When I read this Guest Shoe Post by Kay Lam-MacLeod, a lot of things occurred to me.
When I was twenty, I couldn’t imagine being a lawyer let alone being a lawyer with kids. At that time there just weren’t many female lawyers over the age of 35 working in the firms that I worked for let alone female lawyers with kids, husbands and lives.
Kay is a lawyer with all three of the foregoing – someone who has achieved a lot and in her own way. She is the kind of lawyer that I wish I’d had to look forward to being when I was twenty years old.
By her own admission she a bit of rebel – she was born into a family of geeks and she turned her back on it all to become a lawyer (albeit one that specialises in technology law). She runs her own IT law firm, IDEALAW which gives her a means of :
“Practising law in a way that won’t make me want to slash my wrists.”
Our wedding celebrant Elizabeth asked me, in suitably hushed and sensitive tones over the phone, whether our various offspring would be involved in the wedding ceremony.
Pfft. As if we’d bring six kids along to our honeymoon.
The biggest question we asked ourselves (after ‘should we get married’, obviously) was – what’s important – to us? We’d been running separate businesses at opposite ends of the country (he in Western Australia, me in Queensland) juggling kids and commitments, and barely even being incidentally in the same state at the same time. What we really wanted was to spend some time together, just the two of us, but the other ‘trappings’ of a normal wedding, didn’t matter a jot.
We discovered that the beauty of being in your forties is that there are fewer expectations (or more accurately, there are lots more expectations, but you’re in a far better position to ignore the ones you wilfully deem extraneous).
No need for a horse and carriage fairytale wedding, or fancy but oddly inedible wedding cake. No wedding guest list including people you wouldn’t recognise if you bumped into them in the street. No wedding party encompassing various distant relatives and friends from school. We frankly didn’t have the time and patience to organise a full scale wedding. The very prospect of packing bonbonnieres filled me with a strange sense of dread. And our friends and family know they’re welcome to drop by to our house any time to wish us well (gifts are even optional).
So we decided to elope to Tasmania, combining the wedding ceremony with a week-long honeymoon.
What to wear? Red’s my favourite colour. I did buy a new frock, red of course – but dispensed with the veil, tiara, jewellery and bouquet (and funny horseshoe shaped ornaments and frilly garter the groom’s supposed to remove with his teeth)… after all, the whole kit and caboodle would have to be lumbered around for the rest of the honeymoon as well.
Shoes? Ah the shoes. I was tempted to go barefoot. I didn’t particularly want to buy new shoes and then cover them with the same fabric from the frock – it just seemed like too much hard work.
But when I looked through my shoe collection, I found I had no less than half a dozen pairs of red shoes already. Did I mention red’s my favourite colour?
I settled on my favourite pair of pointy toed red patent stilettos. The ones I’d bought on sale several years ago, only to find when I got home that they weren’t quite a matching pair – but which I kept anyway because they fit so nicely.
We hired a heritage listed workers cottage in the historic village of Richmond, and were married under the 100 year old apple tree in the gardens. No one was invited.
In a strange way, my mismatching red stilettos served as a symbol of two people who, even though they might not match according to the standard rules of convention, simply felt so right that it was hard to argue they didn’t belong together. I understand other brides have dreams of exactly how they want their weddings to be, and I wish them all the best. But we made a conscious decision to ignore convention and do things our own way.
And as we strolled around the village following the ceremony, having a few photos taken, I found there was a distinct advantage to wedding shoes which were already well and truly worn in.
Then afterwards, we went to the Richmond Arms, the local pub, and had steak and chips for dinner.