Monday, 27 September 2010

venue visit

(photo by me)

This weekend was spent visiting the venue with both mine and J's parents.

Beautiful countryside and weather, copious amounts of tea and lots of blackberry and sloe picking meant that what could have been a stressful couple of days was actually utterly lovely. My mum found a four-leafed clover at the farm, which she wrapped in tissue and made me press in a 1950s film encyclopaedia that J's dad had found for us at a charity shop that morning ("I thought you could put this in your loo. It would be good toilet reading.")

(photo by me)

There were scones, there was booze and it was peaceful. They walked up the hill with us to where we're going to get married and declared it lovely.

They talked about their own weddings: my parents was in a church and then a church hall for the reception, six weeks after my dad was made redundant. They cancelled everything when he lost his job, but everyone rallied round. A friend took the photos and another friend became their chauffeur, even buying a velvet jacket, a cap and flowers for the parcel shelf of his brand new cream Ford Cortina. Food was brought to the hall made by aunties and apparently everything went off great, aside from my Grandad pouring a pint of ale over my mum's dress, but she didn't mind. They've been married 28 years.

J's parents were married after knowing each other for just a month, and having only had two dates. They both worked for the foreign service in Africa and were about to enter a war zone. The only reason they were allowed to get married so quickly was because they both had security clearance (any man in the service who wanted to get married had to have his wife-t0-be cleared, a process that could take months). I believe they have been married 30-something years.

There were just two hairy moments. The first was crossing a dual carriageway with my mother-in-law to be driving us ladies to the florist. The sun was glaring, she had no sunglasses and we were trying to turn right. "Tell me when to turn, I can't see a thing!" is not something you want to hear on any road, let alone a fast one.

The other moment was when the same mother-in-law to be confessed that she had started buying baby clothes. N0 - there is no secret - I'm not pregnant. She just really really really would like it if I was. Cripes.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

crappy dress shopping experience

(image from here)

So you know I'm losing weight. Part of this - or rather, the end aim of this, is that I want to be a certain weight before I start looking for a wedding dress.

Currently, I've got a little way to go, but I'd hope to be at this weight by next spring, which is six months ahead, though it might be later.

So yesterday, I decided to ask in my local bridal shop: how late can you leave it to buy a dress. See, I don't know what I'm doing here, and I figure they might.

I walked in - there was an 'open' sign on the door, after all, and I just had a little question.

At the end of the shop were assistants helping a lady into a giant dress. But there were many assistants - maybe about 8 - and only four of them were doing anything (cooing over the bride to be, mostly).

Four of them were just standing there. And then I walked in, and the bell rang on the door, and they continued to stand there loking at me.

After about 10 seconds of staring at me like I'd dared swear in front of the Pope or performed a dance dressed as a dog turd, one of them came down to me.


"Hi there. I'm getting married next year and I just wondered how long in advance I should be buying a dress. I'd heard six months, but does it really need to be so long?"


Another assistant comes over, clearly incredibly annoyed that I have dared enter the shop.


I repeat the question. Her answer:

"Yes. It has to be six months. If you want your Dream Dress." She definitely capitalised it. And now she clearly considers the matter closed.

"What happens if you have less than six months?"

"Well they you might not get your Dream Dress. You might have to wear one of these, which only come in certain sizes [casting a glance up and down my still-buxom frame] and other people will have worn them."

So anyway. I have yet to try on a wedding dress and one toxic shop has already soured the experience.

I probably won't be buying my dress there.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

it's the whole thing

I went to a wedding the other weekend. It was a truly amazing day - and after a week of torrential rain, the sun came out over the cliffs of Cornwall.

In the late afternoon, in that lull between formalilty and drunken abandon, the groom said to me:

"It doesn't feel like enough, really. We just stood there and said: I do, and I do, and signed our names. I can't believe that's it and we're married."

But that's not it, I thought. It's not just the name in a book and the 'I-do-s'. It's the whole thing: the rituals of the whole day. It's the feasting, and the dancing, and the symbolic cutting and sharing of cake. It's the feeding your loved ones. It's being showered with petals and the singing. We're just another tribe, after all; marking these important days with rituals, because that's what you do.

I think I said some version of this to him, much less poetically, after having two cocktails and a load of fizzy stuff. Not sure if it came out quite right, but I've thought about it since.

That's why it matters, sometimes to other people, that you do these things. To the 'elders' specifically: the white dress; the name changing; the little things that carry on.

I thought I would be rebellious, to start with: blue dress, my own name. But seeing that these things matter to people makes me think again. Why do they want them? Why do I not want them? I can see why it would be upsetting to lose these things.

wicked invitations

No, not mine, but Kiara's from Henry Reigns.

Check those bad boys out. They are blummin ace. Retro book covers - such a genius idea!

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

genius idea

Map envelopes - print them yourself. I can TOTALLY see a use for these...

what i lose by not having bridesmaids

As soon as I knew I was getting married, I decided I wouldn't have bridesmaids. Partly this is because I don't love the idea. I've been a bridesmaid twice and I think my mind was made up then.

But also partly it's because I don't know who I would pick. I don't have any sisters or close cousins. I don't have any natural choices among my friends - no one I'd consider close enough.

But I do have a large, looser group of friends, many of whom have been invited to be 'best ladies' - which means they can wear what they like, that they may be asked to help with some things, and sport a flower somewhere on their person on the day.

This brings its own set of problems: if it's just a loose grouping, then where do you draw the line? How close do friends have to be to wear a flower? And who do you exclude? This is a dilemma indeed. Because I really can't just have everyone. And there are some people I don't feel close enough to, but who may expect to be included.

Today, I've been musing on what I'm missing out on by not having a chief 'maid'. Someone who is OBLIGED to listen to my moanings (heh) and help me through this. Someone I can call just because I am floundering. Someone who gets as excited as I do about the whole thing. Someone to come dress shoppping with (those accompanying me will be mum and mum-in-law - is this an insane decision?). Someone to feed me Gaviscon and croissants on the morning itself.

I'm lucky to have a group of lovely ladies. But after all that, I am now considering formalising or upgrading them to 'maids'. Mostly because otherwise I run the risk of having 15-25 best ladies, some of whom I haven't seen in yonks, but who must be included because we half the other girls from the same group of friends are on the list.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010


So I think I've worked out why I was feeling so curmudgeonly.

When I had ages and ages to go, talking about this stuff was fun, inconsequential. I liked wallowing in the ideas and thinking about stuff.

Now, I don't have ages to go. I have less than a year, and to be honest, that sort of crept up on me, even though we marked the day with a picnic/engagement party. The summer was jam packed, with barely a free weekend. The autumn is shaping up similarly, and you know what winter is like (well, the fun bit before Christmas anyway. The depressing bit after is quieter... though probably won't be next year...) I don't really have any free time until November. I need to do invitations by Jan. The card we bought is now hidden in a cupboard and we've done SOD ALL.

Now, it turns out, I quite like the thought of keeping something for myself, having done all this sharing. The wedding is for us and our family and friends - I have ideas now and I just have to get them from my brain and into physical form.

So I don't think I'll be sharing the intricacies of my invitations. I might moan about them, or muse on elements of them here or maybe a quick 'how-to' if I found something useful, or if I think someone else might, but I'm not sure that I'll be blogging a six stage post on the paper stock, the envelope liners (a whole new concept to me) and all the rest.

I might be instead posting on things like the idea of changing my name, or how to work out some of the harder stuff. Stuff that the wisdom of the lovely community can help with. And probably some questions on why everything has suddenly become so damned expensive.