NewlyWeds

So J and I got married. It was wonderful. It was beyond wonderful, but the English language is insufficient to describe much of what we felt that day, for me at least, and I probably speak for J too. It rained but it didn’t really matter, and we still got most of our photos outside. We felt so, so surrounded by love. These are (most of) the cards that we received on our dining room table:

We get the proofs of the official photos when we return home tomorrow, although this is one that they’ve put up on their own website in their bridal portfolio – I’ve added text to the image to protect their copyright:

 

(Yes, there are a couple of other photos in there from our wedding, if you stumble across the photographers. No, we’re not the couple whose faces you can see. Ha! Ours are the hands with the rings and the cupcakes.)

We’re at the end of our week’s honeymoon in south-west Devon, and it’s been a strange week. Ever since the wedding we have both been completely and utterly and overwhelmingly exhausted. This week I have been ill and we both have been depressed. It’s been raining most of the time, and we haven’t really known what to do with ourselves – although as J points out, if it’s justified long lie-ins and veg-ing about in the cottage then maybe that’s been no bad thing. We’ve even had (albeit unreliable) internet.

We’ll have plenty of holidays together. I don’t feel cheated by not having had a particularly glamorous honeymoon. Apparently there’s an old French saying that a rainy wedding means a happy marriage. I’m hoping that they throw in health and wealth as well for a rainy honeymoon?

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I’m getting used to being Mrs HisSurname, although I still haven’t gotten around to practising a new signature – I’ve signed under my old name a couple of times, the first time through habit and the second of well-it-doesn’t-really-matter-anyway necessity. I’m keeping my maiden name for work at least for the minute, as I’m only there ’til next April and people are still trying to work out who I am without throwing a new surname into the mix – but I will probably apply for future jobs under my new name, and it’s at that point that it will really feel like I’ve properly changed over.

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Oh, and, I did it. I finished the ceilidh dress! Photos to come when I have some [hint hint]

Photos, Personnel And Countdown

J and I meet with our photographer tonight! She’s only coming in after the ceremony (because taking photos etc. in a Quaker meeting is just not appropriate), and will be leaving as we start the meal (so all of the first dance shots and the like will have to be at the mercy of friends’ cameras).

I’ve sent the following list to J and he’s having a look over it. But seeing as I know there are various photo-enthusiasts on here, including at least one who has played the part of wedding photographer before… what do you think I’ve missed off?

  • Signing of the civil register
  • Quaker Meeting guests general shots
  • Couple shots (inc. photos of hands and rings?, on the awesome wooden train set in the kid’s playground?)
  • Couple with bride’s parents
  • Couple with groom’s parents
  • Couple with all parents
  • L with MOB
  • L  with FOB
  • L with parents
  • J with MOG [if J wants]
  • J with  FOG [ditto]
  • J with parents
  • L with bridesmaid
  • J with best man
  • Couple with best man and bridesmaid
  • Couple with all siblings
  • Couple with his immediate family
  • Couple with her immediate family
  • Couple with all immediate family
  • Couple with his elderly relatives [I have none left]
  • Couple with all his family
  • Couple with all her family
  • Couple with all family guests
  • Reportage-style shots of all reception guests

We’re not going for one of those everyone-who-was-at-the-entire wedding photos. They’re not quite to our taste – cheesy, a nightmare to organise, and in reality you can’t see anyone properly anyway.

But we will have made it really clear to the photographers that we want photos of everyone, not just the photogenic people. There is only one child coming to the wedding and he is neither family nor female, so hopefully that will reduce the temptation to go “Awww, look at the pretty frilly cuteness!!!” and then forget half the other guests by mistake.

The “all siblings” photo is a reference to the fact that my sole bridesmaid is my sister and J’s best man is his brother. That worked out really well, actually. We are both the eldest of three siblings, and in each case the next sibling down is of the same gender (before each having a little brother to complete the set).

In J’s case best man was an easy choice. It was either going to be his brother or his roommate from the first year at university. And in my case it was an easy choice – but if I hadn’t had my sister it would have been a complete and utter nightmare. Basically, I have a lot of close female friends but I’d struggle to name a single one as ‘best’ and the potential for politics… well, let’s not even go there. Friends who I’ve known the longest and who are like alternative little sisters? Cousins? Secondary school friends? University friends – Quaker, college, Maths? I can guarantee that whoever I’d’ve chosen, somebody would have been offended. And it’s not like the bridesmaids have an official role in a Quaker ceremony anyway. I will be walking down the (makeshift) aisle – with J.

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4

4 days ’til we get married. I don’t think it’s sunk in yet.

Countdown, And Apologies

This blog probably won’t see much activity in the next couple of weeks. J and I did a trip there and back to Sussex within the space of 24 hours Sunday/yesterday for my great-aunt’s funeral. My hair and make-up person failed to turn up for an appointment last Thursday, and until an email sent yesterday evening was completely incommunicado. I am still trying to decide what to do.

I am completely, disablingly, mind-numbingly depressed, and have been for the past week.

The ceilidh dress may not get finished in time. Something will, but it may not have the butterfly panels.

Our priority has to be to get everything in order, and to regain some level of sanity so that we can enjoy our own wedding day.

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11

Ethical Choices

We’re trying to make our wedding as ethical as possible. Actually, that’s a lie. We’re trying to make our wedding as ethical as possible within the scale of what we want and what we can afford and without getting obsessively guilty about it, which as I’m sure you’ll appreciate is something slightly different.

Nonetheless, we have tried to keep an eye on these things. A good example would be the people we’ve chosen to have as our caterers. Our remit was that we wanted someone who would do vegetarian food, who would be able to cater for vegans and at least the fairly standard set of allergies, and who would be able to do more than just a finger buffet – I get grumpy very quickly when I get hungry, and my wedding day will be no exception!

Local is better, naturally, but we compromised on Nottingham (~50 miles) in order to have these people, who are a community association helping socially disadvantaged people through their organic allotment volunteering schemes. Sounds too good to be true? That’s what we thought. The thing that pushed us over the edge was the fact that if you want, they will come and serve you out of their solar-powered converted 1970s camper van! Oh yes! We are not, alas, going for this option – we decided on reflection that a sit-down meal might be that bit more practical.

In other news, our vegan-friendly wedding cupcakes are being made by a woman who we discovered at a local ethical fair who donates 100% of her profits to animal charities (we’ve chosen the Sumatran Orangatans), our plates and bowels come from here*, and we’ve been lucky enough to have both wedding and reception venues within easy walking distance of both each other and good public transport links.

To put a slightly different slant on things, my wedding dress may not be re-used but it did come from a one-woman independent business. The wedding reception venue is a church-based community centre on the edge of a public park. Not sending out paper invites may have saved us money but it will also have saved us a heck of a lot of paper.

To an extent, we’ve gone for all of this because we are left-wing hippy liberals and that’s just the sort of thing we like anyway. But to an extent it is about practising what you preach and making choices that you genuinely feel are right for this world. I think that once again we are reaping the benefit of feeling the freedom to do things differently.

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*Though yes, I do appreciate the fact that there is a bit of an ethical minefield with this sort of thing. Reusable versus compostable. Natural materials versus natural destruction. Proximity and transportation. Third world trade versus third world exploitation. Is there even such a thing as an purely ethical choice? Probably not.

T minus 4 weeks

Wow.

Preparations

What goes on hen do stays on hen do 😉

Reception Music

We have passed T minus 4 months ’til the wedding. How did that happen?!

One of the things that is by no means at the top of the urgent to-do list (but which does need sorting out at some point) is a playlist for arrivals drinks at the reception. And having hit “a song that you want to play at your wedding” on the 30 day song challenge, this seems as good a time as any.

So, the remit is as follows. We have decided not to have any music playing immediately before or after the ceremony. Before for obvious reasons – the Meeting needs silence to settle – and after because having had an hour of silence (or the very noisiest, an hour of spoken ministry), we don’t want to bombard people’s ears. There will also probably be quite a lot of chatter, so music wouldn’t get listened to anyway.

The après-dinner ceilidh will take care of all music there. J and I will give the bride and groom’s speech right at the end of the evening, and while sailing out to Queen’s ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ would have been pretty awesome, it just wouldn’t fit with the folk that will have been played all evening. The mood needs to gel.

What we are still needing to fix, then, is a 75-minute long playlist for the time during which guests arrive at the reception venue for drinks and a few photographs are taken, leading up to the point where the meal starts. We want songs which are love-y, but not *too* sickeningly love-y; feel-good but not crazy-dancing-on-the-ceiling feel-good because we want the focus at this point to be on people, not music.

If you are in any doubt as to my musical tastes then I suggest you take a look at my 30 day song challenge. J’s taste goes along the lines of “if it was recorded after the 1970s then it’s not worth listening to”.

Bearing all of this in mind – what might we forget to put on our playlist?

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