Tuesday, 23 February 2010

walking down a sort of aisle

(Thanks to Anna, for inspiring me to write this post. I've been mulling it over for days.)

I'd always known I didn't want a church wedding. Like many a modern gal, I'm a happy atheist/agnostic (though I wish the words didn't sound so harsh). I love a visit to old English church as much as the next person, and I'm not anti-religion, but it's just not for me.

What I hadn't realised, before getting engaged, was that if you're not religious, your options are basically a boxy room in a stale council office, finding a hotel or other venue with a roof that is willing to register to marry people, or eloping.

One of my friends is getting married in New York, in Central Park. Imagine getting married on the top of Richmond Hill in London, or even in your local neighbourhood park or pub garden in this country. Lovely. But outdoor is out of the question, if you want to get hitched legally.

Register office type weddings can be a bit 'bish bash bosh' - in and out and over in minutes. While I don't want religion, it's a shame that the other trappings of a beautiful service are denied to those wishing to marry in a civil ceremony. When I've been to family weddings (every single one in a church, every single one with a non-religious bride and groom), the services have always been incredibly moving, religion or no.

I don't want to make a vow before a God, but I would like lovely music, readings, vows that are more than perfunctory. And it turns out that my Dad, bless him, is very excited at the thought of walking me down the aisle. So there needs to be an aisle.

But it turns out there is one option for those of us in this limbo: Humanist weddings. The humanists are a lovely bunch of people that will do nice, non-religious ceremonies for the likes of me and bf. They also do naming ceremonies and other things.

Ok, they're not legally binding in England (though they are in Scotland), so we'll need to do a register office jobby first.

But we can get married outside - in fact, we are going to have this service on the edge of a forest, where the aisle is through the trees and under a willow arch, up to an alter consising of a giant rock, with beautiful music (see post below) and with readings and vows that mean something more than legally defined proximity. The picture above is of the spot.

So hurray for the Humanists. But roll on the day when British (and indeed worldwide) wedding laws leap into the 21st century and let anyone marry anyone wherever they like.

Friday, 19 February 2010

do musicians know what they are doing?

Of course, not in technical terms - of course they do. But I wonder if the potential impactof lyrics and words on a future listener ever crosses the mind of a songwriter.

I realise that's a convoluted sentence.

I've always been a contemplative soppy sod, memorising poems and listening to certain songs on repeat until they are branded onto my brain.

And remember how I said that everything has acquired a new sheen of significance since the ring went on, as if a huge direction sign for life had been planted.

This is a long way of saying that every time I hear a song, I am mentally tapping out the lyrics on a typewriter and pegging them to the bunting at our wedding, or wondering about using it for a first dance. Certain songs have very quickly indeed acquired a lot more meaning.

When bf and I had been together a very short time indeed, we joked that 'Something changed' by Pulp would be the first dance at our wedding, if we ever got hitched. That's still on the list.

And now already, I've decided that the sublime Starlings by Elbow would be a lovely thing to get married to, on the edge of a forest, overlooking beautfiul countryside (this is definitely happening), though only after considering swapping it for the Pulp song as a first dancer.(No lyrics can do it justice. Try to listen to it, you won't regret it.)

And then there's this example, from the sublime Mumford & Sons, in a song that I've listened to 20 times in the past few days for this verse alone:

Love , it will not betray you, dismay or enslave you,
It will set you free
Be more like the man you were made to be.
There is a design,
An alignment to cry,
At my heart you see,
The beauty of love as it was made to be

Pathetic, isn't it.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

waiting waiting waiting

Nineteen months. I keep saying eighteen months, as that sounds like a reasonable time. But really, the wedding (now we've set a date in all but sending the deposit) is very nearly nineteen months away.

I've got a venue sorted. I think I've got someone to marry us (let's leave humanist ceremonies for another post) I've got a photographer sorted. I want to get everything sorted. But I don't want to do it too soon.

I had a dinner with my girlfriends and showed them the venue photos and they are all very excited. But it's such a long way away. I am desperate to do things now.But at the same time, desperate to wait until a point at which people will stop saying: "Well you've got ages. It's a long way away."

I got pretty down the other day, leading me to berate a confused bf during what must have, for him, felt like the longest trip up the M1 in the history of the world. The engagement was so exciting. Telling our friends was so exciting and being 'engaged' was so exciting. But now it's back to normal. I can't plan too much. I can't do too much (other than get stressed over the slow pace of wedding weight loss).

Was there ever such waiting, such waiting before?

(** one of my favourite poems when a small person)