"4pm, Saturday, 18th October 1986, a spotty nineteen year old stands before the altar of a musty village church blaspheming nervously to himself, shitting monumental bricks in a cheap polyester suit and a ridiculously stupid dickey-bow, waiting anxiously for his seventeen year old sweetheart to walk down the aisle.

She arrived stylishly late and stood by his side in a dress that she later lamented did not look like the picture promised from the pattern book.

The speech impeded vicar stuttered through the traditional ceremony, rolling his r's like a village idiot, eventually pronouncing them husband and w-w-wife; forever forged in holy matrimony. Meanwhile a section of the congregation in the last two pews were taking bets on how long they would last."


Twenty years later she still proudly stands by my side, and I by hers.

Back in 1986 I could not have imagined possessing a greater love. But now, half our lifetime later, I can honestly say that our love today shines brighter than ever before. It's quite an euphoric feeling when realising that your love is not the dutiful sedimentary love you'd expect from a twenty year relationship. It's no comfy slipper.

It's a love with a passion so profound that it illuminates the very meaning of life itself. (If you are now shoving your fingers down your throat in the international sign language for "You make me sick" then I don't care.) And I'm not just talking about nudge nudge wink wink passion either but a depth of emotion, a sense of value and importance about what we have and a strong determination to sustain that intensity and never slip into complacency. Our life is driven by love.

So I guess what I'm trying to say is "we haven't lost our mojo"! Now if that's not a reason to celebrate I don't know what is!

We had decided a while ago that we wanted to commemorate our 20th wedding anniversary by renewing our vows but neither one of us wished to recreate the fuss of a time-honoured church wedding. We had already vowed ourselves before God. This time we wanted it to be different, more relaxed, and above all more fun.

I'm slightly ethnically inclined so perhaps we could have chosen a simple Buddhist ceremony on a Thai beach. That did sound idyllic. A return to the Evason Hua Hin would have been certainly relaxing. Or, if we had known in advance that it was going to be our China Anniversary then we could have renewed our vows amongst the terracotta soldiers of Xi'an. (Yes, I know they meant fine bone not the country but any excuse to travel!)

By the way, on a tangent, who the hell is responsible for these "suggested items for purchase" on anniversaries? Gold for 50th, Rubies on your 40th, Silver for 25th, are all fair enough but now there's a whole new modern list produced to fill in the gaps, such as "Musical Instruments" for your 24th, "Improved Real Estate" for your 42nd, "Groceries" for your 44th and a "10 carat diamond" for your 100th! I think someone was having a laugh with those!

Anyway, ....

At the end of the day there was only one choice that stuck. Above all we wanted to have fun, so we decided to renew our vows before the King of Rock'n Roll himself. Yes, that's right, the whole tacky Elvis impersonator, little white chapel, wham bam thank you ma'am, let's have a bloody good laugh, theme.

Viva Las Vegas!

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