TO CLOSE ITS DOORS 3RD JANUARY 2012”
They cited public sector cuts as the reason for their closure, but as a bride on the receiving end it did not compute; all I could see in my mind’s eye was that room; flashes of that iron spiral staircase and those Chesterfield sofas and how we cried when my dad put our wedding deposit down because we realised that we had actually set a date. The Contemporary Urban Centre was not just a wedding venue to me, it was the wedding venue that had helped us over the hurdle we felt we’d fallen at, it was the wedding venue that finally made our wedding seem real – it was our wedding venue, and now it was gone, and it didn’t matter how many times I read it or re-read it – it just didn’t make any sense to me.
Contemporary Urban Centre
It also didn’t make a blind bit of sense to me that this press release had gone public without us being notified first. I had the CUC on redial, ready for a kick-off, when eventually their wedding co-ordinator, Adele, returned my messages. I started to spit out my complaint when I heard that she was crying, just like me – not only had we lost our venue that morning, she’d lost her job, too. It suddenly became apparent that it had been an absolute shock announcement, with 28 other couples in the same position as us – some of them due to hold their wedding just days after the closure date. Adele insisted that she’d tried to speak to us all before 12pm when the press release was published, but that it had been impossible. We started to understand, but it was by no means any easier. Things had already been so hard for us and now we had to face it all over again, in even more of a daze.
Contemporary Urban Centre