Yes, it’s really happening.. we are on target to actually be married in three weeks time!
So, I’m sure you’re just burning to know, how does one organise a wedding and live a nomadic lifestyle at the same time? For us, the answer has been: you don’t. Ever since we decided 9 weeks ago that we’re getting married in London in August we haven’t been all that nomadic! And I haven’t written a word in this poor, neglected blog either.
Since we got back from Paris in May, we’ve been holed up with our parents, first in London and then in France, trying to pull together the many threads of wedding madness into something that resembles an event while also attempting to get work done. Doing that while travelling at the same time is just a step too far for nomads of limited brain capacity like us, especially as we also lack the ability to bend time in our favour.
Since our engagement in January, the whole wedding business has been quite taxing for our unprepared mental faculties. Stacker has always said he’d rather elope than have a wedding but in the heat of the engagement moment he threw wisdom off with his skis and changed his mind. Of course, if he had been able to bend time and look into the future, it’s possible his knee may well have never hit the ground.
In the enthused beginnings we tossed around plenty of ideas – a wedding by a waterfall in Iceland, a coupling on the coast of Croatia, an alliance in the Alps, espousal in Espania or tying the knot in Thailand.
With the brutal pessimism that is Stacker’s gift (and what’s his is mine right?), we chopped the ideas as fast as they came to us. France and Spain got rejected in short order because non-residents can’t have civil weddings in those countries. Thailand and Croatia followed them out the window because we’re too chicken to attempt to organise things in a language we don’t speak. The Iceland idea died hard but in the end was rejected because we thought this summer was too soon and we didn’t want to wait until next summer (nor brave the Icelandic winter a second time)
Then we realised that the reason we liked the idea of a destination wedding was firstly because – clearly – we love to travel and want to share our favourite places with our favourite people, but mainly because it meant that we would be able to get people together for a whole weekend or longer. We realised we could just as easily do that in the UK and we finally settled on the idea of renting a giant house in the English countryside and inviting everyone to stay for a weekend in springtime next year.
So, on our return to London from Reykjavik in March, we hopped in a car and travelled the length and breadth of Cornwall and Devon, otherwise known as the English Riviera. We had a blast and I enjoyed showing Stacker a beautiful part of England but in the end we came up empty-handed. The place we liked the most was way out of our rough budget and when we decided to go for it anyway it was no longer available.
We skulked off to Paris to drown our sorrows in croissants and cheese and continue the search online. After a month we were back in London, frustrated and stressed over the process. We started moving away from the weekend in the countryside idea and refocused the search in the city instead. We scoured the four corners of London, visiting licensed venues running the spectrum from art centers to former churches to gritty warehouses. Our productivity went down the pan along with our excitement.
Finally, over a cup of coffee one day we realised that we didn’t want to wait more than a year to get married just for the sake of a party. We wanted to get back to our lives and also move on to the next steps of our life together. “Lets just do something simple and lets do it this summer,” Stacker said and, with that revelation, the pressure was off and the excitement was back. After all, if we pulled something off in under three months no one would expect it to be perfect. After our coffee I went straight to the store and had bought my dress in under half an hour.
The next day we took ourselves down to the local town hall near where I grew up and from there discovered Pitzhanger Manor, a small manor house in the park that belongs to the council but is a lot less utilitarian than the registrar’s office. We both loved it at first sight – simple, elegant and surrounded by the park, it was almost the house in the countryside we’d originally wanted, but on a smaller scale. After searching the world for a venue, our final choice ended up being a ten minute walk from where I grew up. Ironically, a family friend had actually told me about it when we’d met in the produce aisle of the supermarket back in March but I hadn’t registered it then.
Some of our friends were surprised to hear our nomadic wedding wouldn’t be in an exotic location, especially after having had my 30th birthday in Jordan last year. However, I think they (well, the European ones anyway!) were probably relieved in the end – when you decide to give people barely three months notice for your wedding that will be in the middle of peak travel season, doing it in a remote Norwegian hamlet would be like asking our guests to give us – as they say in France – the skin off their asses.
Once the location was decided, next came the seemingly impossible step of getting everyone on board for a weekend in August – then just three months away – but fortune smiled on us and we managed to lock in a date that was available and that our families could agree on and, that was it, there was no going back! There was no going anywhere else either because for the next 6 weeks we were busy making preparations, going to meetings and leaking money all over town. In the end, though, planning to do the wedding quickly has turned out to be the single best decision we’ve made in this whole process. Already I’m having sleepless nights imagining ridiculous table decorations I will never have the time or money to execute on; I can’t imagine prolonging that stress much longer. By the end of a year I’d be asking myself whether having everyone eat out of suitcases while sitting in airplane chairs is taking the ‘travel theme’ just a bit too far.
Because apparently you need to have a theme, or at the very least a colour scheme. Questions at our meetings like what colour uplighters we’d like at the reception – “they can match your colour scheme” – were met with blank stares from Stacker and wide-eyed panic from me. Eventually though I realised that as nomads we already have a theme – travel, duh! As for the colour scheme, well I guess we’ll just blow everyone’s minds when we follow up our forest green invites with pale blue thank you cards…
After all this, I now have a whole lot more respect for everyone who’s ever organised a wedding and my original “how hard can it be?” mindset is now filed away under “how could I have ever been so misled?” along with almost every page in my teenage diaries and the chapter in my life when I thought ‘misled’ was pronounced ‘misselled’
Anyway, the final countdown is now running and I’m excited to party with our friends and family in three weeks time and to hit the road again – this time as woman and husband!