Real Life

REAL LIFE: "Why I chose to hold my bachelorette party at a retirement home!"

Here in her own words, 51-year-old New Zealand woman Tanya Marsh explains why she celebrated her hens party in a retirement home.

By Courtney GReatrex
I bit my lip as I watched the woman across the table shuffle a set of cards.
It had been a while since my last tarot reading, so I was curious to hear what my future had in store.
The mystic dealt the cards and smiled.
"You're going to meet a man," she said. "He's going to be older… I can see grey hair."
"Sure," I scoffed. "That's never going to happen."
I'd been burned from past exes and had given up on the idea of love.
Walking out of the session, 
I felt sceptical. My day job was working as a dental assistant. But, in my spare time, I loved to practise reiki, a form of energy healing, so I was open to the idea of fate and destiny
– I just couldn't believe I'd 
fall in love again.
Afterwards, I didn't give the tarot reading another thought until a month later. A friend was hosting a healing night and I spotted a handsome man with spiky locks sitting across the room.
We'd never met, but he was 
a friend of a friend, so I knew his name was Brian and he was 55 years old. He worked 
as a property inspector and also practised crystal healing.
Since we both loved alternative therapies, we already had lots in common. Problem was, I was too shy to chat to him that night.
As the weeks rolled by, I saw him every Thursday at the catch-ups. We'd always find a way to sit close to one another and eventually started chatting about our interests.
Brian was thrilled when I popped the question! Image: Take 5
Finally, one day I plucked 
up the courage to ask him out.
"Would you like to come over for dinner one night?" I stammered.
"Sure," Brian grinned.
The plan was to have a nice meal and then try our healing modalities on one another. 
I'd perform reiki on him, then he'd do crystal healing on me.
But when we sat down for dinner, he barely ate a thing.
"Everything alright with 
the food?" I asked.
"Yes," he said, his cheeks flushing red. "Sorry, I'm just nervous."
Afterwards, we went out the back to practise our healing.
I lay down as Brian picked up certain crystals that he felt spiritually drawn to. My body shivered as he placed a cool crystal on my bare skin.
I was surprised how relaxed it made me feel.
Half an hour later, he announced the session was complete.
"That was amazing," I smiled, feeling rejuvenated. "Okay, your turn now."
As Brian lay down, I used my hands to create heat energy to heal certain parts of the body.
At the end of the night, 
I felt more connected 
to him than any other man.
Full of wisdom when it comes to marriage, residents Janice and Brian have been married for 64 years. Image: NZME
After that, our relationship blossomed, and six months later we moved in together.
For the next six years, 
life was bliss. I even got a new job at a care home for 
the elderly.
I was certain Brian was 
the one for me, so I hatched 
a plan.
"Why don't we go to the botanical gardens?" I asked him one day.
We strolled hand in hand, admiring the stunning plants. When I found a secluded alcove, I started to play his favourite song, Can't Help Falling in Love by Haley Reinhart, on my phone.
With my hands shaking 
from nerves, I got down on one knee.
"Brian, will you marry me?" I asked, and his eyes widened in surprise.
"Yes!" he cried, pulling me in for a kiss.
I sighed a breath of relief. 
I couldn't wait to marry my best friend.
When I told my workmates about our engagement, they were over the moon.
Me and my "maid of honour" at my hen's do! Image: NZME
"We have to throw you a hens' do!" beamed Joanne, a volunteer at the care home. "The residents would love it."
"Let's do it!" I smiled.
Since it was my job to put a smile on their faces, I couldn't wait to share my wedding excitement with them, too.
"I'll organise everything," Joanne added.
With most residents aged between 70 and 101 years old, I wasn't sure what to expect of a hens' do in a care home, but I was excited nonetheless.
On the day of the event a few weeks later, I wore white to 
get into the wedding theme.
When I arrived at work and walked into the common area, my jaw hit the floor.
The entire room had been decorated 
with rose petals, pink hanging garlands, balloons and 
a 'Bride to be' sign.
All the elderly ladies were wearing veils, too!
"Oh my goodness," I cried. "This is amazing. Thank you!"
Since most of the women had never been to a hens' party before, it wasn't just 
a celebration for me.
But that didn't mean they were lacking in marriage advice.
Tanya and Brian pictured on their wedding day. Image: Take 5
Between the 34 residents at the party, there was more than 1273 years of marriage experience.
"So, what tips do you have for me?" I asked.
"Your hubby-to-be is a hunk," started one resident, 
"so you need to look after him."
I laughed so hard 
it hurt.
"It's important to not only love your partner, but to make sure you're best friends, too. Sometimes love comes and goes, and it's the friendship that'll see you through the hard times," said another lady.
"Keep holding hands. And laugh together! Laughter is 
so important," said another.
At the end of the day, Brian called in to say hello to the residents and have 
a piece of cake. I couldn't wipe the smile off my 
face all night.
The following month, we tied the knot in 
the gardens of the Southward 
Car Museum in front of 80 of our closest friends and family.
Afterwards, we had a huge party and danced the night away. 
I'd never been happier.
Brian's my best friend and he makes me laugh every day, so I'm pretty sure I'm following the advice from the ladies at the care home.
And perhaps those tarot cards were right – maybe my love with Brian was written in the stars!

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