Ashley and I were watching a wedding in a movie tonight and she asked me about her dad and mine’s wedding preparations. So I told her.
It was the summer of 1980 when we decided to get married, we settled on a date in late September. We had already been living together, I had turned 19 and husband was still 17 when we got the plans together. God, we were so bloody young, what were we thinking? I wasn’t pregnant and we didn’t have to do it, but I thought I loved him enough and basically we wanted to escape our families and make a wee life for us.
I recall cycling on my wee red bike into Glasgow city centre to a wedding dress shop. The first dress I spotted was £58 it was on the sale and it fitted fine, so I bought it within six minutes of being in the place. I didn’t really see wedding dresses as a big thing, to me it was like a work uniform or some sort of attire that was required for the day. I didn’t once consider style, shape or size; I was pleased I got one cheap. I knew husband would be pleased at my penny pinching methods. He didn’t really approve of spending what you didn’t have, and I too didn’t want to go into debt over a bloody dress.
The woman who served me said “You should look at others, you shouldn’t just pick one this quick, and your mum should see it first as well”
She was being really pushy and kept nagging at me to consider other dresses and I wanted the one I spotted myself. It was cheap, it was white and it fitted, what more did I need? I was only a teenager with no real fashionable insight and I was worried about my bike that was sitting downstairs in the shop front.
I was annoyed at this and said “My mother is dead” and I handed her the cash. The woman looked shamed and shut up.
Now my mum wasn’t dead, but I just wanted to buy it and get out of there, I know it was a rash thing to say, but she was pushing me emotionally and I wanted to shock her into shutting up. My opinion was important and didn’t need my mum to yea or nay the frock, nor did I need that scraggy faced woman’s opinion- it was my wedding day and my dress.
You should have seen the look of horror on the woman’s face when I tied the big white cardboard box that contained the puffy white dress onto the back of my bike with a big stretchy wire. It was funny looking back, she must have thought I was nuts.
Husband and I decided to get married from our family home’s instead of our own flat in the Calton.
So he was staying at his dad’s and I was at my mum’s flat in Shettleston.
I kept the dress at a friends house near my mums as her house wasn’t really that clean and I was worried it would get smoke damaged from all her smoking or dirty there.
The night before I got married, I cycled over to my father in laws house, my husband to be was out working at the bar and I knew my father in law would be alone. I brought the bike into the hallway and he and I sat and watched TV. I needed a bath and my mum’s bath hadn’t worked since 1976 and I didn’t want to be a stinky bride.
After my bath, my father in law and I sat and ate ice-cream and cycled back home where I met up with Maggie. She was my bridesmaid and an old pal of mine. We both stayed at my mum’s that night. Our wedding was at 11am the next morning and we had hairdresser’s appointments the next morning. We both got our hair done and simply walked back to my mum’s flat.
It was a hive of activity; my brothers and my niece Debbie were there, all getting ready for my early wedding! People were chatting, drinking beer, all getting excited and kept asking me if was ok. Maggie and I felt odd being the centre of attention but carried on with our business of getting dressed up for the big day.
I didn’t have make up or anything else to do, as I didn’t wear make up back then. There were no big preparations. So I simply got out of my jeans and jumper and pulled on the dress, I thought I looked nice. I popped the diamante tiara on my head, pulled over the veil and that was me done and dusted!
No fuss, no messing or flapping about nervously. I recall walking out of my childhood bedroom dressed up in the big white dress and felt like I was going to out for my Halloween party, I spotted my wee red bike and I wished I could just jump on it and cycle away.
The morning passed quickly, the wedding ceremony was over in a flash. We went to his dad’s pub, that’s where we first met. We ate lunch and by 1pm we were out of there, I got into my jeans and we left the two dysfunctional mis-matched families to their own devices and went to a bed and breakfast in Saltcoats for our honeymoon.
Husband and I got there early and decided to go see a movie as we had time to kill. We saw ‘Kramer versus Kramer’ a film about divorce on our wedding night! We ate chips and headed to the accommodation. It was slightly smelly and really old fashioned.
It was freezing cold and the bed was foamy and hard. A cat meowed loudly at our window all night long and in the morning a big Alsatian dog that belonged to the owners bit me as I went for breakfast. Memorable.
So there we have it. A wedding, a cheap dress, a non existent hen party, a horrible honeymoon and nearly 30 years of marriage, not bad eh?_