'The Church is filled with the scent of the flowers pouring from every pew and altar. Beams of sun-light stream through stained glass windows, creating shimmering bursts of glitter as it delicately alights itself upon polished furniture and stone floors.
The assembled guests, all attired in riotously coloured finery, hold their breath in anticipation of the Brides arrival. The women eagerly awaiting the results of months of boot camp and hours suffering at the mercy of rib-crushingly tight underwear to fit into The Dress. The men wondering if she would notice that the grooms eyebrows have been painted on and how long it would take to get to the bar afterwards.
At the front of the church a nervous man dressed dashingly in morning grey stands; ready to make the leap into the chasm of commitment. And finally, there she is. His bride. Head to toe antique lace, a veil costing more than most people's homes. Her father proudly holding her arm, his cheeks a little ruddy; the direct result of a nifty sherry to calm the nerves ahead of the big speech. She lifts her perfectly coifed head, eyes softly moist. The time-honoured march begins, she steps one white satin clad toe forwards........'
And promptly vomits on the floor, decides she looks better in a tracksuit, doesn't really like weddings anyway and legs it.
Not quite what you were hoping for? Well unfortunately for my husband-to-be it is exactly what I expect would happen were I to be forced into the sort of chick-lit cliché so expected with the giving of commitment for ones entire existence.
My Fiancé and I have been together for years. We first met when I was sixteen and he twenty one. I can hand on heart say that from the very first time I laid eyes upon him I knew I wanted to be with him forever. That fact stood true through the teen angst and splits standard for young people finding themselves (and lots of other people at clubs, festivals and anywhere with enough room for beer and crap chat up lines).
It held on despite other relationships for both of us. A first marriage for him and for me another love, lasting three years and ending horrendously badly leaving some fairly hefty emotional scars including a deep dislike of commitment, which took nearly ten years and a lot of therapy to fade completely.
It bought us back together in the latter part of my twenties. The road was still rocky with debt, kids, baggage and the recession testing our desire to be together, but we weathered the storms and now we are fifteen years down the line, we share a home, children and a life - so why aren't we wed?
The problem is me. I am fine to say the vows - with two children I have committed myself to this man far more permanently then any piece of paper would allow. I also know this man like I know myself - both his best and worst bits and I know I love and can more importantly tolerate them both. So realistically marriage should be easy.
My real issue lies with the wedding itself. The whole bloody thing fills me with dread. Bankruptcy? Fine. Children crisis? I handle it with ease but mention place settings, which family members should come and sodding antique lace and you will rapidly find me curled in the fetal position, rocking myself slowly whilst humming 99 bottles of beer in the most expedient dark corner available.
Many have said 'just run off and do it quietly'. Do you know how many newly affianced couples would have preferred that? It starts out with 'just a quiet little thing, friends and close family only' which turns into 'yes, yes Mother we have invited Aunty Noreen, even though I haven't seen her since I was two'. And before you know it there are a hundred people you barely see anymore coming and you too have hit the national average wedding cost of twenty grand. Twenty grand is the down payment on a new house. Or a lot of very nice shoes.
I rapidly came to the conclusion that families and weddings don't mix. Where to sit people, moans over the costs (even though I'm paying), arguments over bridesmaids. It's like all the rows you have at Christmas over the turkey suddenly start happening. Every. Single. Day.
Then there are the rows over the decisions at home. 'No darling, I don't think a stag do in Newcastle with thirty of your man-child friends is a good idea', 'Yes, I'm too sexy is a fabulous party song, but not perhaps for a first dance'. It leads to me wondering what Divorce lawyers cost before we have even discussed such essentials as those ribbons they insist you have on the backs of chairs (why are they there? Answers on a postcard).
Trying on dresses is the worst bit. I don't WEAR dresses. I can't abide having my picture taken and the idea of being the focus of all that attention makes me panic more than getting to the tills at Tesco with a full trolley and realising I have forgotten my purse.
I could conceivably leg it with my kids and the man but the absolute HELL we would get. The shouting from the 'rentals I can handle, but the passive aggressive, tight lipped smiles and 'oh...well....it would have been nice to share the day with you.. But as long as you're happy....' from others would utterly fell me and ruin any happiness I had felt with a maelstrom of guilt.
So what's a penny pinching girl, who likes jeans and resents paying forty quid for dried up chicken and frozen veg for 120 of her nearest and dearest to do? I haven't yet decided and I suspect there is much to-ing and fro-ing ahead whilst a decision is made. In the meantime though if anyone wants to send me the stripper whilst I am planning, it might focus the mind a little - I can still have a hen do after all...