I was reading a post by author Julia Quinn this week (quite frankly I'd read her shopping list I'm such a big fan). She was talking about standing behind some newly-weds as they checked into a hotel. It got me thinking about my wedding and our wedding night.
I should start by saying we did the whirlwind thing. We were engaged within six weeks of knowing each other and married six months later. We were married in July, our first daughter was on her way by December and our second by the following December.
Back to the point of my post, though. We left our reception later than we'd planned and had a two hour drive ahead of us. I thought it would be a lovely touch to arrive at our hotel in full wedding get-up. Me in ivory lace with an 8 foot veil and him in a morning suit (top hat and tails).
The car was, helpfully, covered in shaving cream and we had to stop once to clear the windscreen. We were supposed to bypass downtown Johannesburg which turns into a ghetto at night and is only marginally more friendly during the daylight. Of course, they were doing roadworks and we were detoured right through ghetto central. We tried to backtrack but the rear window was also covered in shaving cream and we ended up backing into the car behind us.
My nattily dressed, new husband has to get out of the car to negotiate with a car full of reggae thumping, Kenyans on their way to a party. I am now sitting in the driver's seat, nervously watching, with the instruction from my groom to just "floor-it" if anything happens to him. The Kenyans were so taken with his suit, the entire thing became an impromptu street high-fiviing get together.
We get underway again, now a little rattled. We get lost three times, miss the onramp onto the highway and the bickering starts. It escalates (as these things do) and ends in me demanding he pull over at a service station. (insert un-bridelike screeching here)
I march out of the car, across the forecourt with my veil flowing in the wind to get a pack of cigarettes. I am now so mad at him, I decide it's a bad time to have quit smoking. So picture me puffing away furiously and muttering all the while about I can't believe I actually married the ass.
Well, I'm still married to him and after 14 years, I think I have the answer to my question. It makes me smile though because we put so much importance on that one day and, in my experience, it's the days after that really define your marriage.