Words by Sarah Hibbs, St Andrews
We’d been together since I was sixteen, five years later he popped the big question on a beach at sunset. It was a real life Romeo and Juliet story, well, apart from the fact it lasted more than a week and no one died.
At first it was all congratulations cards, flicking through magazines and holding my left hand out for inspection after inspection. I was excited. I was full of ideas. I was going to be GREAT at this. Other brides-to-be would envy my organisational skills, grooms-to-be would admire my calm “what’s-there-to-stress-about-anyway” attitude and in twenty three months’ time family and friends would ooh and ahhh at my beautiful masterpiece of a wedding.
Then I started planning.
Let it never be said I lacked vision. I could see it all. We would get married in the Church I have grown up in and then walk down the road to the park for a picnic with brightly coloured bean bags, balloons galore and perhaps some fairground rides. It would be fantastic. But as I tried to share my dream with my fiancé and our families they pointed out some fairly large flaws in the plan. What if it rains? Do people really want to walk half a mile down the A34 to a wedding reception? Who’s going to winch the grandmothers back out of the beanbags? It was all a bit negative but they made some valid points.
Now, I live and study in St Andrews, my fiancé lives and studies in Edinburgh but we are both originally from Birmingham and that’s where we are getting married. This meant that our window for venue booking was a two week Christmas break. The hunt was on!
We viewed luxury hotels but as two students we felt our only funding option, our kidneys, was a little more than we were willing to pay. We viewed village halls but found the general level of dilapidation a bit disheartening, not to mention the fact that in one the entrance hall had an extremely clear view of the urinals in the gents. Eventually we narrowed it down to two options, a golf club or some converted barns.
We visited. I dragged my parents to visit. We dragged his parents to visit. It turns out this was a good move. My fiancé’s step-dad succeeded where we had failed. He whipped out his iphone and everyone present could see he meant business. Minutes later it became pretty clear that once we had added in optional extras such as “chairs” and “food” the barns were going to be almost double the price of the golf club. It also became apparent that nobody was really sure if the large building site outside would still be a large building site. Still being unwilling to sell any internal organs and disinclined to make our guests wade through a large trench we ruled the barns out and went ahead and booked the golf club. At least there would be chairs for everyone.