The sun sparkled on the Mediterranean Sea, making the bay below us shimmer as my husband, Andrew, took my hand in the grounds of the tiny chapel.
The village of Elounda, Crete, had been a special place for me ever since holidaying there as a child. And as we posed for pictures, I felt more beautiful in my ivory fishtail gown than I could ever remember. It couldn’t have been more different from our wedding day 10 years before, when I refused to wear a dress, or even invite guests!
I’d been 26 when a smear test revealed I had pre-cancerous cervical cells. I was treated successfully, then quit smoking straight away to reduce my future risk, replacing cigarettes with chocolate and takeaways. In 18 months I put on 6st 7lbs and couldn’t bear to be the centre of attention.
After Andrew proposed, we opted for a register office wedding with only our witnesses and my daughter, Chelsea, and Andrew’s son, Brandon, both 11 at the time, in attendance. With my confidence at rock-bottom, I felt unable even to think about putting on a fitted dress. Instead, I wore a black-and-white tunic top and loose white trousers.
Years later, weighing 15st 12lbs, I came across the wedding photos and something inside me clicked. Our 10th anniversary was on the horizon – wouldn’t it be great to renew our vows! This time, I told myself, I’d wear a proper wedding dress, in a size 10.
I joined Slimming World and was excited by the plan from the start. I don’t eat meat, so it was great to find I could fill up on meals like veggie curry with rice, fish pie and vegetable lasagne.
I’d lost 6st 3½lbs by the time this photo of us renewing our vows was taken last May, and the size-10 wedding dress I’d ordered had to be taken in to a size 8. Andrew lost 5st, too, just by sharing the meals I cooked.
We’re both so much happier and healthier, walking five miles a day with our three dogs, and looking forward to our future together. For a start, we can’t wait to run around with our first grandchild!
*Weight loss will vary due to your individual circumstances and how much weight you have to lose.