Friday, 22 July 2011

on bailing out #2

Sometimes, however, bailing out is for the best.

I received a letter this week - a card in a pink envelope with handwriting I recognised as that of my oldest friend, L.

I knew what was coming, but still held out hope that she’d just written me a nice letter (we do that for each other, sometimes).

Inside was an explanation of why her depression meant she could not come to the wedding. She had been unsure a while ago, because of costs. Her job is insecure. She’s just bought a house. But then she worked it out and decided to come.

But then the big D struck – worse than it ever has before. When getting out of bed and going to work in the morning seems like an impossible task, then getting in the car, driving three hours to a wedding and standing around, eating and drinking with lots of strangers, is unfeasible. Coupled with the money worries which hadn’t gone away, the idea was terrifying her.

The letter was very teary, asking me if I could ever forgive her. Clearly it had been a huge trial even to pick up the pen.

So when I called her and said that of course this was OK and reassured her that I wasn’t going to shout at her for ruining the wedding or demand she attend (seriously, would anyone do that?) she just said it had been a huge relief to make the decision. I impressed upon her that retiring from life was not a good idea but supported her need to do whatever required to recover. I just want her to be OK.

The invitation is open for another week before we have to give figures, so she’s got a chance to change her mind, though by her own admission, she may just turn up on the day, not eat anything and drive back if she wants to come. She’s impulsive when she wants to be.

But really, all I feel is relieved on her behalf. A tactical bailout that I hope will pay off for her.

on bailing out #1

Two bail outs in the past two weeks. Coupled with the bail out from the friend doing the photography a few months ago (which happily, ended brilliantly), this makes three.

The first of the most recent bailings you might know about if you follow me on Twitter. The hair and make-up lady that I had booked, following much research almost a year ago, suddenly decided that I wasn’t worth her time. Luckily (for her) I don’t believe that it’s right to name and shame. But after what happened, I was sorely tempted.

I wish I could put it a better way, but after much thought, it really did seem to be that I wasn’t paying enough –she clearly had a better offer from someone with deep pockets.

When I booked, it took me a couple of weeks to make a decision on whether to go ahead because of the small matter of a budget. I mentioned this – and she said we could make it work. She also emailed me a couple of times every week to ask how I was getting on; was there anything she could do to help? She assured me I was doing the right thing.

In the end, I was won over. She seemed amazing. The total cost (because I really wish someone had talked costs with me earlier on) was going to be £50 for a trial, and £180 for hair and make-up on the day. So £230. Plus travel costs – about £40. Not the cheapest – but she seemed so good, and I decided that this would be a real treat – for a girl who barely wears make up and never does anything with her hair (ie. me). But it was RIGHT AT THE TOP of what I could afford. I was shocked at the price, but assumed it was the going rate.

Until last Friday, it was all going well. We were planning a trial and sorting out a date. Then she said she was concerned. Was it just me having my make up and hair done? Well, yes, I said: it was. I’d said it might be from the start. I’d even filled in a form in January that listed just me, no one else. With each bridesmaid an extra £55 for make up ONLY and five best ladies, it was just a huge stretch.

Well, she said, she’d DEFINITELY told me that she didn’t come out just to do the bride. And she had a £400 minimum booking fee.

Woah. That was a punch to the gut. And seven weeks before the wedding. Not nice.

Hmm. How to resolve this? This is not a conversation I remember having. She certainly asked if there was anyone else in the party and I said I’d check. She never said I’d lose the booking if there wasn’t, or I’d have never booked. Red flags would have popped up all over the place. I’m no dumb bride. And then I'd filled in the form with no one else - and no queries.

Also, I’d suggest that something so vital to the process should not be in an ‘I’m sure I told you this phone call’ but WRITTEN DOWN from the very beginning so that everyone is clear. But no – there’s no mention of it. No T&Cs, nothing on the website. Nothing at all, in fact.

Luckily, I get my deposit back (perhaps recognition on her part that this could have been HER screw up, rather than mine). And it’s worked out for the best. It seems that my gut instinct was right all along. She was rather pricey. And I have now several people who can do a great job, for a little fairer price. And best of all, I feel that maybe I can rely on them, this time...

Thursday, 14 July 2011

my best ladies

First of all, I wasn’t having bridesmaids. Then, I realised that I would have no one to get ready with, no one to drink champagne with, have a little cry with beforehand. Or no one official at least. And I have some great friends.

But at the same time – I really didn’t want to impose on them, to make them feel like they had to do things that might bore them, stress out over dresses or fulfil some list of duties**. But I might want to ask them the odd favour. They’d have helped out, official recognition or not – I have no doubt. But it’s nice to recognise people who go out of their way to help you. (**NOT that I’m saying that’s what all bridesmaids feel. I’m sure it’ s not. But the term was still too formal for us.)

So what I have is ‘best ladies’. I asked six friends, and one declined – she has confidence issues and depression, but is the most wonderful friend, but the thought of performing any sort of role made her anxious. So – five. Picked because they are wonderful, honest, loyal, kind, helpful, creative and have a great eye for detail. One of them, for my birthday just after we got engaged, bought me a packet of floral pegs which she gave to me with such excitement, certain that they would be perfect for the wedding. And she was right. I’ve never been as happy with a packet of pegs.

These ladies can wear what they like, but somehow realised that most of them already owned a green dress, and that they might wear them together. One is still searching for one, so that might happen. But I truly don’t care if it doesn’t. They all have the offer of a corsage or a flower for their hair and have accepted with glee.

They threw me the most amazing hen weekend (which now I think perhaps I will blog about after all) and one lady revealed a hitherto unsuspected ability for making pom poms and other papercraft. Now I have a bag full of tissue paper to take to her house tomorrow for some hours making poms and drinking, and perhaps barbecuing in the rain.

One BL is taking the cake the venue – three hours out of London, and she’s pretty scared that she might either drop or eat it. But it’ll be fine, I know it. Then on the morning, we’ll be fluffing up some poms, stringing bunting and possibly already drinking something fizzy. They will go to the ceremony location ahead of time and cover the trees with decorations and lay out order of services. Then they will carry on being some of the finest ladies on the planet, getting drunk and dancing their backsides off. And I will thank them from the bottom of their beautiful hearts.

some details, or the start of them

So I wonder how much I’ve actually said about the wedding on here. All the way through, I’ve been fiercely protective of my privacy for various reasons, and so have shunned anything that might have identified me to any potential-reader-that-also-knew-me-in-real-life types.

But you know what. Seven weeks to go, I’m less worried. I’m still anonymous on here, but as I meet more people who have emailed me to say hi, and read more blogs from friends, I am less worried about someone ‘finding me out’. It’s not like I say anything appalling, ever – or I seriously try not to.

I still won’t be giving the location of the ceremony on here but other details – well, they might be interesting to you, if you’re interested in non-traditional weddings. Though I think I’ve ticked every ‘bloggy cliche’ box going, becoming ‘traditional’ in another way – yeah, I am making pom poms this weekend with a best lady. I love pom poms. We all sit in one box or another.

So I’m going to start blogging some of the things that are occupying my mind in the run up, maybe things we’ve done differently. Starting with the best ladies. NOT bridesmaids. Best ladies. Coming up...

doing it is easy

Yep, you heard me. Doing this wedding shit is easy. Need some place name tags? Bish bash bosh. Bought ‘em. Need to book a train to take us to our honeymoon. One phonecall. Five minutes. Easy.

But you know what’s hard? THINKING about it. And I do this, hmm, perhaps for something between two and 10 hours on an average day.

“Oh my god. Where am I going to get name tags? Shit, these name tags on Etsy cost a freaking fortune. Oh god. Oh look, here are some cheap ones. Buy them, quick. Name tags arrive. Stare at them. Realise they are cheap and ugly. Think about name tags. Think about name tags. Think about name tags. Realise John Lewis sell name tags following a tip from a friend. Ask J about name tags. Then order the sodding name tags. Name tags don’t arrive. Where are name tags? Should I email John Lewis? Oh look, name tags arrived. Of course they did. Are they good enough? Should I stick buttons on them (oh, FYI, our invitations had buttons glue-gunned onto them by my fair hand).”

Let’s just think about this for a minute. We still have half a honeymoon to do. We have only a rudimentary budget. We have still to pay most of our suppliers. My dress is due to arrive in three or four weeks. One best lady is still dress-less and is about to go to Canada for almost a month. The wedding is seven weeks tomorrow.

So, let’s think about this for a minute. Or...let’s not...

Friday, 1 July 2011

the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow

...or a piece of string. That is to say: I need a formula for the unformulatable.

Given a warm-ish (please, weather gods) day and the unrestricted supply of alcohol, plus the distraction of some outdoor games and the occasional break for a photograph how much wine and beer can approximately 80 adults consume over a period of two hours?

I could think of this as:

D/12 (2 hours being one twelfth of a day, natch) + A – (G x px) x 80

I mean. I could think of it like that. It was fun to write it down. But it's not going to help me when I'm staring at crates of Peroni in Majestic. Can anyone help?

double yoo tee eff

Why is it that as the wedding gets closer there is an direct correlation with the busyness in other areas of life. Namely: WORK.

The longer the to-do list for the wedding, the later you stay at work, the more meetings are in the diary. Then over the summer, it seems that there's always someone off in the office, on their hols, which impacts on everyone else's work. Just one of those things of course, but I'm really feeling it this year.

This has happened to of my recently wed friends too. One of whom was bashing through 8pm meetings the week before she left to get married. I don't think I'm far off.

My job has got insane, insane, insane, and just at the point where the wedding to do list is starting to make me panic. I had a friend working until 11.30pm in the weeks before her wedding. I can see that happening to me too. It's great for the company but means that when you're at work, you're flat out, and then when you're at home, you're flat out too

We saw a friend last night who asked us how the wedding planning was going. And I drunkenly poured out some ridiculous list of everything we have to do. And he said 'sounds like you're getting through it'. And i replied: no. We are not. If we were getting through it, i wouldn't be panicking to you right now. We'd be talking about something more interesting.

And so that's why the I need to get through it. For my friends' sake. I don't want to be become that bride to be who bores the shit out of everyone wittering about the cost of flowers.

a dizzy wedding

I tried to do this a few days ago, but Blogger was broken. I tried to do it again yesterday, and Blogger was broken again. SIGH.

So this is my belated HAPPY WEDDING to the wonderful Dizzy Girl Dee, who has just celebrated her nuptials to IB (or Irish Boy, as it took me several months to work out).

Dee - I hope it was amazing! The sneaky peek photos (oh yes, I had my spies) looked amazing. You had that sort of Ready Brek glow going on and the most enormous grin.

Congrats beautiful!