286. The Wedding Episode

Hi everyone, how are you? As you know I got married a couple of weeks ago (applause & congratulations) and in this episode I’m going to tell you about my wedding day, including the preparation, the thoughts, the feelings, the emotions, and what happened on the day itself. I’m not sure how long the episode will be, but I’ll aim to keep it to just one episode.

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So, this is The Wedding Episode. You’re going to hear specific vocabulary related to weddings and you can just follow this personal account of my marriage in France between an English guy (that’s me) and a French girl (that’s my wife, of course). I’m going to describe lots of things in this episode, including how we organised our wedding, the roller coaster of emotions we experienced, why we chose a civil marriage outside and not a religious one in a church, and what marriage really means to me and to my wife. That’s what you can expect in this episode, so strap yourself in and join me on a little journey in to marriage-land, for this special episode of Luke’s English Podcast.

On my wedding day I got a really fantastic surprise which is related to LEP, so I will talk about that in this episode too.

First, let me make a few announcements
– The situation in which I’m recording this episode
– Welcome to any new listeners. I seem to have picked up a lot of new people recently, and I’ve had quite a lot of comments on the website from people saying they’ve just discovered Luke’s English Podcast and that they’re now addicted. That’s great! Welcome to the club. I hope you enjoy being a part of the LEP gang. Join the mailing list. Hello to these recent commenters ROBERTO BISPO DOS SANTOS, Eriko Kato, Kristina Fadeeva, olgaverb, angela, Roberto Geronimo, CFA, deniz from Istanbul, CalMaFdd, Javier (thanks for coming to a recent live show at The Paname), ptholome, Anonymous (a regular contributor), Martin, lotusmar629, Juan Mora, Rhogen Tandayag – I’m not sure where you are all from, some of you are quire regular commenters, not all of you are new, but thank you very much for your comments.
– If you’ve sent me a donation recently then thank you from the bottom of my heart. You are keeping this podcast alive and I wouldn’t be able to do it without your support.
– I joined periscope and did a live broadcast recently. You can see the video on my website (the previous post) and you can follow me on Periscope by searching for my twitter name @englishpodcast or just search for Luke Thompson. You can watch periscopes without the app by clicking here watchonperiscope.com/users/englishpodcast/6862923 From time to time I’ll do live broadcasts, probably when recording podcast episodes.
– I’ve been quiet recently and that’s for the usual reasons. Life has been very busy. I got married, we went away to Italy for a quick romantic getaway, I’ve been occupied at The British Council teaching English all day every day, and we’ve been planning our proper honeymoon which begins in just a couple of days. Also, I’ve been doing quite a lot of comedy in the evenings – various opportunities for comedy gigs arrived over the last two weeks and so I’ve been quite busy. That includes a 1 hour special show that I did with Paul Taylor. We did 30 minutes of stand up comedy each, last Thursday evening. The title of our show is “Taylor & Thompson – Sorry, we’re English”. It’s a show that we expect to perform on a regular basis here in Paris, on either Thursday or Friday evenings. More details to follow.
– I’ve had lots of positive responses to episodes I did recently with Paul Taylor and Amber Minogue. I do plan to have them both on the podcast regularly, and in fact I have plans to record something with Paul later this afternoon, and with both Paul and Amber on Tuesday afternoon. Amber has a young child to look after, as well as her normal working life and so on, so it’s a little bit more difficult to get her on LEP but she loves doing it (and recording episodes of the podcast! -joke) so she’s happy to come over and talk when she has the chance.
– I’m going on my honeymoon in a few days. I’ll be gone for a couple of weeks. I’m recording a few podcast episodes in the next couple of days and I plan to upload them all before I go so you’ll have some stuff to listen to. I might record some things when I’m on my honeymoon. We’ll see. I’ll be on holiday with my wife so I’m not sure I’ll be in the mood for podcasting, but then again we’re going to California so there could be some great opportunities to talk with American people and give an account of our trip. We’ll see. My wife is totally cool with me recording stuff while we’re there (in fact she wants me to interview some of the locals) but I’m not sure if I want to be thinking about that when I’m on my honeymoon. I might want to just relax and enjoy being a tourist. Still, I am going to bring a microphone and a recorder, so we will see what happens. If I get a chance to record something from inside a toilet on another mode of transport then I will take it. I’ve never recorded something from inside a helicopter or a hot-air balloon, so we will see if I get the opportunity to do that :)

Now, let’s get down to business and talk about this wedding!
So, I got married and I am now wearing a wedding ring on the fourth finger of my left hand. It’s only been a few weeks since the wedding. We’re in marital bliss, or the honeymoon period as it’s known. Hopefully this feeling will continue for some time.

I am planning to do another episode after this one, in which I deal exclusively with the vocabulary of weddings. But, in this one I’m not going to teach you any words directly, I’m just going to tell you about my wedding, but of course plenty of wedding-related vocabulary will crop up naturally during in my descriptions. I’ll go through that more explicitly in another episode.

You might be thinking – are you really going to reveal so much about your wedding? That’s a bit personal isn’t it? Are you sure it’s wise to tell people so much about your wedding?

Yes, I am aware of those things. I know that I’m revealing quite a lot about myself online. I know, for example, that students of mine at the university might hear this and they will then find out this personal information about their teacher at university, and this might affect my professional relationship with them. But, I don’t feel I have anything to hide, and I share this story with my listeners here with the expectation that you’ll listen to it with a sense of respect for me and my wife, and that you’ll be respectful with the personal info I’m giving here. I share this information in good faith, and that is what I expect in return from you as a listener. Of course, I don’t really need to say these things to the LEP community because I think there is an implicit level of respect there, but still… I’ve said it anyway.

I do realise that revealing personal things about yourself online is a bit risky. The thing about the internet is that whatever I upload here could end up permanently ‘out there’ in the online world. Even if I decide to remove this episode from my website, people could have already (and probably will have) downloaded it, re-uploaded it or whatever – even if I get rid of the original version, it could still be available on torrent sites or file sharing sites, or other places like YouTube or whatever. I don’t mean to say that I’m super important and that information about my wedding, leaked online, could cause world war 3 or anything, no, I just mean that personally I have to be careful about what I upload because ultimately it will be in the public domain forever. Sometimes I think it would be wise for me not to mention anything about myself at all, but I’m willing to do it – but understand that I do it with the expectation that you’ll treat me with the same level of respect that I treat you, and something personal like my wedding I expect you to treat with the suitable level of care and discretion. I’m sure that most of you understand all that, so it’s fine. I just wanted to mention it though.

So let me now tell you the story of my wedding. Remember, I plan to do another whole episode in which I deal specifically with the vocabulary of weddings, so that will come later.

Where on earth should I start?
This series of days was the culmination of not just months and months of planning, but years of a relationship I’ve had with my girlfriend, who is not my girlfriend any more, because she’s now my wife. It was a very emotional few days, full of the joy of life. I’ve never experienced anything like it and my wife and I, and many of our family and friends are still buzzing about it today. It went better than we could have expected. Let me tell you about it.

You might be thinking – but you already got married! You mentioned it in an episode not long ago. Yes, that’s right, but I got married twice! If that’s confusing, don’t worry because I’ll explain it in this episode.

Notes (not a full transcript)

How did you meet your wife?

Was it love at first sight?

Was it hard to keep the relationship going, long distance?

What made you move to France?

Why did you choose to get married?
-I was never a huge fan of marriage, neither of us were. We used to talk about it and agreed that it wasn’t really necessary. It’s never been that important. But somehow, it felt like the right thing to do. In fact, I decided to propose to her not because it was necessary, but because I wanted to do it as a declaration of love and commitment to her – not because I felt any social pressure to do it, because, as I said – I’d never felt any pressure to marry. I’m not from a conservative or religious background. It made my parents happy, and hers too, but they didn’t put pressure on us to marry (I think they’re more keen for us to deliver grandchildren than to get married…)

So, I proposed as a surprise, and as a statement of my love and commitment. That’s the spirit in which we got married.
How did I propose – that’s between me and her. I’m not sharing that.
I’ll talk more about what marriage means to us, and how that affected the wedding day in a moment…

How was the wedding planning?
-Some parts were great, like visiting places in the south of France and doing wine tasting with friends, writing the vows and imagining the event.
But a lot of it was quite stressful and was a lot of work.
We argued a bit, mainly over the fact that she felt she was doing more work than me (I think that was true, but I certainly did a lot too).
We chose to plan it ourselves. We didn’t use a wedding planner. Our parents didn’t organise it. We did it all ourselves. It’s a huge undertaking, with many different things to organise, and it all has to be perfect! That’s a lot of pressure, especially when you’re the ones in the middle of the day. We never really cared about weddings, but suddenly it becomes important because everyone else is going to be there to see it happen, and because of photos and videos, and you only have one wedding day (hopefully) so it becomes more and more important to make it special, unique and wonderful. As a result you end up micro-managing and planning it. That’s time consuming and costly. As a man it’s not my natural position. I mean, I think I can say that most men are more laid back about their wedding. I mean, they don’t require so much detail in the planning. I think that’s generally true. It doesn’t mean we don’t care – of course we care and we want it to be a brilliant day, but we’re probably a bit easier to please. So, what I’m saying is that my wife had a slightly more specific vision of the wedding than me, and that meant she was pretty much the driving force behind the planning. That frustrated her a bit and the argument went something like this: I’m doing everything and you’re doing nothing.
I’m not doing nothing – I’m doing loads of things. That’s unfair, you can’t say I’m doing nothing.
Well, you’re doing less than me.
Yes, well, you don’t let me do more than you. You’re in control everything. You can’t just control everything, and then complain when I’m not doing it.
Hmm, okay I suppose you’re right. In fact, yes Luke I expect you’ll be right about everything from now on and I should just get used to it.
Yes, exactly. Get used to it. When we’re married I’ll always be right. That’s how marriage works.
Obviously, that dialogue at the end became a joke – I’ll never be right again! ;)
Don’t get me wrong – we didn’t argue all the time. Just whenever we did any wedding planning!
No, that was a joke again.
We didn’t argue that much. Most of the planning went fine, and in fact a lot of it was great fun – especially the visiting of locations in the south of France, choosing/tasting the food & wine, writing the vows, practising songs with my brother Jim and my cousin Oli and just looking forward to spending a couple of days in an amazing location with our closest friends and family.

The most difficult things were: choosing the guest list, the table plan, the dress (I was not involved in that), giving people travel and accommodation advice (it was quite complex) and choosing/planning the ceremony.

*Break for Audible offer promotion: www.audibletrial.com/teacherluke*
10. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë
This is the perfect story for this episode about marriage because it is one of the absolute classics of romance fiction. It was published on 16 October 1847 and tells the story of a woman called Jane Eyre who begins her life living through hardships and mistreatment, she gains her independence and education, falls in love with a man who appears to be out of her reach, and enters the tricky world of love, commitment, family and loyalty in the mid 19th century. There are a few twists and turns in the story and plenty of romance! It is read by Juliet Stevenson who is one of the UK’s most beloved actresses. She hasn’t appeared in many international movies, but she’s well known on television, and has an absolutely beautiful and warm voice which is perfect for this kind of story.
The audiobook version has a rating of 4.6 out of 5, which is extremely high. This truly is one of the UK’s favourite books. You can get it from Audible.com free if you’re not already a member. It’s very simple. Just click one of the audible buttons on my site, or go to audibletrial.com/teacherluke to sign up to a trial. You can download any audiobook you want and after 30 days of trial you can cancel your membership but still keep the book. So, the audiobook is free. All the details of this offer are on my website. I highly recommend you make the most of it, and even continue with a full membership of Audible.

What did you have to plan?
-location
-guest list
-invitations
-email addresses and home addresses for contacts
-website
-food menu
-best man and bridesmaids
-music and entertainment (bands, playlists, audio equipment)
-ceremony
-wording and the person to deliver it
-readings in the ceremony
-vows
-location of ceremony
*At this point I skip to the bit below entitled So what happened on the big day? Talk us through it.
-wedding dress
-suit
-dress code
-speeches
-photographer
-gifts for guests
-wine and champagne orders
-other entertainment for the wedding party
-directions for how to get to the wedding (including all the different travel options)
-rental car
-taxis for all the guests
-food for the Sunday brunch

How did you find the location for the wedding?

Did you consider getting a wedding planner?

Why did you get married twice?

What about the London wedding? What happened?

Why did you have a civil marriage? Isn’t it a bit meaningless if you don’t get married in a church?
– No, quite the opposite. I’ll come back to this question.

What about your stag do? And her hen do?

So what happened on the big day? Talk us through it.
-Travelled down on Thursday
-Rented a car and on Friday went to the place.
-Had a small gathering with close friends on the Friday night.
-Rehearsal
-Saturday – less stressful than the London one.
-Late start.
-Very hot indeed!
-Setting up the seats and everything
-Putting up signs and balloons to guide people to the venue
-Getting ready with my best man and friends
-Didn’t see my wife all afternoon
-All guests seated, I lined up with everyone to walk in.
-I walked in with my Mum
-Best man and bridesmaids walked in together
-Flute
-No pictures and no FB please
-My wife arrived on the arm of her Dad and walked very slowly down the aisle.
-Ceremony started, beautiful conditions.
-Readings
-Vows (emotional! Everyone cried)
-Song (too slow)
-Final parts – ring, “you may now kiss the bride”
-Walk out then cocktails, champagne and canapés
-Photo session
-Band playing, people chilling out with their feet in the pool
-Dinner
-Speeches, lighting, food, wine, champagne pyramid
-My song
-Playing music
-The band (Be Combo)
-Dancing & music playlist

THE VIDEO FROM LEPSTERS CONGRATULATING ME!
At this point I’d just like to say a massive thank you to Guillaume and everyone else who contributed to this gift.
So, Guillaume from Switzerland decided to make a video for my wedding day as a way of saying congratulations and also thank you for doing the podcast. He contacted LEPsters all around the world and asked them to record a short video message of congratulations for my wedding day. He then collected the video footage together and edited it all into one video. The cool thing about it is that it looks like a BBC news report, with correspondents from different countries in the world.
There were contributions from Guillaume from Switzerland, Zdenek from the Czech Republic, Jan from the Czech Republic, Daniele from Italy, Denise from Sao Paulo in Brazil, Rafael from Brazil, Sam in the UK, Edison from Colombia, Edgar from Mexico, Chriss from Mexico, Teodora from Romania, Takako from Japan, Trally from Vietman, Gloria from Argentina.
Thank you all so much for the messages. It was absolutely AMAZING to receive them. It was like the icing on the cake. I watched it together with my wife, my brother, my parents and a group of other people and everyone was blown away. They didn’t realise that I was a bit famous around the world. My wife and I were both touched by the messages and the bits of advice about marriage too. We certainly learned that “a marriage is a workshop in which the man works and the woman shops”.
You can see the video on the page for this episode here:

Other stuff (not mentioned on the podcast I think)
-Photo booth
-Bed at 5AM
-Sunday – hangover, hangover cures, food truck, pool, weather
-Sunday evening
-Monday’s plans – massage, lunch, pool, fancy dinner, friends.
-The atmosphere of the location – lavender, nature, landscape, birds, seeing wild boar at night
-Relaxing Tuesday
-The ride home (with too much luggage)
-Back to normal (but marital bliss)

What was good about the wedding?
There are too many things to say really!
The location
The lavender
The weather
The food
The music
The guests

How about the question of the civil marriage – was it meaningless?
It was more meaningful to me than a religious wedding would have been.
Some people, not in our closest circle of friends and family expressed some doubt and scepticism over our decision to have a non-religious wedding in a neutral space (not in a church). Not only is this a little bit disrespectful in my opinion, it’s also a bit short sighted.
Is a non-religious wedding meaningless? Absolutely not. First of all, religion does not have a monopoly on feelings, emotions, sincerity, and sombre promises of faith and respect. These are all things that come from a natural well-spring of humanity that we all have inside us. We’re born with these things, in my opinion, so I believe it’s entirely possible to have a meaningful and emotional wedding without the presence of religious faith. In fact, that’s exactly what happened because it was a very moving and positive marriage.
Ultimately, my wife and I don’t have religious faith, so it would be hypocritical of us to have had a religious marriage.
But it was a very touching wedding – everyone agreed. So many people cried during the ceremony because it was so emotional. But that’s because it was a true and sincere statement of love and commitment from me to my wife. We wrote the words of the ceremony, not a priest. The promises came from us, not from above. The vows were witnessed by our friends and family – and they’re the ones who define the world around us. They’re the communion in which we joined together, and they are the community in which we will continue to be married. It was important for me to share that sincerely with them, and it was their audience that gave the weight and power to the proceedings.
I’ll give you an example. A Japanese couple who I am very close to, but haven’t seen for about 10 years came to the wedding. They travelled all the way from Japan which is a long and expensive flight. It must have been very difficult for them to come, but they did it for us. This is a huge and sincere statement of support for our decision to get married. By travelling so far they reinforced our marriage – I feel the wedding is even more validated by such a sincere act of friendship and support, and I believe the marriage is stronger as a result. They added extra weight to our commitment to be together. We really mean to stay together and hold true to our promise, and we know that our closest friends and family are there to help us stay together. That is genuine, tangible support for our union.
Also, the wedding was a significant moment for me as an ex-pat living away from home in a foreign country. It was an event at which my UK life and my French life joined together (and my online life too). Suddenly my UK friends saw my French life with my French friends. Also, my French friends saw me with my UK friends and understood me more. These friends who didn’t know each other suddenly spent a weekend together. It was very important in bringing my circle of friends closer together, giving me extra security. I feel that my life is less disconnected than it was before. The wedding brought people together and that’s important. Luckily everyone got on with each other and there was very little drama or trouble or anything. That’s just because we’ve got awesome friends and it was really cool to mix them together.
In fact, seeing all my closest friends and family all in one place was quite incredible. Every person there was special to me in some way. It was overwhelming really.
So, the wedding was a celebration of friendship, love and commitment, and it was a success.

What do you expect from marriage in the future?
I don’t expect it to be a solution to problems. I think that’s a mistake. Some people might believe that getting married means that suddenly your problems disappear and that life is all just a mission to get married to the right person, but I don’t agree with that. I’m well aware that it requires work and patience. It can feel restrictive and all that, but I think that if you don’t hide from this reality, and you’re honest with yourself and each other, and you don’t live in fear of conflict, and that you celebrate each other every day in some way, and make an effort to reward each other and communicate and so on, then I think it can be a really wonderful thing. In fact, I already find it very fulfilling and rewarding. How? You might ask… Well, there’s a sense of security and family that you have in joining with someone and becoming an official team. Also, I just enjoy calling her my wife. I’m sure there’ll be moments of hardship, but I really believe you can’t escape the difficulties in life. In the end hardship will come and find you somehow. I was ok with being single, and being alone (because I wasn’t a massive player or anything) but I prefer being in partnership with my wife. I’ve lost my single status and whatever freedoms that involved, but I have gained something more than that – the companionship of my wife and the influence of her on me. I think it’s a good choice. I just hope that we stay close like this for the rest of our marriage and that we find new depths to our relationship, and that it doesn’t go wrong at any point. I think that’s up to us really. As long as the spark is still there, it’s up to us to nurture it and turn it into a warm and nourishing fire.

Are you having a honeymoon?
Yes, we’re going to California (even though it appears to be on fire at the moment, and San Francisco is expecting a big earthquake at any time).
We originally planned to visit South America, but we have postponed that because we left the planning too late. We want to trek the Inca Trail, but it’s fully booked.
It’s easier for us to arrange a Californian holiday, but we will be back in Peru/Bolivia and hopefully other places in the future. We would both love to visit South America, and plenty of other places! In fact, I imagine many of you are thinking – oh Luke don’t go to the USA again, come to our country to celebrate your wedding!

Places we would like to visit:
Mexico
South America (Peru/Bolivia & everywhere else)
Japan
A tour of the UK!

Is your wife going to be on the podcast?
Maybe… we’ll see. Her English is good enough, and I think she’s charming, but I’d quite like to keep her to myself, so we’ll see…
Lavender

  • meltem

    Hi Luke, how a nice story! It makes me cry! congratulations. I have been planning my wedding ceremony this days so you give me some tips. thank you and I wish happy long life with your wife. Meltem

  • Kate

    Hi Luke! It was so interesting listening your wedding story! My wedding was just two months ago and I am still full of these emotions! Also it was so interesting for me because your story is a little bit similar with mine. I am russian and my husband is italian. We are from different countries and our life is so unusual sometimes )) We decided to celebrate our wedding in Moscow. In future we are planning to organise also ceremony in church in italy. Will see! Thanks for your story and for your podcast. I am trying to learn english hard because for now this language is a common for me and my husband ))

  • Anonymous

    Hi Luke! It was so interesting listening your wedding story! My wedding was just two months ago and I am still full of these emotions! Also it was so interesting for me because your story is a little bit similar with mine. I am russian and my husband is italian. We are from different countries and our life is so unusual sometimes )) We decided to celebrate our wedding in Moscow. In future we are planning to organise also ceremony in church in italy. Will see! Thanks for your story and for your podcast. I am trying to learn english hard because for now this language is a common for me and my husband ))

  • julien

    hi luke!
    congratulations to you and your wife, i wish you all the best!!
    great episode again ,
    cheers

  • Julia

    Dear Luke, thank you soo much for sharing this really inspiring story with us! I’m so grateful and very-very happy for you and your wife. When I was listening to this episode I can’t hold my tears. We all see how happy you are and this makes us even happier. Congratulations! Much health and happiness, enjoy love that grows and knows no end!
    Thanks for all you do to us!

  • Hey, Luke! Congratulations, mate! Wish you all the best!
    Thanks for your doings!