If there’s one piece of advice I could give to any young, starry-eyed couples considering a romantic elopement, it’s this: don’t inform your parents via email.
It’s not all sunsets in Tuscany or celebratory Michelin-starred meals for two in Paris, or, in my case, huge, sweaty parties in your New York apartment at the height of summer.
There are consequences for your carefree, inexpensive, selfish marriage, and they will make themselves felt.
For me, such a party took on a slightly less jovial atmosphere when, between sips of melting frozen margarita and holding my shirt over the air conditioner, I caught sight of my new husband, who has asked that I refer to him as the International Lord of the Dance for this article, threading his way through the crowd towards me, a look of sheer terror on his face.
He was brandishing a mobile phone, holding it away from himself like a gigantic dead NYC subway rat by its tail.
“It’s your mum!” he said, eyes widening meaningfully.
Earlier that day, the ILotD and I had taken the A train to downtown Manhattan and, as if in a big, loved-up RTA, we’d gotten a number at City Hall and taken our place among adorable, identically-dressed gay couples, Latina brides with 17 bridesmaids and one bride wearing what can only be described as formal hotpants – all waiting to get married.
The ILotD wore a crumpled suit that he’d packed when we left Sydney for future hoped-for job interviews and hauled all over Europe and South America before we’d arrived in New York.
I was wearing a $17 white sun dress that I bought on eBay and one of those stick-on bras that I kept sweating off.
We had been living in New York, first in a share apartment in Harlem, then in various other arrangements, each more uncomfortable than the last, and finally, in our own apartment in Fort Greene (where the Notorious B.I.G. grew up, no big deal), Brooklyn for about six months.
After we’d slaved at dodgy freelance jobs for months, I’d hit the Holy Grail.
A job. A visa-sponsored job, as a reporter for a terrible, terrible publication that shall remain unnamed. It didn’t matter. Haven’t you heard all the songs about New York City? They’re all true.
The ILotD had proposed a few months earlier, at DUMBO in Brooklyn, looking over the water. He’d thriftily done it on my birthday, thereby killing two birds with one stone. It was an emerald, by the way. A teeny little emerald, because they’re my favourite.
We decided to get married all in a rush. ILotD works in film and TV and could only find freelance jobs for which he couldn’t be sponsored, and if we were married he’d instantly be entitled to my E3 visa.
His brother and his then-girlfriend (now fiancee, getting married the right way in December) were in town, and a friend of a friend, who just happened to be a wedding photographer, offered to take some free snaps. It seemed like it was meant to be.
So we’d gotten a marriage certificate on the Thursday, and booked our ceremony in for Friday. As if an afterthought, we’d informed our mothers via email the morning of the wedding. Kids are the worst.
“Hi mum!” I said, trying to sound perky instead of scared.