Three's A'loud

10 years of love, laughter and wine

The festive season is over! All around us the decorations are going down as we exit a month of non-stop celebrations. Often people complain about all the celebrations saying it’s just a marketing scheme by big business to sell more over the December period, but I think as humans we can never celebrate love and happiness and family enough.

Rewind back to 2015 and our little family of five was having dinner one evening when my eldest spoke up with her mouth full of food.

  • “Mom it’s really unfair!”
  • “What is so unfair my dear?”
  • “All my friends were at their parent’s wedding, except me.”

My husband and I looked at each other with raised eyebrows. Literally there were so many things we could say that we ended up not saying anything for about 30 seconds. He was the first to find his tongue, however: “You are right. It is unfair. I guess I will just have to marry another wife then.” He shrugged with a sparkle in his eye.
I started to laugh and then I stopped abruptly. “Oooh! Or we can get married again! It is our 10-year anniversary in little over a year!”
We all laughed and laughed and finished our dinner. But the thought grew into and idea and before we knew it we were planning a vow renewal for our 10 year wedding anniversary.

From the beginning so many things just fell into place effortlessly. My husband and I both work in hospitality and as a joke I contacted one of the amazing hotels in Hazyview where we both used to work as a young couple just getting to know one another. It is set on the banks of the Sabi river and has this amazing river boma where often elephant or hippo will join in the celebrations. The hotel had availability and with our history there it was really a no-brainer. Before we could change our minds we paid a deposit and secured a date.

One of my favourite things about organising our second wedding was proving that you could have a perfect day without spending money on so many of the things that people insist you have to spend a small fortune on. A local florist quoted us R8 000 for “basic” flowers but I had other plans. Shortly after moving into our house a few years ago we were particularly broke one Valentine’s Day and instead of chocolates and teddy bears my husband bought me three small lavender bushes. These have since grown into epic proportions and we drove buckets of Valentine’s lavender down to the Lowveld for our table settings. Instead of hiring décor, each table was named after one of the amazing places we have lived in during our years as a couple and random items from that country or city made up the rather interesting centre pieces. I asked two amazing friends if they would help me with hair and make-up and that time we spent getting ready and eating cheese sandwiches was also one of the highlights of my day.

Against everyone’s well meant advice, we didn’t opt for a small intimate celebration but invited all the incredible people in our lives who had helped us get to the 10-year mark. Through the years some of them helped us by babysitting. Ever so often some of them helped us with great advice. And some of them just truly saved our lives and our marriage by finishing a bottle of wine with us when we needed it most. It was such an experience having our amazing friends and family AND all their kids celebrating with us well into the night.

When in doubt… dress up! So there we were out in the Kruger Park in 34 degree heat and I told everyone that the dress code was formal. They laughed and laughed and then when I wasn’t laughing along they looked at me like I was crazy.

  • “Formal-formal?”
  • “Uhm, yes, “formal-formal.”
  • “As in formal?”
  • “Yes, formal.”
  • “You mean dresses and everything?”
  • “Yes, and everything.”
  • “So, like, formal?”
  • “… “
  • “…”

There might have been some resistance (and by “resistance” I mean “a truckload of complaining”), but I can tell you when everyone came out of their rooms that afternoon with the pretty swishy-dresses and the swanky suit-swaggers I knew it was the best choice ever. Seriously, I don’t know about you but at our age we never get to really dress up anymore. Most of our friends and family are married already and when you dress up to one of the kids’ birthday parties people seem to think you are the entertainment.

But although there were tons of kids this was no kids’ party and dressing up was one of my favourite parts of the day. Many-a-morning my 9-year-old daughter would look me up and down and say in her kindest most diplomatic voice:

  • “Mommy?”
  • “Yes my princess?”
  • “Do you like that outfit?”

My 7-year-old is not quite so diplomatic. One of my most depressing mornings started with “Haha mommy, your stomach looks like Santa Claus!”

So needless to say, when my hair was all curly and my dreamy dress was all zipped up and they both stopped what they were doing to get all teary eyed with me it gave me enough courage to deal with the next 10 years of squishy-stomach comments.

This year, during the last weekend of March, I was super amazingly lucky to renew my vows to the love of my life, father of my children and pourer of most of my wine. It was the best day ever and I am so incredibly lucky that we got to share it with our kids. We had tons of conversations with the girls about love and devotion and what they will look for in a husband someday. The list included “blue eyes”, that he must be “rich enough to always buy me R5 bouncy balls at Spur” and “that he must not be allergic to bunnies.” I have to say I can’t wait to be mother-in-law to these well rounded young gentlemen. But hopefully they will wait a few more years, because first I feel a 20-year-vow-renewal coming on….

** Watch this space for my top tips when organising a vow renewal.

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