Every couple has a love story. All the moments in life come together to create the now. When a couple decides to get married, they bring with them all their histories. That is exactly what this British couple did.
Becky Brotherhood, 43, and Lee Markham, 45, have not had the easiest path in life and in love. To honour their journey and the past that made them who they are, Becky decided to don a wedding dress with patches made by her friends and family.
Becky and Lee met five years ago. At the time, Becky had just completed her battle with breast cancer that made her leave her past career of nursing behind to focus on her health. She began training to become a massage therapist to help people who felt that their body was turning against them.
Both Becky and Lee had children from previous relationships and had gone through difficult experiences.
They quickly fell in love and brought their families together, however, Becky never thought she would remarry. It was after Prince Harry and Meghan’s wedding that she had a sudden change of heart.
“I’m not an avid follower of the royals, but something about their story – how sections of the establishment were sniffy or judgemental about Meghan, or the fact that she’d been divorced made her somehow less worthy – just really hit home on that day,” she explained to Metro UK.
“I felt that perhaps my decision to not marry was actually more about what people might think, and less about what I actually wanted, or how I felt about him.”
She then took the initiative and asked Lee to marry her over Facebook Messenger.
“So I asked him – and that fact that I asked means so much to me now: to hell with rules and tradition and what people think.”
When it came to planning the big day, Becky knew she wanted her wedding dress to tell a story, one where her closest friends and family could be a part of the creation.
“Standing in front of my soul mate at the age of 43, knowing that we both have rich histories and six children between us, it felt wrong to buy something new and off the shelf,” she explains. “It didn’t feel right and didn’t fit us as a couple.”
“One of the most special things about our love is that we love each other because of our pasts. They’re not something we have to look beyond or gloss over, and the family home we are both building right now is open and welcoming to everyone. We both have scars and losses – physically and metaphorically, and I wanted that to be reflected and held in every part of my dress, bravely, unashamedly, and with love.”
Becky, a skilled sewer, began designing and sewing her own wedding dress from an old sheet she found in her attic. Some of Becky’s clients gave her scraps of fabric and buttons that were sentimental to them for her to use on her wedding dress. This inspired Becky to ask her bridal party to make their own patches that she could then sew on to her wedding dress.
“I wanted it to feel like a tapestry of our lives… our children, our friends, and our families, and everyone who had made us into the people that we were – standing face to face vowing to spend the rest of their lives together,” she told HenHeaven. ” I wanted it to feel new and different … almost tribal, a coming together of everyone’s love and blessings for us, to hold me with every stitch.”
She hosted sewing lessons to show those less-confident how to do it. This recurring sewing session quickly became special bonding moments for those involved.
“It ended up being almost like a month-long hen do, where friends would come up, and we’d catch up, and spend quality time together too and with such busy lives, when does that ever happen? And it really felt like the dress captured that energy of reconnection too.”
She sewed the patches onto an old piece of welsh slate from the quarry next to where she had grown up. Also attached to the wedding dress were Lee’s father’s wedding ring, Becky’s mother’s wedding ring, the buttons from Becky’s sister’s gown, and from her mother’s jewellery box.
In the end, they created a unique dress with immense sentimental value.
On the wedding day on September 28, all her loved ones were around to see their creation and to celebrate the union of Lee and Becky.
“Seeing everyone that loves us, and supports us, and who have been there for us through tough times, and good times – seeing all those people rally round and just love getting involved, and creating such wonderful, heartfelt pieces of art, essentially, it’s like I felt lifted up on their shoulders and carried to the day.”
Picture: Hen Heaven