Over three years ago, or to be exact, three years and ten months ago, I was getting ready to be married in St Peter’s Church in Bray. We had picked that church as it is small and the wedding party was less than 60. The Holy Redeemer in the main street is vast, it didn’t make sense to have it there. We had wanted to invite more guests, as my husband is from a large family, mine is small, but we were restricted. The reception was in the Royal Hotel in Bray: when looking at hotels we were considering my mum, (as she was using walking sticks), making sure there were no steps. I had one bridesmaid, a friend who I know for many years and my niece was a flower girl. I had spent ages looking for a wedding dress, I remember the day I was successful. I had gone into town, I spent a whole day there and finally got what I wanted. It was white with a gold bodice. I also bought a pair of gold coloured shoes. I knew my husband a good few years before we were married. We had gone out in 2005, broke up but remained friends and then in 2014 it sparked off again.
On the morning of my wedding I was practising my speech, going over it repeatedly. It was long before the terms “social distance” or “self-isolation” were ever used. All those restrictions we have now, it seems like a lifetime ago! A couple of weeks prior to the wedding my mum unfortunately had a bad fall and was in hospital, so she could only go to the wedding ceremony, the reception would have been too much for her. This added an element of sadness to what was a joyous event. When I saw her being wheeled into the church in a wheelchair by a carer from the hospital, I was filled with a feeling of both happiness and then sorrow. She had a big smile on her face. Now sadly, she’s in a nursing home, and due to the Coronavirus restrictions, we cannot go in to see her. Before her fall we had planned to live in my mum’s house with her after we were married, but this wasn’t possible.
The ceremony went very well. Afterwards we stood outside the church and all talked and hugged each other, something that can’t be done now! It was lovely to see everyone dressed up in their finery. It was in the back of my mind all the time, that niggling feeling, the speech I would have to make, perhaps it was just as well my mum wouldn’t be there to witness it! My brother played a major role in the day, not only was he standing in for my father who had died a good few years ago, but he also supplied his car so was chauffeur as well and he paid for the use of Festina Lente, the lovely gardens in Bray where we had our wedding photos taken, it rained a little bit but not enough to spoil the photos. My niece looked lovely in her outfit. There was a theme of navy, white and gold, so she had a navy velvet band around her waist.
It was after the meal and time for the speeches. My brother was the first to speak being in the role of Father of the Bride. It was then he regaled everyone about my past. Things I had done in my youth. When I was about 8 or 9, he had a dreadful fear of skeletons, I knowing this, purposely had put an open book at the bottom of the stairs which had a picture of a skeleton (it was an old science book that had belonged to one of my uncles) and called him. There was another story about a shed we had at the back of the garden and one time I had locked him into it, but there was an open window, so it wasn’t as bad as it sounded.
By the time I had to stand up and make my speech I was quite nervous but I got through it. We have some lovely photographs and nice memories of that day. People often joke with me about that speech my brother made.
(c) Barbara Murphy