Today is my ten year wedding anniversary. This time ten years ago (I can’t believe it is ten),the 3rd September 2004, I was getting ready to walk down the aisle. We have only just recently realised that, amazingly, the first time we ever met was probably that same week (maybe even 3rd September) another decade earlier, in 1994.
To be honest it wasn’t a good start. We had both just finished our Leaving Certificate (the Irish State exams) and enjoyed a summer of freedom. My school was having their Debs ball and myself and my friend decided that as neither of us had a boyfriend at the time we would just go together. We didn’t need men to enjoy ourselves.
A different friend was in the pub one evening coming up to the Debs and was talking to my now husband and his friend. The debs ball came up in conversation. As my husband and his friend went to a different school they were not entitled to tickets but as they had lots of friends going they wanted to go too. Of course my friend had a lightbulb moment and told them of her other friends (me and my friend going together) who had no dates and could bring them.
It was really all just a date of convenience. Myself and my friend were entitled to buy two tickets each and they couldn’t get any. Long story short this other friend arranged for us all to meet the next evening. We split into pairs and arranged to go to the debs together (they paid their own way!).
Little did I realise I had just been paired off with my future husband.
We had no more interest in being together then the man in the moon so, as soon as we entered the hotel ballroom, he went his way over to his friends and I went with mine. We all had a great night and that was that. Or so I thought.
Three years later and my friend had eventually gotten together with her date on the night. She was keen to have someone to double date with and started telling me and my husband how each of us fancied the other one! Total lies. I certainly hadn’t given him a second thought. Then one night we bumped into each other in the local pub. We got chatting and the rest as they say is history. My friend subsequently broke up with her boyfriend but we continued on.
After six fun-filled years together we thought we should start getting a little settled and we decided to move in together. We bought a lovely little house in Donabate, North County Dublin, not far from where we both grew up and where both our parents still live. The weekend before we were due to move in we decided to have a weekend away as we knew that once we moved in every cent would be ploughed into the house and every weekend spent sorting it out. He proposed that weekend. To be fair I thought (hoped!) it might be coming. As our lovely meal passed and no question had been popped I had given up hope. As we sat back in the hotel bar I eventually spilled about my disappointment that he hadn’t proposed and how I thought it might have been a nice weekend to do it. As I rambled on he reached in his pocket and put a ring box on the table. I cried. A bottle of champagne arrived out from the bar. It was all part of his plan.
We tied the knot just over a year later in Trinity College Chapel. It was a beautiful day in all senses of the word. Since that day we have had our highs and lows. We have had good times and bad. The one constant is that we always come out the other side and I think we are probably stronger as a unit now than ever before.
We have made three beautiful children and created the most amazing little family. If someone had told me on that fateful night two decades ago that I would marry that person I was being paired off with I probably would have run a mile. Now though I look back on what has been the most amazing journey and I look forward to so many great times ahead as we watch our family grow and develop and happily grow old together.
Niall, I love you. Happy anniversary xx