Things You Only Know If: You’ve Gone From Committed Singleton To ‘Basic Bride’

'Suddenly, I want all the things I used to roll my eyes at: the dress, the flowers, the inexplicably expensive cake. There is a new and very loud voice in my head, it insists that this is my special day, I’m a f**king princess and I should have exactly what I want'

Lindsey Kelk

by Lindsey Kelk |

I have always been someone who has a very clear idea about who I am, and that is someone who hasn’t the slightest interest in getting married. Or, at least, it was until my boyfriend proposed. Even though I write romcoms for a living, I never saw a happily-ever-after on the cards for myself. Not that I didn’t believe in love or relationships – it’s just that the thought of getting married made me very uncomfortable.

My parents got divorced when I was little, as did several of my aunts and uncles, and now that I’m 38, more than half the weddings I attended in my twenties and early thirties are falling apart at the seams. And yet, here I am with a diamond ring on my finger, surrounded by bridal magazines and shipping 100 sticks of customised rock from Blackpool to Los Angeles for my upcoming reception. What happened? Who am I?

Before meeting Jeff, I was single for the best part of a decade and my dating habits made Carrie Bradshaw look both lazy and well-adjusted. I made it my business to only engage with emotionally unavailable men who propped up my narrative – the committed singleton who was better off on her own. Singledom was a safe, comfortable place, filled with nice cocktails, fantastic friends and unnecessarily expensive shoes. I loved my freedom and I was truly happy, certain that I was better off on my own than with someone I couldn’t trust, and I didn’t trust anyone.

My relationship with my fiancé snuck up on me when I least expected it. We met when I was visiting friends in LA. No one expected a holiday romance to come to anything, but before I could work out how to sabotage the relationship, his decency and openness starved my drama addiction of its oxygen and I fell in love. When he proposed after five years together, my first reaction was total hysterics. Thankfully, my laughing at the ring for a straight minute did not put him off. After all, he knows me – that’s why he proposed. But I didn’t know myself nearly as well as I thought I did. Everything I’d ever said about marriage went out the window: I wanted to marry him; I wanted the wedding and the dress and the hen do.

The weirdest part was the compulsion to show the ring to complete strangers. Behold! I am loved! I have been deemed marriageable by a man I’ve already been living with for several years and with whom I have raised two cats! In one swift, romantic move, he knocked the cynic right out of me. For about 48 hours. Slowly but surely, I started to second-guess myself. Did the fact I’d insisted my fiancé take (aggressively filtered) selfies with me right after he proposed make me a bad feminist? Was I letting the sisterhood down by ordering monogrammed pashminas for our guests in case the outdoor evening do ‘gets a bit chilly’? Even though we’ve been together for a while, I’ve never truly let go of my inner singleton – but by wearing his ring on my finger, I felt as though I was killing a part of myself.

When I think ‘bride’, I think of blushing, gushing, frothy confection, equal parts tulle and bullsh*t. Brides are sweet, pretty and innocent, while I’m all bleached hair and sarcasm. I’m someone who is really rather grateful that none of my grandparents are around to ask whether or not I should be wearing white. And I will be wearing white, because I’ve already bought an actual, proper wedding dress. I floated out of my body and watched myself try it on, beaming at the mirror while my friend cried. Just like on the telly.

My inner basic bride is in a final battle with my cynical singleton, and it turns out she’s a lot stronger than I expected. Suddenly, I want all the things I used to roll my eyes at: the dress, the flowers, the inexplicably expensive cake. I want it all. There is a new and very loud voice in my head that keeps me awake at night, scrolling through Pinterest. It insists that this is my special day, I’m a f**king princess and I should have exactly what I want. Where did it come from? And why do I love it so much?

For the most part, my friends were delighted – with only one or two raised eyebrows. After all, wasn’t I the one who always decried the institution of marriage? I’ve explained to them over (nice) cocktails (while wearing unnecessarily expensive shoes) that I haven’t really changed – but my opinion has. It turns out I was wrong, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. The truth is, I’m embarrassed by how much I want to celebrate marrying the man I love, and I feel foolish for being so outspokenly anti-marriage in the past.

As ridiculous as it sounds (especially to me), getting engaged did exactly what I was afraid it would and shunted me right out of my comfort zone – into a happier place I didn’t believe existed. Just because I was happy when I was single, doesn’t mean I’m letting myself or anyone else down by being happy to get married. It means I’m changing and growing – and spending $1,000 on a pair of ridiculous Gucci heels I’ll only wear once. at’s who I am now, and it’s brilliant.

Lindsey’s latest book, ‘I Heart Hawaii’ (£7.99, HarperCollins) is out now

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