The only way to get the wedding day I wanted was to ditch the groom

I never wanted a big wedding, and I could never imagine myself in a big white wedding dress. I hate being the centre of attention and I find the idea of spending such huge sums of money in one day on a ‘fairy tale’ wedding quite galling.

I got engaged to be married in Antigua in March 2014. I gave birth to my little baba in August. I started planning our wedding in about October. We were going to get married in Chelsea Town Hall, a lovely venue by all accounts, have lunch in Beaufort House, a private members’ club on the Kings Road (a prestigious road in Chelsea, London) and then evening drinks with a large number of friends. 

It wasn’t going to cost a fortune, not by today’s grandiose standards where all weddings seem to involve a plane flight, three nights in a hotel, a steam train to the venue, six different outfits, four themes and speech upon speech upon speech about the wonderful bride, groom, and their family. But it was a hell of a lot bigger than I had ever wanted.  My ex also made a point of telling me that it was traditional for the bride’s parents to pay for the wedding. 

I can’t say that I ever really felt excited about our wedding. It felt like something that we should do now that we had a son, rather than something that we both wanted to do. As the day drew nearer I was beginning to dread it more and more. The lunch was always going to be stressful because half of my ex’s family aren’t speaking to each other; some long-running but trivial rift which was too entrenched and far too serious to be put aside for a family wedding.  I’ve told you about my ex in-laws right?  Arranging the tables to avoid the arguments was like trying to avoid the Cold War.

ditch the groom

Then there were the arrangements for the evening drinks.  I hadn’t met some of the people on my ex’s guest list. He invited his ex wife, which was fine, but his family don’t know that he is a divorcee.  A divorce would have brought shame on the devout Catholic family.  This was another set of eggshells that I had to tiptoe on. I felt as though I was becoming less and less a critical part of a day that was supposed to be about me, or at least partly about me.

Then there were the comments from the mother-in-law. We weren’t getting married in a Church which she was upset about. I don’t believe in God as you know. My ex gave my non-believer status as the reason for our out-of-Church nuptials to his mother. His previous marriage obviously couldn’t be mentioned. I was the one who was looked down upon: ‘it is such a shame, so sad that Pen doesn’t believe in God’.

Looking back on things now, I should have been boiling up inside. I should have argued back.  I didn’t. I felt resigned and crushed.  I was dreading my wedding day. 

I don’t need to tell you why I split up with my partner. The reasons are many and are littered like dog turd throughout my blog.  At some point I probably need to consolidate all of the reasons into one list, just in case I completely lose my marbles and fall for his looks and charm again. Highly unlikely.  

Calling off my wedding was a massive relief.  I sent a text message to my friends to tell them that they no longer needed to save the date.  One of my friends replied saying that she couldn’t imagine how difficult it must have been for me to send that message.  That’s just it though; it wasn’t difficult, in fact it was very easy.  It felt really liberating. 

My wedding weekend was the 27-28 June 2015.  By ditching the groom, I got the wedding weekend that I really wanted. 

I had a fantastic weekend and will tell you all about my ‘narrow escape’ soon…

Domestic Momster
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Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday


    • thesingleswan
      July 4, 2015 / 7:36 pm

      Hi Debbie, Yes, you’re right, dreading your wedding day is not a good sign! The relief is palpable now though! x

  1. July 3, 2015 / 10:46 am

    well done you! So much better that you had the courage to finish it when you did, it would have been a lot harder if you hadn’t and it’s obvious that it’s not what you really wanted. Sometimes it’s easy to get swept away in the planning and just go along with it all, it’s hard to be honest but what a relief you must have felt.
    Anne recently posted…Kids in the Kitchen – Chicken WrapsMy Profile

    • thesingleswan
      July 4, 2015 / 7:35 pm

      HI Anne,

      tHanks for your comment and for your support. You are right, had I gone through with it and got married I would have had to get a divorce, things would probably have dragged out at least a couple of years and it would have been very bad for all concerned. Small blessings hey?

  2. July 3, 2015 / 11:03 am

    hip hip hooray!!!! Pen, you and I have so much in common. I was forced to have church and my in laws even vetoed my choice of venue- expecting us to change to somewhere more fitting (I wanted the village hall with bunting and Mis matched crockery) that cost is at least 4k more. I wish I’d have been strong enough to call mine off- we came close, but then I’d not have my son so thankful
    Hannah Atkinson recently posted…Why is co-parenting so hard?My Profile

    • thesingleswan
      July 4, 2015 / 7:32 pm

      Hi Hannah,

      It is true, we do have a lot in common. We both have our sons though and for that we need to be truly thankful. I often ask myself how I managed to get things so terribly wrong when it came to my choice of partner, but without my ex I wouldn’t have my son so I don’t regret it for a second. Take care. xx

  3. July 3, 2015 / 11:44 am

    Yeah we were facing something similar so eloped. Had a very basic ceremony and then a yum slap up dinner with two friends and cake. Mostly because of the family stuff. So much pressure, financial and emotional on wedding days. What’s the point if you’re not doing to enjoy it. Well done you for such a feat of bravery!

    Mama, My Kid Doesn’t Poop Rainbows recently posted…Being Sick in Thailand vs Being Sick in the UKMy Profile

    • thesingleswan
      July 4, 2015 / 7:29 pm


      That sounds like my perfect wedding. I know that my family would be perfectly happy with me eloping provided they were confident that I was happy. All I need to do now is to find a decent partner 😉

  4. July 3, 2015 / 12:38 pm

    You are such a strong lady – well done for doing the scary but right thing! #momstersink

    • thesingleswan
      July 4, 2015 / 7:26 pm

      HI Talya,

      Thanks for your comment and for your support. I really appreciate it. x

  5. July 3, 2015 / 1:27 pm

    I’m on my third wife now. Good for you for having the stones to follow your instincts. Most people wouldn’t have
    jeremy@thirstydaddy recently posted…Hiking to MordorMy Profile

    • thesingleswan
      July 4, 2015 / 7:25 pm

      Hi Jeremy,

      Three wives, that is impressive. You must be an expert on being able to identify which relationships are right and which aren’t because you have been through both. Thanks for your comment.

      • August 9, 2016 / 1:19 pm

        No, I certainly would never say I was an expert. I don’t think that my wife would say so either. Re-visiting from #KCACOLS
        jeremy@thirstydaddy recently posted…Two Harley QuinnsMy Profile

  6. July 3, 2015 / 7:42 pm

    It’s so hard not seeing the signs but I’m so glad you did! Can’t wait to read about your narrow escape x #momsterslink
    Emma’s Mamma recently posted…Turning 31My Profile

    • thesingleswan
      July 4, 2015 / 7:24 pm

      Hi Emma,

      Thanks for your comment. I can’t wait to tell you all about my narrow escape weekend. I hope to see you back here soon. x

  7. July 3, 2015 / 9:33 pm

    My dad asked me in the car on the way to church if I was sure – and I knew I was. Never regretted it for a second. But, if I’d felt the same as you, I hope I’d have your courage. Well done #pocolo
    Mrs Tubbs recently posted…6 Tips for Happy SkinMy Profile

    • thesingleswan
      July 4, 2015 / 7:23 pm


      Thanks for your comment. I am really glad that you knew that you were sure and have never looked back. It is reassuring to think that sometimes you just know that something is right, just like, deep inside, felt that it was wrong…

  8. July 3, 2015 / 10:44 pm

    Hail to you for not going through with it. I am a firm believer that if something doesn’t feel right to listen to your instincts. I am glad you had a better weekend doing what you wanted. Hope to read of it soon. Thanks for linking up with me at #momsterslink 🙂
    Trista, Domesticated Momster recently posted…~I Am A Mom Who~My Profile

    • thesingleswan
      July 4, 2015 / 7:19 pm

      Hi Trista,

      Thanks for your comment. You are right, we always have to listen to our gut instinct…sometimes our gut instinct takes a while to make up its mind… Thanks for hosting #momsterslink

  9. July 4, 2015 / 12:52 am

    A partner who doesn’t stand up and defend you by at least confessing their short comings is no partner you want to have. You will however be linked together forever through your child – so I hope you can both be adults and do what is best for your child. Enjoy your life and find someone who respects you and will have your back at every point in life! Mel xx

    • thesingleswan
      July 4, 2015 / 7:17 pm

      Hi Melanie,
      Thanks for your comment. Yes, we are linked together forever because of our son and for this reason we have to make things work so that we can do the best for him. It is going to be a long journey. X

    • thesingleswan
      July 4, 2015 / 7:15 pm


      Yes, a narrow escape indeed. Unfortunately our lives will be forever entwined because we are both parents to our son. We will have to work things through, but at least he won’t be my life partner. Thank you for your comment and for hosting #PoCoLo

  10. July 5, 2015 / 2:19 am

    Baller post, as usual, Pen. Not to stalker gush at you, but seriously, you’ve got the emotional strength of 100 momma lions. I never leave this blog anything other than in awe of you and your grace. Neither do I leave not thinking, “THIS EFF-ER BETTER KNOW PEN IS WAY OUT HIS LEAGUE.” His family didn’t know he was previously married?!? I hope he chokes on a dog turd. Not to death or anything, but long enough that the poop taste is permanently embedded in his throat tube.
    Helleanor Rigby recently posted…We’re Going to Name Our Kid “Bookshelf”My Profile

    • thesingleswan
      July 6, 2015 / 8:35 pm

      Thank you! Your comments, your blog posts and your tweets never fail to make me laugh. You are like an antidote to a bad day. Keep it coming. xx

  11. July 5, 2015 / 4:12 pm

    Wow! You are so brave! I am also not married too and really hope it doesn’t come to this point if ever that day came… I don’t think it will happen… ever??? But quite content with not being married at the moment. Family are the hardest to adjust to. Such a complicated situation to be in. I really want to know more about your narrow escape weekend. Can’t wait to read it! I think you have set a great example for your son. Never settle until your heart content. Ditch the traditions and just go with your heart. Xx
    Su recently posted…A Bedtime Story.My Profile

    • thesingleswan
      July 6, 2015 / 8:33 pm

      Hi Su,

      I can’t wait to tell you about my narrow escape weekend – I have yet to write the post, but watch this space. It is the next on my list (I think!). xx

  12. July 5, 2015 / 6:55 pm

    So glad that you called it off it sounds as though that was the best decision all round! Thanks for linking with #effitfriday

    • thesingleswan
      July 6, 2015 / 8:32 pm

      Hi Laura,

      Yep, most definitely the best decision for me and my boy. Whether my now ex will ever see that I don’t know. thank you for your comment.

      • July 7, 2015 / 9:54 pm

        What I never said first time round is that I did the same, called off an engagement that wasn’t right. If I hadn’t I wouldn’t be with my husband or have my 2 boys now! Though its hard it is the right thing!
        Laura @ Life with Baby Kicks recently posted…Food for Thought; Eton MessMy Profile

        • thesingleswan
          July 7, 2015 / 10:43 pm

          Hi Laura,

          That’s nice. I believe in happy endings, not that there is ever an ending, but I believe in better things ahead. Thanks for your support and your comment. x

    • thesingleswan
      July 6, 2015 / 8:31 pm


  13. July 7, 2015 / 10:35 am

    I wish I’d had the courage you had at the right time. But we live and learn and it’s never too late to make the right decision! Thanks for linking up to #happyquacks x
    Natasha recently posted…26/52My Profile

    • thesingleswan
      July 7, 2015 / 10:45 pm

      Hi Natasha,

      Welcome back. You are right, it is never too late to make the right decision. It is about the rest of my life and the rest of my sons life. It would still be about the rest of my life if I were 92. Decisions that impact the rest of our lives have to be the right ones. Thanks for your comment and support. I appreciate it.

  14. August 16, 2015 / 11:16 am

    Wow, all I can say to this is….. you’re so brave!!!!
    Not meaning for it to sound patronising at ALL!! But, in a very different life to the one I lead now, I went through with a big princess wedding with sit down dinner and bridesmaids and fake smiles!!! The wedding day was actually amazing ….. The marriage however was shit!!!!
    I eventually left (same as you, random little dig turds sprinkled around my blog slightly explaining why) and I’m glad I did!!
    I wish you so much happiness and I’m looking forward to reading more posts as this is the first one iv read!!
    Feel free to visit mine, careful of the dog shit 😉
    Gemma – @mumofabean recently posted…More than JUST a MumMy Profile

    • thesingleswan
      August 16, 2015 / 7:06 pm

      Hi Gemma,

      thanks for your comment. I am not that brave really. I just knew that it would end in divorce so I had to get out. I have just spent the weekend at a massive princess wedding. It was by far the most glamorous wedding I’ve ever been to: cliff top reception; fireworks; sequinned table cloths, handmade scented candles given out to all of the women. The wedding was amazing, and because she is a good friend of mine I just hope that the marriage is amazing too.

      One thing that I did think quite a few times during the day though was that I am so so so glad that I pulled out of my wedding day. I am not sure that I would even have managed a fake smile.

      Thanks for your comment and I am hopping over to your blog now. xx

  15. August 17, 2015 / 10:03 pm

    That must have taken a lot of courage. I’ve never even been close to making that level of commitment to someone, but if I had been in your shoes I don’t know if I would have been brave enough to call it off. Well done you!
    Min recently posted…How I Am Now Piglet’s DaddaMy Profile

    • thesingleswan
      August 18, 2015 / 9:22 pm

      Thanks! It wasn’t an over night decision. A number of times I entered ‘should I end this relationship?’ into Google. As if Google would have the answer to a massive question like this. To be fair though, I don’t know that I would have been able to make this step without the support of my parents. They enabled me to see that there was a way out of the relationship. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. I appreciate it.

  16. August 6, 2016 / 9:59 pm

    Bloody good on you lovely. It sounds like you did have a lucky escape, imagine how much harder it would have been if you’d have gone through with it….looking forward to hearing about lots more of your adventures xxx #KCACOLS

    • thesingleswan
      August 6, 2016 / 10:01 pm

      Thanks for your comment. Yes, it would have been so much harder. Pen x

    • thesingleswan
      August 7, 2016 / 9:25 pm

      Yes, I think so too. Pen x

  17. August 7, 2016 / 7:04 am

    Oh wow, you are most definitely brave! Kudos to you for recognizing the train wreck you were heading toward, and ending it quickly. It’s so much more time and money to handle a divorce than to cancel a wedding before it’s begun. I know a decision like that must’ve taken a lot of thought, and focus on yourself-well done! <3 #KCACOLS
    Savannah recently posted…Are Box Tops Really Worth It?My Profile

    • thesingleswan
      August 7, 2016 / 9:25 pm

      Thanks Savannah. I always receive such supportive comments on this blog. It is great. Thanks. Pen x

  18. August 7, 2016 / 8:03 am

    Good for you – I think so many ppl go through with it once plans have commenced to save face. Much better to leave before than after a wedding #kcacols

    • thesingleswan
      August 7, 2016 / 9:24 pm

      Indeed they do and I agree that it is so much better to leave before the wedding than after, or worse still during, how devastating would that be?

      Pen x

  19. August 7, 2016 / 10:26 am

    Good for you! I think so many people probably go through with marriages that their not completely sure about – and then it only causes more heartache further down the line. I’m so glad you didn’t go through with this, sounds like you had a very narrow escape! xx #KCACOLS

    • thesingleswan
      August 7, 2016 / 9:22 pm

      Hi, I did indeed. I think I always knew from the start that our relationship was destined to fail, and when he proposed, although I said yes (I was 5 months pregnant with Cygnet) I had this sense that we would be a divorce statistic. Phew, thank God I called it off. Pen x

  20. August 7, 2016 / 5:24 pm

    You did the right thing calling it off. When you do get married it should be a day that YOU and your Partner have planned, not anyone else. We had a very small wedding, we did everything how we wanted and told people if they did not like it they didn’t have to come. That way we had a fantastic day x
    Ali Duke recently posted…My weight and I: Update #1My Profile

    • thesingleswan
      August 7, 2016 / 9:17 pm

      Good for you Ali. It sounds great. Pen x

  21. August 7, 2016 / 8:12 pm

    Such a brave thing to do but well done! If you weren’t happy then getting married certainly wouldn’t have solved it! #kcacols

    • thesingleswan
      August 7, 2016 / 9:16 pm

      Very true, very true indeed. Thanks for your comment. Pen x

  22. August 7, 2016 / 8:47 pm

    Oh I so completely relate to this. I had a similar situation myself – and that feeling of the wedding plans going ahead at full steam and feeling like you just want to scream “EXCUSE ME BUT I ACTUALLY DON’T WANT THIS TO HAPPEN!” but nobody can hear you…just awful. I’ve never felt so relieved as I did when I finally cancelled it. #KCACOLS

    • thesingleswan
      August 7, 2016 / 9:16 pm

      Thanks Hayley, I am glad I am not the only one. Pen x

    • thesingleswan
      August 8, 2016 / 8:33 pm

      Oh Joanne, if only I had listened to my instincts rather than tried to calm and ignore my senses. Thanks for your comment. Pen x

  23. August 8, 2016 / 7:47 pm

    It sounds like you had a lucky escape – well done for being brave enough. My younger sister has just gone through a divorce after a couple of years in a very unhappy marriage that she was too scared to pull out of after the wedding had been arranged.

    Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next Sunday

    • thesingleswan
      August 8, 2016 / 8:32 pm

      Hi Sarah,

      Thanks very much for your comment. It sounds like your sister had a tough time. I do hope she is okay. Feel free to give her my email address ( or twitter handle @thesingleswan) if she wants to chat. Pen x

  24. August 8, 2016 / 9:05 pm

    weddings are a minefield as it is – never mind not being fully invested in the idea in the first place (I did love mine though!). It sounds like the right decision was made in the end! #kcacols
    OddHogg recently posted…Menu Plan Monday – 8th August 2016My Profile

  25. August 9, 2016 / 2:29 pm

    Well done for having the courage to make a decision that was right for you. You only have one life, it’s your job to make it a happy one!

    • thesingleswan
      August 9, 2016 / 8:29 pm

      So true! thanks for your comment. Pen x

    • thesingleswan
      August 10, 2016 / 7:48 pm

      thanks Geraldine. Pen x

  26. August 11, 2016 / 10:18 am

    Sounds like you absolutely made the right decision! I was getting irate on your behalf reading this, it really bothers me when weddings get taken over by what other people want and think. Surely it should just be about the couple, and the commitment they’re making to each other?! x #KCACOLS
    Madeline (This Glorious Life) recently posted…8 years laterMy Profile

    • thesingleswan
      August 11, 2016 / 9:10 pm

      Ah, thanks again Madeline. Pen x

    • thesingleswan
      August 12, 2016 / 9:41 pm

      Thank you Danielle, that is really nice of you to say. I appreciate it. Pen x

  27. January 11, 2017 / 5:19 pm

    Congrats on making the best decision for yourself. Feeling liberation at the end of that decision must have been a very poignant moment.

    • thesingleswan
      January 14, 2017 / 9:06 pm

      Thank you! Pen x

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