Confetti Confessions – The Reply

(This started off as a comment in reply to a blog of Flix’s, before I realised that I was over a month late in replying and it was kinda relevant for here anyway. So go and read the original, maybe, and its comments before reading this. In my defence, I’ve been busy planning a wedding :P)

I think I always knew that being able to get married would be amazing, but I honestly couldn’t see it happening to me just because I honestly couldn’t imagine finding anyone perfect enough to want to spend the rest of my life with. I think the whats and the whys and the hows suddenly fell into focus when I found that person – not least when I realised that I was going to be able to have a Quaker wedding.

(It’s not that I couldn’t have had anyway – non-Quakers can marry Quakers in a Quaker ceremony. But it would have felt funny for me not to have had a Quaker ceremony, and would probably have felt equally funny for a non-Quaker to have done things in ‘our way’. I didn’t intentionally fall in love with a Quaker, but I’m glad it’s worked out like that from a large number of points of view.)

And as soon as you are having an unconventional wedding by most people’s standards anyway, it liberates you to go the whole hog and be damned with tradition if there’s a particular tradition you dislike. So my father will not be giving me away, we will not be cutting a cake (after J told me about the symbolism!), and all of the speeches will be joint because I don’t see why it’s only the men who should have the say.

At the same time, it’s important to keep the traditions that you like – you only get to do this once, after all. I think I’ve mentioned on here before that despite the Quaker testimony to simplicity and the traditional implication that in my case would be frankly inaccurate, I discovered that what I really wanted to get married in was a white princess dress. So I will, simple as that. I once joked with my second/ third year housemates, long before I got with J, that if I ever got married then I would ban posh hats and fascinators at my wedding. “You can’t do that!” they replied, horrified. Well just watch me!

One final remark in relation to the comments over at Flix’s. You think that everything is going to be kept terribly simple and inexpensive and stress-free because your wedding’s going to be different. I point at your naïvity and laugh 😉

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Emotional Overload

Getting married’s a big thing, right? To have found the person that you want to spend the rest of your life with, and to be planning a big, happy party that focuses on the two of you being in love… it’s pretty special.

I love weddings. I’ve hardly been to any, and less still within recent memory* – so maybe it’s as a result of this that I’m getting incredibly teary and emotional whenever the subject comes up of two people affirming their love for each other. I got teary in Debenhams when buying the matching knickers to go with my bra. I was trying not to cry all the way through the royal wedding. And now, to cap it all off, I have just link-hopped to a beautiful blog containing some of the most beautiful wedding paraphenalia I have ever seen.

It makes me want all the more to document our wedding properly, actually. I’d like lots of photos to be taken on the day – but also of things like my hen party and the little bits leading up to it. I’d like some soppy photos of me and J, but this might take a bit of doing because we’d have to find somebody to take them and I’d have to persuade J that he actually wanted to be in front of the camera rather than behind it for once. I’d like to do the little emotional things like leaving notes for each other, and flowers, and the First Kiss.

My pragmatic self is laughing right now – laughing and scoffing. But the emotions are still squeezing out of all the little cracks and corners, and they’re pleading with me that we will only do this once.

x

*J has been to none. If you don’t count the celebration and re-affirmal of vows of a couple of our Quaker friends that we’re going to in late June, J’s first wedding will be his own!

“Help! I’ve become groomzilla”

There is a simply delightful comic strip in yesterday’s Weekend magazine, for all you fellow Guardian readers, entitled “Help! I’ve become groomzilla”. They haven’t published it on their website, presumably for copyright reasons, but if you have access to a copy then I highly suggest that you look it up because that is *exactly* what planning a wedding is like. J and I laughed out loud, glanced at each other sheepishly, and then wondered why it was that we were getting married again?

Because give or take the details, everyone goes through pretty much exactly the same thing in the pursuit of formally declaring their love for each other, and it is pretty much always amazing.

Brilliant.

Fehr Trade

As anyone who follows my regular blog will probably know, there are about twelve dressmaking blogs which I follow regularly. The writer of one of these, Melissa, has just got married and has been detailing the process in fantastic detail, including that of the making of her beautiful, beautiful dress.

You can find a list of all her wedding entries here. It looks to have been a wonderful occasion, and very much in the spirit in which J and I will (hopefully) get married.

If you’re reading this via the pingback, Melissa, congratulations!

Notes for Inspiration: K and T’s wedding

(You’ll have to excuse the lateness of this post. The wedding in question was about ten days ago, but since then I’ve been in Suffolk, in the glorious land of the internet-free.)

It was wonderful, and lovely, and despite my trepidation, had an amazing feel to it of being traditional and formal from some respects, but just so friendly and very them from others. I’m not going to give a blow-by-blow account because I don’t feel that would really be appropriate. But some observations:

  • The Dress was stunning. As was the beautiful K inside it, of course, but the point is to make notes for our wedding, and I am not her! Anyhow, here is the back in its full glory (in the unlikely event that you’re reading this, K, I hope you don’t mind. I have tried to chop your head off for privacy purposes.):

The train very cleverly attached to the skirt by means of hooking that loop onto one of the back buttons, and the front bodice was a corset style top, the lace sloping down from her neck in a raglan bolero type shape. I’m not going to lie, I love it! Traditional but not excessive, and I do love the classic look that the lace lends to it.

The one thing is that it was a hot day, and despite the white parasol that she had (!!!), K was slightly gasping for cool air as the afternoon went on.

  • The Groom, his best man, and another assorted important males were all in morning suits (I think!) with cream waistcoats and pale blue cravats. Something tells me that J will not be following suit…

  • The Dress Code for guests was ‘as smart as you feel comfortable’. Which was actually a really nice way of putting it. There were hats and fascinators, inevitably, but those of us not wearing them didn’t feel out of place either. Most of the women wore dresses; most of the men wore suits, but it wasn’t intimidatingly posh, as I feared it might be. I’d been desperately sewing a top to go with the pink skirt that I made for J’s graduation, but the combination of my abysmal concentration span and abysmal time management meant that I had to give up at the eleventh hour, instead borrowing a cream shirt of my mum’s and tucking it in, the matching pink item being still up in Durham. Sigh.

  • The Church Service was held in the Lady Chapel of St Alban’s cathedral – clearly his family place of worship, which makes sense because I’d never got the feeling that she was overtly religious herself. It was fine on the whole. I only knew one out of three hymns, and inevitably found some of the religious language not quite to my personal taste, but it wasn’t too over the top. The service booklet was bilingual, K being half-Finnish, and the reading from ‘The Velveteen Rabbit’ about ‘What is love?’ was just lovely! They didn’t do the whole his side, her side of the church thing, which gets green ticks in my mark book, but those of us at the back did have our view quite obstructed by all those bloody headpieces.

  • The Reception was held at a country manor house near Harpenden. Beautiful gardens – I presume they had booked a couple of indoor rooms in case the weather was unkind, but as it was we were very happy to stay outside, a couple of tables with chairs around for those who preferred to sit. The stroke of genius was that they were several outdoor games so that people (who didn’t necessarily know each other) had something to do other than just stand around and eat canapés. There was giant Jenga and dominoes, a croquet set, and a games room on the corner of the house with table tennis and darts. Definitely something to think about there.

  • The cake was a three tiered white icing affair, with one tier each of fruit cake, chocolate cake, and lemon cake. I didn’t have any of the first on account of not liking fruit cake, but I can reliably confirm that both of the other two were sumptuous! Even better without the icing.

  • The speeches were made the traditional three speakers – the father of the bride, the groom, and the best man. While all three spoke very well, I thought, I think that is not a tradition that we intend to follow. For one, I intend to get my own word in, thank you very much. For two, the responsibility of father of the bride-to-be falls upon my Dad; and while I love him dearly, J’s descriptions of him as ‘a riot’ and ‘bit of a liability’ are absolutely fair. You think you’ve got embarrassing parents?

  • The meal was yummy, served in a white marquee. Tables of ten, all of which, inexplicably, had an occupied goldfish bowl in the middle and carefully arranged decor. They’d managed to mix people up quite well on the seating plan, so that everybody knew a couple of people who they were sitting next to, but again it wasn’t a his/hers split.

  • The principal problem of the evening was taxis which didn’t turn up, and were then criminally expensive when they did. Three of us shared a taxi on clear roads, driving about 5 miles to a Holiday Inn and then a further 5 miles back to the centre of St Albans. It cost £50. We will hopefully be negating at least some of these problems by being in a city, not being in the south, and by having the wedding and reception within walking distance of each other.

  • Miscellanea. Old fashioned white car with ribbons. Chauffeur. Photographer. Plastic-looking bridesmaids. Cute little girls in matching gold dresses. Swing band, dancing, first dance. Good friends, good drinks. Blue balloons with lights inside them released into the sky just before midnight – oh, they were beautiful!

All said and done, a wonderful, wonderful day.

Notes for Inspiration

I am going to a wedding tomorrow! Someone else’s wedding, naturally, and I think it’s going to be rather different from what J and I will be heading for. Point one: they are gently encouraging the wearing of hats and fascinators. One of the first things that we decided was to ban posh hats and fascinators outright. Point two: they are getting married in St Albans cathedral. We will be getting married in a Quaker Meeting house in South Birmingham.

But fiscal and taste differences aside, it is going to be very interesting to see how they ‘do it’. J has suggested that I take a notebook with me, and that’s actually not a bad idea. You can trawl the ‘net for as many hours as you like, but that’s not quite the same as actually being at an event for experiencing the dos and don’ts of wedding hosting. Watch this space…!