Marriage for me is something I have always wanted. It symbolises family and unity and from being a young girl I can remember always wanting to get married. Although Gid and I own a house, and after we get married nothing in our daily lives will change, for me it is a bond. A way of telling each other and the world that we are here, together, forever.
I always remember my dad saying to me once, after a break-up when I was 16 that “you will be the luckiest person in the world if you find someone who makes you as happy as your mum makes me” and to me, Gideon is that person and for me marriage is about telling the world and telling him.
Gid and I first met about 6 and a half years ago. We had started mixing in the same social circles and I had seen him a few times at our friends flat but we had never spoken much. We first properly spoke at a Halloween party where I was dressed as a leopard and Gid was, ironically, dressed as a husband with a ball and chain round his ankle. I remember him telling me that leopards hunt in trees (great chat). After that night Gid and I started messaging on Facebook and we hung out a few times. On a night out at Bar Solo in Camden for our friend Gemma’s birthday we had our first kiss. There has not been a day since then that we haven’t spoken.
Our first proper date was to watch Gid’s sister play a gig in Camden and I remember thinking, wow this guy and his family are pretty cool! I think I’m going to like him! That was until the second date when after a meal at Ask we headed to the cinema. Gid hadn’t finished his garlic bread so took a doggy bag which he then tried to take into the cinema. When they said no he asked them to keep it behind the counter-sure enough he actually went back after the film and ate it! At that point I realised he wasn’t quite as cool as I thought but he was definitely the one for me!
Over the course of the next six years we have been on an amazing adventure together. Building our lives and dealing with both the good and the bad together. Gid is very romantic (despite what he tells other people!) and loves our time together to be special and unique and that is one of the many reasons I know I’m so lucky to have him in my world. We love to get away from London together and to try new and exciting things. We have also been through challenging times together where things have looked rocky and uncertain, however, we have always said that as we have got through those times we know we are meant to be together.
At times things have been really difficult and I wasn’t always sure we would get through certain things. My inability to move after having all my wisdom teeth out wasn’t easy and Gid really struggled with how little I could do/say. He became increasingly fed up of making sweet potato mash with cottage cheese which is all I ate and I worried if he struggled with this what would happen if I was really ill! However, we have always pulled through and I do believe that it does make us stronger and more resilient to what life has thrown at us and will continue to do. What I love is that with all of these challenges we face, we get to face them together and for me that is what marriage is about. The good and the bad times, facing the world together and supporting each other through anything.
Having lived together in a rented flat in East Finchley for a year and a half, Gid and I decided to move in with parents so we could save money to buy our own place. We knew it was the right decision but also knew that all four of us living under the same room was going to be intense. I felt like I was a child again and Gid felt he was a visitor. It was at times incredibly hard time for us (and my parents) and we had to remain strong despite having very little space that we could call our own. Although I do have the best parents in the world and they did do everything to make it as good as it could be. What was meant to be a 6 month stay ended up being 13 months and in the middle of it all Gid decided to propose…
In October last year we went to Israel for a friend’s wedding. As we were living at my parents this holiday was a welcome break from the stresses of house hunting and the delight of four adults trying to live harmoniously together in my family home. One night half way through the holiday Gid said we were going to have a ‘date night’ as the friends we were staying with were going to Netanya for dinner. Gid suggested we went for a walk on the beach and walked over to our favourite sushi restaurant, ‘Moon Lite’ for dinner. Before we left the py couplartment, Gid and our friend Arieh were spending ages in the bedroom. Little did I know they were having a stress because they couldn’t find an outfit for Gid to wear where he could hide the ring! They settled on a winter coat! (It was 26 degrees outside) I then spent the whole walk asking Gid why he was wearing a coat. Why didn’t he just take it off? And telling him his hands were way too sweaty! He was surprisingly quiet!
About half way through we decided to go sit on the beach close to Jaffa. We sat on the rocks talking about life when Gid suddenly stood up. He took my hand and suggested we have a ‘standing hug’ (whatever that is!); the next thing I knew he was down on one knee saying things I no longer remember. He had designed the ring himself and presented me with the most stunning sapphire and diamond ring! My heart was literally doing somersaults, now I look back on it, it was such a surreal moment that I don’t really think I could ever put into words.
The first thing I did was call my parents, who were actually on holiday in Russia, and Gid attempted to call his mum. After several failed attempts, finally got through to her and decided as a joke, to tell her we had had a fight, at that point his phone cut out and apparently his mum was now crying because she thought the whole proposal had gone wrong! Thankfully he managed to call her back! Dinner afterwards was spent eating sushi and taking calls from very excited family and friends.
On arrival back in London we were unfortunately hit with very sad news that Gid’s beloved Nana had passed away. It was such a shock and was a very surreal time where we were greeted by people with ‘Mazel Tov, let me see the ring, and wish you long life’ all in the same breath. The first time we saw Gid’s mum was in Leicester surrounded by his family shortly after his Nana had died. Tears of immense happiness with tears of immense sadness all rolled in to one made it one of the strangest times for us. We put everything on hold and didn’t see or celebrate with any of our friends until after the Shiva. It was very humbling to be mourning whilst having just got engaged. Gid’s Nana and Grandpa were so in love and were each other’s whole world. For me it made me realise how special Gid and his entire family are to me and that if we could have the wonderful marriage and life our grandparents had had then we would be incredibly lucky.
Telling my class was such an amazing moment, they were so excited and I was inundated with wedding planner requests! I am excited about having my class help me with my wedding and I definitely want them to play a part in it. For me they are the people I spend my days with and they are very special to me. Seeing their happiness for me was so wonderful and when Gid joined me on a class camping trip he became a celebrity as they all wanted to meet my ‘fiancà©e!’
For me, a wonderful moment was when we could actually start planning our wedding, what a joy it was to finally be able to make my Pinterest secret board a reality and to share it with Gid. Of course he was under the impression I had merely created it since we got engaged. Little did he know this had been months of pinning and searching. I knew what I wanted and I couldn’t wait to see what Gid thought. It was amazing to know that we were both on the same page and had the same ideas for what we wanted. It had been our dream to get married in Israel but as Gid’s grandpa couldn’t fly and it was a lot to ask our friends and family abroad we decided to re-create the laid back, fun atmosphere of an Israeli wedding in England! And of course, pray for wonderful weather!
As a teacher I felt quite tied to school holidays as the thought of teaching on either side of my wedding did not fill me with much joy. We had always wanted a spring wedding and although we have to save to pay for the wedding we didn’t want our engagement to be more than 18 months. We settled on April 20th and picked a Thursday as this not only was cheaper, but meant that we had the weekend after the wedding to enjoy with our friends and family.
I am a serial blog reader and spent hours and hours searching through weddings and websites looking at venues. We decided we wanted a barn/outside wedding and finding one within an hour of London (my mum’s request) that could sit at least 160 people was very hard to find. Lillibrooke Manor in Maidenhead was only the second venue we saw and we fell in love with it immediately. The beautiful rustic barns are just exquisite and the gardens and surrounding land makes it feel like you are in the middle of nowhere. I had originally wanted to get married in a field with tipis but the risk of rain at that time of the year meant Gid convinced me this was not going to be a good idea. I remember getting in the car after we had been shown around and us both grinning from ear to ear at each other; we just knew it was the place.
I, so far, have loved planning the wedding and organising and deciding things. We set up a wedding website using the Appy Couple website for guests which has hotels on as the venue is out of London. We love the idea of waking up the next day and still being surrounded by our friends and family. We have so much to do but as we have a lot of time to plan it has been nice to enjoy doing everything at a slow pace and really taking each part in and savouring the moments.
We have thrown away certain traditions and brought in our own new ones as we want it to be all about the party and having fun with the people we love. Creating a schedule revolving around getting the most amount of dance time has been our aim and of course lots of drinking and some time for eating (only two courses to make more time for partying)!
Watching our ideas start to become a reality is so exciting and I can’t wait to see what the next 11 months bring as we continue to build the wedding of our dreams together.
Fran will be marrying Gideon on 20th April 2017 at Lillibrooke Manor, Berkshire.