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Why Finding True Love is the Greatest Gift of All

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It's true to say I have had an up and down life till recently. There have been some golden moments - getting in to Oxford, working for George Lucas, going to live in Sydney for a year and the birth of my nephew after Dad passed away. But there have been some real challenges. The biggest ones in the last 3 years: My brief car crash of a first marriage, being fired from a big corporate job and losing my dad to cancer.

I had all but lost faith in love and then I met my soul-mate, my beau, my now husband. Words of love had up to then been used but never really felt. Somehow despite my romantic self I felt that the breathless, profound love people talked about in films and books was an illusion, an unrealistic expectation.

My first long-term boyfriend loved me but I was too young and naive to love him back. My second, my first husband, and I hurt each other rather than loved in a strange and painful co-dependence.

They say third time lucky. It was not luck. Meeting my one came in my darkest hour when I was on my knees at the imminent departure of my father, jobless and shattered by a tough break up. Fox, my ex-husband and death were my greatest teachers. My heart needed to open and I
needed to learn to stand in my own energy, one of truth and self belief. It was time to chase away the little demons that made me feel ugly, unworthy and sad. It was attracting all the wrong kinds of people and experiences. Without going all spiritual I needed to free my inner soul, from past life chains and the fears from my childhood. Therapy helped. And of course meeting my twin flame.

All the truisms I had heard became a reality all at once. You fall in love when you are least expecting it. When you have found your soul-mate you will see yourself in their eyes. He will balance your weaknesses but complement you through so many similarities. I am a floaty bird, he is a rock. Yet within one hour of first talking he told me about a holiday to Napflion in Greece where my relatives were buried and I had been a year ago to Essaoira in Morocco where his mum was born.

I told him I loved him straightaway. A month later my dad passed away and a year later his mum left us. His kids - who I have written about recently - felt immediately like family. My Greek clan also took him under his wing in their cigar puffing ouzo swigging way. Everything
felt pre-ordained. We became engaged just before his mother left us and set the date for
the 10th Sept.

I had been Bridezilla previously and was determined to be Bridezen. We looked at marryinh Corsica - a fusion of Greek and French roots, my college at Oxford and our hotspot, Cannes. Then by pure chance we discovered the little sanctuary of Ville d'Avray and les Etangs de Corot. A Caudalie hotel by the lake that inspired the impressionists. A bijou English garden for the ceremony, a picturesque paillotte for the apero, a grande salle for dinner and a dance floor for good old boogie. The dress was made by the Parisian designer Celestina. No endless dress shopping. One brief all about me and our love. A fusion of fairy Tinkerbell and Ancient Greek roots. The day approached and I felt like something so significant was about to happen. Of course there were the odd mishaps - hairdresser dumping me as too far to travel and a couple of my close friends not able to come.

But when the big day I arrived I knew the universe had planned everything beautifully for us. All our dearest friends came from all over the world Sydney Dublin Athens and all corners of France. Days before had been rainy and cold and on Saturday we woke up to a perfect summer's day maybe the last of the year. My dear friends Dawn and Emmanuelle helped prepare me and my darling bridesmaids including his youngest daughter. When I stepped into my dress it felt like my heart was going to explode. I was so excited and so nervous. Everyone was waiting under the love tree, the darling English vicar, our loved one and my man. The girls went ahead scattering petals and I suddenly felt serene. My dress of delicate organza made me feel like a goddess and the feather bolero like a queen.

Time literally stopped still. Dominique's eyes filled with tears as he turned round to see me and it was as if he held me with his loving gaze. The light was dappled, a gentle wind caressed the tree and love's breath was truly on us. The ceremony was like a dance a poem. Full of light and grace. It was beyond anything I had experienced. All our friends and families joined in the embrace and their eyes were shining with joy - couples entwined, children beaming, his middle
daughter read from my father's favourite, Captain Corelli in perfect English and my bereaved mum and his father weepily reminisced.

Everything that followed was perfect. Like a harmonious melody that played throughout the night. Warm evening for champagne sipping, mellow jazz - we even had a private first dance to the girl from ipanema as everyone was called in to dinner. An epicurean dream of a
dinner - beef Wellington to tickle the French and heady cheese to wrankle the noses of the British. The speeches were funny but not embarrassingly nor at anyone's expense. His son was incredible and made me feel a million dollars saying I was a prettier than Kate Middleton! We even created our own entente cordiale by singing our national anthems - one worshipping kings and queens and the other worshipping their abolition!

The party then kicked off and after our first dance - Cest Si Bon mashed up with Black Eyed Peas - as both romantics and hardcore clubbers - everyone hit the dance floor. My father in law grooved with my mum and the teens bumped and grind'd. We partied till 4 but his son
DJ Antou took over the decks till 6. And like every good wedding there was gossip - someone or some bodies broke a sink in the restaurant kitchen and a couple were heard making noisy love on one floor.

We awoke as Mr and Mrs D on Sunday to heavy rainfall. It made our balmy day seem even more blessed. We reminisced over coffee and croissants and bid adieus to our guests. At last we could rewind the day together and unwind. Sleep still eluded us so full of blissful memories.

Today Monday I have been constantly moved by our love and our friends' love. I want for nothing other than my husband. On our wedding ceremony book we used a quote from Katherine Hepburn - love has nothing to do with what you're expecting to get only with what you're expecting to give, which is everything. I give you my all Mr D and I wish that everyone and anyone who reads this has found or will find eternal love. It is life's greatest gift. It is beyond everything.