I am so going to put a copy of this up in my window the week before we get married…
In just over a month I will be going on my hen do.
My matron of honour and I had the first go at my wedding hairstyle last night. I will find pics of what we decided.
The photography contract is returns.
The deposits are paid.
The best man is organising the stag do for next month.
It’s all starting to happen again after a quiet several weeks…
So because I didn’t have enough to do, I decided to schedule trips to London, South Wales, Kings Lynn and North Wales and arrange to have dinner parties, reunions, drinks and coffees and hair styling evenings with a very wide variety of my friends in the next three months…
Somehow though, this feels important. I am looking forward to being married. Really really am. I’m looking forward to being (becoming?) Mrs H. But I will miss being Miss J, just a little bit, so I kinda want to fill the last few months of that name with happiness and joy. Just in case it didn’t experience enough of that prior to this year.
This post is going behind a ‘Read More’
So going back to the post I made where I said I was getting more like Katy Carr every day…
Re-reading Clover, and looking at the passages about wedding preparation, it’s obvious I absorbed SO much of the philosophy of this book. Starting with this:
“Katy had among her other qualities a great deal of what is called ‘forehandedness’. To leave things to be attended to at the last moment in a flurry and a hurry would have been intolerable to her. She firmly believed in the doctrine of a certain wise man of our own day who says that to push your work before you is easy enough, but to pull it after you is very hard indeed.”
This little passage absolutely covers how I have approached my wedding, especially with regards to budgeting for it. This has not been an easy task with me changing jobs and the boy changing careers, and we have paid for this entire wedding ourselves, barring one or two scraps of christmas and birthday money here and there which we chose to put towards the proceedings.
When I started making plans in late 2011, people assumed I was getting married in 2012, and if I had a pound for every time someone said ‘Oh, we don’t need to talk about this until late next year’ I would not have had to worry about paying for anything at all. Other people may have seen it as planning too far ahead. I saw it as being organised. As said in my previous post, Spike and I had already decided exactly what we wanted, and funny enough our views have not changed barring one or two details.
By early this year, we knew exactly who was doing what and everybody involved in this wedding knew precisely what was expected of them. This was a great comfort. No last minute panics, no rushing around. Even with the things that DID need changing, there was no worry about anything.
“Each of the younger sisters had some special charge committed to her”
This has definitely been how I have approached things with Team Bride. Each of the girls has a special job: L is giving a speech at the wedding, organising my hen thing and doing my decorations, as well as providing a place for me to get ready in the morning, K is going to style my hair and be a witness and my sister S is my makeup artist and is going to walk me down the isle. But there’s more to it than that. Each of them will be given people and things to look after on the day, people who may need a little extra attention or consideration to settle into the day, things that will need caring for which I will not be able to do myself. Spike is approaching things in a similar way with Team Groom, each of them will be given different responsibilities for the day, such as giving directions, organising photographs, envelopes of money or cheques to settle bills for the day itself.
It means that our details have been left in excellent hands and we will be able to relax on the day itself and know that our teams will take care of everything.
“Katy’s leisure time was a standing wonderment to Cecy, whose own wedding had been of the onerous sort, and had worn her to skin and bone. “I am only just beginning to recover from it now,” she remarked plaintively, “And there you sit, Katy, looking as fresh as a rose; not a bit tired and never seeming to have anything on your mind. I can’t think how you do it. I was never at a wedding before where everybody was not perfectly worn out.”“
I must admit, this was something I was afraid of. I was worried that in taking everything on ourselves, with - it must be said - limited support from our families compared to what other brides/grooms might expect, we might wear ourselves to skin and bone and do ourselves active harm. But our thinking ahead and planning appear to have served us well so far. I have a list of what needs to be paid each month and when the various deadlines are, and how much is being saved each month. And as mentioned in previous entries, we have cut a lot of the fuss out. This seems to be something that Katy agrees with me on:
“You were never at such a simple wedding before,” explained Katy. “I’m not ambitious, you see, I want to keep things pretty much as they are everyday, only with a little more of everything because of there being more people to provide for. If I were attempting to make it a beautiful, picturesque wedding, we should get as tired as anybody, i have no doubt.”
My day will be beautiful, as will Spike’s. We will share the greater part of it, but not all of it, so it is worth separating it out at this point. We’re not whisking the entire of our friends to some stately home in Cheshire, or a remote glen in Scotland. No fancy costumes or staff, no far apart venues which need to have unfamiliar travel arrangements negotiated for. We’re getting married as close to home as we can do without getting a license for the flat. Even if the Ashton is not decorated at all, it is such a beautiful and simply stunning place that it will look incredible. And I rest assured that the Gregson will blossom under the hands of L and my flower lady A, who routinely create wonder from their imaginations and hard work.
I will not be up at night before my wedding worrying about the vast sums I am paying to people I have never met and hoping that they don’t fuck it up, because I have placed my trust in the people that I love and they love us, so there is a vested interest in making this an awesome experience for us.
“By the way, one of two things I have set my heart on is to have Cousin Helen at my wedding, and the other is that Rose Red shall be here.”
I didn’t know how important it was going to be to me, sending out the invites. It’s a sad state of affairs, but much of the first six months of my engagement was taken up with making decisions about people who I did NOT want to be at the wedding, and some of those were very personal and difficult indeed. I have lived here for almost 13 years now. In fact it will be 13 years almost to the day when I marry. And in that time I have met a lot of people, and loved and lost many friends.
I have a feeling that many of those who have been quietly left out of the proceedings haven’t noticed and don’t care - but it has been hard for me, because once those people would have played immensely central roles and it has been difficult at times to accept that things have changed and they do not belong in pride of place any more.
However, since sending out the invites, things have changed internally for me, very much for the better. With every reply that has come in from the invitations, my heart has soared. I was honestly expecting polite refusals, but I could not have told you who from. I didn’t have any low expectations of particular people - far from it - but I had no idea that the two of us would be so loved and regarded, and that people would go to so much effort and will to be part of our day.
I am delighted that my own loved ones, my ‘Cousin Helens’ and ‘Rose Reds’ will be there to share our day. Because sharing is what’s going to make our rather simple wedding into a day to behold, for me. Seeing all of those faces as I walk down the isle to the man I’ve chosen to spend the rest of my life with.
When I think of it in those terms… I can hardly wait :)
I’ve been thinking about this post on and off for a while, and having had a few people I know get engaged it felt like the right time to make it.
I’ve been with my boy for almost 6 years now and known him twice that length of time. And one of the things we like about each other is that we know our own minds. He proposed to me about 18 months ago, August 2011, when we were out on holiday on a canal boat. For the next two weeks, we had each other to ourselves and were able to discuss and plan and decide what we wanted for our wedding.
It was one of the best things we could have done.
You don’t realise it when you get engaged at first, but announcing a wedding seems to give people some sort of license to tell you exactly what they think you should do and they expect you to take their advice. They also, sometimes, get offended when you don’t. The better natured will listen to your ideas and make suggestions, but some people will want the deciding part in the action. The age old story of Mothers and Mother in Laws who are legendary in this sort of behaviour is well known. But friends and acquaintances can be just as bad.
And even people who you just know, rather than close friends. When I came back from the holiday and announced my engagement, my Boss’s wife immediately declared ‘Ooooh, I shall have to get a hat! Have you picked a colour scheme?’. I’m sorry what? I’ve been working for you less than 3 months and you assume that you’re coming to my wedding? (She’s not, by the way). Another person I knew declared that ‘We’ needed to plan my hen do. I rarely saw this person at anything other than open invite events, and I don’t go to many of those any more. They were not a close friend, but apparently they thought that they should be involved in the planning process of one of the most significant social rituals of my life. (Actually, I had already planned what I wanted and that person was not invited.)
We had some other examples of people disagreeing with decisions that we had made, particularly over our guest list. I don’t really want to go into details here, but I did not expect to spend a large part of the first six months after my engagement crying because people said some awful and cruel things about us and our plans and tried to put wedges between us and some of our dearest friends, and none of those people causing trouble were going to be invited in the first place.
That realisation was what saved our sanities to be honest. We realised that all of the people being so forceful in their opinions were not actually going to play a part in our day. And at that point, quite frankly, they ceased to matter and things got a lot easier. The only people we truly needed to please in this endeavour were each other.
The best advice I could give to any bride and groom planning their wedding is this: Know your own minds before you make your announcement. I don’t mean that you should have everything planned in detail before you show off the ring. But practice saying ‘I’ll discuss that with my partner’ before you get bulldozed into providing something that everyone else wants which is so far removed from your own wishes.
The moment somebody says that you ‘should’ do something, raise a red flag in your mind and ask who declares that thing to be a ‘should’. After about 2 months, the word ‘should’ in that context became a bit of a red flag to a bull with me and I got very cross a few times. I got even more cross at the phrase ‘shouldn’t’.
You should do this, you should do that, and you SHOULDN’T be doing that!
Yeah. Right. Sorry, this is our day, not yours, and you don’t get those sorts of decision making rights. We do.
And yes, I said we.
Another thing that bugged me significantly was that a lot of people assumed that I was planning and calling all the shots on this wedding. Yes I’m the one keeping the blog and talking about it online, but every decision that we have made on this has been a joint one. Spike had very clear ideas about what he wanted for HIS day, and a lot of this comes from him. We have agreed, and many times he has suggested things where I’ve gone ‘Oh that’s so cool!’ but neither of us have ever forced our wills upon the other.
Some people, when listening to us plan and discuss the wedding, get frustrated with the length of time a decision takes and have been known to make comments of ‘Just smile and nod and give her her way mate’. Those comments make me so angry. We’re not even arguing, I’m not being in favour of one particular outcome in these discussions, I value my partner’s opinion and want him to be part of the decision. Do people really see our relationship that way? That I call the shots and Spike just smiles and nods? It has never been that way. Ever.
All of the decisions we made, even the ones that got up people’s noses, were joint ones that we both stand by, and I resent the idea that Spike should just be a passive partner in this. Any more than I am. We’re planning to spend our lives together, surrounded by OUR friends, not just mine, and I would no more expect him to be a passive partner in this than I would expect him to be a passive partner in our relationship, our marriage and our life together afterwards.
Know your own minds, Brides and Grooms, and share your thoughts with each other before you make big decisions about your Day. Don’t fall into the early habit of over-valuing the opinions of people who are not entitled to anything in favour of making decisions with the person who you have chosen to spend the rest of your life with.
Have been re-reading ‘Clover’ again, especially the bits about Katy’s wedding and realising how much that book has influenced me in this whole planning malarky. Quotes to follow when I have time…
When people ask me whether I’m worried about getting curry on my wedding dress, or getting it muddy in the parklands around the Ashton, I am reminded of this quote from Louisa May Alcott’s ‘Good Wives’, the sequel to ‘Little Women’, where Meg gets married in the first chapter:
“You do look just like our own dear Meg, only so very sweet and lovely that I should hug you if it wouldn’t crumple your dress,” cried Amy, surveying her with delight when all was done.
“Then I am satisfied. But please hug and kiss me, everyone, and don’t mind my dress. I want a great many crumples of this sort put into it today.” And Meg opened her arms to her sisters, who clung about her with April faces for a minute, feeling that the new love had not changed the old.
Everything about this wedding is who we are. And I shall not fear hugs, crumpled hair, muddy edges or delicious curry stains, for the sake of how I look. I will look happy. And in love. And that is more than enough for me. Watching ‘Don’t Tell The Bride’, it would seem there are a few other brides who would do well to remember this in the run up to getting married. Some of them remember it by the end of their day. Some of them are not so sensible. I intend to focus on the more important things of the day - nice as the trimmings are.
Oh my goodness, these are gorgeous? Waaaannntttt *dies*