I have a one year old who refuses to go to sleep and consequently I am having to break off between writing other word to stuff my face with a mouthful of chocolate
I have a four year old who’ll need to be picked up from nursery in about an hour’s time despite having only been there about an hour, which means I have to type very fast to avoid ANOTHER month going by without any record (so much for this blog being my diary)
I have a desk littered with stationery samples as I try – totally in vain – to convince myself that if I search far and wide enough I can find a printers to supply invitations built as solidly as Friend Who Got Married In St Pauls despite me only having 10th of the stationery budget.
I have a mother due to arrive to babysit in a few hours time who’ll want a typed minute by minute guide of the children’s tea and bedtime and how to work the TV (only 3 separate controls required; can’t see the problem)
I have friends who populate Facebook with Love! Joy! Laughter! Tears! Funny Quips!, which when I’m in this mood make me devoid of any good humour at all, and yet I masochistically still log-on to make my humour even blacker.
I have a one year old STILL YELLING despite being knackered after being taken for a run around Tesco by the four year old this morning, requiring me to have to ask people to help search for them.
I have acquired a total control-freak personality which means my blood pressure rises exponentially when people don’t reply to my emails IMMEDIATELY, or wedding ring websites don’t work FAST ENOUGH, or someone suggests I need to make ANOTHER DECISION about something (and yet can I delegate? No..)
I tell everyone that I’m quite relaxed about the wedding and am sure some things will go wrong and we’ll all cope, while inside I’m panicking because I haven’t done a final run through all the blinking wedding magazines I bought last year to pull out the things that I was interested in, and Oh My God what if I miss something?
I have a kitchen covered with porridge thrown around by the one year old this morning. It sets like cement and it’s just so tiresome cleaning it all up when you know it’s going to happen all over again the next morning.
On the plus side it’s now quiet upstairs. So I’ll have just one more chocolate and then get on with life. Or perhaps go and have a lie down for an hour with a cold compress.
About 6 weeks ago I had my first wedding nightmare. It involved waking up on the day of the wedding and realising I’d forgotten to send out any invitations.
A few weeks ago, I had wedding dream number 2, again involving timing, though on this occasion everyone was there EXCEPT me, and I was running around central London dithering over whether or not it was too late to actually be worth turning up, then deciding yes, it was only about an hour after it was due to start, so I should take a crack at it, and then pelting through the traffic over Kingsway to pick up my dress from ‘home’ (which of course is not there), putting it on and then spending quite a lot of time applying a lot of kohl eyeliner for a sort of rock bride look, which in my dream I remember feeling quite pleased with.
Toenails courtesy of an interviewee in a hurry
This morning I find that even my bridesmaids are dreaming about it: MoH#J says “you were very tactfully asking if I’d thought about painting my toe nails and when we looked I’d painted one foot a rather grubby bluey brown but forgotten about the other one. We tried to match it with something you had! Your flowers were late, I had a rather crumpled pink suit on and everything was pretty random.” Worryingly, that’s not an entirely unlikely scenario, knowing both of us…
So this blog post is going to be a collection of subconcious wedding thoughts, updated on a rolling basis. It’ll be interesting to note whether it ever includes contributions from DH2B. The wedding is in his diary, but I can safely warrant that it’s not floating around his frontal cortex, whereas it’s permanently stamped through mine…
Dec 12 – MoH#J has her second dream: “Very vivid one just before waking up this morning…it was time for the rehearsal and we were in a very beautiful italian-style church, apparently buried in the middle of a city somewhere – lots of dramatic paintings on the wall, stone carvings, red aisle carpet.
You had the full gear on although the dress was a simpler version of the actual one and your hair was below shoulder length and platinum blonde – in fact you looked a lot like Sindy (!) [I love this!!! Ed.]. There was a gaggle of similarly platinum blonde friends who were like something out of a US teen movie and were making a huge fuss over who was wearing what item of antique jewellery which you had produced from your family collection. Needless to say I was somewhat exasperated with all this, we were running out of time, indeed a bishop turned up in all his regalia for his rehearsal. So I’m afraid I told you I had to go and (as before) you were the picture of patience and completely understanding [natch, Ed.]. I headed out into the city and found it to be very Hong Kong-esque. I wasn’t sure where I was going and in walking realised I’d actually behaved very badly as Steph hadn’t been there and she would need me to tell her what was happening and anyway as bridesmaid I could have pulled rank on the other girls and actually maybe that’s what you needed me to do and I needed to go back and make things better but…I was lost in the city and there was no way I was going to find the church again.”
Jan 13. T-4mths, and counting. Now it’s hit the Year of the Wedding I’ve suddenly embarked on a frenzy of prep, almost with relief that I can finally get on with it. Anyway, last night I dreamed that we were having it in a big house on the outskirts of London. There was a lot of very true-to-life stressful argumentation with my mother in the build up, and then somehow we appeared to segue neatly into a post-ceremony moment when there was a bit of a lull and we were seeing some people off who had to go early. Ever the social creature, I tried to gee everyone up: Cakes! Dancing! Let’s get the music going! and moved off into a large, clear living room with a band and parquet floor. A couple of slightly unattractive MBA types in Black Tie asked me to dance and I was enjoying the attention, before thinking that perhaps I’d better have the first dance with my new husband. I turned to find DH2B, who was standing on the edge of the dance floor rather stubbornly, wearing casual trousers and a sweater [which is what his father has said he’s going to wear], with a corsage clumsily stuffed through his jumper. We were about to start dancing when one of the band members pulled back his hood, and revealed himself to be Jamie Cullum. There we go.
Apr13 4 weeks to go and the wedding dreams thankfully have died off, mostly because my days are turning into one big wedding nightmare. I did dream once that we were about to start the wedding only to remember that we hadn’t seen the registrar in advance. So we had to persuade her that we’d go through the ceremony as a formality, and promise that we’d beetle down to her office the next day to get the legals done. Random other dreams have tended to involve not having enough time to do my make up – a situation that might still arise as I’ve got to go driving around on the M4 on the wedding day to have my hair done. I’m pleased to report that Best Woman #2 has also been dreaming (about forgetting her shoes) and even DH2B has had a nightmare – bizarrely on the same topic. I think he’d remembered his suit but only at the last minute realised he didn’t have any footwear. Interesting that all these anxieties are about forgetting… despite the endless number of lists we have lying around in paper and electronic form. The trouble with dreams is that you wake up after this stressful wedding event in your subconscious only to think ‘oh well at least it’s over now’ to suddenly realise IT’S NOT, WE STILL HAVE TO GO THROUGH IT.
5 months have past since we got engaged; I’ve read every single bridal magazine published since then, have spent endless hours online pouring through almost uniformly unhelpful designer websites (all music, Flash vids (which don’t play on the iPad) and no search facilities); have been to four wedding dress shops, and have tried on over 20 dresses.
You’d have thought, bearing in mind I have – girl-stereotype-warning-despite-calling-myself-a-feminist coming up – been dreaming about my W-day in idle moments for about 30 years, I’d already have a pretty clear idea about the vision I wanted to convey. But basically I haven’t got a clue. I want to look sexy (for my fiance), demure (for my father), chic (for my mother), appropriately weddingy (for the two DS’s, who can now recognise a Bride at a 1,000 paces, and think anyone in a tie is a Groom), and basically like a fully optimised version of me (you can tell I work on websites..).
If I put all my wants together, I get something like this (see left; I would really like pockets). But in practice I’ve found that CHEAP is also a key criterion; although I’m not usually a bargain-basement kind of girl, I simply cannot bear to spend multi-thousands of pounds on a dress – not least because I’ll spend the whole day worrying about it – especially if reselling was part of the original proposal. And yet I do want quality.
And that is why I found myself standing on top of a box in a local, very well renowned, bridal shop, yesterday afternoon, with a face like Kevin (see right), dressed in a lovely white A-line Sassi Holford dress, worth about £3k, muttering ‘s’alright’.
One of my long-suffering girlfriends was in attendance, with a dual role of trying to get me to snap out of my monk, and get my mother to shut up whenever she started asking if dressmaking details could be changed.
After an hour of dutiful trying on, parading, and dismissing, though, things did finally perk up when I noticed that they had a dress by Lusan Mandongus that I’d noticed many time in magazines and had really liked. It hadn’t been picked out for me because it didn’t fulfil any of my criteria at all (which is why the ‘ideal’ sketch is not worth the paper it was drawn on), and it was COMPLETELY different to all the previous ones I’d tried which had inbuilt corsets and created waists etc; but it was sophisticated and elegant, and my mother thought it was totally inappropriate (which helped) (though sadly now she’s now warmed to it).
Where we are. So I’m now spending every minute of downtime cogitating yesterday’s dress, and weighing it up against the previous front-runner (also totally unexpected); as follows (I appreciate this analysis will be of limited interest):
Ian Stuart dress
Pro: available second hand in at least two places, in the £600-£850 level
Pro: supercomfortable when tried on, making a waist and a bust, with a bit of cleavage
Pro: none of this train business; can actually walk and move around it it
Pro: ruching affair means it’s all a bit messy, basically, which means that I won’t panic as much if DS2 lurches towards it with chocolatey hands (I would LOVE but be too scared to wear anything by Jesus Peiro for exactly that reason)
Pro: opportunity for long earrings and some eccentric headgear
Con: didn’t photograph well, though the snaps were taken by my sister in law, sitting down (so emphasising my hips), on my blurred iPhone
Con: looks totally unlike anything I’d like, and as if I’m about to bring out a pair of castanets (but nevertheless, feeling comfortable and unworried is a big pro which might outweigh this)
Con: the dropped sleeve affair feels just a bit too 80’s university ballgown style
Lusan Mandongus dress
Pro: totally love the thought of looking like their model above (sucker for advertising, moi?)
Pro: lovely dress; different from standard strapless ones, falls beautifully
Con: totally impractical for walking around barn & field environment (where reception is)
Con: need MAJOR diet/underwear/modesty investment as shows every slight bulge, plus random bits of flesh (not sure what my father would think)
Con: can’t seem to find second hand ones anywhere
Con: satin drape at front looks a bit like a bib (handy when cake eating, perhaps; less so with a dollop of curry); would have to be stitched down slightly
Con (or Pro): it’s a more distinct look – if that can be – than Flamenco dress above, and it would be nice to reflect that in flowers, invos etc (ie they’d need to be rethought a bit), as well as DH’s outfit (which would be shorts if he had his way)
Pro: made by a design team in Hong Kong, bringing back memories…
Pro: the Sassi Holford (classic, white, virginal) made me look younger, said my mother (clearly thinking that was a good thing). But I’m gone 40 with 2 children; I’m not going to be a princess: I want to look elegant and sophisticated (and as I write this, actually, I see the Ian Stuart one falling far behind into second place, despite all its pros)…
Any thoughts anyone? Do I only like it because it was different from all the other ones in the shop? DH prob wouldn’t like either on paper as they’re ‘too fussy’, but I’ve given up worrying about that at this stage..
I had intended when this engagement business started to make sure I tried on every dress in Britain, Just In Case, but actually I’m realising that the absence of free weekends and childcare alone mean that this is getting tricky. In a few weeks time, I’m off to the David Fielden shop – the one designer I’d actually earmarked as liking – but based on my performance so far I’ve no idea if that will come to anything or not (plus their samples tend to be small, and I have noted that there’s nothing less conducive to liking a dress than having to be squeezed into it with a shoehorn and several elastic bands)…
And after that I’ll really have to try to sort myself out; particularly if I choose something that impacts on the look of the rest of the event, because I can tell that after Christmas time will fly. But should I wait for the New Year sales? Will there be a rush of people flogging their dresses just before Christmas? Or should I just wait til the week before the wedding, log on to eBay and trust to Fate? That’d give my mother kittens…
One of the loveliest things about this wedding business is that it means you start talking to all sorts of local people offering various goods and services of the nuptial variety. At the barn we’re having our reception at, I picked up a postcard with some beautiful photos of sugar flowers that were actually good enough to eat. Short and Sweet’s stuff looked fab – but there was no website.
As I’ve got lots of spare time with just two young children, I got in touch with the cake maker extraordinaire, artist and baker Terry Wilson, and we’ve done a lovely deal: I’ve put together a WordPress site for her (shortandsweetstuff.wordpress.com), and she’s going to make me some flowery cupcakes for the wedding. Today I officially handed the blog over, with instructions as to how to post new blog entries, update photos etc. So Terry’s it is, and I hope that it’ll evolve and grow as she bakes, paints and blogs. In the meantime if you’re looking for some gorgeous cakes, or are just surfing over coffee, do have a browse. Yummylicious!