Emily’s big day was a car crash
Well, it was always going to be a challenge…
‘Sudi?’ I said to my fiancé, Sudi Patel. ‘What about these cake toppers?’
I held my ipad up so he could see the glittery, silver Mr and Mrs.
‘Whatever makes you happy,’ he mumbled, glued to James Bond’s Goldfinger.
I was in full-on wedding planning mode, but Sudi was so laid-back he was almost horizontal.
We’d met when I was working in Costa Coffee. He came in for a cappuccino and left without giving me more than a thank you, but then my boss came over…
‘A man just rang and asked me to give you his number,’ he grinned.
Intrigued, I gave him a call. ‘Mr Mysterious?’ I asked. Sudi asked me out on a date! And that was that. We just clicked. We loved going to fancy restaurants in London, and
I grew to share his love of James Bond films…
After three years together, in April 2015, he swept me off to London for my 20th birthday, to a suite at the Corinthia Hotel.
‘Wow!’ I gasped. In the bedroom, red rose petals were scattered across the bed. There was a bottle of Champagne on the side… and a gorgeous halo diamond ring.
‘So,’ Sudi, 28, grinned. ‘Will you marry me?’
‘Yes,’ I sobbed. We celebrated with dinner at the Shard.
Afterwards, I started booking appointments at different venues. ‘Already?’ Sudi gasped.
‘It’s never too soon,’ I smiled. And then he said the words I’d heard a million times since – ‘Whatever makes you happy.’ The message? He was going to leave the wedding stuff to me.
So I found a stunning country house in Chiddingfold, Surrey, and booked it for 10 September 2016. And now, in between running a beauty salon with my mum, Debbie, and Sudi’s job as an asset manager, it was all wedding, wedding, wedding…
There were just a few months to go, so it was time for dress shopping! It was in the third shop that I felt the tingle. I slipped the dress on and… wow!
‘Stunning,’ Mum choked, as I twirled around in a beautiful fishtail ivory dress, bedecked with lace and diamantes.
‘It’ll need taking up,’ I said – I was only 5ft 2in.
‘We can adjust it to fit perfectly with your heels,’ the shop owner assured me.
And now, even laid-back Sudi was getting excited.
He threw himself into the food and wine tasting. I drove and he sampled the wine for both of us.
‘Best bit so far,’ he giggled. Thankfully, he was sober enough to help me decide on the beef, risotto balls and chocolate brownies for our feast.
As Sudi was half Indian, we were planning an Indian theme for the evening do, serving up samosas and playing Bhangra music.
Before long, there was just 10 days to go. I’d been going to an outdoor boot camp to get sleek for my gown, and I had a session booked for that night.
‘I can’t really be bothered,’ I muttered. I’d been on my feet all day at work. But still, I put on my leggings, T-shirt and trainers, and drove to the park.
‘Excuse the racket,’ my instructor groaned.
Near our group were two blokes with a noisy, 2ft-long remote-control petrol car.
They were clearly enjoying annoying us.
We all thought ignoring them was the best idea as we started making our way around the various exercise stations and lifting dumb bells and doing star jumps. About 20 minutes in, I was sprinting shuttle runs across the park, next to the buzz of a remotecontrol car.
One of the blokes was making it circle us. It was going at about 30mph! Vrooooom!
The car was coming straight for me!
It was coming straight for me as I ran. ‘He’ll stop it,’ I thought. But it kept coming…
There was a massive crunch as it careered into my left leg.
‘Aarrrgh!’ I screamed, falling to the ground. Pain sliced me.
‘Are you OK?’ a woman asked. ‘We’ve called the police.’ ‘My leg!’ I screamed. I managed to get my trainer off and then some classmates carried me to a bench. The bloke had taken his car and run off.
‘I need to call my fiancé,’ I gibbered. I was in shock, shaking, my heart racing. Someone handed me a phone and I called him.
‘I’ve had a car accident,’ I told Sudi.
‘A car accident?’ he cried, panicked. Well, sort of ! I gave him a slightly less garbled explanation and he said he’d be straight down.
My ankle was now swelling like a rubber glove someone was blowing up. A bag of ice was fetched from a nearby restaurant and I held it to my leg as it throbbed. By this time, I could see Sudi running towards me.
‘It’s OK,’ he said, hugging me. We knew it’d be quicker to drive to hospital rather than waiting for an ambulance.
He hoisted me up and helped me to the car. I could see the police speaking to my classmates. ‘It can’t be broken,’ I whimpered to Sudi. ‘The wedding…’ ‘Don’t think like that,’ he said. At hospital, Sudi got me a wheelchair. Then I faced a fourhour wait. ‘That man aimed the car straight at me,’ I croaked. ‘Idiot!’ he raged.
Finally, I was given an X-ray. ‘You’ve got three fractures,’ the nurse said. I burst out laughing. ‘I’m getting married in 10 days,’ I chuckled, probably still in shock!
‘I’m sorry,’ she said.
I apologised. ‘If I’d fallen down the stairs drunk, fair enough,’ I said. ‘But I was mowed into by a bloomin’ remote-control car!’
I was given pain relief and seen by a doctor. ‘They’re hairline fractures – you’ll need an operation to put metal screws in, but only if the swelling’s gone down enough,’ he told me. ‘Then we’ll decide if you need a cast or boot.’
I was stuck in a temporary cast, reaching up to my knee.
I had to keep the leg elevated and, allowed home, it was only the next day that my tears fell.
‘I won’t be able to wear my heels on the day,’ I blubbed. ‘And now my dress will be too long.’
‘We can cancel the wedding,’ Sudi whispered. ‘I just want you to be happy.’
Those words, in this situation, made me cry harder.
‘No,’ I sniffled. ‘As long as I can walk down the aisle with Dad. I want to marry you.’ We’d lose a fortune on the venue, otherwise.
But poor Sudi had to do everything for me, carry me to the loo, wash me…
Two days later, I went back to hospital. ‘The swelling’s gone down,’ the doctor smiled. ‘We can operate.’
It took 90 minutes and, when I came round, my only relief was that I had a boot on, not a cast. I’d had six screws put in to help the bone back into place.
‘A boot’s slightly better,’ I sighed. It’d take 12 weeks to heal. Given crutches, I wasn’t allowed to put any pressure on it.
‘But I’m not being wheeled down the aisle on them and
I won’t hobble,’ I vowed.
My parents lived in a bungalow, so I moved in with them.
We cancelled our honeymoon in Morocco, but then I threw all my energies into practising ‘walking’ with Dad. ‘I’m not hurting you, am I?’ I’d grimace, putting all my weight on him.
I tried hopping, shuffling… I was determined that I wouldn’t need the crutches.
Soon enough, the big day arrived. Mum helped me get dressed. ‘At least the dress covers the boot,’ I smiled wryly. And bless my florist, she decorated my crutches with the same white and pink roses I had in my bouquet.
Instead of my heels, though, I slipped on one platform flip-flop.
Then finally, me and my dad, Brian, were stood at the top of the aisle. ‘Ready?’ he smiled. I nodded. I used my crutches to get halfway down, my bridesmaids behind me.
But then I stopped, put the crutches to one side and linked arms with Dad.
I’d decided to ignore the doctors. I’d have one moment like this, so, putting my full weight on both feet, I walked towards Sudi. He looked so handsome in his navy suit and pink cravat.
‘Well done,’ he smiled. ‘You look beautiful.’ Then I stood beside him, just a bit lopsided as I steadied myself on my right foot.
Afterwards, I took my crutches again. The main bit was over. We enjoyed the lovely meal and, thankfully, nobody mentioned my foot in their speeches. ‘I didn’t want it to be all about that,’ Dad smiled.
Afterwards, Sudi and I changed into our Indian outfits.
I slipped on a traditional red and gold dress while my new husband looked so handsome in his cream embroidered jacket and trousers.
As we came back in, Panjabi MC was playing. ‘We didn’t choose a first dance,’ Sudi grinned. ‘What about this?’
We’d never had a song that was ‘ours’.
Sudi held me up and the whole day was. There was no getting my leg over though – not even the good one – as Sudi had passed out from all the champers!
We managed a few days away in the Cotswolds after the wedding, but it was three months of hobbling around before I was back to normal. I ended up having the screws removed, as they were rubbing, which left a 5in scar.
But there was relief when the police told me they’d arrested the man who’d driven the car at me.
Ricky Fitzgerald, 40, who had previous convictions including threats to kill, admitted grievous bodily harm. I decided not to go to court to see him sentenced. Instead, the police told me he’d been jailed for two years.
The judge, Roger Hetherington, told Fitzgerald he’d caused ‘appalling disruption’ to our wedding and slammed him for trying to intimidate our class.
Now, we’ve just celebrated our two-year wedding anniversary and being Mrs Patel is amazing.
But I expected my husband to knock me off my feet, not a remote-control car!
Emily Patel, 23, Burgess Hill, West Sussex
Despite being in hospital days earlier, I was determined to walk down the aisle with my dad Six screws were put in to hold my leg together
Ricky Fitzgerald was jailed for two years We changed into Indian outfits for our evening do My florist decorated my crutches with flowers to match my bouquet