When I close my eyes I can still see it now…

…my mother’s high heel shoes flopping off my heels, a piece of old white material clipped to my hair, a Haribo gummy ring on my left hand finger and my teddy bears and dolls lined up as guests to my beautiful, elegant and magical imaginary wedding. We’ve all been there.

I’m not embarrassed to admit that I’d always thought I’d get married, that I would have that moment of being a princess for a day. In fact, I’d even worn a ring on my wedding finger in my teenage years in an attempt to ‘get used’ to wearing a ring there! However, in my early twenties I had a phase of being a self absorbed, cocky student so any idea of sharing the rest of my entire life with one other person was laughable. With a bit more maturity, the man of my dreams and supportive friends I now find myself blissfully happily married.

I’m not here to advocate that every woman should aspire to getting married, I’m not on a one-woman mission to increase the marriage rates around the world, in these columns I’m here to take you through the stages of my own experience of getting married. The difficult situations you will find yourself in and the wonders of wedding etiquette that you can choose to be dragged down by or like my husband and I, we largely ignored. Whatever stage you are at you can consider my experiences of the whole idea of wedding and marriage as guidance and support.

I suppose a good place to start is if you have the right person in your life that you can imagine waking up to every morning and someone that you will love unconditionally. This is no small matter. When I hear about people that have been together a few months and who get engaged and marry within a year I am speechless because in reality it has taken me time to adjust to the thought of being married. Gone are my childhood innocent notions of marriage, now here is the reality of a wedding and a lifetime with one man. Quite a daunting thought, no?

My story with Roberto is one with highs and lows, a long distance relationship is never something to aspire to but what we felt for each other made it last. If you’re anything like me you’d not want to push the idea of getting married but secretly you’ve already got your bridesmaids on speed dial, a venue and wedding dress sorted. All you needed was to subtly point out how much you liked sparkly diamond rings every time you passed a jewelers.

To be honest, it seemed like that most obvious and perfect thing to be together but I was totally and utterly shocked when Roberto proposed to me. So there I was in a hotel room in Parma shaking like a leaf and in total disbelief that the man of my dreams has just asked me to marry him.

U.n.b.e.l.i.e.v.a.b.l.e.