Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Lessons in Love

            Sometimes, couples take ages to make decisions.
Take Brawny and I. You’ve paired the woman who can’t pick a nail colour out of her 80-plus polishes with the man who makes Harvey Dent look impulsive. We live in a miniature-scale nightmare.
  But then sometimes we both have the exact same thought. One example of this is our Wedding ceremony. Like a bizarre episode of The Wonder Twins, when it came to picking a ceremony we both sat up straight, and looked each other straight in the eye.
“Jonathan,” we chorused.
The chap in question is the Vicar at Brawny’s family church, and the reason for our joint moment of clarity. He’s such a lovely guy that we couldn’t imagine anyone else marrying us. And that’s how it works: when something makes sense, you do it.
So imagine my surprise when I bumped into a friend in town who had recently been married by Jonathan. As soon as I said that we were looking to book his church, she offered some sage advice.
“You need to book ASAP,” she said. “If you’ve got your heart set on it, make it the first thing you book.”
Fantastic. I pictured walking down the aisle in front of the stained glass, affirming my vows in front of a close friend of the family I was joining…
“Oh, but you’ll need to go to marriage lessons.”
“Yeah, Jonathan will ask you things just to make sure you’re compatible and stuff.”
I was confused. Was it going to be like one of those love quizzes in Cosmopolitan? Or do we simply sit under a giant Love Calculator? WARNING: Under 50% compatibility means your relationship will be TERMINATED.
Though I know where all Brawny’s freckles are, his favourite film and the face he makes when he’s about to sneeze (of which I can do a wicked impression), that’s probably not the sort of things we’ll be asked.
So what makes you compatible? I’m pretty sure that although I may have liked the same books, films and music as any of my ex-boyfriends, we obviously weren’t very well suited. One partner didn’t share my religious views, one didn’t want the same sort of relationship as I did, and several couldn’t keep it in their pants didn’t view boundaries in the same way as me. Those issues never reared an ugly head with Brawny – or if they did, they were immediately scuppered by our willingness to see things from each others’ point of view.
Jonathan was kind enough to drop a pamphlet through the door which contained not only a few hymn suggestions and biblical passages but lots of little ‘reasons’ to marry. I’m going to hold off on those now, because we’ve got an actual meeting with Jonathan soon and I’d love to see how it goes and report back.
For now - Bride out!

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Mag Hags

In all my adolescent life I have avoided one section of WHSmith’s for fear of appearing too presumptuous: wedding magazines.

A whole different breed, they’re not like the other magazines: they’re glossy and have a grinning woman on the front, but inside they have painted bird cages and biscuits shaped like teapots. When I gave it to Brawny, his forehead wrinkled to such an extent that I thought I was betrothed to a Basset hound.

Faced with the prospect of planning a wedding, I had the same reaction as the majority of my male friends (sorry guys). Surely there’s not much to deal with, right? I mean there’s the venue and my dress and Brawny’s suit and the cake, but that’s essentially it, isn’t it?

Wrong. Well not 100% wrong, more like partially right. There is the venue and the dress and suits et cetera, but there’s a world of other stuff to think about. Okay, so I don’t necessarily need teapot biscuits; they’re just sundries. But just imagine that I cover the basics.

Take me, for instance. I need a dress and some shoes, obviously. I may want a tiara or hairclip to keep my hair up, and a traditional veil. I’ll also need underwear. I’ll might want two lots of this because I won’t want to wear my Wedding night lingerie (you know, the special stuff) under my dress, in case I choose a dress that it won’t fit under, or in case my Wedding lingerie is a bit uncomfortable – don’t look at me like that, sometimes scanties are. That’s why we girls don’t usually wear our frilliest and laciest all day every day.

So we’ve covered what I’m wearing…almost. I might want hair and make-up done. If you don’t know anyone that will happily do it for you, you’ll have to pay for the privilege. And what if I want a spray tan, or a manicure, or a pedicure?

And what about the rings? Or the flowers? And of course there’s the Groom’s outfit – admittedly you can hire that, but it still costs money. And he’ll need a fitting appointment, as will the Ushers and Bridesmaids. Sometimes they chip in for their garments, which helps. And what about their shoes? Cufflinks? Neckties or cravats? Maybe I want the girls to have matching bags, or fascinators?

Already our sums are starting to climb the heights, and it’s not just money. We’ll all need to find the time for fitting appointments and Hen or Stag nights. The girls might want their hair cut, a manicure, a facial, a spray tan done. The boys might want a trim or a neat shave.

And then there’s (deep breath) printing the invites, wedding favours, decorations, thank you notes, gifts for the wedding party, the flowers, the cars, the reception, the marriage licence…

You might say it’s extravagant. After all, it’s one day. All this expense, all this time and trouble, just for one day! You must be joking, right?

Yeah, it is one day. But it’s also your day: your day to show the extent of your love for each other in front of your friends and family. It’s a chance to show your combined personalities: that’s why people have a colour scheme, or funny cake toppers, or different flowers. Nobody really wants a ‘Tesco value’, cookie-cutter wedding.

The trick is, I discovered, to do what you want. Our Bridesmaid Ro went to a wedding recently where the bride and her father danced down the aisle to Beyonce and the readings were performed by a pair of dinosaur hand puppets. Fantastic! She’ll be telling that story for years! Isn’t that great? Wouldn’t you love your closest friends to still be saying in five years’ time “Hey, remember at Brawny and Neety’s wedding…”

So I’m putting down the bridal magazines for now. Sure, they’re cool, but they assume I don’t have a lovely and talented bunch of friends that will happily bake a cake or fix my hair or help arrange flowers.

For now, I’ve got bigger fish to fry…now where can I get a wedding cake in the shape of a turtle?

^ From Cake Wrecks (url). Made by Studio Cake. If you get time, check out both great sites.