Intention to Marry

As we’ve started delving deeper into wedding planning, it’s become apparent that there are some aspects that are more inconvenient than enjoyable. The main one is my uncontrollable emotions anytime somebody mentions the wedding, and another is the concept of giving notice, also known as intention to marry. Intention to marry is where you go to the registry office and notify the council that you intend on marrying. In all honesty, I’m surprised they hadn’t already heard.

When I called to make the appointment and confirm whether it’s really £70 just to tell somebody we were planning to get married, the lady explained that it’s actually £35, it’s only £70 if both of you give notice. Notice the key in her reply here – ‘if both of you give notice.’ Conditional. So, excited by the prospect of finally saving money on this wedding rather than spending, I confirmed that just one of us can give the notice for both of us to marry. ‘No’, she replied like it was the most obvious thing in the world, and even started to speak more slowly, ‘two people must give their notice to marry each other… because there are two people in a marriage, and they’re marrying each other’. Awkward silence.

So, being typically British as I am, I opted for the polite response of ‘OK great, thank you so much, you’ve been really helpful!’, before getting off the phone and ranting to thin air about what the point of that entire conversation was. It is £70, like I said all along because one person obviously can’t marry themselves. But then I thought, it is 2019, you probably can marry yourself. I recall the story of the girl who married a train station, which got me thinking whether the train station would be forced to take a day off work and to pay £35 notice too, and how would that work? How does a train station take a day off? Is it only people who have to pay? I realised I was spiralling into another dimension and brought myself back to Earth. My question has been answered – it really is £70 to inform people we intend to marry, despite the fact that I’ve been telling anybody who will listen for free for the last two years!

So the day to give notice finally arrives. I wake up at 6am and wait until a semi-reasonable hour to wake James who naturally, couldn’t be less interested. I receive texts off friends wishing me a happy ‘wedding day’ and smile to myself, feeling touched and suspecting once again that my friends may actually be more excited for our wedding than we are. I jump on James, shouting ‘Wedding day! Wedding day!’ to which he unenthusiastically replies ‘it’s not really though, is it.’ We’re off to a great start! We had arranged a funfilled day out to give notice, have lunch and look at wedding rings. Later on we were headed over to our venue for our food tasting, so it was a great day ahead. I found myself puzzled that it was 7am and I hadn’t cried yet, but appreciated that I was excited and uncharacteristically non-emotional.

We get to the registry office, and a part of me feels irrationally nervous that they might actually decline our marriage. It was a bit like the feeling of going through airport security panicking they’ll find a load of heroin in your hand luggage, despite packing and repacking your case 597 times and never having touched heroin in your life. We are interviewed separately and all is going smoothly, I’m impressed with my newfound calmness, when suddenly, like a smack to the face, I feel it. I find myself tearing up when I’m given the papers to sign. To see on paper that I am now, officially, after 9 years together, giving formal notice of my intention to marry my beloved James, well it was all just too much for me to handle. I had to keep my head down whilst I read, confirmed and signed because I didn’t want the guy to have cause for alarm and revoke his approval because the weirdo in front of him is inexplicably crying over a piece of paper.

I sign and confirm, am informed of next steps and escorted back to the waiting room to swap places with James. He’s in and out within two minutes because apparently I’d done all the hard work. I think how aptly representative of our entire wedding planning process that was (no offense James). We leave the registry office happy to have another wedding task accomplished, when I ask James ‘did you get a little emotional when you read and signed the papers?’. He looks at me like I’ve got ten heads and then bursts out laughing, quoting his usual response – ‘for f**ks sake!’. I wonder whether I’ll ever learn to control my emotions, ideally before the next 12 weeks’ are out. Giving notice wasn’t really an emotional task, but I sure made it one. I cant help wondering if adrenaline will keep me going on the day, or whether I’ll just cry all day and everybody will have to deal with it. Now the notice is in, we are officially on the countdown. Only time will tell!

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