WARNING MASSIVE SPOILERS
(Although since this is the end, is it really a spoiler?)
In 2010, two people who could be charitably described as morons started a blog. The blog was based around a frankly stupid bet to see who could get married first. Real life married. There were rules, but it took them a while to work out what they would be.
The berks even went to America to meet ladies but in the end the both found love a lot closer to home. One way of looking at it is that both of them won because they both grew-up and found the perfect person for them.
But that’s not entirely correct because Toast won the bet. In your face, Biscuit of 2010.
The Big Day for Toast
The Theatre Producer and I had decided to keep things as casual and calm as possible in the run up to the wedding. Even with a strict, ‘no getting stressed’ policy things got a bit fraught towards the end. We’d both had very little sleep because we’d been doing things in the evenings.
Fun things like making our rings, having intensive dance lessons for our first dance and making other wedding related flim-flam, but were both extremely tired.
We’d had a flurry of last-minute ideas for the wedding which required careful designing of crosswords, pouring things into tiny bottles or coming up with an interesting conversation starting fact about every single guest. Neither of us managed to to sleep before 2am for a week before.
On wedding-eve TP went to her parents house. I stayed at our home, enjoying my final night as a single chap with my brother.
We drank cider and ate dirty fried chicken while watching telly. There was a plan to go the pub but a footballery match was on so the local pub was all shouty.
Off to the wedding
The next day I woke up reasonably early and forced my brother to go for a run with me. I like running, he’s not 100% on-board with it, but understands it’s a thing he has to do with me.
After only a small amount of grumbling we set off, stomping through monsoon style rain to Regent’s Park and back. Chatting occasionally but mostly wheezing. The final section was limped but we managed it. As a reward for our good work we went for a posh brunch and ate a lot of bacon.
Once we’d cooled off a bit we got changed, washed, and bundled up all the things we’d need for the wedding (suits, shoes, ties, tie-pins and various other bits and bobs) before headed to Waterloo to get the train.
We arrived at the station ten minutes before our train left but the queues were huge and full of people who couldn’t understand how ticket machines work. Luckily at the station we bumped into a few of the wedding guests who were in a very jolly mood.
One of the guests decided to skip the ticket queue by loudly declaring that I was going to miss my wedding if I didn’t get a ticket right this minute. People smiled and stood aside to let her buy tickets for all of us. I felt like a king, a slightly sheepish one but thanks to the wedding guest’s actions we did get on the train in time.
On the train the guests and my brother drank booze while I fidgeted and told myself off for not having written my speech yet.
When we arrived everyone disappeared off to their hotels to change. My brother scampered off to his hotel to get into his suit and I sat down and finally wrote out my speech.
I had a good few jokes already worked out but I’ve was struggling with sentimentality. It makes me uncomfortable so I tend to go for silly instead. Most of my time spent hunched over the little desk in the room was spent trying to put feelings into the speech. I sort of managed it in the end.
My brother appeared sooner than I expected. I had to jump into my suit and we got a lift off MyLoveLifeInYourHands to the venue.
It was at this point that it felt real. Not just a blog. Not just a silly idea, but real. There were people there, and a really big room to put them in.
There was only a brief moment to chat to official types and make sure the people doing readings had their notes before I had to go and stand at the front of a room with my back to everyone. My bother and MyLoveLifeInYourHands were stood next to me in coordinating suits for moral support.
The rest of the venue was packed out with our friends and relatives. The room rumbled with the sound of 130 people trying to be as quiet as possible while they waited for the music to start.
Of course someone’s phone went off, with a comedy ringtone.
The long pause
We were waiting for a while. TP was late, but there was also a minor issue with the music for her to walk in with. Biscuit couldn’t get it to play. After some swearing and a bit of hitting the grumpy sound system sprang into life and started honking out the appropriate tunes.
The doors opened and The Theatre Producer walked in looking amazing. Only I didn’t know this because the photographer had told me to not turn around and look so I could only hear sighs and the soft rustle as she approached the front of the room.
It was only then that I noticed the beautiful medieval tapestries lining the room were actually depicting a pig being slaughtered. How romantic!
After what felt like forever, I was finally given clearance to look at TP. Only she wasn’t TP any more, she was the person who was about to become my wife.
The ceremony was short but perfect. If you cut all the religious nonsense out of the way it’s a fairly simple job of repeating some lines and then signing a book. It was lightly spiced with three excellent readings. I’ll put the links to them here.
There was a lot of giggling, because the situation was so strange. The Theatre Producer and I do many interesting things together, but one of them is not solemnly look at each other, holding hands and loudly declare things.
We managed it with only the absolute minimum of giggling and everyone cheered. There was even a kiss.
After the ceremony we walked out and people blew loads of bubbles. Confetti was banned at the venue so we went with bubbles instead. Bubbles worked.
The guests finally got to have a drink and TP and I posed for a range of pictures. Some sensible (various mixes of family and ushers/bridesmaids) and the silly, including a couple posing with axes and one where TP was being a bridezilla chasing the entire wedding party. I can’t wait to see that shot.
While this was happening the guests milled around the gardens drinking cocktails, eating ice-cream and playing some extremely aggressive games of croquet.
The next stage lovely meal with all my favourite people in a room. We’d spent hours, no days working on the table settings.
People were carefully sat next to strangers, ones we were sure would become firm friends and whole tables were designed to have a good mix of interesting types. During the meal I didn’t sit down much and instead walked from table to table catching up with people, some of whom I don’t get to see very often.
It was lovely, but also a little strange because you don’t really get to talk to anyone for very long. Just flit around having snatched conversations.
It may be your wedding, but it some ways it feels like you’re not really there.
After the meal were the speeches, which were all excellent, short and extremely funny.
People had been briefed that bad speeches would be interrupted with a klaxon. They all performed brilliantly, mine went okay. I wasn’t that stressed about it, the thing I really feared was the first dance. I was terrified of the first dance.
I hate the awkward shuffle of the traditional first dance, so TP and I had got dance lessons. 5 hours of dance lessons, we’d learned the foxtrot.
Our instructor was forgiving and seem pleased with our progress but I was terrified of messing up the steps.To make things worse, TP’s dress was considerably larger than the one we’d practised with. It kept pushing me away.
We managed it though, even the fancy moves we’d requested in a fit of overconfidence and while I don’t think we would have won a dancing contest we would have been comfortably mid-pack, in the beginners section, of a small seaside town, where people don’t dance, and the judges are drunk, and short-sighted and we’ve bribed them.
Now that dance out of the way I could relax a bit more and catch up with old friends over drinks and observe the construction of the least impressive bomb I think I’ve ever seen. It was made out of party poppers so it didn’t have much to go on but I don’t think there is much a future in fireworks for the people who made it. Still it kept them amused for a few hours.
There was a lot more dancing. Dance cards were supplied for every guest and people were enjoying filling them out. Everyone seemed to have lovely time, apart from the people organising the ceilidh who had to physically herd people around the dance floor. Everyone was very enthusiastic but not very competent.
At about midnight the party stopped, or at least paused.
The venue closed. We got a car back to our honeymoon suite but the rest of the gang got a bus to their hotel and bravely partied on until at least 4.30am. Including a final burst of champagne when a minimum spend was needed at the last-minute and one guest splashed out on a few bottles to get the bar tab high enough.
The next day most of the party joined us for a bacon-based brunch and to re-cap what happened the night before. This was the time when most people signed the guest book, they’d been too smashed the night before. We also spent some time examining the photos and trying to piece together events from the last 12 hours.
All in all it was an excellent day. 10/10, A+, Would recommend to friends.
Lessons learned (over the course of the whole blog)
- If you want to meet someone right you have to meet a lot of people, like loads, and go on many dates.
- Even if those dates don’t work out, you’ll make lots of friends.
- Complete strangers will help you out with stuff if it’s in the name of marriage.
- Internet dating is the normal now.
- But everyone pretends on dates that they are new to it and they’re just trying it out because a friend insisted they do.
- If I make a bet with someone, I’m going to win it.
- Writing a blog really can change your life.
1 the formal union of a man and a woman, typically as recognized by law, by which they become husband and wife:
a happy marriage the children from his first marriage
2a combination or mixture of elements:
her music is a marriage of funk, jazz, and hip hop
It’s been a busy year for weddings. The summer has been saturated with them and they’ve tended to be very inconveniently timed. We recently had to speed away from my own dad’s wedding immediately after the meal to make the re-entry curfew of a festival which was originally supposed to be our main summer holiday.
You can drive fast but apparently you can’t outrun the guilt.
Much like a child who eats too much chocolate can’t bear to look at it for a while, so I’ll admit that I’d started to feel jaded about them. Given that this whole ridiculous adventure has been about weddings, it’s strange to have spent the last few months feeling like I wished they’d just chill a bit, spread themselves out and pop along at more convenient times. However life is not convenient and, whilst I’m tempted to used a hackneyed cod-philosophical statement about ‘riding the waves maaan’, what I really want to get across is that good times are not gonna wait for you and you’ve gotta grab good times by the balls and make their eyes water.
It is my pleasure to report that recently the good times have been squeaking like Joe Pasquale on helium.
A thing happened…
So… it’s going to be no surprise to any of you, but there was kind of a wedding thing. I’m not going to go into detail of the day, because it wasn’t my wedding thing and so that honour definitely belongs to Toast. What I will say, however, is that the wedding thing, was flipping AWESOME!
When we started this frivolous wager as a way of coping with serious life developments, it felt so far away to me, like it would never really happen. Perhaps if it hadn’t been for this whole ridiculous venture then it would still be far away; who knows? However watching Toast is his suit, waiting for TP to arrive, I realised how far we had both come in 4 1/2 years. It was hard not to feel proud for both of us.
It was also hard not to be impressed that the respective ladies in our lives had put up with the strange situations that blogging about a relationship can cause especially when real people you know, know about the blog. That’s probably more a testament to their strength of character than to our relationship skills
Whilst I’m sure that Toast will give you a run down of all the important things, there are some things I need to tell you. I need to tell you them because Toast and TP were the focus of the day and so maybe didn’t realise how it felt from the other side.
The ceremony was the best I have ever been to because there were no concessions to who they are. There was no lip service in the form of readings that were ostensibly romantic but ultimately the kind of forced romanticism that can sound false. There was absolutely no feeling that any part was just going through the motions. Everything was perfectly silly but perfectly touching and achingly appropriate. My eye leaked a bit because of some dust I must have got in it.
The speeches were similarly, heartfelt, honest, funny and without a hint of Google’s influence. They all felt like speaking from their hearts about people they care deeply about. The marquee was probably a bit breezy as I got some more dust in my eye.
Toast will also probably not tell you about the really impressive explosive that I and another guest made from the guts of 80 party poppers and which was totally not a like an anaemic, sleepy firecracker.
Jen and I had a thoroughly fantastic time, scoffing, quaffing and dancing like dicks in the company of delightful friends, both old and new. In short: It was pretty perfect.
It’s a long way to the top if you wanna rock and roll
This started as bet about marriage. A deadly serious bet. It was a competition and we worked hard at it because it was important. Over time, some things happened, we both met amazing women and life stopped being a game that we played by ourselves but which we played with someone else.
Toast went one way with TP and and I went another with Jen. We now own our own house and have spent the summer gradually reducing it to rubble in the name of DIY and renovations (there is something very sexy about a dust covered lady manhandling an enormous drill).
In December we’re off to Australia for 3 weeks to attend our last wedding of the year: Dragonforce, my erstwhile housemate and landlady at the time of conception of this whole affair. That feels like some appropriate symmetry and conclusion of another part of this story.
The story of this wager has been made up of many smaller stories. Some short, some ongoing and some only just beginning. I have made some dear friends who I would not otherwise have known and done things that pre-wager biscuit would have shied away from and missed out on.
This started as a bet about marriage. A deadly serious bet. A bet that, according to the rules, Toast has won. In ‘losing’, I’ve found my perfect Partner in Crime who I want to spend the rest of my life with and bring up brilliant, ridiculous children with.
If that’s losing then I wish I lost more often.
Previously I had thought I was super easy going and didn’t care about anything about you, know, winning the bet. *ahem* I mean marrying my darling fiancée, but it turns out I’m quite picky.
We’ve looked at a lot of wedding venues now. Whole weekends have been spent stomping around country homes, museums and even slightly rubbish castles while a salesperson talks to you about seat cover options or maximum capacity numbers. That bit isn’t fun, but it’s over now because we’ve got a venue booked in and a date.
Here is what I have learned
- It is expensive, I’ve had to force myself to not think of the wedding in terms of motorcycles we could have bought because it breaks my heart.
- Things I don’t want: A bland function room, feeling like I’m in someone else’s house, a tiny dance floor.
- Things TP doesn’t want: A tent, seat covers, me to dress as a spider.
- There is a fun bit later on where you have an evening of ‘testing food’ for the ceremony. I can’t wait for that.
- Putting a deposit down on a venue makes this feel even more real than buying a ring. It’s really happening.
- Some people book their weddings three years in advance. THREE YEARS! We could be ruled by robots by then.
- Or sharks.
- You can hire ice-cream bikes, jugglers and even choirs but even if you’re thinking of using a military museum for your wedding they won’t let you play on the tanks or hold a musket.
- Don’t even bother asking about having an axe fight on the day.
- It’s very hard to resist doing a stupid theme, not that stupid themes are out it’s just there about three dozen we want to try.
- Choosing who to invite is hard, especially with couples because that instantly doubles the number.
- Also while working on the list you get strange urges to invite people just because they gave you extra chips or let your cross at the traffic lights. At the current rate we are likely to have a table just of people who have served me nice coffee.
- Deciding that you’re not going to invite members of your extended family because they are awful is lovely. I can’t recommend it enough.
- All brides have spreadsheets of information on venues and they trade them.
- Apparently the system is you get a rough list together, then venue hunt and then choose a date. Then you do nothing for a while until it gets closer to the time.
- We’re sort of at that bit now.
So I’m engaged now. I went to Paris and I proposed the SHIT OUT OF The Theatre Producer.
Here is what happened.
We were staying in a ridiculous hotel in Paris. Think a stately home plonked in the middle of the 16th (The posh bit of Paris).
TP had booked the room so that in included a ‘free upgrade’ which resulted in us having a ‘junior suite’ that was larger than our flat. I’ve not stayed in that many rooms with conservatories before but I am now a fan.
We dropped off our bags and went on a walking tour of Paris. It was a beautiful day, really sunny and we set off along the streets doing a long lap of the sights. I was a little quiet during this period because I was thinking about stuff.
Not regrets or anything just considering the enormity of what I was about to do. This would be the point when what started as a silly bet crossed into being an incredibly serious thing with legal implications. It’s a lot to take in. I was glad I had time to process it a bit rather than being on the end of a question.
The set up
When we got back to the hotel room we were both really tired (we’d walked miles) BUT I had a plan. So I suggested we have a quick drink in the gardens before retiring for a nap. Well demanded it.
TP wasn’t exactly pro this idea, okay lets be honest, she thought I’d gone insane and demanded to know why I was being so cruel to her by forcing her to put on a nice dress and some lipstick.
We went down stairs to the garden (with a bit of grumbling from TP about how tired she was) and I asked TP to pick a nice spot for a photo.
She wanted to just sit down but I was insistent that we had a seat with ‘good framing’. Again she’d thought I’d gone mad which wasn’t helped by the fact I had my bag with me for no real reason (real reason: holding a ring).
Once we were sat down I went off to buy some wine. I ordered two glasses of champagne and explained in pigeon-French how I was about to propose and how I’d like the waiter to take lots of photos.
The teenage waiter was so surprised when I started mentioning le proposal pour la marriage that he made the champagne he was opening explode everywhere and had to clean it up.
While he was cleaning that up I had time to quickly phone TP’s dad to ask permission. I got through to him and was so excited by me calling that he just wanted to have a lovely chat about PPI and India. I had to fight to speak and get the request in. He approved and I dashed back to the bar to pick up the waiter.
We sat down and clinked our glasses for the camera but it didn’t work.
TP said ‘Oh never mind we can do it some other time, to which I replied, ‘NO WE MUST HAVE PHOTOS’.
She thought I’d properly gone mad now. She fixed the camera and dutifully posed for the photos. The waiter carried on taking pictures and TP only got a little suspicious.
Then I started the talk. I had been toying with the idea of doing a silly proposal but a friend had said that was a bad idea. So I instead I said how happy TP makes me and how much I like her, stuff like that. She looked at me very strangely and thought I’d caught too much sun.
Then I popped on one knee and pulled out the ring. POW. Only then did she realise what was going on.
She said ‘yes, of course’ and did a little cry, sort of ignoring the ring I had held out until I prompted her to open the box.
Then we drank more champagne and she looked at the ring a lot. We also texted a picture to Biscuit of the ring and called him a loser.
She then said,’Well now we’ve got to plan a wedding’
And I said, ‘Oh blimes, I hadn’t thought of that’.
Proposal success rating 100%
Forethought of what this means (apart from a life together being happy): 0%.
There’s been a lot of big news coming from Toast recently and you’re possibly wondering what’s happening on this side of the wager.
Will Billy escape from the abandoned mineshaft?
Will Susan discover that Jake is her brother?
Will anyone work out what that smell coming from the patio is?
There have been on quite a number of adventures, mishaps and ensuing hilarity but that’s not what you want to know, is it? Well most of it has been pretty awesome (even though it revolves around a girl, who’d a thought, eh?) but some of it has been really hard to write about, which is why I was dodging it for so long.
When this baby hits 88 miles per hour, you’re gonna see some serious shit
Let me take you back in time 9 months…
<flashback>Toast and I were living together in the 4 Xbox household. For reasons that I won’t go into we were faced with a deadline of either moving out in 4 months or buying the house we were living in. With the opportunity to expand the technological empire further we decided to go for it. In retrospect I can see how limiting this would have been on our developing relationships, but when man is blinded by the idea of a robot man servant, or even a robot DINOSAUR servant, it’s easy to get carried away.
This is the first time I had tried to buy a house and it turns out that it’s quite expensive. We spent about 4 months weighing up the pros and cons of Ponzi schemes, life insurance scams and train robberies (although I’m not sure that 13 boxes of Doritos, enough chocolate and fizzy pop to bring on instant diabetes and a train conductor’s hat would have helped us buy a house). Then our deadline was pretty much up.
This is when things got tricky. Toast finally realised that this was out of his reach and decided to make the big move in with TP. This is a pretty pragmatic and sensible decision and is probably what we should have been discussing earlier, however it came totally of the blue and the following day I found myself the sole occupant of the house.
It was a bit of a shock. I was reeling and wasn’t really sure what my next steps were.
With the previous prospect of becoming an eligible home-owner, I had obviously spent time musing about when Jen and I might move in together. In my head, her and TP would eventually move in and sitcom style hilarity would ensue. No… I hadn’t really thought it through. We probably needed at least one ferret and a drag queen to make it sitcom material.
Jen and I hadn’t actually talked about living together at that point. She was living in a shared house with two friends and her contract wasn’t due up until October. I knew that I’d love to live with her properly and we both thought it would be great, although October was a long time to be in limbo before we could find our own place to rent. It was time for some a serious huddle to talk strategy. Jen’s housemates were very understanding and were happy to let me stay for a while to give me a chance to find my feet again.
After a bit of heart-to-heart Jen and I came up with our ultimate plan: WE would buy the house, like motherfucking GROWN UPS!
There are some exciting decisions in life where you get to make grand gestures, big announcements and celebrate decisions by denting the kitchen ceiling with a poorly extracted champagne cork. Unfortunately, when the decision is forced prematurely due to circumstance it kind of takes the shine off the glory.
This is something that we both wanted to do and agreed that we would have been considering moving in together around October anyway but we’d had no time to even get used to the idea before we needed to make a massive grown up decision. It was definitely a much better plan than Toast and I buying together but we would have much preferred to have some time to talk about it, get excited and make the decision ourselves. There wasn’t any time for celebration as we were instantly thrust into the stressful logistics and finances.</flashback>
This is a lot to fit in to one post so I’ve had to skim most of the detail but I don’t want you to get the wrong idea about this decision. It was big and scary but we both really wanted it and were really excited. Having a deadline isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The whole point of this wager was to make Toast and I get off our posteriors and get us some o’ them there WIVES! Without that to motivate me I wouldn’t have learned so much about myself over the last couple of years, had such memorable experiences or met Jen.
DECORATE ALL THE THINGS!!!!
We’ve now been ‘officially’ living together for 6 weeks and it’s amazing. It feels like it’s been months. We’ve got some formidable relationship tests ahead of us including IKEA (the bane of lesser couples) and some mega decorating. Seriously, EVERY wall, ceiling and floor needs to be decorated but I know that we’re gonna lay a tag-team SMACKDOWN on that motherfuckin’ woodchip wallpaper like the Partners in Crime that are!
All our monies are now being poured into this project, which means that grand expensive life events (like expensive jewellery or parties where you dress up in pretty dress and 3 piece suit and get all your relatives and friends together to get drunk and dance to the Grease Megamix) are now FIRMLY off the cards for the foreseeable future.
However, this is the WED or Dead wager, not the ENGAGED or Dead wager.
In an unrelated conversation a friend mentioned that they had heard that Vegas do weddings with pretty much no notice. There’s no reason I mention that, I’m just saying in case someone else might feel like a Star Wars themed wedding but couldn’t wait for a Death Star wedding cake commission to be ready.
That’s the only reason.
Right, next important issue: does anyone know how to remove horrendous ‘70s gas fireplaces without a canary and armed with only a hammer and a roll of gaffer tape??
This post, like all the ring related ones are made in real time and then posted much later to not spoil the surprise of the proposal.
Today I learned that I’d make an excellent spy. Now as we spies know talking about spy stuff is technically off limits but I think I’m allowed to share in this instance and they the ‘lay people’ or ‘civilians’ know what happened.
I want to get a motorbike, I had a vague plan to get one for the summer, but since we’ve not had a summer so it’s not been that urgent really. This is where the spying begins.
I told TP at the weekend I was going to look at motorcycles. It was a lie, well a bit of a lie. I did go and look at motorcycles briefly, but also I went to look at rings. She has no idea! I spent the whole time sending her texts about how I wanted all the bikes when really I was shivering outside a window full of precious rocks.
That’s some serious spying right there.
Also learned today: Rings are not as exciting as motorcycles and I still have no idea what makes a ‘good one’ only that they cost a lot and don’t seem to do much. Seriously though what is with that?
Double O Toast.
My old chum the art dealer is on Operation Lock That Shit Down (I still need a better name for it). She knows rings and stuff and has been a friend for years. Ideal for being an adviser. She was going to help with the picking and help me get ‘a deal’ but she’s off to Ireland for two months.
No help for me.
But she just happened to bump into a diamond dealer she knows in the street (yes that really happens). She mentioned my name and he’s going to do me a deal, apparently. He’s now in my phone as ‘dealer’ which may backfire as a plan (It does make me feel cool and edgy) but now I’ve got a contact.
We’ve just spoken. I’m going to go and see him on Monday and talk about rings. This does mean that I have to find out more about various types of cuts and what TP likes without arousing her suspicion.
He also said if I take a photo of her hand he can probably size it from that. GET IN.
Also now I’ve told a real person about the proposal, it feels a little bit more real. That’s quite scary. Still no turning back, this is definitely the right thing to do.