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Alex’s story

Alex (not her real name) recalls her wedding day.

"You are lucky to be marrying him. He’s such a catch. A perfect couple..."

My wedding dress is white and pink, long, with beading under the bust. The pink beading and pink strips were added by my friend to make the dress unique.

As I put it on, I feel like a Grecian goddess, I can smell and hear the sea, even though the sea is so calm. It’s the calmest it’s been since we arrived in Cuba.

I breathe in and can smell the nail polish that my friend has just put on for me I mix the smell with the taste of my Mojito.

Wow I feel so beautiful and special as I stand in front of the mirror in the dress. My hair and makeup have been done for me and the material of the dress feels amazing against my skin. As I look in the mirror, I feel smug about how good my tanned skin looks against the whiteness of the dress.

I feel slightly nervous, this is my big day.

Today is my wedding day but I have an uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach. I keep remembering the dreams I had before we came to Cuba. Dreams about the wedding and sitting on the rocks at the end of the beach. Feels surreal that those same rocks and beach I had never seen before, are the same rocks and beach here. It just all looks so familiar. My dream is different though, I have run away from the wedding and I can’t do it.

A part of me deep down knows I shouldn’t go through with it, but I can’t not go through with it, can I? Everyone has paid to see me get married, I don’t want them to feel let down by me. How can I possibly not do it?

Even if I didn’t get married, I would have to spend the next week with my groom anyway. I would have to deal with the backlash from him, and the disappointment from my family and friends.

Back to reality. Stay positive, put that smile on. Show a brave face.

Today is your wedding day. Remember? You look and feel amazing. Today you will prove to him just how much you love him. Today is the day our new lives begin. A fresh start. New happier lives, free from lies and deceit, from the financial, emotional and physical abuse…isn’t it?

There’s no going back now. Someone is knocking at the door. My dad stands there looking so proud of me. Prouder than I’ve ever saw him look at me in my whole life.

“You look so beautiful” he beams, as tears well in his eyes.

It’s getting closer to the time..

As I walk in a haze, towards my destiny, my friend’s fuss around me. “You look stunning, beautiful, oh wow the most beautiful bride. You are lucky to be marrying him. He’s such a catch. A perfect couple”.

I am smiling proudly. The excitement buzzing in my stomach. I feel like a princess on top of the world. Taking one last moment before I step on the sand. I sip the last of my Mojito. I take in the sound of the sea, the faint buzzing of the mosquitos playing free around me. This is truly paradise.

Pausing for one last photograph as a single woman, before I become his wife. I know I am indeed a beautiful bride.

I just can’t wait to walk down the beach and marry him. I can barely hear my inner muffled screams of what are you doing? Don’t do it!

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