We’ve now returned from our honeymoon, bringing several months of wedding-related activity to a close. Our wedding day feels like half a world away, given the 10 days in Malta which have gone in-between. The day itself was wonderful, seeing all of the family and friends dearest to us in an amazing setting and having, speech anxiety aside, a huge amount of fun.
The wedding went literally without a hitch. The Grim’s Dyke Hotel were magnificent in their organisation and really let us get on and enjoy our day without any concern for logistics. Everyone was extremely complimentary about the food and arrangements; even an aunt of mine who arranges huge events for a living and can find fault from 500 paces said it was perfectly organised. Praise indeed.
Harrow’s registrars were lovely and ensured the ceremony struck the right balance for our wedding, of it being an important statement of commitment, while also being a day for joy and fun. Again, the registrar led their part of the day, making it stress and hassle free, with us just following the instructions, which by that point was perhaps all we could manage anyway! An undoubted highlight was the always slightly tense question by the registrar asking if anyone knew of any reason why we shouldn’t be married. At this Tara’s father shot a look over his shoulder and the guests crumpled in laughter. Superb comic timing.
Have I moaned already about the stereotypical hen do? I’m sure I have. Spa breaks and brewery tours just aren’t me. So my trusty pals made food the focus of my hennery on Saturday, and the day was all the better for it.
We started with a couple of coffees at Le Pain Quotidien (annoyingly misspelled on FourSquare) on Marylebone High Street, which is definitely the easiest fun place to get to from Rickmansworth (don’t start, Watford fans). Caught up with chief collaborator Alys just by the big Methodist church – she was definitely looking more glam than I was – and met Sarah and Lucy outside LPQ. Didn’t have to wait long for a table and spent about an hour sipping from those lovely handle-less bowls they give you and very briefly looking at the paper. Virtuously rejected breakfast, although the food they do there is just lovely, so as to leave room for cheese at our next stop.
Changing one’s name is definitely the most onerous thing one has to do when getting married. No doubt some of you will be snorting at that sentence and thinking of all the other things that are far more work. Nonetheless, when you work in a school, it’s a right pain in the arse for the following reasons:
- No one reminds you to tell the head’s secretary that you’re changing your name. I think it was when the timetables first started coming out that I twigged that the coding was wrong.
- Not only that, but I’ve had to ask for a special set of initials – being ‘TA’ in a school would be extremely confusing, as it usually stands for ‘teaching assistant’.
- You have to tell the children well in advance that you’re changing your name so that they have time to get used to the idea (as with any other piece of information, such as “this is your fifteen minute warning to pick up your pen…”). Then they can enjoy practising it and trying to use it. This confuses the less bright ones, who then think you’ve got married over the weekend and proceed to try to hug you. In fairness, it does affect them slightly – their form name changes by one letter. They don’t seem to mind. We minded very much when our form tutor got married at school, because we desperately wanted to remain ’10OC’ – read it quickly and you’ll see why. I’ve said to them that I don’t really mind if they can’t manage the new name for a bit. Change is tough for 14 year olds.
- Everybody seems to take it personally if you don’t tell them specifically that you’re getting married. The large diamond/Facebook doesn’t do the trick, apparently. Should I have worn a big sign all year saying “I’m getting married on…”? This applies to the kids who aren’t in my tutor group as well, so when their timetables came out they came flooding in to ask who this mysterious “Mrs X” was.
- I can’t write my new surname without consciously thinking about the letters. Too many tall consonants. Must practise.
- Also, I keep forgetting I have new initials when coding up all the stationery.
- Irritatingly, the data system has decided that I no longer have an initial – I have become the entity “Mrs X”.
I’m sure everyone who changes their name when they get married has similar issues (I haven’t even started looking at important things, like bank accounts and passports). Maybe I should just have persuaded Dan to change his name instead…
Haven’t posted for a while – wedding things have been happening in a fast and frenzied fashion.
Would you believe that people don’t want to buy us towels and a garlic press? I was under the impression that wedding lists were meant to be domestic and boring. Tell you what, though, we’re going to have a hell of a chuck-out after the wedding. Bye bye all the crappy Argos and Tesco cutlery and kitchen stuff we bought when we first moved in together.
Just the peripheral things left to do now and I realise I’m supposed to be some kind of monumentally stressed-out Bridezilla by this point in the process, but I’m failing heartily. We’ve paid the hotel (don’t get me started on how much we’re paying for one day of our lives), met the registrar and just about decided on the music. Still loads of things to pay for, although our parents’ generous contributions have helped with that (particularly paying for the Dress). Found out yesterday that the alterations to the Dress (inevitable, you’d have thought) are going to be an extra £125 – and the seamstress doesn’t take cards. Hmm… having said I’m not stressed out, it’s sounding like I am. I’m not. Really. I’m just appalled at how much everything costs. I’m sure we paid less (ignore the deposit for the purposes of this sentence) to buy our flat.
So, the shoes crisis. The issue was that I proposed wearing DMs as an alternative to totally un-me bridal shoes, which will also hurt. I don’t usually wear heels. I certainly don’t wear 3″ heels. Mother had a small fit and we’ve had to come up with a compromise to keep everyone happy. Thus, I shall be wearing proper shoes (from Shu Shu in Pinner) for the ceremony and photos (keeping their use down to about an hour and a half) and metallic pink DMs for the rest of the day! I’m going to keep an eye out for thick socks with hearts on them to go with the boots.
The meeting with the registrar did make things seem a bit more real, particularly as it was held in the room where they do civil ceremonies at Harrow civic centre, so we sat in the chairs they use and Jan, the registrar, mimed out the beginning of the ceremony. Choosing readings has been difficult – once again it’s a question of finding something that’s not cliched and sappy.
So, four weeks to go until it’s all over and we can jet off to Malta and some peace and quiet!
As I write, I’m alternately bathing each hand in a solution of warm water and lovelyglubblyflower essence to soothe them after so much cutting of ribbon, folding of card and writing and re-writing of guest lists. Much of the rewriting has occurred because we couldn’t remember what we’d written last time, rather than because we’ve decided that some people aren’t socially acceptable. We’re just making them wear bags over their heads instead.
We had a hell of a time deciding where to go on the honeymoon (which we’ve finally booked). First, we thought Canada for the moose and bears. Dan’s been there a couple of times, though, and it’s difficult to see all of it in one go, so we downscaled to Alaska – similar content, smaller surface area. We poured over tons of brochures from our local independent travel agent in Rickmansworth, scoured all the websites we could find and consulted Alaskan tweeters, but it all looked a bit busy for a honeymoon in the end. We can spend a week zooming across mountains in a train and whitewater rafting when we haven’t just organised a wedding!
Thus, in an atypical move, we’re going somewhere nearer, hotter and better supplied with interesting archaeological sites: Malta. Not only does everyone there learn English, Maltese is virtually impossible to learn (or pronounce, looking at the place names, e.g. Xewkija), so my usual guilt at not being able to communicate in any living language will be less pronounced.
We’ve also booked the photographer and the band. My mother’s working on the invitations, so pretty much all we have to do now is check the guest list, buy outfits and wedding rings, sort the flowers out and do the seating plan. Oh, and, most importantly, decide on the wording of the ceremony and what the first dance is going to be. But these things are all less pressing – we have six months to do all that.
Makes you wonder why people get stressed out about weddings.
The dress. Yet another thing governed by hideous tradition… almost all of which I’m tempted to reject and go dressed in something Roman and flame-coloured. Possibly with matching Converses. It was so much more sensible in the days when one just wore a really expensive dress and could then wear it again to other things. In fairness, I could do that now, but I have a nagging feeling that later on I might feel that I’d cheated myself out of something unique. There’s always ivory as an alternative to white.
Now, I can’t go mad on dress hunting this week, as my mother’s in Rome and will kill me if I start without her. Having said that, there’s no harm browsing on the internet and thinking “I am NOT wearing THAT!” and “How the hell am I supposed to cost this if they don’t give price estimates?”.
This particular designer is stocked locally and even has price estimates. But they all look the same, no? Or they do to me, anyway. The fashion seems to be paper cornet, strapless with(out) embroidery.
We were in a rush yesterday. The hamster’s been a bit ill this week, so we took her into the vet’s to make sure she was fighting fit again. Vet waiting rooms – with ill rabbits and whining dogs – aren’t the jolliest of places, and they were running 40 minutes late. Also, some selfish person had already done the crossword in the BBC History magazine and got one of the answers spectacularly wrong (there was never a king of Spain called ‘Fransciscii’ (sic), as far as I can recall).
By the time we left (complete with clean bill of hamster health and less £16), and tracked down my parents (or chauffeurs, if you will), we were running ten minutes behind. Having got to the venue and deposited my dad in the bar, we then sat waiting for the wedding co-ordinator for another five minutes.
The long and the short of it is that we’ve now booked the wedding properly, including buffet (easier for picky eaters), string quartet and bridal suite. This despite the distraction of student-aged people outside on the lawn practising historical drama in strange, inflatable hats. Pleased that everything should be relatively stress free. The only thing we’ll have that’s not provided by the hotel on the day will be the evening band. I assume the registrar is reliable.
We’re on the hunt for a contemporary ceilidh band. Can anyone recommend one?
So, now we’ve moved house, time to get on with planning the wedding.
Initially, we were going to go for December, but our preferred venue was booked up, so we’re now on for August, all being fine and dandy after we see the wedding co-ordinator on Saturday. This means we have around 10 months to go and a million and one things to do.
For your amusement, I’ll be keeping you up to date with all the wedding shenanigans from now until August.
We went up to the venue today for their bridal (why always bridal, not groomal?) fair and picked up a whole load of leaflets (except from the wedding video guy, who was give short shrift). Most of the core things are covered by their platinum package, including food, flowers and a string quartet, which makes things a bit easier. We, quite fortunately, came across the registrars and had a momentary panic when we found their diary said they had someone else booked in that day. Turned out to be one of those situations where people have booked things, then not cancelled them when they changed their arrangements, so all was well. Bit of a heart in mouth moment, though.
Very firmly decided against a few things: chair covers, toastmasters and wedding videos. We’re operating on the basis that we really don’t need to stick rigidly to all those little traditions that are followed because they are, rather than for any sensible reason. It’s quite liberating and I highly recommend it.
More next week.