I do, take two.

Earlier this year we celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary by renewing our vows!. 10 years is nbd these days but for two people who were literal babies when they got married – see photo below….. reaching this milestone meant a lot.


wedding

Aw look at us. 21 years old with a baby and playing bride and groom. I was quite tipsy & emotional when I said my vows first time around & really had no idea what I was walking into. I should have said ‘In health, richer & better’ because thats what I assumed marriage was going to be like, if you know me or have followed me you’ll know how that worked out!!

Unlike our first ceremony where we had one little baby joining in, this time around it was a joy to share the ceremony with all five of our children. The older three each said a prayer and Vivi and Cora just went up for the lolz. The church ceremony was all about reaffirming our love for one another in front of our family, friends and God and because it was 10 years down the line from our first ceremony, the mood was entirely different. It was one of celebration rather than trepidation. I remember announcing our plan to marry at the tender age of 21 – it went down well with some and less well with others to put it politely!.
Always love a photo op where theres a step to improve the massive size difference between my husband and I.

I remember telling my friends that Ian and I were getting married, in just 8 weeks time way back in 2007. The questions!!! ‘are you only doing it because you have a kid together?’ was one really special one I’ve never forgotten. Its funny because at the time I can just remember being hell bent on being married and being a proper family with the same surname, it was such a big deal to me and bigger than the dress, the food, the location and all that other stuff. I kind of feel that I really missed out on all that fun stuff but really Im glad that we got married because we already had one child out of wedlock and I was pregnant again for the best reasons 😉 .

I didn’t let my poor old Dad come to my actual wedding (I was young, I was angry, I made bad choices, I regret it), which is another reason why this ceremony meant so much to me, to have everyone I care about the most there with me. The above is such a happy / sad photo, sad that one marriage didn’t work out but happy that there are three married couples in there now who all get along great and share the love for those five children (and one daughter/sister/auntie with the worlds longest legs).  Sadly Ian’s family weren’t able to be there which was a shame, its one of the reasons why our vow renewal went from a big shindig to a small affair but life goes on.  As much as we both love our parents dearly one of the best things we’ve done since being a super young married couple is to stand on our own two feet, and free ourselves from any parental expectations to focus on being parents ourselves. Much easier to do in your thirties than your twenties for sure!.

 

One of the biggest changes in the last 10 years has to be our friendships. Being a 21 year old wife and mum was so lonely at times. Friends my own age gradually dropped off as they were at uni and building careers while I was changing nappies & enduring sleepless nights for other reasons. New friends made through mother and baby groups were sometimes 15 years older and really had grown up and got their shit together! The only thing we often had in common were our young babies, and not a lot else. It was a really weird in between time, but now we’re older and our kids are older we have a really good mix of best friends from school, a few friends we met through mother and baby groups or kids schools and then new friends we made when we moved here. Its a good place to be and it was so much fun to celebrate with everyone. After our vow renewal ceremony we headed to the Left Bank Bistro – always yummy!

Our original wedding meal was at a local just opened Italian and we negotiated the cheapest set menu ever. Basically pizza and wine & we bought a job lot of donuts for our ‘wedding cake’ the whole thing cost about £500. This was a nice step up from that, also not having to limit everyone to only one glass of wine was a great feeling!.

Thats Vivi and Amelie casually swinging round a pole in Seans.  We all went in for ‘one drink’ after our meal which turned into around 3. The kids were pretty feral at this point but it was a special day so I don’t think anyone really cared. One of the best things about Ireland is how incredibly child friendly it is. No funny looks or batting an eyelid at kids in the pub, on the contrary they could see it was a one off so made a big fuss of them.

After that it was back to ours for a few more drinks and to watch the sun set. We had some of our new friends (please reread that in the inbetweeners ‘friends’ voice) in as well as our family which was so much fun. I love a good house party. Another big change over the last 10 years. 21 year old Clare’s house parties were pretty non existent because we lived in a flat just about big enough to swing a cat in & if we did ever entertain it was all about a bowl of doritos, one of those co-op dip selections, vodka & coke (although even back then I was still a die hard martini and lemonade fan) & a 20 pack of marlboro lights. This time it was all wine & cheese & kitchen dancing. We closed out the night at around 4am with chicken wings & a nightcap because we are champions.

 

One question that came up over the vow weekend was ‘would you let your kids get married young?’ – well if they are anything like me I’ll have no say in it as they’ll do what they want! but I would say this to them, life is for living. Marry someone who wants to really live with you, theres no point in plodding along day by day you need someone who shares your dreams and makes you feel really alive. It is very hard to find that at 21 because its rare you truly know yourself at such a young age & I’ll admit that for those early years of my marriage I was most certainly not living, I was surviving!!!!. It was all about getting by each week on no money and juggling friendships, family & learning to be a parent. Over the last 10 years I’ve learned marriage takes work and you need to do a little bit every day. We had the best weekend with our dearest friends and lovely family, I wouldn’t change the last ten years but I sure am looking forward to living it up during the next ten 🙂

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