Thursday, May 31, 2007

Isn't she lovely?

So ... what can I say?

The day went without a hitch. (We're not mentioning the mobile phone that rang during the ceremony as that belonged to the bride's father. And we were a bit taken aback by the Celtic blessing the Registrar sprang on us, since both sides of the family are more Anglo Saxon than Celt).

But the bride was beautiful. The sun shone. They looked a perfect couple.

We came in only marginally over budget. And it was worth every last penny.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Not doing an Amy

Amy Winehouse may just bave won an award – but she’s rumoured to be in the doghouse as far as her mum’s concerned. Mum was less impressed with the singer’s low-key Miami wedding and is insisting on a proper do back home.
Our proper do kicks off tomorrow. A tiny part of me thinks it might have been a good idea if my daughter had done an Amy.
But most of me is really looking forward to it.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Buff Brides and other books

I normally have several books on the go at once. One for bed-time reading, one for the Tube, one that’s to be discussed at the next book club meeting, and probably one that made up the 3-4-2 but turned out to be more gripping than those I went out to buy.

The wedding has put paid to that. Losing myself in a book is usually the best way for me to escape from anything I’m finding tricky or emotional. But at the moment I just find myself reading the same pages several times over because I can’t remember where I’d got to.

Perhaps I should have bought some wedding-related books to dip into. Amazon has hundreds. Most are How To books – how to make the perfect speech, how to plan a perfect wedding, how to choose a perfect bouquet. Some titles made me smile.

I liked The Worst Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Weddings (what to do if things turn out to be perfectly awful, I assume) and Buff Brides (how to be the perfect shape for your perfect day – definitely not in the same category as Bad Girl Bridesmaids: three all-new erotic tales).

There are a handful of serious books by American authors with titles such as Cinderella Dreams: The Allure of the Lavish Wedding. Another is White Weddings: Romancing Heterosexuality in Popular Culture, in which the author Chrys Ingraham argues that over-the-top weddings marry two of the most sacred tenets of American culture – romantic love and excessive consumerism.

Romantic love – now we’re talking. Jane and Rochester, Anne and Gilbert, any of the Regency romps by Georgette Heyer. And somewhere in the house I have a box of books my daughter loved when she was little. I’m sure there was a wedding in Brambly Hedge.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

11 days and counting

The countdown has begun in earnest. I have an outfit – actually I have a number of items which will make up the outfit once the bride-to-be casts her eye over them and decides which jacket and pair of shoes she deems most suitable for me to wear.

I am still resisting suggestions from Bridezilla to have Botox or eyebrow threading, preferring to stick with laugh lines and tweezers. It’s too late to lose a stone but I have had my highlights done.

Everything we needed to book or hire is booked or hired – and quite a lot of it is already paid for. Those who provide wedding services, it seems, work in a different way to the rest of us.

I work freelance and don’t get paid until I’ve done the job. So I’m the one who gets stuffed if the company I’m working for goes bust before I get my cheque. With weddings this works the other way round. That’s why we took out insurance.

It will pay out if the heavens open and the register office is closed due to flooding. Or the caterer gets stuck in gridlock on the Bristol ring road. Or the photographer loses her cameras before she’s downloaded the images. However, it won’t pay out if either the bride-to-be or the chosen one change their minds.

In America you can get insurance to cover every eventuality. A story in yesterday's Seattle Times notes:

Even a "change of heart" can be insured in a special option that Fireman's Fund Insurance began offering this month that costs about $25 on top of the policy. It's for those who pay for a wedding only to see the groom or bride back out, said insurance broker Rob Nuccio of RV Nuccio and Associates, who wrote the option.
"Oftentimes, there is an innocent person involved in that. There is the poor father who lays out 50 grand and he's just left dumbfounded," Nuccio said.

My husband will be pleased to know that, whatever happens, I don’t think the final total will be anywhere near that.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Empty nest

Of course the wedding is my daughter’s day, but it has started to sink in that it is also another turning point for me as a mother. Maybe that’s why in the midst of all the joy and excitement I feel a little sad.

I tell myself that I’ve done my job well now that my children pay their own council tax, make their own dental appointments, put out their own rubbish. But I still miss them. I wrote this after they had both left home.

The front door opens easily
without the log-jam of trainers.
The heart-beat thud of drum and bass has stilled.
Empty sockets of contact lens containers
no longer stare up at me each morning
And there is a lone bottle of shampoo
on the side of the bath.
Food in the fridge reaches its use-by date
and when I flip the car radio on
it plays Heart 106.2.

Note to self: enough sentimental tosh.