Anniversaries are all the rage these days, from the centenary of the MRC and the 80th anniversary of the flu virus, to the bicentenary and centenaries of Wagner, Britten, Lutoslawski and the Rite of Spring. But anniversaries are so slooooow to come around.
My husband and I, as the expression goes, just celebrated our six-monthsary. The concept of a ‘monthsary’ is not a commonplace here in the UK but I think it should be. The Urban Dictionary defines it as:
An important day, very much like an anniversary, but it is celebrated in terms of months, as opposed to anniversaries which are celebrated in terms of years.
I first encountered the word on Facebook, from one of my nieces in Manila as she proudly proclaimed her first, second, third etc monthsaries with her teenage beloved. Sweet. One source suggests that the very idea of a monthsary originates in the Philippines. They say:
Through monthsaries, couples can cherish their romantic moments together and celebrate them with dinner dates, sweet gifts, mushy lines, and beautiful kisses — without actually having to plod through a whole year. It’s romance in bite-size pieces.
I think monthsary-marking is a good idea – it maximises your opportunities for celebration. It is good to have the chance of extra mini-festivities before the first anniversary, a.k.a. 12-monthsary. I don’t think greetings card manufacturers have leapt on to the monthsary bandwagon yet, but it can only be a matter of time before they do.
But I wouldn’t want to take it too far – insisting on every single monthsary seems OTT. We marked our ter-monthsary with a little celebratory meal in a nice restaurant to celebrate our first three months as civil partners, and did something similar for the six-monthsary.
These occasions also provide an excuse to reflect back on that day in February. It was rather a good day, so why not?
Deciding to get CP’d was not an impulse thing. We had been together several years before finally tying this knot, so I had the feeling that we were mainly tying up loose ends – making sure the legal niceties were all in their proper places. It’s a cliche but you could say that we didn’t need the piece of paper, as we already knew we loved each other. However it turned out that it meant much much more to me than just loose ends being tidied up.
On the morning of the ceremony I felt calm, mostly. I was just a little bit anxious about the practical arrangements: we got up early and had to pick up the flowers, deliver the cake to the reception venue, put up a banner there, get ourselves ready, wait for the taxi and pick up a couple of the guests. All of that went to plan, except for a minor problem with the roses for our buttonholes: they were not very fresh and rather brown round the edges. After my sister did a bit of surgery on them to excise the wilted petals with some nail scissors they looked fine.
We got to the registry office in plenty of time. It was a lovely sunny day, but very cold. We took a few photos outside then guests started arriving and we took some photos of them. I still felt calm. As the appointed time drew closer we wondered about missing guests yet to arrive, but it didn’t seem all that important. We nobbled one friend to take charge of the video camera during the ceremony.
We went to sit in a room with the registrar’s assistant, making sure we were the people named on the documents. Guests sat themselves in the ceremony room. There was a slight mix-up over music. I had selected a couple of short piano pieces to be played while the guests were waiting for the ceremony to start: one of Messiaen’s piano preludes (Colombe) and the final movement from A Lincolnshire Posy by Percy Grainger. I gave the CDs to the registry office attendant and she put them on, but she left the first CD playing, so that the guests had a rather larger and more animated dose of Messiaen piano music than I had intended. No one complained – I think they were all chatting too much to notice. Then the ceremony began.
Gerry and I walked in and sat at the top table with our two witnesses, opposite the registrar. He introduced the proceedings in a pleasantly informal tone, then started the proceedings. I went first (age before beauty is their principle). I repeated the words after the registrar, as I had seen and heard other couples do in so many weddings that I had attended over the years. It was a familiar scenario, but…
… then I felt a pricking at my eyes and a constriction in my throat. The words of the vows were not especially poetic or beautiful but they were simply and directly meaningful. I wasn’t just reciting a standard set of words, a formula. I was saying something that had a meaning and represented what I felt inside. The words were about my future life. They meant that Gerry and me wanted to be together for the rest of our lives… that we loved each other.
I paused and swallowed, and regained my composure so that I could continue saying the vows. Then it was Gerry’s turn to make the same declaration which he managed without problem. Then, after a few signatures – lo, we were officially partnered!
The day continued with lunch in a local Thai restaurant attached to a pub (named after the television pioneer, but that is by the by). We and our 40 guests occupied the whole restaurant for the afternoon, enjoying some delicious food, including a splendid cake.
The tone was generally informal, but we did have a few short speeches. Gerry said something, my sister (unplanned!) said something, then I made a vaguely humorous speech, finishing with a declaration of my feelings for my new husband. But… what was this? Again I had the same eye-pricking throat-constricting feeling that I had experienced earlier in the Registry office. I choked and had to pause for a couple of seconds before I recovered the power of speech to utter those final words. Later one or two of the guests said they too had tears in their eyes at that moment.
So, tying up loose ends? No! Important life-changing experience? Yes!
I was happy. Happy that all the planning was over and that things had gone so well. Happy that we had gone through this stage of life together, affirming that we meant what we said every day and telling the world that we meant it while receiving the blessing of the world in that official document.
Most of all though I was happy that we were receiving the blessing of all our friends and family and that they shared in our happiness. All those people came to be with US on that day. I felt a great wave of love from them. That was very special and remains very special. It means a tremendous amount.