This week we celebrated our third marriage anniversary and later this year we will celebrate our third wedding anniversary. Confused much? Let me explain. About four years ago, Jacques and I got engaged and even before our engagement, I knew exactly where I wanted to get married. We had been together for five years before getting engaged so call me over-eager if you want, but I had been planning a wedding long before there was one to plan.
We spent months deliberating a wedding date and trying to fit it in between Super Rugby schedules and tours. Eventually we decided to get married on the 4th of November, when Super Rugby would be finished and paid the deposits for everything shortly afterwards. A few weeks later the Cheetahs joined the Pro14 tournament and we got the match fixtures that confirmed that most of our guests, including my husband, would be overseas on the 4th and that we also wouldn’t be able to go on a honeymoon after the wedding.
By the end of May, Jacques was on tour in Ireland and phoned me in an ecstatic state one morning. The team would be participating in a 10’s tournament in Mauritius in June and he wanted me to go with so that we could go on a honeymoon (or a friendamoon as we later dubbed it). So during our ten minute phone call we decided to get married on the 10th of June on a freezing Free State winter morning. We decided to still have a big wedding celebration in November; partly because we had already paid the deposits and partly because we wanted all our friends and family to witness our wedding.
On the morning of our first (and real) wedding I had my hair and makeup done and I found a vintage white dress that suited the informal but special occasion. We told no one about the wedding because it happened so fast and we only wanted to invite our immediate family.
We got married in Jacques’ parents garden and one of our dear friends married us. My dad walked my down the aisle and my sister painted an illustration of the wedding message as our friend spoke and my mother in law did the flowers.
At the time, we received a tremendous amount of backlash and criticism when everyone found out about our small, intimate, last-minute morning wedding. Apparently I was pregnant and others believed that we had to get married because we were moving overseas. No one actually said anything to our faces but we heard the gossip and the whispers. Condemnation without investigation is the height of ignorance and that’s why it was so easy to ignore everyone else’s opinion. In spite of the uncommon steps we followed, we got everything we ever wanted. We had a small wedding, a honeymoon and a big wedding, in that order.
I always joke and say that my husband is so nice that I married him twice. Now that we’ve celebrated three years of marriage, I can safely say that I would have married him a million times if I could. We are so blessed to have been able to have such an intimate and meaningful ceremony as well as a big wedding bash later that same year. And since then, a lot of people from the rugby community have also opted to do the same. When you’ve been married a while and you celebrate your anniversary, you don’t celebrate the dress or the amount of guests or the wedding cake. You celebrate each other and we are lucky enough to be able to celebrate each other twice a year.