Getting married young: what’s it really like?

I was 21 when Josh and I got married and given that the average age for women to get married is around 30 I would say that I was very young! When we got engaged there was a lot of raised eyebrows and one guy in the shop we were getting our wedding rings from said ‘no way, you’re far too young!’ and started laughing at us. (Suffice to say we left after that).

When we got engaged, I wrote a blog post about our reasons as to why, rather than me re-write it all go read that and then come back to this one!   To summarise, our Christian faith meant that we couldn’t/ didn’t want to start our life properly until we were married. We didn’t go on holiday or stay anywhere together and we also wanted to go travelling together once I finished uni (obviously an unplanned twin pregnancy changed that!!) We knew we wanted to be together forever without a shadow of a doubt so it just seemed like a no-brainer to us that we should get married! Josh finished uni just before our wedding and I still had a year left so it was obviously very out of the ordinary – there weren’t many married students at my university unless they were mature students! We weren’t interested in an expensive wedding and we had a teeny budget and a no fuss, no frills wedding although it was pretty perfect nonetheless! You can read all about our wedding and see a few photos here.

So, two and a half years in, what is it really like being married young?

Well, firstly, the judgement from other people is hard and a bit embarrassing at times. People don’t usually mean to be rude or unkind but the aforementioned man from the ring shop was not the only person to make comments. People regularly say to me ‘but you’re so young to be married’ or even ‘too young to be married’. People also assume Josh is my ‘partner’ rather than my husband – when talking to me about the girls’ dad they call him my ‘boyfriend’ which is not wrong in itself, it just makes you realise that nobody expects you to be married! Although, whenever I take the girls anywhere with my own Dad I go out of my way to make it clear he’s not my husband because sometimes people think he is?!?!!?

Secondly, I never realised how much the stupid little things would bother me. Yep, I’m talking about the really trivial things such as house work. People I have lived with in the 21 years previous to getting married can testify to the fact that I was a very messy person. My room permanently looked like a bomb had gone off in it, there were disgusting mugs, clothes all over the floor, over flowing bins etc. I just never cared about it at all – Josh was the same and our parents said to us “you’ll care when it’s your own house…” how right they were! Something about getting your own home, your own space that is your responsibility to look after magnifies all those things you thought were trivial. When my husband doesn’t put his dirty clothes in the washing basket (3 FT AWAY) something unleashes inside me. When my daughters smear food in to the sofa I cry inside. When the tesco delivery man traipses in with his muddy feet I smile sweetly and say not to worry yet inside I’m dying. These things MATTER. I don’t know why, but they just do. I guess its because your home is your sanctuary, its where you go to feel relaxed and enjoy yourself. I definitely can’t feel relaxed if the house is a mess!

Thirdly, I am so boring. I remember thinking that I wouldn’t become boring when I got married and to be fair I’m not sure it was marriage that made me boring, probably more having children. But I swear, I am a 46 year old woman trapped in a 24 year old’s body. These days my idea of a relaxing afternoon is going to the supermarket alone or just sitting in a quiet spot watching a good netflix series. Most nights Josh and I sit and watch tv and we rarely go out. Most 24 year olds are still partying and living their best life at this point… but seriously I think the thing about marriage is you are so comfy and cosy together and you enjoy each other’s company so much you end up getting stuck in a bit of a rut! Josh and I are going to try and get out a bit more now that we have babysitters living so close by and I honestly think that our best nights out are yet to come! Its also nice meeting other parents who want to let loose a bit and go for a night out (but not be home too late cos lets face it we have to be up early with our kids!). I think its also easy to just plod along with life and forget your dreams and goals which is why its good to have a record of all the places you want to go to, things you want to save up for and weekends away you want. Otherwise you end up blowing your savings on something boring like a cordless vacuum cleaner (who am I kidding I’d love a cordless vacuum cleaner!!)

Finally, getting married young means growing up with your best friend. Because you started so young, your lives become so unbelievably intertwined in a beautiful way. I look back on photos of our wedding and think my goodness how young do we look (probably because we didn’t have kids then) and honestly we have been through so much together in the past two and a half years which have shaped us both as individuals and as a couple. Over the next 70+ years we will watch each other grow and develop, go through struggles and hard times, career changes, house moves, travelling the world, getting a dog, Dotty & Margot growing up, becoming grandparents, great grandparents and so much more. Getting married young isn’t for everyone and I totally see the appeal in living a carefree life as long as possible but I am so grateful and glad to have chosen the life that I have now. My best friend is my husband and we are literally SO YOUNG, we have so much ahead of us and its so exciting to see where we are headed. We are completely open minded and our happy to see where God takes us. We have learnt that making plans doesn’t work otherwise we wouldn’t have our two beautiful girls. Instead we are just growing up together and I couldn’t imagine anything better.

Kate-Sig-1

What to expect when you’re not expecting to be expecting…

Bit of a tongue twister isn’t it?! I have been pretty quiet on my blog lately… mainly because I have one secret thing consuming my every thought. I am going to be a mum. I am pregnant. But not just pregnant, pregnant with TWINS.  I am growing two humans inside me, and after I go through the traumatic experience of birthing said humans I am going to be responsible (along with my husband, of course) for keeping them alive, looking after them and fashioning them in to somewhat decent human beings.

The problem is I was never planning on being a mum. I guess I knew it would happen, but it always seemed a fairly abstract, far-off eventuality that a future version of myself would have to deal with. I always thought that future version of myself would be ready, she would have planned this, she would have thought it through. She would have experience with other people’s babies, she’d probably be an auntie and she’d just simply know what to do.

The moment I found out I was pregnant was one of the most crazy moments of my life. Unfortunately it wasn’t joy that filled my heart and soul at that moment… more fear, disappointment, confusion, sadness and tears. I always imagined the moment I found out I was pregnant for  the first time would be a moment of elation for me, but that wasn’t this moment.

Before I go on, let me first say that a child is always a gift. There are many in the world who so desperately desire to have a baby and it doesn’t happen for them, or their journey is riddled with pain and anguish and so what I say now I intend to say with the greatest sensitivity to those still trying or indeed those who have given up hope. I was not trying to have a baby, in fact I was actively trying not to have a baby. I had dreams of travelling the world and being a career woman before I even thought about becoming a mum. So when I found out I was pregnant it was not met with joy but week after week of tears and depression.

I think the world sells us this image of a happy little family but we don’t see what goes on behind closed doors. Unplanned pregnancy isn’t necessarily made easier because you are married or in a relationship. Unplanned pregnancy is a shock which can hit you at any stage or any age in your life. I felt guilty because I thought I should feel a certain way and I didn’t, which I think made me even more depressed. But now I’ve come to the realisation that it’s okay not to get those butterflies and feelings of elation when you find out you’re pregnant, it doesn’t mean you’re going to be a bad parent and it doesn’t mean you’re ungrateful for the gift that you have been given.

I thought people would judge me for getting pregnant so young. In all honesty I didn’t want to live up to the stereotype of getting married young and settling down. I was afraid of what people thought of me. I was afraid people my age would look at me and feel sorry for me, they’d think to themselves “well that’s good for them but I am so glad it’s not me”. Well the truth is out now and I don’t know if people are thinking those things… if they are I don’t blame them. But I have no plans to settle down, not when I got married and not now I’m having kids. I am still going to see the world, it just might be in a different format to the way I’d originally planned. I’m still going to have a career, only now I have a couple more years to decide what I actually want to do with my life.

I wouldn’t be any sort of Christian if I didn’t believe everything happens for a reason. I believe God has a plan for my life and sometimes that plan doesn’t necessarily match up to my own. God works all things together for good, He sees the big picture but he only reveals to us what we need to see right now. These babies may not have been planned by Josh and me but they were planned and purposed by God. He is knitting them together in my womb as I type this. He guides my path and always will. I put all my trust and faith in Him because I know that He is always faithful to me.

I’m 17 weeks pregnant now and in all honesty I still have my ups and downs. I have days of sheer excitement and I have days when I cry for the life I thought I was going to have. When people say congratulations sometimes I find it hard to play the beaming mum-to-be but I appreciate all the love and support we have received. I wanted people to know our story, to understand how we came to be where we are. But most of all I want people to see that even when your plans don’t fall in to place the way you’d expect, God is still working.

 

Have faith!

Kate-Sig-1

Our wedding day

I thought I’d write a post about the day itself and share some of our photos, giving thoughts/reasoning behind some of the choices we made for our big day!

Let me start with a disclaimer: we had a very modest budget for our wedding, the average wedding in the UK costs £20,000 and our budget was nowhere near this, given that we were both students at the time! I totally lost track of how much we actually spent but it was somewhere in the region of £6-7 thousand. You may be shocked and wonder how we did this, given a “budget wedding” is generally somewhere in the region of £10,000 but I’ll give some tips in this blog! The key word is compromise, it can’t be the most grand wedding on a teeny tiny budget but with a lot of hard work it can be absolutely perfect! In the end, our wedding suited us down to a tee, no fuss, no frills, relaxed and fun atmosphere!

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We decided to have our wedding in a village hall, namely, Earls Colne Village Hall, Essex. Originally I had wanted a rustic barn setting for the wedding, or a whimsical marquee in a big field…. but when those options proved too expensive (marquees start from £3000 shockingly!) we bagged a beautiful, big village hall for only £400. A lot of hotels and manor houses do deals these days, if you have your wedding mid-week or off-season then you can get it a lot cheaper… however with our university timetables we knew it would have to be in the summer, and as we had a lot of people travelling for our wedding we couldn’t really do it mid-week. Besides, those places didn’t really suit our theme.

We spent the whole of the night before setting up the hall – I was so overcome with emotion seeing all my visions and pinterest boards come to life!

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I chose eight bridesmaids for my big day, my two sisters were my maids of honour, I also had Josh’s two sisters, three of my close friends and one of my cousins. They all live in different parts of the country and I don’t really see any of them regularly, so doing dress fittings would have been impossible! I liked the idea of having dresses that were a bit different to one another, but I still liked the idea of being the same colour etc. Being the control freak that I am, I couldn’t bear to let them go off and choose their own, so I didn’t feel I could ask them to pay for their dresses. I found the multiway dresses on Pinterest and fell in love, they retail for around £100 in the UK but when I went on Etsy, I found some which were around £35 each. They came from Hong Kong so I was slightly dubious, I ordered one first and it was perfect so we ordered the rest! Josh’s youngest sister was a little bit too young for the style of dress we chose, so I picked her up a dress from the teen section at New Look, the colour matched perfectly! I asked all the girls to buy their own shoes, I wanted them to wear flats as I was doing so and I’m already quite short, it also added to the relaxed theme. I asked them each to get a silver or gold gatsby style head piece which they all chose beautifully! For their bouquets and the guys’ buttonholes I just bought some cheap gypsophilia from Asda bunched it up and it looked pretty good! I wanted it to look as though they’d picked it off the side of the road and it did! Was so cheap and easy.

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For the best men/ groomsmen I wanted the casual look so we decided they wouldn’t wear suits. They all bought their own grey trousers, shirts and brown brogues and then we bought some braces and a navy bow tie from primark – it was brilliantly cheap and they looked fab.

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My dress was by Justin Alexander, I found it at Bird’s Bridal in Chelmsford. Let me know if you want more info/tips about finding a wedding dress etc. My dress was off the rack, originally a size 16 but it was half price. I am a size 10 so I had to have LOT of fittings, especially as I’m very short! I had the sleeve altered so they’d be off the shoulder and some of the underskirting removed as I didn’t want it to be puffy, I just wanted it to go straight down.

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Josh’s suit was from Jeff Banks, it was a 3 piece, tweed grey suit. He looked so handsome and dapper. He wore a navy tie, white pocket square, brown brogues and a pocket watch which I bought him the week before the wedding.

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Our flowers for the church were provided by the church flower arrangers, they did an absolutely incredible job of following the theme perfectly. The church was particularly special to me as I went there since I was a little girl, and my parents still attend there now. My bouquet and Josh’s buttonhole were provided by The Great British Florist and were made of homegrown wildflowers, I wanted it to look as though I’d just gathered them on the way to the church! They also provided us with buckets of wildflower stems which we put in to jam jars and placed around the reception as I was adamant that I wanted to do them DIY!

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We served Pimms out of jam jars, when people arrived and had a drink station for people to refill during the meal. For the evening a local pub provided us with a bar. We ate fish and chips from a fish and chips van – we were gutted that we didn’t get any pictures of this! We also had an ice cream bike for dessert. The cake was made by a friend and we bought the lego figures to go on top off ebay. We had donuts underneath as they’re our favourite!

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The details were lovingly created by me in the run up to the wedding, I created blackboard signs with the help of my dad, a pick and mix stand, storyboard with baby pictures of me and Josh, stamped every person’s name card one letter at a time, stepladder table plan and so much more. For favours we had jam from the Tiptree Jam Factory and we also had loads of fairy lights, bunting and burlap! It was very time-consuming, doing it all ourselves, we spent hours and hours, but I felt so much joy when I saw everything we had created!

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Our wedding was the best day of our lives, it took so much planning and preparation but it was totally worth all the stress, anxiety and tears in the end. Top tips for budget weddings: call in favours from anyone and everyone you know, shop around, look in the sales, DIY DIY DIY, and have something cheap yet quirky for the meal! I knew God was at the centre of every decision we made and he provided everything we needed and more. If I have one word of advice for people I would say, don’t be afraid to do it your way. Don’t worry about traditions, do what you want! You can never have every idea you ever see on Pinterest but with a bit of hard work you will get the day that’s perfect for you. I have so much more I could say but I think this post has been long enough, if you want to know about anything in more detail let me know.

“Therefore, what God has joined together, let no man separate”  – Mark 10:9

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The most inconvenient time of my life…

In an effort to describe our future nuptials, my mum recently said to me “You and Josh are getting married at the most inconvenient time in your life for all the right reasons.” As I pondered this statement I realised that it was exactly true.This post is not meant to sound pretentious or judgmental to those who decide to take a different path, I believe everyone is free to make their own choices, however I wanted to explain why I have made mine.

Ever since I was a young teenager, I have known that I want to get married. Spending my life with another person and sharing in every season together has always been an exciting prospect for me. As a Christian, I believe that marriage was designed by God, to glorify God. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, they shall become one flesh” Genesis 2:24 – This passage shows that God designed men and women to be in a union together, two becoming one. This doesn’t mean that we can’t be our own person once we are married, or that we don’t have our own mind/disagreements/differences but it means that we make a promise, a covenant, to live out the remainder of our lives as two people on the same path. One life, two people.

Clearly, a big part of marriage is sex. I don’t want people to think that Josh and I are getting married quickly simply because we are desperate to have sex and can’t wait any longer. It’s true, as Christians we believe that sex is to be within a marriage context and that is why when I was around fourteen I made a promise to God that I would not have sex until I am married and also why at the beginning of our relationship, Josh and I decided that we would not have any sexual contact with one another until our wedding night. It feels slightly awkward to talk about this but that is what we decided. It says in the Bible in 1 Corinthians 7:9 “It is better to marry that to burn with lust” and I’m not going to lie and say that this hasn’t been part of the motivation for us getting married, the temptation has been more than we could have anticipated and we are not professing to be in any way perfect. But this is not the main reason behind us getting married, only one strand.

We have spent the last year becoming best friends, falling in love and getting to know each other inside out without needing to get to know each other sexually. I would do anything for Josh and I believe that he would do anything for me. I do not have a doubt in my mind that he is the person that I am meant to spend the rest of my life with and this doesn’t make me feel trapped – actually it feels remarkably freeing! I don’t see us getting married as a ball and chain type scenario, we’re not going to become anti-social, or boring… we want to travel the world and have experiences together and on the way have a tonne of fun. I don’t want to believe what so much of today’s culture tells you; that your fun and exciting life ends with marriage. Marriage is just the start in my eyes!

The most important element of why we have chosen to get married now is because of our love for Jesus. We have said from the beginning that our relationship and future marriage is not just between the two of us, but the three of us. Josh, me and God. Every decision we make, we pray it through, every trial we face, we thank God and ask Him for His help and guidance. We believe that God has brought us together to spend our lives together and that is why we have decided ‘why wait?’. We want to live out our calling from God together starting as soon as we can. It’s that old cliche; ‘When you know, you know’. We know marriage isn’t going to be easy, and we know its not a decision to take lightly but we also know that “If God is for us, who can be against us” Romans 8:31 

So yes, I am getting married at a most inconvenient time. I am still at uni, we have absolutely no money and very little time to plan a wedding.. but we have never been happier in our whole lives. I heard it said once ‘The best place you can be is at the centre of God’s will for your life’ and I thank God that I am in this place.

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“I have found the one whom my soul loves” Song of Solomon 3:4