The cost of a night out is going up

Yesterday was my wedding anniversary. My husband and I celebrated by going out for a lovely meal at a local restaurant. The children were fed at home and then left to sort out their busy evenings for themselves. I felt a bit guilty about this; so much of my life has been spent trying to be the best parent that I can. Sometimes though, we just have to take our adult time and make the kids cope. It is important for them to understand that, although we are happy to support them, we too have lives to lead.

I had a lovely evening and came home feeling happy and relaxed, much later than I would normally stay out, especially on a week night. Today I am paying the price for that. It would seem that, as I get older, the cost of a night out is going up. I barely know what to do with myself today I am so tired; it feels as though my very bones ache. It is hard to believe that I could once stay out half the night and still bounce into work the next day. I know that there are plenty of people my age and older who can still party the night away and get by. Whatever the reason, I am not one of them.

As I lie here trying to rest and recuperate, I am thinking back to those younger days when a night out such as I enjoyed last night would have seemed tame. My husband and I were never wild, party animals, but we enjoyed our share of socialising and had a good group of friends. Many of these lovely people came to our wedding, and we still keep in touch. Our big day was planned as a chance to celebrate with those we enjoyed spending time with; we didn’t see the need to provide our large, extended families, who we rarely saw and many of whom we would barely recognise, with a get together. Selfishly perhaps, we did it the way we wanted.

After the excitement of our engagement had abated and we started discussing the next step, it was decided that we could do the whole white wedding in a church thing, but not necessarily follow too many of the other traditions. I saw no need to wait too long to do the deed; not for us a lengthy engagement of several years. I wanted a chance of decent weather which ruled out the approaching winter, but I didn’t want to be a June bride; too twee for me. We opted for May 1st as we liked the links to summer festivals and workers rights. It also fell on a Friday in the year we got married which made booking venues and services a whole lot easier.

I liked the idea of dressing up in a white wedding dress, but was reluctant to pay a large amount of money for something that I would wear once. Luckily for me, my sister-in-law still had her wedding dress, it fitted me and she was willing to let me wear it. She was my bridesmaid and wore a dress worn by one of her own bridesmaids. Friends leant me a veil, head dress and a hooped underskirt so I just had to buy shoes which I hoped I would be able to wear again. My husband bought a good suit as this seemed a more worthwhile investment; he still has it all these years later.

My talented parents-in-law made the wedding cake and the bouquets. I bought the invitations at a local stationers and hand wrote them. A friend recorded the event on video although we did use a professional photographer for the stills. We also hired one wedding car with my brother-in-law decorating his black car with ribbons to provide a second. I did my own hair and make up. All of these little details provided the setting but did not seem hugely important. What was important was that we were getting married!

We wanted a fairly small ‘do’ so limited invitations to close family and friends. In the end we provided a sit down meal at a good hotel for about forty guests. It was a lovely day, made all the more so I think because I was not worrying about everything being just right. The whole thing was put together with so much help from others and nothing had to particularly match. Looking back, the only thing that I would change would be to rein in the photographer who took too long getting his shots. It is hard enough finding time at a wedding to talk to all the people who make the effort to attend without having to spend what felt like hours posing in organised groups. I would have preferred more informality.

As each anniversary has gone by, my husband and I have made the effort to celebrate. Some years we have gone away for a night, on other years we have marked the occasion with a simple take away meal at home. In many ways my husband is more romantic than me and will make more of an effort to ensure that the occasion is special. It was he who insisted that we go out last night and I am glad that he did, even if I am suffering for it today.

Life can have as many special occasions as we choose to celebrate. I may need longer to recover from a night out than I once did, but if I lived too carefully then I would not be generating more happy memories to look back on. Agreeing to marry my husband was the best decision that I ever made and our wedding, however selfishly planned, was as happy an occasion as I could wish for. As each anniversary passes I am reminded of how lucky I am that he continues to put up with me. The cost of a night out with him may be going up, but it is still a price that is well worth paying.

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