Monday, 23 May 2011

weird moment

[Booking part of the honeymoon]

Woman on phone: What's your surname for the tickets?
Me: It's, uhh.... well, we'll be, um, married then. So do I give you his name?

Result: Tickets booked under J's name and initial. Even though it will then be MY name too. I could have given her my married name. I didn't. I didn't feel I could own it yet.

I really need to start thinking of it as MY name too. First step: develop a new signature. This is going to be strange...

Sunday, 22 May 2011

writing a secular ceremony

Well, if I thought deciding on a dress was hard, it was nothing compared to writing our ceremony. It's not done, but yesterday our friend who is doing the ceremony came round, and after much prevaricating over sushi and ramen and coffee and a walk in the park and four pots of tea, we decided to sit down with a pen and paper and actually do it.

For those who aren't aware: we are getting married on top of a hill by a friend. We aren't religious and so don't think we should go to church. so we're doing the legal bit in a register office first. But I think the law is an ass on the whole 'not letting you get married outside' thing, so we're working our way around this by having the ceremony we want, outside, on a hill, done by a wonderful friend.

T, our friend, was fantastic. I'd sent him some links (to A Cupcake Wedding and Wedding for Two's blog posts - ladies, what would we do without you?) and he'd done his own research, turning up with a rough outline of how he felt the ceremony should go.

So far, so simple. But then it gets harder. Here were some of the things that we found hard. If you're involved in your ceremony at all, you might find these things hard too. Or you might find something else we haven't thought of hard. Either way, please share in the comments. I need all the help I can get on this...

1. How do you want to involve your guests? We're not having any singing and possibly no live music - though we may have some sort of amp. So how do we involve those people who are there to support us? Hand fasting? Considered but ultimately rejected as a bit pagan for us - some relatives are already convinced we might as well have it at Stonehenge as on top of a hill. Passing rings around? A good idea but will it mean anything to people? I'm uncomfortable with the idea of a 'blessing' and what else would you call that? So we're going to have a 'We do' from the congregation. We will say our vows, and then T will ask if the congregation will support us. And they will hopefully answer, with a prompt: "we do".

2. Readings. These are full of pitfalls. That lovely poem you remember liking from years back? Yeah, it's probably going to have a line or word in it that's going to make you snigger. We went through hundreds of poems and readings, without exaggeration.We rejected some for lines that were suggestive of procreation - can't read those in front of elderly aunts. Others trigger words for getting the giggles ("shaft" - as in "of light" being one, and "sheath" being another - we're very mature people). Beautiful poems but if J hears the word 'shaft' and raises an eyebrow at me, I won't be able to hold it in.

Also - some poems you might feel you want to read to your partner - how would you feel if a friend read them? Do you want to do the reading yourself? Hmm. Is it too soppy? Maybe you need to pick a different poem. Also, I hate any poem with a trace of twee or awkwardness. Anything that said 'tis' was out, unless it was Shakespeare. Modern verse all the way for us. But in the interests of mixing it up, we are trying to find something traditional to break up the flow. TBC.

3. Who is doing the readings? You might love your friend Bob, but if Bob is the shyest man on the planet, would, and could he do a reading? How about bridesmaids? How do you pick one to read if you have several 'maids? Do you want to involve new people?

For us, we wanted to involve our friends that were outside of the 'inner circle' of bridesmaids and family etc. And we had to make sure we picked people that wouldn't be freaked out by the prospect and could stand up and do justice to the words.

4. The inclusion of any religious elements. One thing I have always loved about church weddings is the Corinthians reading - just the passage that starts: "Love is patient, love is kind". It's beautiful, and true and I agree with it. But I am not religious and I feel you cannot pick and choose what bits of religion you like, and excise the rest.

However, we are not dismissive of religion, and also recognise the truth in the words. One way around this that we discussed was the possibility of asking a friend, who is religious, to read this. However, we are currently leaning towards leaving it out.

Anyway. This post is very much unformed thoughts about the challenges we encoutered. I'm sure I'll be much more coherent next time.

Monday, 16 May 2011

becoming a bride

Re-reading my previous post makes me realise: the main thing that I hadn't expected was that I would become 'a bride', with all the connotations that involves. Not that brides have to put their hair up or spend 150 quid on shoes. But that's just what's happened for me.

Discussing this with friends at a hen do last weekend, a few engaged and recently-married ladies were talking with a girl who was yet to be engaged. She sounded like me of a year and a half ago: "I don't want the fuss, I don't want any of the traditions, I just want it really low key, I want to do it my way..."

Every single one of the engaged/married ladies said the same thing. They were like that too. They were embarrassed by being a 'bride to be' and they wanted to do it differently. Then they realised, that as Becca said in the comments to my last post, that the things that you want to reject are the things that make it a wedding. It took a while for me to realise that people love weddings and that I might love one too. Once we'd realised we wanted to have a wedding, not just the 'big party' that had been initially suggested, then there were some things that couldn't be rejected.

During the same conversation, I also posited the point that a wedding wasn't just your day. You were the reason for it, but it's also for everyone else. I'm still haunted by a comment from my mum in the early days, which made me feel like the most selfish bride to be in the world - everything I'd thought I was escaping by doing it another way.

Me: We aren't going to have cake. We're just going to have cheese.
Mum: [disappointment and huge sadness in her voice] No cake?
Me: Yes, you can have cheese, like a cake. It's really cool.
Mum: [sadly] But... people like cake...

Yes, and of course, the crucial detail. My mum doesn't like cheese. What was her daughter doing? How could I be so inconsiderate? I felt like the worst sort of bride, demanding that people bow to her will and do things HER WAY. You can fight for what you want. But it's a shame if that makes other people sad.

Another friend, due to be married in a month, said that now the initial fuss had died down, she was looking forward to getting married more than anything. And not just to getting married, but to being married and to celebrating it.

Anyway. Three and a half months to go, I'm finally embracing it.

Friday, 13 May 2011

not what i expected

I'm slowly coming to the realisation that many things about this wedding have turned out to be different from what I expected. Sometimes completely so. This isn't bad. But it is occassionally surprising.


Vision 1: the presence of a veil. I had been staunchly anti-veil. I was going to wear my hear down, possibly with a little flower in it, all hippy, like.

The reality: I tried on a veil in a shop. Well, I say tried on - I was holding up a dress and it was stuck in the back of my hair, which was up, (see vision 2) by a third party when I wasn't looking. I had to admit it looked pretty nice.

Vision 2: I would have my hair down, like some sort of Grecian goddess, to go with my flowing dress.

The reality: I remembered that we are getting married on top of a hill and did start to have some minor concerns about wind levels and dishevellment. Then I was in a shop and trying on a dress almost-the-particular-style-which-I-ultimiately-decided-to-go-for (oh the secretiveness - more to come on this) and it was suggested that I put my hair up. I had to admit it loked pretty nice...

Vision 3: I would wear a flowing dress, maybe made entirely of tulle. It would have a simple empire line, perhaps. It might have even been this absolute beauty.

The reality: Though I didn't try on the dress in the link, I did discover that on the whole, flowing dresses are not made for pear shapes. The lack of boob coupled with the childbearing hips means there is a distinct air of pregnancy about a flowing gown on a pear. I might want a hippy vibe but having bust my ass losing weight for more than a year, I don't want to look up the duff down the aisle. Also, the last thing I need is added volume around the arse area. Not when there will be photos from that angle.

Vision 4: Shoes at £50 or less
The reality: I can't find any. Apart from a sage green pear that I sort of like (and bought anyway). The cheap options are massive stilletos which I love but cannot stand up in. Also I have terrifying visions of blisters. I'm going for a pair of Rachel Simpson's. Not too expensive, effing gorgeous and a wide range of wearable-height heels. Goddamnit I won a dress! So I can spend a bit more on shoes. We're not talking several hundred, or even several thousand here. Just eminently reasonable, beautiful (yes, actively beautiful, rather than the fugly diamante/cheap satin vibe that so many 'wedding shoes' apparently insist on).

OK, there are loads more. The biggest one is the style of dress which for obvious reasons, I can't spill here. Suffice to say that the amazing House of Mooshki has been briefed and it's not a flowing empire line Grecian jobby. But I do love it.

Vision 5: I'd never find 'my dress'. I'd just have a dress I liked.

The reality: Well, I won a dress, as you might know. But I still didn't know what I wanted. Thankfully, they did. And so now I do. I have 'a dress'. My brain has picked it and I feel I had little part in it.

It's barely even a conscious thing - from a small handful of 'variations' drawings from Mooshki, my subconscious brain made up its own mind. I looked at the dresses at 1am, when the email pinged to my phone. By the time I woke up, every time I thought of what I might wear, I thought of just one of them. Which surprises me in the best way. I never thought I would get even a little bit excited about the dress, and so it's a very pleasant surprise to find I have. And I am so grateful that Mooshki has given me the chance to.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

the weight is almost over

So, after a year and a third of dieting and losing three and a half/four stones (depending on when I count from), it's now six weeks until I get measured for my dress and have to maintain my weight until the wedding.

So it's going to be an interesting six weeks, when I absolutely hammer the exercise and, bearing in mind that I have a hen night and a wedding during this time, kick the ass of the plan as much as humanly possible.

But the fact remains - even if I lose at a stonking rate during this period - say 2-3lbs a week (and I don't lose that fast, generally) - I may look much like this when I get married. I certainly won't be the dainty sylph that I had initially thought I would be, however unlikely that might have actually been (I am not dainty ever - I doubt I magically would be at 11 stones)

If I manage to lose 2lbs a week between now and then, which is not impossible, I will have lost almost another stone and be squarely a size 14 which I know looks good on my frame. It also puts me at 'bikini point' - the time when I can wear a bikini without feeling like a large pasty Michelin (wo)man in swimwear. So I would be OK with that.

But if I lose 1lb a week between now and then - I'll look much the same - I will be a 14-16. A great improvement from the size 24 I was, no doubt. But still. I really need to come to terms with this.

the a list

Or the b list, or the absence of either. It's not like we've got a Royal Wedding sized guest list to juggle and Elton and David to seat, but we did have a little bit of juggling to do.

We didn't want the numbers to get out of control, and so we had a list of invitees, and then a list of people we wanted to invite but weren't sure we could accommodate. Then it became clear that we were getting some 'no' RSVPs, mostly from my family. This was quite pleasing in a bizarre way at first. We could feel the budget shrinking, dropping with every 'no' card that dropped through the door. And rather meanly - some were invited out of a sense of duty and I felt relieved, rather than sad that they weren't coming.

But then we looked at the 'b' list and felt quite sad. J in particular seemed to have been enlivened by watching Kate and Wills (he really enjoyed it I think, sitting there drinking his way through a pot of coffee and eating a scone) and embraced the whole wedding thing - and said: sod it. We are asking them. What would the damage be? Hmm... a quick calculation: maybe 300-400 extra pounds. Or rather - back up to our original budget rather than the lower budget that had emerged.

We only do this once, he said, and I love these people. We will find the money. I'd rather have them there. I looked at our list and not-too-reluctantly agreed that I would rather have them there.

So that's it, no b list. It's not something everyone can do (hmm... we can barely...) but it's the right thing for us. These lovely people will be there, I hope. And now we've run out of invitations...