This week I celebrate my 200th week in a row of writing my blog and, coincidentally mine and Matt’s 10 years wedding anniversary. Aligning two such momentous occasions sounds like a brilliant, well thought out plan but it’s simply one of those moments when the universe winks at you. 

There is no way, nearly four years ago, that I could plan for such a combination of achievements to transpire in the same week but often in life there are moments that upon reflection make total sense. The coinciding of ten years of marriage and the 200,000 plus words written trying to figure life challenges out feels quite appropriate.

Getting married to Matt is one of my all time favourite stories. I’ve written about it in detail before but because I have a few new readers I’ll tell it again. 

Around this time, 11 years ago we were invited to a friend's wedding in LA. Matt and I had been together for 4 or 5 years at this stage and had talked about taking an overseas trip together and this wedding was a great excuse to lock in a date and start saving.

We worked our butts off for a year and decided to go to LA, London, Scotland, France and stop into Japan on the way home. About three months out from our trip Matt suggested that we get married overseas while we were on holidays - not the most romantic of proposals but Matt has always been very pragmatic. We then had to find a country that would marry us. 

Germany had so much paperwork that we’d never get it done on time. France was very strict and you had to submit a blood test to prove you weren’t related. We were running out of options until we looked into Italy which will marry absolutely anyone for 200 euro. They even had special agencies that catered to the English market that often married there. We opted for ‘Romeo and Juliet’ agency and met a lovely woman called Loretta who would help us out.

After getting a few stat decs signed and copies of passports scanned we were in the system and all we had to do was rock up to their office in Milan two days before our wedding to sign the paperwork.

It was way cheaper to get married in a smaller town than Milan so we headed to Cernobbio on Lake Como for the ceremony. It was the off season so the town that is normally George Cloonyes hangout was dead quiet. We didn’t care. We had the town to ourselves and all we needed was a translator, a witness and the mayor of Cernobbio to marry us. 

I wish I remembered the exact wording of the ceremony because from memory it was really thoughtful. It was about caring for your future family and providing them with love. The whole thing was pretty surreal to be honest and then we were married. We thought we’d celebrate by going to Clooney's favourite restaurant for lunch. The place looked very closed when we arrived but we knocked on the door anyway and a young guy answered wearing his trackies.  

He looked like he was in the middle of scrubbing the bathrooms but after some confusing conversation he assured us that the restaurant was in fact open and sat us down overlooking the picturesque view that is Lake Como. Ten minutes later the same guy returned with this waiter shirt and tie on and we were treated like VIP’s who had booked the restaurant out.

We had our honeymoon in Japan where we relived the night out that Billy Murray and Scarlet Johansson had in Lost in Translation - we stayed at the Hyatt and followed their evening right through till the drunk karaoke bar scene. It was an epic conclusion to our two month long vacation. I don’t think I ever drank whiskey again after that night.

The best part about eloping with Matt was telling people when we got home (see PDF explainer). Everyone expected us to say that we’d got engaged imagining Matt had pulled some romantic stunt in front of the eiffel tower but instead we’d got married. I still remember Matt’s mum pushing me and saying “you didn’t!” when we told her. It was totally worth it for that reaction alone! Let’s be honest, I’m from New Zealand and Matt’s Australian so we were never going to be able to please either side on the wedding location so it made sense to please ourselves.

When you get married to someone it has to be for yourselves. Little did we know that our two month soiree overseas would be the last holiday we’d take. When we arrived home we decided that we’d give this building business a crack and we moved into our first factory within a few months of getting back. 

The rest is history I guess. Ten years later we have two magical kids, our health and each other. Honestly, we don’t really have much more than that to our name right now. Building a business that builds buildings has pretty much consumed everything else of value around us. What remains however is unshakeable and strong. It’s true love that has matured and ripened not despite life challenges but because of them. We’re certainly different people from the kids that eloped but our gratitude and appreciation of each other continues to grow as we do. I just hope the next ten years pay a bit better than the last.

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