You might already know about some of this if you follow me on Instagram, but I wanted to share what’s been going on in my life lately outside of blogging, because the past couple of weeks have been totally crazy! First of all, Marcus and I got married on the 4th of November, which is a story in itself, so I hope you’ll either indulge me whilst I tell it, or just wait for my next post, which will be museum-related.
We’ve been together for nearly twelve years, but somehow never got round to the whole marriage thing, partly we’re both introverted and aren’t super comfortable with being the centre of attention, and were kind of dreading the whole process of doing it in front of a big audience, but didn’t really know how to get out of it without offending family and friends. And then Covid happened, and we saw an opportunity to have a small ceremony without hurt feelings, so we gave notice of our intention to marry at our local register office (which is awkwardly in the same building as the archives where I used to work sometimes) back in early October (you have to give at least thirty days notice in the UK, for those who aren’t familiar with the process), with the intention of getting married on the 28th November, which is our twelfth anniversary, and conveniently falls on a Saturday this year. Me being me, I immediately ordered a dress and accessories and only after that started thinking about logistics.
We definitely didn’t want a full-on reception at this point in time (nor would we have been allowed dancing etc), but we thought it would still be nice to be able to at least have a drink or two and some cake afterwards if we could do so safely, so we tried to find a venue for that. But, even though at that stage we were allowed to have up to fifteen people at a reception (this was when we were still in Tier 1, but even in Tier 2, you were technically allowed to be inside with people from other households for a wedding reception, even though I was feeling less comfortable with doing it), we had a hell of a time trying to find someone willing to accommodate more than six, other than very expensive proper wedding venues (and I’m sorry, but I’m not spending over £1000 on a reception for 10 people if that doesn’t even include food or drink). We finally managed to find a pub down the road from us with a private room big enough to socially distance in that was willing to host us and wasn’t even charging a booking fee, so I started to relax a little bit with that settled…and then lockdown was announced.
With all wedding ceremonies cancelled during lockdown, things were looking bleak until the registrar rang me on the Monday before lockdown and told me we could either postpone the ceremony indefinitely, or get married that Wednesday. After a hurried discussion with Marcus whilst I was still on the phone with the registrar, we said, “what the hell, let’s just do it Wednesday!” Cue two days of total madness, though since we had bought clothes and things weeks before, all we really had to do was tell our guests, order a cake (more on this below, but this was my number one priority after getting my dress. I’d already spoken to a bakery, but was holding off on ordering until closer to our original wedding date and the short notice meant I didn’t have time for anything custom anyway), try to find a post-wedding drinks venue, and book in a photographer, the latter of which proved the most complicated, since we had two people cancel on us before we found Louise Adby, who did an absolutely lovely job!
Because it was a weekday, not all of our guests could make it, so we ended up with only six attendees, but we’re grateful they were able to come on such short notice, especially the people who took off work on our account! Our original plan was to take pre-wedding photographs the first weekend of November in Painshill Park and skip a professional photographer for the wedding, but given the circumstances, we cancelled the Painshill Park session and just met our photographer in Bushy Park about two hours before our wedding to get some couple portraits before she photographed the ceremony. All the posing was super awkward (especially the eight million kissing shots she made us do, since we’re not normally super affectionate in public – you might be able to tell that I was wearing lipstick at the start, but it completely wore off over the course of the afternoon), but I guess it was worth it for the end result. I usually absolutely hate how I look in photos, but I’m actually pretty happy with most of these ones!
I’m obviously not a super traditional person, and a white gown is so not my style, but I didn’t really want to go full goth either at a registry office wedding, so I opted for a super sparkly black 50’s style dress from Vivien of Holloway (I already have several dresses from there, so I knew it would fit without trying it on first), an autumnal orange coat, because I will take any excuse to buy a new coat and I love a hood; a purple spiderweb wrap from Etsy, and pointy witch shoes from Killstar. Marcus put together my bouquet from orange, black, and purple artificial flowers I’d ordered, wrapped with black and white striped Beetlejuice ribbon that I had rush shipped from America because I couldn’t find any I liked here. I was actually intending on changing into silver heels for the photos, but it was kind of muddy in the park, so I just left my flats on until the ceremony. I had also bought an excellent black and white feather fascinator that made me feel a bit like a less evil Cruella de Vil, but I completely forgot to put it on before we left to take photos, so I had to do without. Good thing it wasn’t expensive!
The ceremony itself was super short (we all had to go wash our hands upon arrival, the guests had to wear masks the whole time, and all the chairs were distanced, but we were allowed to take our masks off during the ceremony), which we were fine with, except for the fact that we couldn’t choose our music, and I really wanted to have had our song(s) playing at the start and end of the ceremony (by Phil Collins and Huey Lewis – you can try to guess what they are if you like), but it’s not like they would have played for very long anyway, since they hustled us out immediately after we signed the book, so it’s fine (we didn’t even get our marriage certificate on the day, as that was deemed unsafe. They posted us a copy the week after). We actually made our own rings in a silversmithing class at Morden Hall Park last Valentine’s Day, so we’ve had them sitting around for ages! And let me just state that I will not be changing my name – I may or may not have gone on a rant about the patriarchy to the registrar before the ceremony – I’m not judging anyone who chooses to do so, but it’s definitely not something I’m at all interested in doing.
Because of the impending lockdown, we couldn’t find anyone to host a reception for this much earlier date, so we just ended up going to a local pub with three friends who all live together, but of course had to sit outside per the rules since we were a mix of two different households, so it was a very cold night indeed (we were just down the road from our house, so I ended up going home and changing into jeans after a couple of hours of freezing my ass off – I loved my dress, but I have my limits!), and the only place that was serving food outside didn’t really have anything that appealed, so I just had a bowl of chips and a Coke (and a cup of tea because of the cold!), because I barely drink anymore. Thrilling, I know. I think we probably will have to have an actual party when it’s safe to do so, because I at least want to eat some decent food! We did manage to get a cake to enjoy by ourselves when we got home from the bakery I had originally decided on (Flavourtown in Fulham, since they deliver) – I got the smallest size, but it was still an awful lot of cake for two people, so we ended up posting out slices to our guests the next day. Fortunately, it was close enough to Halloween that the bakery was still doing Halloween cakes, so I was able to snag this rad pink skull one, and Marcus made the topper himself, so it was pretty perfect even if it wasn’t custom. I also ordered cookies to pass out to our guests as favours after the ceremony (since we could individually bag them, which felt a bit more sanitary than handing someone a slice of cake) and those were delicious too (obviously we saved ourselves a couple!).
So that was our wedding, and since lockdown started the next day and we couldn’t go anywhere anyway, I just went back to work the day after (we will totally take a trip when we can though, whenever that might be), because it also happened to be my last week of work at my old job. Yes, as if throwing a wedding together in two days wasn’t enough stress, I was also trying to wrap up everything with my job, especially because there is a hiring freeze on, so I knew they wouldn’t be able to hire a replacement for a while. I will miss my lovely volunteers (and am worried no one else is going to advocate for them), but there were a lot of other aspects of that job that I absolutely hated, and it was generally not great for my mental health, so on the whole, I am relieved to be gone! I started my new job last week (and yes, I know how lucky I am to a.) have kept my job in heritage in the first place (this was mainly because my former museum was run by a local authority, so I was deployed to the Comms team for six months whilst the museum was closed), and b.) found a new job in heritage with better pay than my old job in the current climate). I was working as a Visitor Services Officer, which included shop management (amongst other things), and I was desperate to get away from the retail aspects of my job, because I HATE retail, so I was thrilled to land a Museum Coordinator position at another museum near enough my house to still be able to walk to work. It’s still not the curatorial role I would eventually like, but it is far more marketing orientated, which at least means a lot of writing, and the shop is not my responsibility, which is the most exciting thing about it for me! It’s super weird to be working in an office again after working from home for almost eight months (I’m splitting my time between the office and home for now, because even though the museum is closed to the public during lockdown, there are still things going on in the building that require someone on site and there’s only three people on our team, so we take turns going in), but the museum itself is a lovely space (much nicer than my old workplace). Lots of changes, but I’m hoping once I’ve settled in a bit more, I’ll be less emotionally drained than I was at my old job and will have time to do a bit more writing, as I would really like to start doing creative writing again at some point. Thanks for reading, if you made it to the end, and hope you didn’t mind looking at so many wedding photos!