Sunday, 16 December 2018

How to plan your wedding in four months without killing a loved one

IT’S almost a year to the day since my fiancé Matt proposed while we were on holiday at Disney World.

It?s almost a year to the day since my fiancé Matt proposed, while we were on holiday at Disney World. At the end of February we decided the time was right to book the wedding for the end of June. Even with us being a relaxed couple, the last three months have been a bit of a rollercoaster ride. Here are the things I?ve learned along the way:

It?s your day and you should do what you want?
This is the first statement anyone ever makes after the initial congratulations phase, when the specifics of planning a wedding first get mentioned.

?Except for THAT thing you?ve just said you want to do, which is a terrible idea
Everyone has an opinion about weddings. How they should be, what is classic and stylish and what is hideously tacky. However, there are as many opinions as there are people to express them, and we realised quickly that the best thing to do was to politely but firmly thank people for their input and then gloss over whether or not we were actually going to do what they suggested. If they don?t find out until the day, what can they actually do then? Nothing. (We hope).

Of course, if I?d cottoned on to this sooner I would not be living in fear of being mugged by a make-up artist wielding a mascara wand on the morning of my wedding. My lovely sister, despite several long conversations, can?t understand why as someone who doesn?t usually wear make-up I have no interest or inclination in spending £150 on specifically hiring someone to come in and put so little on me that it looks like I?m not wearing any at all. She keeps asking if I really mean to put on the minimum that will ensure I don?t look like a ghost in the photos myself on the day. Our last conversation about it ended with her plaintively asking: ?What if I hired a make-up artist to do me on the day, just in case you change your mind???

Everyone has a dress that becomes ?the dress?
As the family tomboy I originally wasn?t going to get sucked into the whole dress buying thing. I was going to go to Monsoon and buy something off the rail for a reasonable £120 and leave it at that.

But then my mum and sister suggested we go to a wedding dress shop in Windsor for a look round. I thought it was a rite of passage. Bucks fizz, a chance for me to swish about a bit in massive dresses costing more than a month?s rent that I had no intention of buying. Until I tried on that last one. The one. I?ve never been the sort to fantasise about big foofy dresses. But suddenly I was grinning at my reflection and my sister was wiping away tears. Suffice to say, it wasn?t quite a month?s rent, but it was a good few weeks more than anticipated. Which brings me on to?

Budget wisely, but don?t expect to stick to it
Being in the fortunate position of having saved for our own wedding, we knew the things we wanted to spend money on and the things we didn?t. Hence, we booked the expensive venue we fell in love with but at what in wedding terms is the ?last minute? meaning we saved thousands on the cost. We paid to upgrade the meals and wine to something we loved, but decided to forego fresh flowers and wedding cars to balance out. Even with all of this (and not just thanks to my rush of blood to the head on the wedding dress front) we spent more than we anticipated. Of course this is in part because of?

The wedding tax
Whatever it is you want, as soon as it becomes apparent it?s for a wedding the cost of it increases by at least 30%. Photographers, food, even simple cakes (and who really likes marzipan and icing anyway?). I have heard tell of a woman who confronted her hotel venue about it and asked why, when she asked to book a function room for a family party, she was quoted £1,000 less than she was quoted for her wedding. Apparently it?s to do with the insurance. No, I don?t believe it either.

Dietary requirements will give you indigestion
We?re having three kinds of meal at our wedding reception. Meat (beef), vegetarian (mushroom) and children?s (turkey dinosaurs ? my groom is quite disappointed he?s not allowed to have them). We asked for people to tell us any dietary requirements they might have when RSVPing, assuming a smattering of allergies and a few vegetarians would come our way. So far, the highlights are:

?I don?t like peas.? (So don?t eat them).

?If the meat option comes in pastry I?ll have the vegetarian please, unless it?s got mushrooms in it, in which case I?ll pick off the pastry.? (The please went some way to mitigating it, but not much).

?I only eat organic prawns.? (Thankfully there are no prawns).

Little people are a big issue
We?ve got much-loved nieces and godchildren who are going to be a big part of our big day. But the number of people who have come down either rabidly for or virulently against the inclusion of children is incredible. Thankfully the children are usually well behaved although, yes, sometimes they make noise. I think we?ll cope.

Everything is customisable, but pick your battles or drive yourself insane
As someone who finds the interrogation of ordering a Subway sandwich traumatic, finalising details at our wedding venue was mindboggling. Did we want to pay £1.50 a head to get crystal glasses (which looked identical to the ordinary ones), an extra £1 a head for higher count linen napkins or an extra £3 per perfectly lovely chair to tie a navy taffeta bow round them? By the time we stumbled blinking into the daylight we were seriously beginning to wonder if we were missing something. And that?s before the suggested £500 on table centerpieces. Have you ever been to a wedding and thought ?what a lovely day, shame there wasn?t a centerpiece cluttering up that bit in the middle next to all the jugs of water, the menu, the wine bottles and the salt and pepper? You have? Oh. Well in the nicest possible way I hope you?re not coming to our wedding.

Planning a wedding takes as long ? or as short ? a time as you honestly want it to
We?ve done it in four months. Just. Although we spent more time putting together goodie bags to keep the children amused and deliberating on the layers of our cake of cheese than we did deciding the floral theme. We just didn?t have time for that, or any of the other bits we consider boring (that?s our excuse and we?re sticking to it).

It?s just one day?
I can?t wait for my wedding, but more for being married to my amazing fiance afterwards than my chance to dress like a princess. That said, I might swish around in my dress at home while hoovering for a few months after the big day. Don?t judge me?

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