25 March 2013

The original MNM's: Surviving the storm

If you've missed earlier instalments of this story, you can find them here: how it all begantruly, madly, deeplylong distance love, and making it work.

It's hard work, this settling into life in another land. Finding new jobs is relatively easy, and within six months they've bought their first house. She settles down to complete an Accounting degree whilst working full-time, a commitment that will take many hours of hard work and dedication over a long four years to come. But it takes even longer to feel truly settled, and for a while each time they make a trip back to the UK it unsettles them to see familiar faces and places and to wonder whether they will ever return here.

In the meantime though, there's a wedding to plan. They know that they want it to be a small, casual affair, so that they can afford a trip back to the UK to celebrate with another smaller wedding party there. They put their thinking caps on, and hatch the plan of an outdoor wedding and a marquee at his parent's friend's house up the coast in Raumati. They've heard how much more settled the weather can be up the coast and think it sounds the perfect location for a glorious summer beach wedding.

The plans take shape, and flights are booked from those travelling from other parts of the world to be here. The bridesmaid and groomsmen are selected and in some case re-selected as various life circumstances force some to pull out along the way before the big day. But they adjust their plans and look forward to what will be the biggest gathering of their family and friends in one place on this day.

And then, the week of the wedding finally arrives. And with it the worst week of storms in 40 years hits NZ. Five days before the wedding, the motorways in and out of Wellington are completely flooded. She sits her university exam at the beginning of the week with half the class missing who couldn't make it through all the closed roads. With all this unexpected rain, the roof on their 100-year old villa starts to leak in multiple places prompting her to have to get up in the roof to strategically place containers all over the place to catch all the drips. It's not a high priority this week, but it's still another thing that must be done.

Most of their overseas bridal party arrive just 2 days before the wedding (Thursday) on a hair raising Queenstown-Wellington flight with many on their flight screaming at the wild rocking turbulence throughout. The next day, the road up to the beach house is brought to a standstill for hours as a landslide at Paekakariki nearly closes the main highway north altogether. It takes the groom and his men several hours to make the usual 45-minute journey as they travel up to the beach house where they will be staying the night before the wedding. This also means the marquee is a few hours late being put up, and in their haste to make up time the marquee crew manage to hit a water main in the backyard which causes all kinds of panic and an emergency plumber has to be called.

She, back in Wellington, is blissfully unaware of some of these dramas, having been treated to a blissful half day spa session with her 2 lovely bridesmaids. And it is a good thing that she is unaware of the extent of it all, as she may have just curled up in a corner somewhere rocking quietly had she known the whole story. But one thing she does know is that the forecast for tomorrow (the day of the wedding) is for 150 km/hr winds and that isn't really conducive to a serene outdoor backyard wedding with photos on the beach afterwards now is it?!

The girls are up at dawn on the day of the wedding having hair and makeup completed before making the drive from Wellington up the coast. Despite the glorious blue skies that greet them as they awake, the clouds quickly roll in and the winds soon reach gale force by midday. She and he have made the fortuitous decision to move the location of their photos and their wedding night accommodation to a beautiful estate named Greenmantle which is inland from the beach and they are hoping will be somewhat protected from the vicious wind.

The bride is a little upset to find that the final alterations by the dress company have been grossly miscalculated and despite her knowing she has lost weight from her last fitting the dress is so tight she can barely breathe. She will later be relieved to whip off her strapless bra from under her dress during the reception to ease some of the discomfort so she can at least bear to eat.

On their way to the 4pm wedding , the girls pass a house that is being attended to by firefighters having lost most of its roof. She laughs instead of crying because that's all you can really do with the insanity of it all. She arrives at the beach house, climbs out of the car and immediately nearly loses her veil to the sky, and walks up the stairs from the garage, into the crowded lounge inside, cleared of furniture but filled with 60 of their nearest and dearest friends and sees this boy, this wonderful boy who has had her heart from the beginning. While the wind rages outside threatening to blow the very glass out of the windows all around them, he is waiting to take her hand. And that is all that matters.

Even though the marque outside nearly rips in half during the ceremony and the party lights catch on fire in the wind before everyone has even made inside to sit down for the reception, though they have to send out a runner to buy candles so guests will be able to see what they are eating as the night draws in, even though this day has turned out nothing like their original plan, it is still the best day of their lives.

These two - who were willing to risk it all six years ago in their innocence and young love, have moved heaven and earth to pledge their forever vows together on this day. Thousands of kilometres and oceans between them couldn't part them and neither could the worst storms in half a century begin to dampen their day.

And on this day, this altogether crazy nothing-went-right-but-what-the-heck-can-you-do-about-it-but-laugh day, they sealed this might-never-have been-had-they-not-believed-in-it love once and for all.

If you missed the previous posts in this series, you can find them here:

Part I The Original MNM's: How it all began
Part II The Original MNM's: Truly, Madly, Deeply
Part III The Original MNM's: Long Distance Love
Part IV: The Original MNM's: Making it Work


CHD said...

I've been enjoying your story. Thanks for sharing. Cx

Miriam said...

awesome - I love this and so true it's the marriage that matters more than the everything went perfectly on the day

Mika said...

I can see these stories being read and re-read by your boys. What a wonderful legacy you are leaving them xo

Michelle said...

I'd been eagerly awaiting the next part of the story. What an unforgetable wedding. With a start like that, your marriage will be able to weather any "storm". What a great story - real life true love (better than fiction anyday).


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