Here we have three gorgeous brides letting us in on what they were thinking on their wedding day. Firstly Clare, who lost a lot of weight and nearly her life, in the run up to the day. Her wedding signifies a time when life started to get a bit easier and we think she looks absolutely blooming lovely! We also interviewed Charlie, who married young and had a hunch that she was making a mistake, and Becky, who marred a man before realising she was gay. All three of our brides showed great retrospective wisdom and honesty. And as always, Reveal made the story look super!
Charlie: “I was making a mistake.”
As our eyes met at the altar, I felt overwhelmingly confused. I loved the man standing in front of me, but it had all happened so quickly and I wasn’t confident that we were doing the right thing.
We read out our vows and Lee, now 34, looked so happy. But I was worried. Over and over, I kept thinking: Am I making a mistake? Will this last forever?
I was 16 when I met Lee. He was 22. I was three months pregnant with our first child when, on my 18th birthday, he proposed.
It seemed like the sensible thing to do – after all, we had a baby on the way.
We got on well but we argued a lot too. Firstly because we lived with Lee’s mum and it was cramped, then because we were saving for the wedding and had no money, then Lee lost his job… We ignored the possibility that we just didn’t get on.
I thought it would be a long engagement, but then booked a meeting with the vicar. Suddenly it was happening. I didn’t know if my reservations were just wedding jitters or if I was right, we were too young.
I didn’t share my concerns with Lee because I was convinced I was just nervous. I knew he made me laugh, he was kind hearted. He was a great dad to Phoenix. I loved him and knew I wanted to be with him, but I didn’t know if I was ready for marriage.
The night before the wedding, I wrote out the order of service. It didn’t feel real. I was six months pregnant with our second child, Alexis, now eight, and we’d rushed the wedding plans to accommodate an elderly, poorly relative. I didn’t feel in control of the decision.
We didn’t have any money. Our wedding reception was in the local pub, the Nevill, in Hangleton, Hove. The wedding breakfast was sausage rolls. It wasn’t how I’d imagined my wedding day to be and I didn’t feel how I knew I should have.
As the years went on, I inevitably changed. Aged 22, I joined a gym and started training to be a personal trainer. I met new friends. I found strength and a new identity.
We broke up when I was 24 – I was divorced before any of my friends even got married. I’ve been with my new man three years but we won’t get married until we’re absolutely sure. Marriage should be something two people do when truly know they are ready. It shouldn’t be rushed.
I don’t regret marrying Lee because we had two wonderful children together and plenty of happy memories. But I was right, we were too young, it was too soon and we were not compatible. There was a reason I was worried I was making a mistake on my wedding day – if there is a next time, the only thing I want to be thinking on the day is that I’m absolutely sure.
Clare: “I can’t believe it’s me!”
I’ll never forget seeing my reflection for the first time on my wedding day. I couldn’t believe it was me.
I’d spent years feeling unhappy about who I was. On my wedding day, I felt like I had my identity back.
It wasn’t just about weight loss either. There were times in the years leading up to our wedding when I wasn’t even sure I’d make it.
As a size 18, I never wanted people to look at me. If people did look, I was convinced it was because they were laughing at my size.
I longed to be invisible. I even used to walk behind Ste, short for Stephen, in the hopes people wouldn’t see me. But not on our wedding day. That day, I was proud to be seen.
I’d always struggled with my weight – I was a size 18 when I was 18. I couldn’t understand it – I barely ate. I’d have toast for breakfast, skip lunch and have a takeaway or microwave meal for dinner.
I’d resigned myself to the fact I was just a fat person.
Age 22, I discovered a rare tumour in my arm. Doctors explained it was a desmoid soft tissue tumour. It was removed, but it grew back within three months.
Doctors warned me I shouldn’t have children, because the tumour would feed off the hormones. ‘You might not make it through pregnancy,’ they said.
Ste had proposed during Christmas 2009 but the diagnosis made me realise how much I wanted a child, so Ste and I decided to try for a baby before setting a date for our wedding.
The doctors were right, the tumour grew to 20cm during my pregnancy. I was in so much pain I couldn’t move and eventually they induced the labour. Story was born on 21st April 2011.
By then, I was a size 20. I spent a year on medication then had six weeks of radiotherapy. The tumour started shrinking.
Meanwhile, we set a date for our wedding, giving me the goal I needed to lose weight. I went to a Slimming World class and couldn’t believe it when they told me I needed to eat more – suggesting three healthy meals a day and snacks in between.
For a year, I never once missed the gym, going for two hours twice a week, plus one or two spinning classes too.
The wedding dress shop insisted I buy the dress in a size 20 but I knew I could do it, so I changed the order to a size 14.
‘That’s a lot of weight to lose in a year,’ they said. But on 20th September 2013, we married, and my size 14 wedding dress had to be taken in twice!
I went from 16st to 11st 9lbs. I’m 5ft4in and had lost nearly 5st.
My dad and the master of ceremonies, Chris, were the first people to see me. Chris said: ‘Some days I see a princess from a fairytale – this is one of those days.’ My dad, Phil, 64, started welling up.
We walked across the grounds of the wedding venue in Cyprus, towards the ceremony. People were stopping to take my picture – I felt like a celebrity.
And as I walked down the aisle, tears ran down Ste’s cheeks. Thinking back to how I used to feel when I walked anywhere, I’d come so far.
I’m now a size 12 and the tumour continues to shrink. I’m more healthy, confident and happy. Now when I look at the wedding pictures, I’m beginning to believe it is me smiling back.
Becky: “I hoped I wasn’t gay.”
I’d just left school at the age of 16 when I first experimented with a woman – a lesbian friend of mine. It felt so right and I thought then I might be gay. But my parents weren’t happy when I told them so I buried my feelings deep.
Instead, I decided maybe I was bi-sexual.
I got together with Paul a year later. He knew that I was bi-sexual but he wasn’t phased. He was a total gentleman and treated me so well I fell in love. I wanted to be with him and him alone.
I’d had a tough childhood and Paul accepted my issues and faults. I wanted things to work between us because I felt so safe with him. He was caring, supportive and kind.
He moved in with me and when I was 19, he took me to Paris and proposed.
I said yes but a few days later I reminded him that I was still attracted to women too. Again Paul told me he didn’t mind and I loved him so much I was sure I would never stop feeling the way I felt then. I could block out my attraction to women because I’d met someone so special.
Our wedding day was beautiful. The 20th April 12 years ago, at Birmingham Registry Office.
It was so sunny and there were flowers in bloom everywhere. Paul and the boys wore navy blue, my dress flared at the bottom and had a bow at the back. Our parents were there and 170 friends met us for a huge reception afterwards.
In the morning, as I was getting ready, my mum asked me if I was absolutely sure I was making the right decision. I assured her – and myself – that I was. I felt trepidation but told myself it was just wedding-day nerves and nothing more.
I wanted to commit to a lifetime with him but there was a tiny part of me wondering if I could. As we said our vows I ignored the thought that I shouldn’t be marrying a man. I was signing up to a lifetime of exclusivity with a man and I was determined that I could make it work.
Paul and I were married four years. Then I met a woman who I developed feelings for and I asked Paul if we could take a break so I could work out what I wanted. I was so torn – I didn’t want to be gay, I wanted to be straight with my lovely husband but I couldn’t fight it.
While we were on the break, I realised I wasn’t being true to myself. It was time to accept my sexuality. I was heartbroken as I left Paul – I still loved him, just not in the right way for a marriage.
People turned on me. Friends said I should never have married Paul in the first place, I should have known better. Paul and I didn’t speak for a long time. But we’re the best of friends again now. He understands you can’t choose your sexuality and I am proud to say I was never dishonest and I never cheated.
I’ve had a few relationships with women since I officially came out in 2006. I’ve been with my girlfriend for nearly five months now (GOT TOGETHER NOV 2013) and she’s incredible. She’s helping me see I have nothing to be ashamed of.
It took me a long time to accept my sexuality. I could never go back to being with a man now. I’ve learned to accept who I am, who I want to be with and I’m happy being me.
I don’t regret marrying Paul and I hope he doesn’t regret marrying me either. We had a great few years. But that niggling feeling that I wasn’t being true to myself ended up being right.