Many people have told me that I was lucky that my wedding actually went ahead in the disaster that the year 2020 is. But Let. Me. Tell. You. - luck is not the word I would use to describe the events leading up to The Wedding Day. So, where do I start?
2019 wasn't an easy year for us. We built an extension on our house, my husband lost his job, my car broke down and on top of that we had to save for our wedding... it was challenging, but we were determined to get married at the same time our family reunion in Gambia was meant to happen.
As any money savvy couple would do, we decided to book our tickets early. Hell, we encouraged our friends and family to book them to because they were only £250 at the time and prices were sure to rise. If you've travelled from England to Gambia enough times, you probably know where I'm going with this: we booked our tickets with Thomas Cook.
It was a very sad and stressful day when we found out Thomas Cook went into administration. In total, we've booked 12 tickets.
After the initial drama, we have managed to sort alternative flights, but unfortunately some of our friends and family were battling Thomas Cook/Travel Agents/Their Banks for many more months, with the last refund happening a few months after our wedding.
A couple of weeks after the collapse of Thomas Cook I received a call from the owner of the Villa we were supposed to rent. My initial thought was that he was making sure that we are still coming to Gambia, considering how many travellers were affected. NOPE. The villa got flooded during rainy season and they did not want to refurbish it early as they were worried that it might get flooded again. By the time we got the news, most of the good accommodations were already booked and we wanted to stay at a Villa with a pool rather than a hotel.
Luckily, we managed to find an alternative accommodation!
Now, did I mention that I decided to get my dress sewn in Gambia?
I have designed it myself and entrusted a designer I met a few years back to execute the design. In retrospect, that wasn't a wise choice. To save myself and the designer the embarrassment, I will not share a photo of the dress. Suffice to say, it was NOT what I envisioned. Note to self: be present during the creative process.
Again, we have managed to overcome that issue and find a rental dress which was epic.
You'd think that has to be enough bad luck for one wedding, right?
HAHA. So did I.
Two days before the wedding. My hen night. I'm out with the girls, we are having fun.
We are in Senegambia, club hopping. Everything is great and everyone is having a blast. Towards the end of the night, some genius decided we should go to Britannia.
Within the first 5 minutes of entering, my phone got stolen from inside my pocket. And I wasn't even that drunk. I lost my phone, my photos and my contacts.
Word of advice - get a travel/phone insurance!
But then the wedding day arrived and all of those things didn't matter anymore. All I cared about is that I was getting married to the love of my life. And let me tell you, the wedding went perfectly smoothly. The Marriage Registrar was only late 30 minutes, which by Gambian standards is the equivalent of being early.
The ceremony was beautiful. We read our vows, people were crying, people were laughing, but most importantly everyone was having a great time.
The Wedding reception at Senegambia Beach Hotel was amazing. We started with a traditional Gambian performance in the garden. Afterwards we moved to our main reception area where we sat surrounding the lit pool. The food was delicious. I surprised my husband with a song i sang for him. We did not fall into the pool during our first dance. It was good and guests were congratulating us on how well organised the event was.
Even with all those hiccups and set backs, we managed to have the wedding of our dreams. And what truly matters most is that we are now husband and wife and we sure have an interesting story to tell our kids one day when they ask about our wedding.