There was once a scene in an episode of Friends, where one of the characters explains to her brother that every girl dreams of her wedding, wandering round with a pillowcase on her head and dreaming of The Dress.
Nice sentiment, but I am not sure just how many girls it applies to. Take me, for instance. I believe in the institution of marriage, I love my partner, I want to get married, but I wouldn’t say I’ve spent all my life dreaming of the wedding itself. Still, when my partner proposed, I was suddenly thrust into the world of wedding organisation, wedding politics, frills, lace and glitter.
The wedding is not until May, so I can’t tell you whether or not we will have any punch ups or nail biting church moments, but the run up so far has been funny, frustrating, exhausting, delightful and romantic.
My 30th birthday, December. We took a trip to Madrid, which was freezing cold, but beautiful. We spent the day wandering around the Zoo at the Royal gardens, bundled up in unflattering bulk, with Rudolph-like noses and sensible shoes. Out of nowhere
it seemed, himself asked me to close my eyes, dropped to one knee, and popped the question. Of course I said yes, and to the surprise of everyone, myself included, a certain amount of blubbing followed. We celebrated in a very expensive little restaurant in Madrid afterwards, which was just perfect; although saving a deposit for our first house did mean we couldn’t afford dessert!
First step was a zillion wedding fayres, looking at an overwhelming array of dresses, flowers, venues and food; dragging my partner, mother, bridesmaids to be and anyone else who could face it along for the ride. We settled on a very nice local hotel for the reception, and after much wrangling, I finally agreed to a church wedding. In some ways I would rather have a secular affair, nonetheless, my partner (who may well have been wandering around 25 years ago with a pillow case on his head, I don’t know) wanted to go the traditional route. We chose a church nearby to where we hoped to move, which fell through, that of course is another story, but has meant we are now regularly attending church in a parish not too close to home.
Of course, the interest in a traditional affair has only gone so far. Like many grooms, I’m sure, this has extended for the most part only as far as the venue, the suits, and of course The Stag Do of the Century. The guest list has been a mammoth task. Much as we would like to invite the entire Home Counties, Auntie Maud’s neighbour and the bloke who works in the local corner shop, budget is fairly tight, and both of us would prefer to keep the day for our nearest and dearest. My mother may not have spoken to several of her aunties in 15 years, but apparently I will be causing a much worse rift by not including them, or heaven forbid, inviting friends I see every single week instead.
Once we had weeded through the list, we chose the invitations. The running colour theme has been a nude champagne with black trimming, which of course has led my ever vocal mother to rename them the ‘funeral invites’, which has been very reassuring…The cars are booked, after a trawl through many quotes, and a long, cold day trailing down a muddy track to view the ones we wanted. I can only assume many couples plan their day like a royal visit – who knew the choices would be infinite? Music for the journey to the church, music for the journey to the reception, a choice of drinks….the list is endless.
I think it is abundantly clear by now that I am not a frilly, layered dress type of a girl. Well, that was my assumption until I actually entered a bridal parlour. Suddenly, I was accosted by big, frill laden numbers with diamantes, pearls, flounces and beads. It didn’t take me long to get addicted to trying them on, and to the oohs and ah’s from accompanying relatives. I have now chosen, and yes, it has frills. The bridesmaids have been a challenge. Lovely as they are, one has dropped out and the other two are chalk and cheese. Luckily, the perfect dresses were found quickly, fit beautifully, and suited both, although the shoes to match have yet to be bought and may be a trauma all of their own!
The table planning is much the same headache as the guest list. The wonder of this however is that the politics are even more important. If mum isn’t speaking to Auntie Mabel, then should mum’s neighbour sit at the same table with Auntie Maud? Has either of the bridesmaids been out with the best man? Do we put the permanently tipsy family member with teetotaller Uncle Bert? Who knows? We haven’t thrown them all up in the air and prayed for a good landing quite yet, but the option is still there.
What to put on the tables? Flowers? Trivia? Sweeties? A book in case people need
something to fend off sleep during the best mans speech? Everyone wants their day to be memorable and unique, but this is a minefield. We shortly have to attend a menu tasting session, which we are very much looking forward to. I’m taking my mother, because she is enjoying being involved in the process, but as she doesn’t eat meat we may all be tucking into nut cutlets.
The DJ is hired, although play lists have yet to be sorted and the thought of agreeing the first dance song gives me chills; as we both have very different ideas on what constitutes a romantic song (I am right on this one, it is NOT Coldplay), the honeymoon suite booked, and everything else is slowly falling in to place. I maybe a slightly reluctant bride, but the whole thing has sucked me in, and now not only can I not wait for the marriage to begin, but I am really looking forward to the big day. Who’d have thought it?
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