Firstly, apologies if your all “wedding-ed” out after yesterday. I managed to miss it as I was at the town’s annual Rose Fete where Isobel was dancing. Today is our 8th wedding anniversary, but it shouldn’t be. In fact it should have been April 23rd…but Mother Nature had other ideas. Ever since that debacle we’ve both struggled to remember when our anniversary actually is…thank goodness for Facebook memories 😉 So the subject of today’s post is why I missed my own wedding thanks to a volcano with an unpronounceable name.
When we got engaged I was already pregnant with Isobel. We went to Barbados when I was just into my second trimester and Pete proposed at an amazing restaurant called The Cliff. It wasn’t spontaneous – we’d already chosen a ring – but we decided to actually get engaged on his late father’s birthday. As Barbados is our “special place” we wanted to get married there too. I didn’t want a big, fancy wedding (been there done that, didn’t work out) so it made sense to get hitched on our favourite island in a small, intimate ceremony.
A few friends decided to fly out so they could share our special day and have a wonderful holiday at the same time. The only family members going were both our mums. Our friends flew out about a week before we were due to go. Our wedding was booked for St George’s Day (just because it would make it easier to remember!) a couple of days before our friends were due to fly home. And then a volcano called Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland erupted and spewed thousands of tonnes of ash into the air, grounding all flights. We were all packed and ready to go, but there was no way we were going to make it to our wedding. We were gutted.
So we then had the frustrating task of contacting the airline, wedding planner and accomodation owners to schedule another date. But a few days before the rearranged wedding, the ash cloud was still affecting flights and ours was cancelled again. I was at the end of my maternity leave and had no choice but to go back to work while we rearranged it all yet again. At one point Pete had maxed out his credit card booking flights for the five of us before any refunds had come through. Thankfully we were granted some additional leave from work to make a third attempt at getting hitched (third time lucky?) and it was booked for 20th May.
That pesky volcano hadn’t quite done tormenting us though, because just before we were due to leave there was another smaller eruption. When we arrived at the hotel near Gatwick airport the night before the flight the sky was eerily quiet. Pete hardly slept worrying that we might be thwarted yet again. At the airport terminal there were flight disruptions, but luckily not ours. When the plane finally left the tarmac I think we all let out an enormous sigh of relief. Pete actually threw up (sorry, too much information?).
Instead of the usual eight hour flight, it took 13 hours to get there due to having to take a different route. Not that we cared. We made it to Barbados and that was all that mattered. The wedding planner was super helpful and made sure everything on the day went to plan. The only thing she couldn’t prevent was Isobel crying through the ceremony (not sure they were tears of joy!). We said our vows on the lookout point of Welchman Hall Gully, a little spot of stunning natural beauty on the island. There was no fuss; we drove ourselves there and didn’t have a photographer…I bought my wedding dress for £40 on eBay! Afterwards we had a simple meal at a restaurant overlooking the rugged East coast.
After lunch we headed back to the Royal Westmoreland estate (where we’d rented a house) and enjoyed a rum punch in the club house. Royal Westmoreland is a world-renowned golf course, and is popular with footballers and other sporting types. We ended up sharing the communal pool with ex-footballer Robbie Savage and his family. When we had dinner at a very nice restaurant called Tides on the last night of our holiday, he was also there and sent a bottle of champagne over to our table. I thought that was a lovely gesture 🙂
So we got there in the end, after a lot of stress and uncertainty, but it was all worth it. We’ve celebrated our anniversary today with lunch at a local gastro pub which has just introduced a vegan menu 🙂