This is a guest post by Mel Islin, STG Blogging Bride. and a member of STG’s Brides Club.
Her 1 year wedding anniversary was yesterday, 18 March!
Our first year of marriage – by Mel Islin
Our first year of marriage. Even just writing it is mad. It feels like just yesterday I was writing my very first blog as a Smashing the Glass blogging bride, introducing myself and Mitch to all you lovely lot. That was nearly 2 years ago (May 2017)! People say you should enjoy your engagement because the wedding comes around quick, they say you should enjoy your planning because the wedding day is over in a flash… but no one tells you how fast time goes after the wedding.
Images above by Chiko Photography
We decided very early on that we didn’t want to wait weeks or months before going on our honeymoon, we wanted to go straight away. And I am so glad we did. Our parents said they felt the ‘slump’ after the wedding because it was all over. But we didn’t because we were having the time of our lives on our dream honeymoon.
We decided we wanted to do a trip that didn’t involve 2 weeks of laying on the beach doing nothing. We wanted to do things we had never done and create new memories as newlyweds. I always had a dream of driving a Ford Mustang convertible through desert roads. And that’s what we did…and so much more.
My husband (it still feels weird saying that) and I spent 16 days driving around the west coast of America in a Ford Mustang. I will add at this point that our chosen car was completely impractical when it came to transporting 16 days’ worth of clothing and shopping. There is virtually no boot space. By the end of the trip we became car packing experts! But that was a minor detail. The car itself was great fun.
Our trip involved visits to LA, Las Vegas, Death Valley, Mammoth Lakes, Lake Tahoe, Sacramento and San Francisco. It was truly a trip of a lifetime and one I would recommend to anyone.
We created so many new memories; walking along the walk of fame in LA, seeing the bright lights of Las Vegas, a moonlight horse ride through the desert in Death Valley, riding a snow mobile in Mammoth Lakes, taking a horse and cart ride through Old Sacramento, whale watching in San Francisco, and so much more.
‘The Wedding Blues’
Everyone warned me about ‘the wedding blues’. That feeling of going from manic planning, excitement and euphoria, to…nothing. The wedding is over. There is no more planning. No more excitement. No more stress. I genuinely prepared myself. I am quite a sensitive person. I have been known to shed a little tear going back to work after a two-week holiday. Don’t judge me!
But in reality, I never got ‘the wedding blues’. Why? Because we still had so much to look forward to once the wedding and honeymoon was over. We had the photos. The video. Friends and family reminiscing about the wedding. People asking us about our honeymoon. Creating a photo book of our honeymoon pictures. Sending out thank you cards. So even though the wedding and celebrations were over, we were still focused on the wedding for months afterward.
The hardest year
Some say the first year of marriage is the hardest. I can’t say I agree. It has been such a wonderful year for us. Like many couples these days, Mitch and I lived together before we got married. So that was no change for us. In a way, it was like we were already living the married life before we got married. We just now have a ring and a certificate to make it legal.
If anything, our first year of marriage has been the most exciting. We have thought lots about our next steps and our future together. Our first major step was the decision to sell our first home. It was a decision we made a few months into our marriage. We love our home, but it is the next logical step for us to move somewhere with a little more space. Especially for our future when we want to start a family.
It is interesting how, at first, conversations are all about the wedding. Then when the wedding is over, talk turns to ‘what now?’. For us, it is selling our house.
I didn’t really have any expectations for our first year of marriage. All my thoughts and emotions were tied up in the wedding itself, I never really thought about life after the wedding. I do know though that the first year didn’t disappoint.
It’s really interesting how people perceive you once you’re married. I have unmarried friends who have referred to me as “so grown up” now that I’m married. Even though we are the same age. I have had other people, mainly work colleagues, who can’t believe I got married “so young”. We were just turned 28 when we married, which I wouldn’t perceive particularly young or old to get married.
In a way I also feel like my relationship with Mitch’s family has changed. I was always made to feel welcome and part of the family, but now that we are married, and I share the same name as his family, it just makes me feel like we are a proper family unit.
Since being married I feel like we are a stronger partnership. We are husband and wife. We have made a lifelong commitment to each other. That commitment makes my love for Mitch stronger. It makes me feel like we are unbreakable.
Adjusting to a name change
One thing I love the most about being married is that we now share the same surname. It was never in question that I wouldn’t take Mitch’s name when we got married. Mitch and I are both quite traditional in that sense.
It has taken some getting used to though. Not least creating, and remembering, a new signature. I used many pages in my notebook creating and practicing my new signature. I have it nailed now though. Also referring to Mitch as my husband, and being a Mrs, has taken a lot of getting used to.
Whilst it has been all lovely becoming a wife and a Mrs, it also has its challenges. One being informing everyone that you have changed your name. Work. The bank. Credit card companies. Passport. DVLA. Car finance company. Insurance companies. Utilities companies. The council. Loyalty card schemes. The list feels endless.
It’s not always a straightforward process either with many companies needing to see original copies of your marriage certificate. Meaning it can take weeks to change your name with just one company. My advice to anyone changing their name is to make a list of all the organisations you need to inform. Rank them in order of importance as some you should change immediately whilst others can wait. My priorities were the banks, work, DVLA (including changing my driving license), car insurance company and credit card companies.
Next on my list included the doctor, utility companies and the council for council tax purposes and electoral roll. There are others I haven’t done yet, including my passport (remember to book holidays in whatever name your passport says) and loyalty card schemes.
Creating a Jewish home
Whilst we aren’t particularly religious, we are really proud of our Jewish heritage and are proud to show that off in our home.
One of the first things we did after getting married is getting our beautiful personalised Ketubah framed and hung on the wall. It is the first thing you see when you enter our home which I love.
Sadly, Mitch’s grandma was too unwell to attend our wedding and passed away 6 months after we got married. She generously gifted us some money which we wanted to put the towards something meaningful, that we would keep forever and would help us create a Jewish home for our family. We purchased some handmade Murano glass candlesticks and mezuzot from the Jewish Quarter in Venice. These are constantly displayed in our home so not only are they a nice reminder of our trip to Italy, but a lovely way to remember Mitch’s grandma.
Excited for the future
Now that we are married we have so much to look forward to; buying our first home as a married couple, an anniversary trip to Berlin, our first ever cruise in the summer, thinking about when to start a family. I am so excited to see what our second year and beyond has in store.
Remembering my Blogging Bride experience
I absolutely loved my time blogging for Smashing the Glass. It was such an amazing way to write about my wedding planning journey and put my feelings on paper. I always planned on printing copies of each blog so I could read back on it in years to come. My amazing in-laws took that to the next level and made me a book containing all my blogs. It was so thoughtful and something I can keep forever.
My STG experience
When I first started planning my wedding I was completely clueless. But then I found Smashing The Glass and their Brides Club. What an incredible platform Karen has created. Everything from recommended vendor and real wedding blogs, to blogging brides and the incredibly supportive Brides Club Facebook group. It has been amazing to share my experiences with other brides and help each other. So thank you Karen, Maria and Emily and all the team for making this experience truly wonderful.
Mrs Islin x
Wedding Photography by Chiko Photography
See Mel + Mitch’s wedding here.