Second time bride Karen Turner, 49, begins her blog series, sharing the unconventional proposal and start of her journey in marrying loving partner, Mark
"Mark, marry me?". Yes, I asked him. It is 2017 after all and I am a modern, independent woman.
Mark and I have known each other for about 18 years; he is a very good friend of the family and early in 2014 his marriage and my relationship broke down. Both of our mothers were terminally ill and died within a month of each other in the spring and then his father died soon afterwards. We were mutually supportive of one another and we realised that something very special was developing out of all the sadness. Even now, three years later, we look at one another and ask: “How did this happen?”.
But happen it did and in February 2017 I took the plunge and arranged a surprise night away. I had a wine glass charm made with the words as I knew that saying them without crying was impossible. The waiter was primed, given that I’d already demanded: “Whatever he orders to drink, bring two glasses of champagne and attach this to his”. Having ordered a pint, Mark was rather bemused when a glass of bubbly arrived. It took a couple of minutes for the penny to drop, but fortunately he said yes and I am now proudly wearing my mother’s engagement ring.
So in May 2018 I will be getting married and turning 50 within the space of four days. This is not an accident. Surely my birthday will get forgotten amongst the excitement of our wedding day?
It's 27 years since I last planned a wedding and back then I was young, shy and my options were limited; we all used the florist down the road and the photographer was who my mum’s friend had had for her daughter’s wedding. This time things will be very different. There is a bewildering amount of information at our fingertips, from venue styling to menu choices to invitation wording. Mark and I have opted for a relaxed, informal style DIY wedding at the beautiful Waxham Great Barn in Norfolk and we will be sharing our day with those people we really want to invite.
There is the excitement of styling the barn - dressing it ourselves, and planning hen and stag parties coupled with much more serious issues such as choosing the wine and whether we invite children, given that the five we have between us are pretty much all grown up. Every day we think we have nailed it and then something else pops up on Pinterest which makes us doubt our choices. The internet – a blessing and a curse.
So there you have it. At the ages of 52 and 49 respectively, we are planning an event so special to us we often become emotional as it means so much. Since starting this journey in February I have ordered my wedding dress, we have booked the venue, narrowed down the caterers to a short-list of two, and selected my maids of honour and bridesmaid. Mark has whittled down his list of potential best men and has finally selected his oldest friend. And we have settled on a theme for our day, complete with a wedding planner to help us decorate the barn and a lighting company to set exactly the atmosphere we are after. We have sourced plants for the table decorations and the first batch of save the date cards are in the post.
It feels like we have achieved so much, but there is still lots to do. We continue to discuss the thorny subject of photographers; I am keen to have a professional, but Mark prefers a less formal approach and I suspect this discussion will continue for a while yet. In the coming weeks I will share the adventures of bridesmaid dress shopping, the important details of dressing the venue, the difficulties I faced when searching for 'the dress', the delicious task of choosing a wedding cake, and the essential shopping trip for Mark and his team to get their clothes organised. Along the way, I will share even more that I haven’t even thought about yet....
I look forward to sharing our journey with you.