When most brides are having their hair and nails done on their wedding day, I stood sweaty and grinning at the finish line, cheering as some of my friends and family finished their very first parkruns. Others had run beside me the whole 5K, letting me blow off steam about my nerves and excitement for the day, as a great gang had cheered us all the way round, taking photos and singing wedding-related songs. It was the perfect start to the perfect day.
My now-husband (!) and I had decided early on that we’d love to do parkrun the morning of our wedding, and planned it way before we’d got lots of the other ‘more important’ details ready. We picked two parkruns in the area, so that we wouldn’t see each other on the day, and let our guests decide which to come to. The ceremony was set for 4pm to give us plenty of time to get ready, and we added instructions for how to register to our wedding website, and sent reminders to our guests beforehand. In total, we had around half our our guests in attendance at one or other of the two parkruns we did that day – some running, some walking and some cheering us on. Here are some of the reasons I’m so so glad we did it:
It Used Up My Nervous Energy
I woke up on the morning of the wedding with really wriggly legs. I was nerv-cited in a big way, which could have been a bad thing if it had led to me being snappy or fraught. But having the run helped to channel that energy into something constructive. Each kilometre that I ran, I could feel my nervous jangles calming down. I got to chat alongside mum and my friends, and have a laugh with the other people running. Given the outfit, tons of people asked when I was getting married, and were shocked when I said it was that very afternoon. Two ladies who had run nearby for the whole route anointed themselves my “Parkrun Bridesmaids” at the finish line. Who could stay uptight with all of that going on? By the time I went for a hearty brunch afterwards with my bridesmaids, I could just really relax and enjoy the day. Bridezilla – more like Bridechilla…
I Got to Buy A New Outfit I’ll Actually Wear Again
I’m not one of those women who ever obsessed about The Dress. I’m not into expensive gowns, and I hate the waste of wearing something once. The idea of a “perfect wedding dress” just doesn’t really factor in my worldview or my passions. Gorgeous laser-cut technical fabric crafted into running wear, on the other hand? Now you’re talking. I spotted the perfect outfit in the Sweaty Betty sale nearly a whole year before the wedding, and had to hide it from myself to stop myself wearing it before the big day. Now, I get to wear a little bit of my wedding day any time I fancy. Who can say that about some big, expensive dress?
It was a No-Pressure Celebration
Having the parkrun on the morning meant that I could have a good squeal with my friends and family before the main event. The prospect of walking down the aisle in front of everyone was a bit nervewracking, but getting to hang out on an even playing field (literally) helped ease that pressure. I wasn’t Bibi, all done up and bride-ish, I was just Beebs, having a good time with my family and friends. I can imagine that without having some kind of event, your wedding day could be a bit isolated – you don’t see your partner, and can hardly go and hang out with everyone. The other great thing about parkrun is that it’s so early – I got to be squeezed by everyone, have a few cries and a lot of laughs by 9.45am. My soon to be husband had the same, on the other side of town (probably with fewer tears though).
It Kept our Friday Night in Check
As Mum wrote, we had a drinks do the night before the wedding so that everyone could have a good time and get to know each other. I knew however that there was a chance that some people, myself included, could have a bit too much of a good time with each other, and not be in the best shape for the wedding. Having an early get up planned with parkrun helped to make sure that we all kept it reasonably together on the Friday, and saved our dancing feet for the wedding reception.
It Just Might Start Some Lifetime Habits
I’ve already had messages from my gang telling me they’ve found their local parkruns and have started a new Saturday morning routine. Others, who aren’t ready for 5K, have been in touch saying that they’ve been out for runs around the block, with the intention of joining in a parkrun later in the year. You can imagine how happy this makes me.
Parkrun is, for me, one of the purest and most joyful experiences possible. Many of my guests had never been part of one, and I was so pleased that they got to experience it first hand. They were all blown away by the sense of community and belonging, and impressed by the passion of the volunteers and runners.
Running with a band of wonderful people – open to all, free for all, forever. How ELSE could I possibly have started my wedding day?
I wrote a piece about our wedding in our column for Run ABC, out now. Click here to find your nearest stockist