Our 2 Year Wedding Anniversary

It’s our 2 year wedding anniversary today! If you’re expecting a soppy post about how I married my best friend and how I have the best husband ever etc, stop reading now. While those things might be true, I’m not that soppy a person and neither is he. Which is why we work well together!  

We got married in a Treehouse, which was lovely. We wanted to get married somewhere ‘different’ after we realised it would be virtually impossible to get married in a church (he’s part Jewish and I’m catholic), and didn’t want to have the pomp and circumstance that often comes with formal venues like hotels or country houses. The treehouse restaurant was quirky and different, which is why we picked it. And it had awesome food!

treehouse outside

Truth be told, I don’t remember most of the day, and it’s something I still feel upset about. Brides have a meltdown if they get spots on their wedding day, or a cold, or if the chair covers aren’t *perfect*. I was actually not that far off from dying that day, I just didn’t know it at the time. I know we had a lovely day and it was great having our friends and family there but I wish I could remember it. And that I hadn’t had to compromise on as much of the day as I did. 

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Our seating chart, designed by my husband!

What have I learnt in 2 years of marriage? Pass. I don’t remember much of that either. Maybe that’s part of a successful marriage! 😉 Seriously though:

  • Having good jobs and earning a good wage means you can do lots of extravagant things but it’s not the be all and end all. Some of our best holidays were camping and some of the best presents free. 
  •  A sense of humour gets you out of most problems.
  • If you don’t trust each other to know the little things, then you’re never going to cope when anything big comes along.
  • People who overshare about the ins and the outs of their marriage or who try to dictate what ‘should’ be happening in yours tend to be the most insecure or the ones having problems. Ignore them.
  • Share things out equally. Everything, including the chores nobody wants. Or just both deny all knowledge!
  •  And, what we learnt, a wedding is just a wedding, it’s the years that come afterwards which are important. Having said that, I’d still quite like to renew our vows or something at some point so that we can have a day we both remember and can look back on.

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My husband is pretty much my carer now. He does all the household jobs (although I did them all for the first few years we lived together, so it has balanced out!), makes all my meals for me… pretty much everything. I don’t have a job anymore so he is the only one earning. So you might be reading this thinking ‘isn’t he a wonderful man, staying with her despite her being sick‘, which is something I hear a lot. It drives me mad, and him too. I’m very grateful to my husband for what he does but people saying that to us implies that I bring nothing to our marriage whatsoever and that he’s only my husband still out of duty. I’ve been sick for the entire of our marriage, and before. It’s not like I trapped him!

I also get upset when we do things as a couple but people assume I’ve not had any input or my opinion isn’t valid. If people pointedly comment or only speak to him when asking questions (and this has got a lot worse since I started using a wheelchair when out), it can make me feel like I’m not worth acknowledging, that I haven’t tried to contribute, or that my opinion doesn’t count. Just because I need his help doesn’t mean I cease to exist- we’re a partnership. And that’s something that’s really important when you’re married. 

But I do bring qualities which make us work well together. I can find humour in most things, whereas he has a tendency to get really frustrated really quickly. Despite the fact that he’s good at fixing things (handy with me since I’m clumsy), he’s not always very good at problem solving or working out alternatives to problems. I’m not good at this anymore either, so we might grind to a halt soon! I’m pretty resilient and refuse to give up on anything whereas he used to be less so. We have a good balance. I already wrote a post last month about his qualities, but, to summarise, he’s generous, kind and can always make me laugh. 

Our 2 years of marriage has definitely not been the ‘wedded bliss’ advertised in all the wedding magazines, but I find it hard to believe that anyone actually achieves that- sadly, life doesn’t work like that. We’ve had some great moments, like our American road trip, but overall it’s been pretty uphill in terms of challenges thrown our way. You’re kidding yourself if you think that marriage is all about the Kodak moments people post on social media though (and a lot of those are staged anyway!). It’s easy to be together when things are going well, but a good marriage is one where you can still find funny things even when it’s really, really hard. 

My go to top tip if everything is a bit hard? Dominos pizza, chocolate, pjs and a film usually solves most things! 😉 

Photos taken by me.

Treehouse Wedding- Alnwick Gardens

When we were planning our wedding for Autumn 2014, neither me or my husband wanted a ‘traditional’ wedding. After some googling, we came across the Treehouse Restaurant at Alnwick Gardens and loved the idea. We arranged to visit before booking, spoke to Wendy who organises events there, and agreed a date before leaving. It was the only venue we looked at, we loved it. It’s also not as expensive as you’d think!

The day we visited was an awful day- raining (normal for the north), windy, dark. But it was still beautiful. It might be a treehouse, but it’s fully accessible for wheelchairs and push chairs. There’s a long ramp up to a covered viewing point and then a further walkway to the Potting Shed (bar area) and an additional space which we used as a place for our guest book and put some family photos on the screens in there. If you’re feeling adventurous, there are some rope bridges you can cross (good photo opportunity).

 

 

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Covered viewing point and walkway

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Potting Shed (right)

The Treehouse is magical. We’ve been there four times in total, including our wedding day. There’s a big, log fire in the centre, and everything is made out of wood- grand wooden chairs, tables, branches decorated with fairy lights. It’s not square- it has hidden nooks and crannies. Photos don’t do it justice. Coincidentally, BBC 3’s Don’t Tell The Bride episode featuring the Treehouse aired soon after we booked it and we both commented that the camera couldn’t pick up all of its qualities.

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Organisation wise, it was a walk in the park. We live 5 hours from Alnwick, but Wendy and her team arranged everything for us- we told them what we wanted and what we’d provide and she sorted it. She also had some great advice which we followed, for example ‘don’t overdress the Treehouse or tables, it’s so pretty that simple makes everything pop more’- She was right. Last minute issues or requests, she sorted it. A man had a medical emergency when we were visiting once, she was cool as a cucumber.

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Once we’d booked we were offered a complimentary tasting of the suggested wedding menu. We were able to choose 3 dishes for each course to provide our guests with options. We opted for: chicken liver pate; cream of tarragon mushrooms on toast, warm pigeon salad for starters. For mains: supreme of chicken; roasted lamb or cheese, red onion and chive filo parcel, and for dessert: lemon tart; Bailey’s Cheesecake or Chocolate Brownie. There were also options for the Children’s menu. The food is incredible. There were three options for hire: all day, from midday-midnight and from 5pm-midnight. We opted for the latter and it was the perfect amount of time. You pay for the venue hire (discounts were offered for certain months/days) and then there’s a minimum spend. After many calculations, we worked out that for 70 guests it was cheaper to order alcohol from the Treehouse rather than pay a corkage fee and supply our own.

We arranged a meeting with Wendy the day before to confirm arrangements for the day and drop off the table plan, wedding favours, photos, guest book etc. The wedding ceremony itself takes place with everyone standing facing the raised area with lanterns on the floor making the ‘aisle’. Chairs could be provided for elderly or disabled guests. Once the ceremony was over, we had drinks out on the walkway and in the Potting Shed and Wendy’s team set up the tables, chairs and places according to our plan. My husband came up with a table map which was complicated to set up (involving jam jars, battery powered tea-lights and lemon squash!) and they followed his instructions perfectly. We hired a pianist to play and sing (Ashley Humble) during the meal and made an iPod playlist for afterwards which we gave to Wendy. There is an area by the fire which can serve as a dance floor, but it isn’t large. There was a microphone available for the speeches.

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Wendy recommended the Hogs Head for accommodation since all of our guests needed rooms. We also hired a coach (£200) to transport guests to and from the Treehouse- I’d recommend this as it made life much easier rather than trying to persuade 70 southerners that taxis aren’t common in the North. Getting a photographer who has worked there before is a must- like I said, photographs don’t do it complete justice. Andrew Davies, our photographer, was great. He listened to what we wanted, he didn’t ‘get in the way’ and he was prompt in sending us the photos.

We had lots of people say that our wedding venue was the best they’d seen and even our hard to impress family and friends were suitably stunned by the location and the food. I’m biased, but it was the best wedding I’ve been to!

Details based on Autumn 2014 Wedding. Photos used were taken by us or our guests.