What I'd do if we renewed our vows

Hello loves,

Talking about Rach and JP's wedding made me think of my own, and the things I'd change if we got a do-over. It made me realise a lot of my newer readers won't have seen photos of our wedding, so this post is a two-fer - it has some photos from our wedding 3 years ago, and what I'd change if we renew our vows.

I never had James down for the marrying kind, and after 8 years together I'd kind of given up. I didn't know if I was the marrying kind either. And then I had my second ectopic pregnancy and nearly died and we had a wake up call. Our friends in Sweden offered to get us started with a donation to the wedding fund, and the planning gave me a well needed focus, other than thinking about the loss of our second child. Our wedding was super budget as at that time we had no savings. Our families were brilliant and between them, ourselves and our Swedish friends, we managed to cobble together enough money for a budget day to celebrate the life we were lucky enough to still share together.

There were some problems though. I didn't get the wedding venue I planned for as the sheer size of James's family meant we'd be bankrupt if we got married in the gorgeous historic museum setting I'd wanted. Because we had to exclude most of James's enormous family from the ceremony itself due to cost (there are about 100 of them) to be fair across the board I also had to do that for some of our family and most of our friends, which wasn't a popular choice by any means. We also had to change the venue for the reception as the first venue were awful people who had loads of hidden charges, right down to the air we breathed while we were using their facilities. I exaggerate, but almost. ;) All in all it was massively stressful, and I wish we'd just pleased ourselves. We got married at the local registry office which wasn't great, but it was the best we could afford.

My friend Elaine made my bouquet, which was such a wonderful thing for her to do, as I know it took her so long and really hurt her hands. I love it so much it's in my display cabinet in the living room. It has a butterfly brooch in it I gave to my nan before she died, and I got it back after she passed. It was a comfort knowing it was in my bouquet.

I had 2 bridesmaids and 2 flower girls. There were supposed to be 3 bridesmaids, but the best man's wife had to stay behind in Sweden. The flower girls are my brother's then girlfriend's girls, and you may recognise one of the bridesmaids. ;)

The ceremony itself was nice, the registrar was lovely, and it went well, but I do have some things I'd change, which I'll talk about at the end.

Again, you'll recognise the witnesses. ;)

The best man, James's best friend Peter.

The speeches, below. I did one too, but was so nervous I sounded like Chip and Dale from the Chipmunks by the end, getting faster and higher pitched as it went on.

The venue for the receptions (day and evening) was great, although we didn't pay for it to be decorated with fresh flowers and I regret that now as it was very spartan. The food was amazing and the staff were brilliant, allowing my mum to help herself to the kitchen rather than keep asking for things. I would rebook this venue for our vow renewal.

The first dance was a hoot. We were supposed to be rocking out to White Wedding and wanted everyone to join us, but quite rightly everyone wanted us to dance on our own. In the mix up with the DJ we ended up dancing to Iris by the Goo Goo Dolls, which is a lovely song, but not really appropriate. Because of the mix up and my discomfort at the whole room watching us shuffle about for 6 bloody minutes, I laughed my way through it maniacally.

The evening was a whirlwind of dancing, mingling and sweating profusely whilst doing so as my dress weighed a tonne. Of course the bride does all the work organising the whole thing, and in the evening the groom is the one who gets slapped on the back en masse and everyone pours drink down his neck, meanwhile I was gasping for a bloody drink for most of the night. I'm sure many a bride had the same experience.*conspiratorial wink*

And as it shall carry on, I'm the Mr in this relationship. ;) (James will of course beg to differ!)

So, what would I change?

The irony with planning a wedding is you only really get the hang of it after the fact. I spent months fretting about what every other bugger apart from us wanted and ended up with a wedding so far removed from my original intent that it made me bitter for a long time.

If we renew our vows, it's our way or the highway. I would set a venue and stick to it!

I think I'd like another wedding outfit, simpler in style, and which reminds me of less stress. I bought my dress on the internet from a company who turned out to be less than reputable, and it turned up 3 days before the wedding (after they told me it wasn't coming at all.) That contributed to about 20 grey hairs on its own, I think.

I would have the renewal ceremony, making sure my mum got to sit in the row where she bloody well belongs. The layout of the registry office was such that the two sides of the room weren't even so it was awkward knowing where to put everyone. There were about 5 seats on one side of the aisle and 3 on the other. The bridesmaids and flower girls should have sat at the front with my mum and step dad behind, but my mum actually got shoved back to the 4th row and wasn't happy about it. This is my fault. I didn't go to see the room before we got married and I hadn't done a seating plan. I assumed (like a twat) that people would be decent enough to let my mum and step dad sit behind the bridesmaids, but that didn't happen. So I would definitely change that.

I'd have one sit down meal after the renewal, rather than a lunch and an evening buffet as we did at the wedding. Everyone would get invited to the renewal and the meal, with the stress and hassle of day and evening lists gone. All my friends and all my family (and yes, all of James's family) would be there for it all. I would have fresh flowers on the tables and plenty of booze and soft drinks for people to get through.

I'd have a dance with my dad, as I didn't at our wedding and I really regret that. I'd have lots more photos taken of my family. At the wedding I didn't get just a shot of me and my mum, or me and my dad, and I regret that. I had groups shots, like of both mums, both dads (and my step dad) and so on in that vein, but I really would've liked more photos. I'm sure James would like the same with his family too. Ooh, and a photo booth! It was a great success at Rach and JP's wedding. I'd have a rule though that everyone has to grab a stranger at least once to go in with!

Don't get me wrong, our wedding day was fantastic, and it strengthened our bond (way more than we even thought it would) but having the benefit of hindsight makes me realise what I should've done better the first time round.

If you're married, would you like a do-over? Have you renewed your vows? If you've yet to get married I would say don't be swayed too much by other peoples' desires for your wedding. It's YOUR day.

I'd like to renew our vows on our 5th wedding anniversary, which would be 2017, but whether it'll happen or not we shall see. I want to do it sooner rather than later, as who knows how long my parents will live, and I would be heartbroken to do it after one of them had passed away.

Thanks for reading,
Leah xoxo

P.S. There are no photos of most of our families in this post as they're private people and asking them all for permission to be on my blog would be long winded. It's easier to leave them out of the public eye.

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