Monday, 10 June 2013

10 Years On... Memories Of My First Wedding

Me, 10 Years Ago!
I truly can't believe that my first wedding was ten years ago. Ten years?! It seems like yesterday but, at the same time, it feels like a lifetime ago too. So much has changed for me since then that looking back at this almost feels like I'm squinting back at someone else.

For those of you that don't know the story, I was inspired to start my company, which I called 'TK on the Day' (catchy huh?!) after my own wedding which is, the biggest cliche going right? Oh dear. I didn't want to be a wedding planner, but I knew from my day and from doing a little research, that there was a gap in the market for what I called 'on the day co-ordination'. Which does partly explain/excuse the company name anyway.

I started the business on less than £100 and within the first week, after a few mentions on a wedding forum, I had bookings. It was slightly unbelievable. I hadn't expected interest this quickly so, when the first bride asked for a brochure, I had to write it pretty quickly. When she then wanted to book, I had to design the booking form pretty flipping quickly. It was all a bit of a shock.

Right from the word go, I felt very strongly that I had to be myself. I couldn't put on an act of fake sweetness or contrived fluffiness. That wasn't, isn't, me. I put everything together so it reflected me in the hope it would attract like-minded brides. And it did.

My first couple were lovely. Their wedding, in beautiful Haselmere was followed by a marquee reception at home. It was exceptionally hard work, possibly the hardest wedding I've ever worked by my goodness, did I enjoy it. I loved getting everything set up, liaising with suppliers, helping the guests, dealing with little issues  and most of all, I adored the challenge of it. The need to keep calm and carry on while underneath the in control exterior, I was a bundle of nerves. I knew I needed to look confident and be decisive, whatever happened. The years of leadership training in the Air Cadets really paid off here and I kept chanting in my head 'fake it until you make it', reminding myself that the guests would never know this was my first wedding unless I gave them cause to doubt me.

Now I've started writing this post, it strikes me just how much I can remember - I remember the bow on the gate to the house, the candle tablecentres, the black and white dancefloor, the huge vase of garden flowers with the table plan propped by it, the deaf guest who hurt his hand, the way the heat built up in the marquee, the bride's face when she arrived after the ceremony and lighting tealight after tealight as dusk fell.

The wedding day was one of the record-breakingly hot days of summer 2003. I was on my feet for more than 15 hours that day and when I drove home, my feet were so swollen, I couldn't change gear. I hadn't drunk enough, I'd barely eaten, I could hardly stand up and I spent much of the next day on the sofa. But, I'd done it and I'd done it well. The bride and groom e-mailed their thanks along with the photo they'd requested of me with them and they were thrilled and I was overjoyed.

The little fledgling business idea I'd had whilst on honeymoon was up and running. And I was running it.

My little baby had just taken its first steps.

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