October 23, 2013

Life After the Dress...Natalie Hutton

I am very excited to introduce you to the first lovely lady in my new blog series entitled "Life After the Dress". In this series I am going to be interviewing lots of different women from all walks of life, and asking them about their lives after all the fluff and excitement of their big day. I hope that their stories and words of wisdom will inspire you, and that you enjoy following along in this series as much as I have loved putting it together. 

I also hope that those of my readers who may not be in a relationship or who may not be anywhere near ready for marriage, may feel inspired by these wonderful and very different stories. There is no cookie cutter for the perfect relationship. Life is about learning and growing, and trying to be the best version of yourself that you can possibly be. If you are able to be that person with someone else, how wonderful. But that is not always the case. Be happy and content with where you are right now, you never know what {or who} may be waiting around the corner.

I am very happy to now leave you in the hands of Natalie (who is actually my very own sister-in-law!). 

Welcome Nats! It's so special for me to have you here.


Q1: Please introduce yourself (age, of both yourself and your husband, where do you live, what do you do & how long have you been married for?)
Hi there. My name is Natalie and I am married to a dashing Hutton called John. Our birthdays are 72 days apart (not sure why we know that!), making us both 29 years old at present and we are coming up to our fifth wedding anniversary in December! We live in our newly bought first home in a little village in the Midlands called Hilton, in South Africa. John is the best English teacher in the land, and I am currently loving children through remedial teaching at a local primary school. I'll be going back to university next year though to finish my studies towards becoming an Educational Psychologist.

Q2: Which Disney character do you feel sums you up to a ‘T’?
I think I would have to say Ariel from “The Little Mermaid.” Ariel is clumsy, I have no shortage of that! She is also a bit whimsical and shy, and she gets insecure about her decisions– but she is daring enough to hold fast to her dreams (especially when it comes to her prince).

Q3: How did you and your hubby meet?
I used to joke that I was going to university to find a husband....and I did haha! John and I were in the same church at Rhodes University and we were both involved in similar things – he was a youth leader, I was involved with the kids church; we went to the same camps; we had the same friends; we took the same subjects...there were lots of places that we saw each other but we didn't really know one another. He was known as Twitch back then – he was one of the popular gentlemen amongst our greater circle of friends at Rhodes University. All the girls loved him! I, on the other hand, was a super-nerd and hardly had a social life. My nickname was Fishalie (my maiden name is Sturgeon which is a type of fish; Natalie+fish=Fishalie). I was shy and worked a lot! I remember the first time I hung out with Twitch in 2006. A group of us were in his res room and we sat chatting and cracking pecan nuts from his farm for hours. He was a third year then and I was a second year. He had long hair and really wasn't my type. Then Twitch started doing sweet things for me: he'd leave cryptic notes on my windscreen wipers; walk me home across campus with an umbrella on rainy evenings; wash my dusty car; plan his route home via my res in the hope that he'd 'bump' into me...And then for the 6 days leading up to my birthday in 2007, he left me a birthday present every single day – either on my car or on my res doorstep – and this just blew me away. He was so romantic about this friendship pursuit! However, I was terribly cautious and 'ran' in the opposite direction until one night. John arrived at my res one , unannounced. I was studying (surprise surprise!) We still hardly knew each other then but he asked if he could have some Rooibos with me. To this day he mocks me that I had no sugar or milk for him and assumed he drank it black and bland like I did. I brought it out to him and to my surprise, I walked with him to the garden outside my res where we sat for hours chatting, watching the moon and looking at the stars. If you'd known me back then, you'd know how uncharacteristic this was. It was all terribly romantic and I have been lost in him ever since....It was only months later that I visited him on his farm in Creighton and he took me for a walk which lead to a picnic laid out for us amongst hay bales, where he read me a hand-written poem and asked me to be his girlfriend!

Q4: Was your wedding everything you hoped it would be? Would you go back and change anything? Do you have any advice for brides-to-be?
Our wedding day was a beautiful start to our marriage. At about midnight the night before our wedding, there was a humongous electric storm. It made me panic a bit, but I also believe that God knows every inch of our souls, and it almost felt like a gift because we both adore thunder storms. The weather played nicely for the actual day and it was cloudy for our photographs which allowed for gorgeous photos by our now world famous photographers – Jon and Tina Reid (based in London). Also, a good friend composed our wedding march, and two others wrote and performed a song for us. We were surrounded by love and beauty on the day. It really was a wonderful way to begin our precious journey together!

If I could go back now, there are little details I would change, but it will always be like that because you grow up, fashions change, your relationships change and you get to know yourself better in time. All these things are unknowns on the days leading up to your wedding though. Your wedding reflects who you are on the day you say “I do,”and that is what is important.

For all you beautiful brides-to-be:

Do pre-marriage counseling and ask those hard questions so that you are on the same page on the day you walk down that aisle to your prince!

Get someone to video your wedding. After 5 years, I find myself watching our video more and more - it is perhaps my biggest wedding treasure (and it is such a tear jerker!).

Enjoy your engagement season – it only happens once. Your wedding isn't the event, your marriage is. So build that friendship and enjoy that wedding day!

And finally, decide now not to worry about anything that goes wrong on your wedding day – your bridal party will take care of it!

Q5: Has ‘life after the dress’ been as you imagined it would be?
It has, by far, been the richest 5 years of my life. I feel like it has been unique for us in that we spent the first 3 years of our marriage in Japan which was completely removed from everything familiar and comfortable. So we became each other's comfort and companions and that was a treasured start to our
marriage. We have had the opportunity to travel to fun places like Thailand, Philippines and China, and at times it felt like we were having a three year honeymoon. Marriage has been much more fun than I expected.

Q6: What have you learnt about yourself since being married?
I am a control freak and I am a lot more sensitive than I thought. I am not always right. God made John to complete my life and this has restored some broken areas in my life. Marriage has been a personal journey for me in getting to know my true self and that has been so exciting and wonderful! I have also discovered the hidden geek in me; that house work isn't my favourite hobby; and that I love
TV series and desserts more than I ever knew I did (it is so nice to share with someone.)

Q7: If you could describe your marriage in 3 words, what would they be?
Speck. Tack. Cooler. (aka spectacular)
Real answer:
Friendship. Beautiful. Fire.

Q8: Do you have any pearls of wisdom you would like to share with my readers about being married? Perhaps something some wise person once told you, or something you’ve learnt the hard way?
I am humbled by marriage and it is a beautiful, challenging and constant refiner. I'll never forget these pearls from our pre-marriage counseling: Put God first because a cord of 3 strands is not easily broken; and just be the first one to say sorry.

I hope you enjoyed reading the first post in my new blog series. If you would like be featured here on my blog, drop me an email (citygirlsearching-at-gmail-dot-com). I look forward to hearing from you!

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!