The Yorkshireman and I are approaching our first wedding anniversary. I remember this time last year I was stress personified, as I endeavoured to organise everything down to the minute detail and keep everyone happy at the same time. Poor, innocent fool that I was, I had imagined that covering all the bases would ensure we had the perfect day, but there are some things you just can't plan for.
You can't plan the weather, for example, as the torrents of rain that morning proved. You can't plan for the bridesmaids forgetting to bring their flowers to the ceremony (although you can ask your father and the chauffeur to hoof them into the boot of the wedding car instead). You can't plan for the groom and his party not being able to find a plug to hook up the CD player in the ceremony room, thereby not having time to play all of your carefully chosen pre-ceremony music. You can't plan for the Registrar rushing you in and through the ceremony, even motioning to cut your carefully chosen "walking down the aisle" music short the second you reached the end. You can't plan for the bridesmaid's shoe falling apart in the wet weather (although I think she was happy to put on her Converse instead to be honest). You can't plan for relatives getting drunk and having slanging matches and crying fits that put a damper on the whole reception. You can't plan for your new husband's colleagues accidentally setting a napkin alight with a candle.
On the other hand, all our other plans did come together. Yes, our ceremony was a little rushed and yes, there were family ructions at the reception, but all in all we had a good day. The most important part, after all, is not the party, but what the day signifies. The Yorkshireman and I had gathered our close family and friends to publicly declare that we loved each other enough to make it official and sign on the dotted line. And then we had a bit of a party to celebrate. Plus any day that ends with a dancefloor full of people doing the Cha Cha Slide can't be bad.
So one year on, how is married life? Well, the Yorkshireman and I had already "lived in sin" together for five years before we tied the knot. We returned from honeymoon to the same house in which we had spent many's an evening chugging down red wine whilst making up our wedding invitations and panicking over budgets. We decorated our Christmas tree with the same decorations we had bought over the years we had been living together. We even returned to the same old cooking and cleaning routines (cooking in turns, often spag bol; he does the dishes and I do the laundry). So for us married life really isn't much different. We've managed to replace our old Tesco Value kitchenware with a few Le Creuset and Joseph Joseph items and we are now blessed with the wonder of a tumble dryer, but our lives otherwise haven't really changed.
I suppose it's different for couples who haven't lived together for long (or at all) before they get hitched, because their first year is probably spent learning about each others' foibles. However I already know that the correct answer to the Yorkshireman's frequent cries of "Where did I leave that thingumyjig?!" is usually, "At your ass, darling!", and he knows that when I'm in a throwing-things-at-walls-stage temper tantrum, the best approach is to back away quietly and leave me to simmer down in my own time. I'm sure we still have plenty left to learn about each other over the years but we at least had a good base of knowledge on which to build our first year of marriage.
One year on and the questions have of course started (from colleagues, friends, family and even people I would barely class as acquaintances) as to when we're going to get around to getting sprogged up. I mean, we've been married for a year and not a hint of morning sickness - what on earth are we playing at?! Well peeps, if I have anything to do with it, I'm afraid you're going to have to wait. The Yorkshireman and I are still both fairly selfish at this stage of our lives. We want to travel to places we've never been, do things we've never done and just generally enjoy this commitment-free stage of our lives. That's not to say we won't be producing offspring sometime in the next few years, but for now I like my lie-ins on weekend mornings and the option to save my money for self-indulgent trips of a lifetime rather than spend it on disposable nappies (have you seen how much those things cost?!).
So what's on the to-do list for year two of marriage? Well, I can't speak for the Yorkshireman, but personally I just want us to have fun and enjoy life together. I want more date nights and a good holiday. I want to take lots of photos of us doing strange and wacky things, be it here in Belfast or somewhere more exotic, so that we can look back in years to come and think, "yep, we really did live." If we must regret anything, I want us to regret the things we have done, not the things we only wish we had. I want us to spend time with our families and friends, while we're all young, free and healthy.
I know (from common sense and not just from the hoards of chick lit falling out of my Ikea Expedit bookshelves) that marriage can be hard; every relationship is bound to have its ups and downs. I'm lucky insofar as the Yorkshireman and I have always been very happy, but who knows what's around the corner? I of course hope that we shall always remain happily married and end up one of those old couples who have been married for sixty years and are still as in love as the day they said "I do" but regardless of what the future holds, I want us both to be able to look back on times like these and remember the good times. After all, what is marriage but a journey together, creating shared memories as you go along? I have many happy memories of our first year of marriage and I intend there to be even more in year two.
And on that note I must go and nag the Yorkshireman about his Internet usage (I know, hypocritical much?) and encourage him to go to bed sometime this side of Friday, for these are the wifely duties of the modern age!