Getting married is a big deal – it is. You bind yourself to one person, with the hope that your love and friendship for one another can overcome all that life has to throw at you and hopefully have bit of an adventure along the way. I got married last year, it was the dreamiest day, corny I know, but it really was. All our loved ones and friends were in one place, there was food (lots of food), there was drink, there was sun, there was dancing, and of course there was Vamos Theatre’s masked Walkabout performances to really get the celebration atmosphere swinging! Perfect.

Most people who are happily married will look back at their wedding days with fond memories, I do, my mum certainly does, I used to sneak in to her wardrobe when I was little and get her wedding dress out to marvel at it – if I was feeling particularly brazen I would try it on, usually only to be discovered by mum. She’d never tell me off though – instead she’d answer a barrage of questions about the day…”How did you have your hair?” – Short and curly. “What flowers did you have?” – peach roses. “How did you go to the toilet?” – well, if you’ve ever been a bride, I will leave you to chuckle at your own skirt hitching, backward sitting memories – mum answered all those questions with what I realise now was not annoyance but fond recollection.  

My mum is a carer in a Residential Home and the people she cares for, too, share their fond memories of their wedding days with her. Sometimes it’s a tune on the radio that sparks the memory of being held close on the dance floor for a first dance. Other times it’s the flowers in the garden that look just like the ones in their wedding bouquet, the smallest thing can cast someone back to the best day of their lives. That’s why our care home show, Sharing Joy, for people living with dementia and their carers, features a wedding – for people living with dementia it can be hard to remember someone’s name or telephone number, but often they remember their special day, perhaps not the finer details, but when our actors come on with a swoosh of white silk dress, a cascade of confetti and those wedding bells in the sound track chime, our audience remember the feeling, the love, the happiness. We often stop and speak with residents after, they want to share with us their special memories of their wedding days and gosh, to watch their eyes fill up, light up…

…it's almost as special as my wedding day.

Kathryn Bettesworth

Photo: White Stag Photography