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Just One More Mile - Initial Planning

A diary blog, covering details of the initial planning for our Round The World motorcycle trip in 2008...

03 July 2007


Wedding Daze!!

Well, after almost 6 years together, Tracy and I tied the knot on Friday… without telling hardly a soul…

It’s come as quite a shock to both our families as we’ve both said in the past that we would never remarry (we've both been married before), and that we saw no reason for marriage as we have both had children and don’t want any more… However, like so many of our plans, things change. Over the past few years we’ve been through a lot together, and wanted to make a firm commitment to our future, so we formed a new plan… desperate to avoid the usual problems that a wedding causes (not least the expense) and recognising that I would probably miss David too much if we did go for the big wedding, we quickly decided to do it quietly… so quietly that Tracy didn’t tell anyone even after I formally asked her whilst we were passing through a “kissing gate” during a walk in the Yorkshire Dales way back in February (a fact that didn’t even make our blogs…).

Our plan was simple, and for once we managed to carry it off perfectly. We’d already arranged to host a Thai Banquet for our friends on Saturday 30th June – to mark the “one year until we set off on our Round the World Trip point” , and so getting married on the Friday – the actual date of our departure – seemed ideal. The banquet invitations were sent out with the deliberate mistake of inviting our friends to attend the “Zero Anniversary Banquet” but no-one spotted the connection… then we had to choose some witnesses, and pick where we wanted to get married. As I’m from the Blackpool area, we decided upon the registry office there, and picked my old mate Pete and his wife as our witnesses – ideal as they don’t know my friends from home – and it gave us a great excuse to get back in touch as I’d not seen them for a couple of years. With them signed up and sworn to secrecy, and the registry office booked, our focus turned to domestic arrangements. Clearly we needed to get Katie and Carlie (and the dog, Jake) away from the house so we could get ready and hitched without them being suspicious… so, using the excuse of the banquet, we packed them off to Tracy’s mum & dad’s for the week, and put the dog in the kennels. How nice to have the house all to ourselves again!

Come the big day we got up and I set off for Blackpool on my bike, with Tracy driving up and we all met up at the registry office. The ceremony was a bit odd – just Pete, Helen, Tracy and me together with the registrar and her assistant. The registrar even started the ceremony without any warning, and it all passed very quickly, even with us having written our own vows. We took some pictures of us faking signing the register (having already signed it and being pronounced husband and wife), and then we rode/drove to the De Vere Hotel to take some photos against a more picturesque backdrop than the registry office car park – lounging on the bike, naturally!

The Happy Couple…Us

Having had a drink with Pete & Helen we then returned home – a really odd feeling with me riding my bike and Tracy driving her car – and once back in our empty home we were able to relax with a bottle of champagne, followed by a really good steak washed down with a bottle of good wine from the cellar (despite having to throw away the first choice which was sadly corked).

Saturday was an early start as we had to prepare the food for the evening’s banquet. We’d already made the spicy sausage on Monday evening, and the curry paste for the duck dish on Tuesday, but it still took us over 7 hours to prepare the remaining ingredients - with a menu comprising 5 starters (spicy sausage, son-in-law eggs, pork & noodle parcels, spicy ground chicken and steamed scallops with garlic), a soup dish (crab and asparagus) and 4 main courses (red duck curry with pickled ginger, jungle curry with deep-fried shallots, wok-fried beef with long beans and chilli, and chicken noodles with basil leaves) – it was a marathon session! We still managed to get an hour’s break to watch Rossi win the Assen Moto GP race, though!

Our guests started arriving just before the allotted time, with Colin and Helen turning up 25 mins early, which served us right for making the point of asking everyone to turn up promptly! As they (like everyone else) didn’t know about the wedding we had to keep them occupied until everyone else arrived… no easy task as our wedding rings were on display, and we had “Just Married” written in big fridge-magnet letters on the fridge! Soon our other guests arrived, Helen, Ian, Wendy, Andy and Sam and I got the champagne from the fridge before setting them the challenge of spotting what was different… it took a while before Helen spotted the wedding rings, then someone asked if I’d got married (I replied “Yes”, naturally) and then someone else asked Tracy if she’d got married too!! (She replied “Yes, to him…”).

The rest of the evening ran smoothly, and the food was appreciated, which was nice (although I personally thought I’d made the jungle curry too hot and the duck was too rich). We even had a “cutting the cake” ceremony in our front room!

Cutting the cake

When they finally all left around 3am, we were left in no doubt that they all wished us well with our marriage!

Sunday was to be the day we told my family, but as Laura had been called in to work from 10am – 4pm, we decided to head over to Blackpool to tell my mum and sisters before going to see my kids… first I took the pannier rails off the bike so I could swap over to the standard GS ready for our forthcoming weekends away, then contacted Nikki to arrange the swap – only to be told they were planning on going out for the day… with no time to loose we rushed off on the bike in the rain and arrived at Nikki’s just in time to catch them… and then kept them talking for a good 15 minutes before revealing our news! Suitably surprised, we left them to go out and rode over to my mum’s – now on the GS having left the Adventure tucked away safely in Nikki’s garage. Mum was naturally surprised to see us, but we didn’t keep her waiting and told her about the wedding – she was absolutely thrilled, which helped calm our nerves a bit. After a short stay we headed to my other sister Kim’s house and told her the news, before heading all the way back towards home and then over to Halifax to call in to see Laura and Chris… only they were not in!! So much for surprising them…

Somewhat unhappy that our plans had been thwarted we headed over to Danielle’s house on the other side of town, and saw Chris’ car outside… 2 birds with one stone… and so we told them our news – at first they could not believe that we’d got married without telling them first, but when we explained our reasons to them, they understood. And so, leaving them still in shock we popped over to Katy’s and gave her and Stewart a surprise – their reaction was instantaneous and congratulations flowed straight away (Katy said she wasn’t surprised that I’d get married without telling anyone as that’s “just the sort of thing” I’d do… guess she knows me pretty well!!).

We finally got home quite late and I rustled up a chicken fried rice to help quell our hunger before we collapsed in front of the TV before retiring for the night, worn out… but with still more to do the following day…

On Monday, Tracy had arranged to go down to her mum and dad’s to pick up the girls, not telling them that I’d also be accompanying her. The drive down to Haverhill was not only long but also not very enjoyable as it was still raining very hard and there were sections of the A1 and M11 that had long stretches of deep standing water making the car aquaplane – but at least we’d not decided to go by bike!

For the story of how we told Tracy’s family, see her diary…

And so now we’re back home again, things are settling back to normal, but I’ve a ring on my finger and my wife is sat typing on her laptop not far away…

Our beautiful wedding rings

Lovely to read your "Wedding Daze" blog Paul. Tell Tracy to hurry up and write up how she told us the news!

Love from your new mother-in-law.
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