One sleep! This was it, I had one night left as being "me". Not a lot will change once I am married, but I will have a new name. This was hard to get my head around. I sat in my mothers conservatory and scribbled my new signature on a piece of scrap paper. I was running out of room. A couple of weeks beforehand I'd text H's sister in a slight panic worried about whether I'd sign the register with my maiden name or my married name. It was to be signed in my maiden name, the last time I ever sign that signature. I practised my new scribble anyway, just to get the feel of it. It felt good.
I longingly wanted to text or call H the night before our Big Day. I hadn't seen him for a week as he'd been in work, on ceremonial duties outside The Queen's home, Buckingham Palace. H was glad that he had been promoted since his last time on ceremonial duty. This time he no longer had to stand still outside the palace, and randomly march when bored. He simply marched out and changed the guards. I took the children to watch him a few weeks before the wedding. J understood and was so excited when he saw Daddy marching along out of St James' Palace. We stood close enough to hear his distinctive Welsh accent read the guard his "rights" (if that's what they're called!). It was funny to see him, dressed in that trademark red tunic, and what seemed like a gigantic Bear Skin on his head. Once H had done his bit, I grabbed the children and we ran to the front of Buckingham Palace to watch the big, rehearsed, changing of the guard. H told us where to stand to get best view of him. It made me giggle, watching all these "toy soldiers" marching around. Even though H hates the fact he has to guard the Royal Family, I definitely felt proud as I stood there and watched him. Everything timed perfectly.
I had spoken to H the week before the wedding, but I knew I couldn't speak to him the night before. I'm by no means superstitious but I knew I wasn't to talk to him. He stayed at his mothers that night, and I stayed with my mum. I had a bath and relaxed as much as I could. I thought I wouldn't be able to sleep that night, but I slept like a baby.
'BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP'! I was already awake. The alarm startled me into the real world however. The day was here, it was really here. I looked over at the wardrobe where my beautiful wedding dress was hanging. I ran my fingers over the clear casing it was in. Butterflies flew around my stomach. My phone buzzed and the front door knocked. My bridesmaids. My gorgeous cousin S was at the door, and my dear friend L was on her way. I ran downstairs, my mum was cooking me poached egg and smoked salmon on a toasted muffin. Delicious. Once that had gone down we popped the bottles of Marks & Spencer's pre mixed cocktails. Another knock at the door and my hairdresser arrived. My hairdresser was also one of my best friends. Her mum was my florist and rang whilst she was with me to say that the venue looked superb. The hairs all over my body stood on end, and I gave a little shudder. Excitement ran through my veins.
With all of our hair done, we loaded the car with ourselves and our belongings (including my dress). We all managed to squeeze into my mums bright yellow Mini. Not quite the entrance of a bride, but luckily the hotel had given me the Bridal suite all day so I was getting ready there.
H rang my bridesmaids as we drove to the venue. They explained where we were and how long we would be to ensure he was hidden away in his room with his parents when I arrived. I grabbed my dress and ran up the staircase quickly to hid myself in the Bridal suite. "Kirsty?" I heard a Welsh accent behind me, I turned and saw H's dad. He gave me a smile and a wink, with that I carried on running.
I sat, fidgety, as my make-up was being done. My bridesmaids running around the room getting themselves ready. I looked over at L, who was cheekily laying out my Bridal lingerie on the four-poster bed.
The Febuary before the wedding, I had been sat in church and decided it was time for me to become a Christian. My mother-in-law & sister-in-law baptised me in the baptism pool within our church foyer. As I had done this, I therefore made H wait until our wedding night to make love. He was surprisingly cool with this, and said if that is my wish he shall be happy.
I blushed slightly looking at the lingerie. Butterflies once more swirled around my belly. "Pout your lips babe" my mum said to me. She applied the gloss over my lipstick. "There" she said "Beautiful". My mind quickly went off the thought of our first wedded night. It was time to step into the dress.
I now looked like a bride. A real bride. My hair was done, my make-up was done, I had a beautiful dress on. This was it. I looked at my bridesmaids, my mum had scurried off to get herself ready. We all looked amazing. L picked up the box of my Something New. I smiled at her and sat on the bed. One after the other she did the honour of slipping on my shoes. S passed me my Something Blue, I carefully slid my vintage French lace garter, complete with blue Swarofski crystal heart, up my thigh. My Something Old and Something Borrowed was one item. One of the girls gently draped my Great Nan's pearls around my neck and fastened the diamond encrusted clip. Tears filled my eyes as my father walked in the room and set eyes upon my dress for the first time. He coughed "You look beautiful" he said, and kissed me on the cheek. I wanted to grab him and hug him and tell him I love him, in fear of ruining my look and squeezed his hand and said "Thank you". My dad wasn't one to show emotion openly. That was enough.
My bridesmaids securely fitted my veil, and I was complete.
I linked arms with my father, and we walked together down the corridor. He held my hand tightly as I took baby steps down the stairs, my legs turning to jelly. The hotel manager met me at the bottom step, "Would you like a glass of water?"
I thought gin more appropriate, but accepted his offer. Other hotel guests gasped and whispered "she looks beautiful" as I walked through the lounge with my entourage. My registrar met my before I reached the room in which I was to wed. Her name was Jodie. She told me H was there, and drinking nervously from his hip flask. I could hear the sweet, calming sound of the harpist. My mind was hazy.
I looked down to see J (aged 5 at the time), dressed as a page boy, smiling at me. "You look pretty mummy", my heart leapt. I bowed down, took his hand and kissed his cheek. "Remember what you have to do, you have the biggest responsibility of all." He nodded. "When Jodie asks for the rings you must come forward and hold out mummy and daddy's rings. Ok baby boy?". He nodded again.
He took my niece's hand. The harpist started playing Canon in D. This was me, this was my part. I heard the guests stand up. My dad ushered my page boy and my flower girl through the doors, off the skipped. I looked at my dad, panicked. My veil, I wanted my veil over my face. What a time to decide huh?!
My bridesmaids rushed around me. Over my face the veil went. I breathed. In went my cousin S. Then at the next point, in went L. I linked arms with my dad, and he held my hand using his other arm. "I love you" he said, "I love you too dad". Off we went.
The smell of my Wedding Day Yankee Candles filled my nostrils. It seemed like thousands of faces staring at me, but we only had 60 guests. I turned into the aisle.
At that moment, the perfect moment, my heart definitel skipped a beat. H turned to look at me, Canon in D being played by the harpist still. His smile bowled me over. I felt like I was floating. He reached out to me, like Prince Charming with Cinderella, as I reached the bottom of my 1000 mile walk down the aisle. My dad carefully pulled the veil back from my face, and H kissed me.
This was the perfect beginning to the perfect day.
The day went by about 100mph, but I cherish every moment.
In the evening the DJ announced our first dance. The Script- I'm Yours. As far as H and I were concerned we were the only people in that room. A lot of people later told me that they'd managed to keep it together until then. My Prince and I.
We danced our first dance along, we then invited people to join the dance floor to our second dance. Our song, Set The Fire To The Third Bar by Snow Patrol.
I could not have asked for a better day or not.
I managed to drag my father up for our dance. We danced alone for the first minute or so, and I heard my mum say from a table nearby "She really loves him", she said this in a beautiful way, in a happy way. I blinked fast to stop my tears as a response to that statement. Half way though George Michael & Elton John - Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me, J joined us. We held J's hands and danced around the dancefloor, 3 generations.
That night H and I hurried up the hotel stairs to the Bridal suite...
All elements of the day fulfilled. Welcome to married life, as an Army Wife...