29th May 2009
Just look at you. 24 and so beautiful in your dress. You’ve been up for hours for hair and makeup and you didn’t really sleep last night. But you still look as lovely as you had hoped. The hair stylist ends up putting your veil in back to front and having to change it just before you leave for the church, it means your hair comes undone so much earlier than it should have – and that will still annoy you ten years later.
This day is a huge day for you. You were never going to get married, you didn’t see the point until you met Dave. You’d never known anyone to have a marriage that ended in anything other than divorce and you didn’t want that in your life. But then you met Dave and everything changed. He gave you the prospect of a future that before then you had never dared to even hope for.
You have the house – and the cats – and you’re now getting married before you bring children into the equation. You’re being all traditional – and even getting married in a church! You asked the vicar for a wedding with as little God as possible in it and I think you’ll be happy with how everything turns out. The sun shines, you get burnt shoulders and you have a beautiful day – but it goes by far too quickly. It’s a day that you’ll remember forever though, so many moments so vivid even so many years down the line.
When Dave proposed – in a hotel in Basingstoke and not in the middle of Tatooine in Tunisia as he had planned – you threw yourself into planning the wedding. A venue was booked, a photographer, videographer, a fancy car, flowers and a dress bought. You went to legs, bums and tums classes religiously – and went to the pub for a burger after every one. You were so comfortable in your skin and you were so blissfully happy.
You spend your wedding day surrounded by friends and family. You may be surprised to hear that not many of the people at your wedding will be in your life in years to come. Friends drift away, people’s lives take them in different directions and Grandpa Laurie died a few years later too. You will always treasure the photo of him chasing your brother across the grass later today.
But, your life after ten years of marriage is so, so full. Fuller than it has ever been. You and Dave made such solid foundations for your future together. You move house next year and have your first baby the year after, making sure your debts are all paid off before your maternity leave finishes.
Another baby follows and you both work so hard to provide for your family, make the house a home and be as strong together as you possibly can. Married life isn’t easy Donna and it has definitely had it’s ups and downs over the last ten years. You and Dave would hardly recognise yourselves in ten years time as those people who said I do all those years ago. You are both so different, you have grown so much and you are parents now. You’re a mummy, something you never expected to be.
The next ten years go so fast Donna. Dave spends years working shifts and eventually changes job roles to work standard hours and it’s a great move for your family but so hard for you. You, on the other hand, have two stints of maternity leave in quick succession and build up your own business to become self employed. Can you believe it? Donna who works in the bank, opening accounts, giving mortgage quotes and selling loans ends up being Donna who works from her dining table, dealing with clients and doing the schools runs. I knew you wouldn’t believe it, it isn’t something that has even entered your mind.
In ten years you will have such a busy life. You will always be going somewhere, always doing something and you will have two incredible little people by your side – and Dave holding your hand along the way.
Your life is something you have worked so hard to build. You were determined not to repeat history, to do things differently and to be a good role model for your children. Well, you have succeeded. But it hasn’t all been plain sailing.
If I could give you one piece of advice for your married life together, it would be to focus on experiences and making memories rather than material things. Go out, do things and live life. You and Dave have a whole life together to look forward to, spend it doing all the things, all the time. Say yes a lot more and grab life with both hands. You don’t need big cars, a huge house or designer clothes. Just be you and be happy with having enough.
Whatever you do, Dave will be right there by your side. You two are good together, you are best friends and even ten years down the line that hasn’t changed. You are good for each other, you work well together and you are pretty good parents too.
You and Dave will have been together for five years by now, when you get married and ten years later will feel like a lifetime. But, it’s really just one more chapter – and you have a whole book left to write.
Enjoy your time together, enjoy every year and make sure you make time for each other. Each year will blur into the next but make sure you always sit together – at opposite ends of the sofa, with your feet on his lap. Make sure you always send messages to chat through the day and make sure that you don’t take each other, and your life together, for granted. In 2009 and still in 2019, your life is good, together.
Have a fantastic wedding day Donna. You will look amazing, you will feel on top of the world and you will end the day crying because you don’t want it to be over yet. But remember, the best is yet to come.