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Quarter of a century of love and hard work

By Nicky Marr

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Reader, 25 years ago today, I married him. And I can remember every tiny detail of our wedding.

After a tiny wobble in the church vestry I walked up the aisle on my dad’s arm to the sound of Vivaldi’s ‘Gloria’, and back down on Mr Marr’s arm to The Pet Shop Boys and ‘Go West’.

There were friends and family there, some struggling to see us through far more flowers than we had ordered. But the deed was done. Married. Mr and Mrs.

Nicky Marr and Colin Marr on their wedding day in 1994
Nicky Marr and Colin Marr on their wedding day in 1994

We had drinks on the lawn of a beautiful hotel in Fife – even with the cost of bussing our guests over the Forth Road Bridge it was a better option than any hotel we looked at in Edinburgh.

There was expensive live music in the drawing room that no-one listened to because we were all still outside in the unexpected sunshine.

The photos were done and dusted in 20 minutes; this was pre-digital, and the photographer just filled a spool of 36. We don’t look at them very often, but that’s ok – I didn’t really like what the hairdresser did to my hair anyway.

After dinner we had speeches and dancing, and I made the serendipitous discovery that instead of ‘burnt champagne’ as advertised in the bridal shop, my wedding dress turned out to be the exact colour of Balvenie 10 Year Old. There wasn’t a single stain, no matter how many drams I spilled down my front on the dance floor.

Those naïve, wrinkle-free people bear little resemblance to the middle-aged people we are today

The day was perfect. I wouldn’t have changed a single thing, except maybe to have invited more of our parents’ friends. Back then, we didn’t understand the importance of friends during the child-rearing years. But you live and learn…

The next morning, I wore my veil to breakfast (to get my money’s worth, you understand) and later that day we popped off on honeymoon to Corsica. It’s a lovely island. The food was a cross between Italian and French, and the chalk cliffs at Bonifacio have to be seen to be believed.

We returned a fortnight later to the fixer-upper flat we had bought the year before and carried on with our jobs and with the decorating. Nothing had changed, but everything had.

Mr Marr and I have been together now for more than half our lives. If you’ve been following these columns for a while you’ll know we have two daughters and a brand new (to us – it’s actually 12 years old) motorhome. You might also know that most of the time we live apart – me in the Highland capital and him, headhunted a couple of years ago, in the Scottish capital. It works, because we make it work, which is exactly what could be said of most marriages.

I look at a photo of those naïve, wrinkle-free people who got married 25 years ago today, and they bear little resemblance to the middle-aged people we are today. And not just in looks.

Mr Marr married a lawyer who became a full-time mother, who became a breakfast show presenter on MFR, then turned freelance. I married a man who was one of a seven-strong management team in Edinburgh, but who took over the Highlands’ only large-scale theatre, then made it larger by persuading funding bodies and donors to part with £23 million.

In the meantime, our baby girls became children then teenagers, those teenagers became women, and then everyone left home… and when we manage to be together, we’re back to being just us.

I’m not going to pretend that our marriage has all been brilliant, but it has always been worth working at. There have been illnesses and losses, disagreements and setbacks, and I once threw an egg whisk at him... a messy business. But through all the tough times it has seemed much more important to find a solution than to think about running away.

We marked our anniversary not with champagne and flowers or a fancy party (sorry, pals!) but on our own.

We woke up early in our motorhome near a sandy beach on the west coast and had a wetsuit swim before breakfast. We then lay on the rocks and tried to remember, in order, all the holidays we’ve ever been on.

And we toasted, with ridiculously weak coffee (Mr Marr still can’t make it strong enough, in spite of my many lessons) the next 25 years.

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