This week I was lucky enough to attend the wedding of two of my lovely university friends. An absolutely gorgeous day filled with sunshine, drinks and memories, after almost twelve whole years together. Rie and Rich have been a constant in my life since somewhere around 25th September 2005 (cripes, we sound so old when you put it like that).
From the time you accidentally broke one of my two Tesco economy plates during freshers week and immediately gave me the money for it, I knew you were a decent guy Rich. A proper Essex boy (the first I’d ever met, and nothing like the ones on TOWIE!), you regaled us with hilarious tales from your job as a greengrocer pre-uni.
You were a little bit scary too, so different to the boys I’d known from home who wore studded belts and converse and floppy fringes (just snorted at the thought of you sporting that look Rich); steadfastly making your way through endless cans of Castlemaine XXXX before a night out, pounding the fruit machines (and usually winning), dancing with your hands in the air to your favourite (super-cool) Lethal Bizzle. Never one to shy away from sharing your opinions (regardless of how disagreeable they may occasionally be!), you’ve always been so confident, so sure of yourself, so in control. And we all know you’re an absolute teddy bear really. When your brother came to visit it was double trouble; if we thought you were a bit intimidating Rich, you had nothing on your older brother (sorry James!). I still remember walking into the downstairs kitchen to find him drinking neat vodka out of a saucepan. Wild!
Rie, the Cornish girl with a year-round tan; a bedroom full of beachy artefacts and a wardrobe full of surf wear. We first met when you and Becky ventured upstairs to the top floor of our halls, stumbling upon myself and Jo. Along with Zoe, our group was created. From countless nights out helping each other choose which denim skirt and vest top combo to wear, taking a tentative sip from a bottle of pernod; to lazy afternoons watching Friends on my VCR or sunbathing out on the quad, during that first year our friendship was solidified.
Your caring nature came through immediately when you were the one to rush Becky and her cracked chin to hospital. You’ve always been so chilled out Rie, so calm in any situation; perhaps it’s from growing up around all that seaside air – even when in second year you made the huge step to leave uni and start working in the City, I don’t remember detecting a hint of nervousness about you. You’d made your decision and you were confident that it was the right one. As your dad mentioned in his speech on Friday, I don’t know how you managed it – holding down a sensible full time job whilst keeping up with the student nightlife; barely missing a night out then heading into London for 9am the next day, whilst all we had to worry about was waking up in time for the new episode of Hollyoaks.
When we left uni, I used to love having you both come and visit for the weekend; afternoons sat drinking in the sun, hungover Wetherspoons breakfasts; nothing had really changed since uni, and I’m sure that’s why I loved it. As time moved on and I went through a break up, you dealt with a potentially awkward situation perfectly; maintained your friendships and avoided gossip. You’ve always been so careful and thoughtful around me.
Rie, I’ll never forget how you travelled miles to my mother’s funeral to support me, despite being heavily pregnant, and with not a hint of a complaint. You’ve always been so selfless, so happy to help others in your matter-of-fact, ‘it’s no problem’ way. I know I could ask you to help me and you’d do whatever in the world you could. You’ve always been so kind inviting me to stay whenever I like, being such a fantastic host; a delicious hearty dinner on offer and always a bacon sandwich in the morning. You love looking after people, and that’s why I know you just couldn’t wait to have baby Oliver, what makes you such a fantastic Mum and Rich such a fantastic Dad. I’ll always treasure that special day when we met Oliver for the first time; my heart swelled with love for you all seeing how everything had changed in the best possible way. Never did I think I’d see the day when Rich voluntarily changed a nappy! I love seeing how confident and natural you are as parents; how he’s brought you even closer together.
You’re such a team; your unit just works (despite the fact I will never understand your blue and pink jobs!), and it’s clear that you are each other’s worlds. It’s been such a joy travelling with you on this journey; looking back to that first date on Valentine’s Day and spying the single red rose sat waiting in Richard’s sink, to this Friday as I watched your beaming faces exchange your vows and finally become man and wife. Thank you Rie and Rich for being in my life; for all the messages of support, the nights out, the cups of tea and the laughs. I don’t need to wish you all the happiness in the world, because I know you already have it – it’s right there on your faces for all to see.