Last Saturday marked exactly 8 weeks before my wedding day, and I celebrated by having a hen do with my friends and family in Liverpool. It was a bright and colourful weekend filled with alcohol, friends, and, of course, feather boas.
I had been worried at first about how well everyone would gel together. I was with an eclectic mix of people, surrounded by people I knew from different walks of my life, and I had no idea how they’d all fit together. Complex family relationships also added to the anxiety and I had no idea how it would pan out.
It turned out I needn’t have worried too much. Complex family relationships did cause a bit of worry but fortunately, my friends were all so outgoing and talkative that it was difficult for people to not feel included. In fact, I rekindled a love for the people around me that I didn’t expect. Despite the alcohol and the music, the weekend for me was a weekend of exploring the different types of love in my life.
From a mum I love so fiercely and want to protect with my life, to a mum who isn’t my mum but who is welcoming me into her family with a kindness and gentleness I adore. From friends I connect with only on occasions to friends I connect with so deeply our affection is palpable. People I have a complex love for, that I want to strangle but also shield from the rest of the world. There are so many different kinds of love in my life and I’m grateful for it all.
It’s those connections that I’ll remember my hen do for. The overwhelming gratitude that so many people from all over the country came together in one place to be with me still carries with me. People overcame a lot of obstacles to be there: sickness, dying family members, distance, and the fact that they did that just for a weekend of drinking and laughing made me feel so happy.
For me, it wasn’t about my “last jaunt as a free woman” – it was about spending time with people who are important to me. It was a reminder that, although I am entwining my fate and life with the man I love, the other types of love and the other connections in my life are just as valid, just as precious. It was a reminder to cherish those.
And I can thank those people for celebrating with me, but I can’t truly express my gratitude that they are in my life, loving me for all my flaws.