I do … again


This post is inspired  by one I read over at The Creative Shed yesterday, about marrying the same man twice. It has spurred me into action to write about my experience of (almost) marrying the same man twice, which I promised to do about a year ago and never got around to.

In 2003 I married my husband.  We were handfasted in Sherwood Forest with our friends and family gathered around us and it was beautiful.  We wrote our own ceremony, in which we laid out the ground rules really – a partnership in which neither had the upper hand.  We promised to look after each other, but we did not promise to stay together forever, nor to be faithful to each other.  We did promise to honour each other above all others and not to air our grievances in public.

It was lovely.  Our rings were passed around our friends and family and people put their energies and blessings into them.  At the end of the ceremony, friends and family were invited to make contributions to the Eisteddfod – some had brought music, others poems and readings; my father sang “Things We Said Today” by The Beatles, a cappella. People still talk about that now.

We finished the day off with a ceilidh and buffet at the local village hall.  We had a brilliant day.

And that was it. We were married.  Except that in the eyes of the UK law, we weren’t.  Handfasting isn’t legally recognised.  My parents (a Christian priest and a Christian lay preacher) attended on the understanding that we would make the union legal soon afterwards.  We told all our guests that we would be married legally in a registry office a couple of weeks later.  But we never got around to booking it.

Which is why, a little over a year later, after much nagging, we finally got around to making it legal.  We had a registry office ceremony attended by us and our two witnesses.  We were slightly late, being as the four us had woken with hangovers that morning. All four of us turned up in jeans and headaches.  There was much whispering from the staff about our choice of attire, and our lack of music, readings and more.

For us, this was the boring bit.  We had done everything that had meaning to us a year earlier.  So, we stood (that was the hard bit, I was feeling really quite ill!) and said the two sentences we each had to say to make us legally married.  We didn’t exchange vows or rings.  We were in and out in less than 5 minutes and our “reception” was a fry up at a cafe to soak up some of the alcohol of the previous night.  It was the most depressing wedding imaginable, but that didn’t matter, because the important one was fantastic.  This time it was for a bit of paper.

We don’t celebrate that day as our anniversary, we celebrate the anniversary of handfasting (which is next week by the way!).  I struggle to remember on legal forms that the date requested is not the handfasting date, and struggle even more if I have to write the full date, because I can never remember when we were legally married.

Marrying the same man twice?  I highly recommend it!

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