We got married!

To some people this may be old news having spent an entire day applauding us, some people may be sad they weren’t able to come and for some this will be the first time you knew this was happening. I’ve never been interested in getting married, as in I’m not the kind of girl who has dreamt her whole life about her wedding dress. I love it when my friends get engaged and some of my best memories are now of weddings but it’s never been something that I’ve been desperate to do. I’ve had a beautiful ring for months and don’t really wear it. Maybe I will now.

How this came about was simple enough. Asraf and I had a conversation about our future. Living internationally is a constant holiday showreel but the reality is that it brings complexities if you meet someone who isn’t from the same place as you. Add into that different legal systems, cultures, and a desire to some day leave the island of Penang (amazing though it is to us) and you have marriage. Combine this with the intensity of international relationships and love after loss and you get our wedding.

Our reasons for keeping this on the DL somewhat were mostly centred around my anxiety that tragedy would strike if I dared to express any openness about happiness. I’ve not really vocalised this but my anxiety has been out of control about something happening to Asraf if we dared to believe we may actually have a chance at pulling this off. I had a panic attack in Tesco car park when printing off the invitations, I was convinced our visas wouldn’t be successful, I was certain that grief was once again just around the corner. No hen party, no attention, no discussing it at length. I have googled ‘Am I now crazy?’ a few times but turns out this is just trauma related problems and survivor’s guilt rearing their ugly heads once again.

So, apologies if you didn’t know this was happening. It had to be small because both of us don’t like the crowds (unless it’s a music concert) and because of the fear and the respect for JP.

It turns out you can plan and pull off a wedding with little money, from a different country and in a short space of time! Who knew. Our wedding was everything we wanted it to be. We combined Malaysian and UK wedding attire. Alice and Holly read their poems with the confidence of actresses. The food was top notch. Everyone loved their personalised lego people except for Mike who was disgusted that he didn’t get Robb Stark. The speeches by Asraf, my dad, Mike, Tom and Ashley were perfect. Carolyn made beautiful table decorations. My mum made the most tasty cake. The DJ was fun and wanted to be our friend. We got lots and lots of genuine, heart felt, and at times emotional, love and support. I single handedly drove most of the table to tears by making a speech and having an emotional break down after the first sentence. I think everyone is very invested in our happiness. Asraf managed to repeat some complicated legal vows from a man with a weird voice, sometimes slightly incorrectly but apparently it’s still fine. Abel stole my thunder by being the cutest baby in the world and Belle stole the dance floor.We were lucky enough to have our families there and almost all the people we love in one place. Of course most of our friends are international and we were missing some key characters. I spent quite a lot of time just looking adoringly at my friends. I received so many compliments from people about other people who they’d chatted to. The love was strong.The DJ was a central part of the night as he definitely wanted to be in the friendship group and loved my choice of ’90s and 2000s punk rock and r n b please’. In the end we kind of stopped the wedding ourselves because I don’t know if he was ever going to.

It was the best day and I’m so so so so so filled with love for the people we shared it with. Thanks universe for finally cutting us some slack. Thanks family for being our rock. Thanks friends for being our family. I’ve spent the past few hours looking through all the Polaroid photos and the comments.

Asraf, thanks for putting up with me through some complex times, highs, lows, stress and of course fun. Thanks for describing yourself as ‘an average outdoor man’ as an introduction. Thanks for listening, thanks for caring and thanks for supporting me. Thanks for sticking with the broken version of me and giving me the benefit of the doubt. It’s been a crazy journey. I had no chance of healing like I have without you. You are great.

Here’s my two favourites:

Here are some photos of differing quality. I don’t have photos of all the people and antics at this point. Shahril and Anna our Polaroid photo was a fail…