How times have changed! Mrs Bennet would have been in a state of over-excited mob-cap vapours if she, like me, found herself at the start of Pride and Prejudice with two daughters engaged. Yes two! We were floating along in a state of calmness and spreadsheets with the proposed nuptials of number 2 daughter to JS, son-in-law-to-be in November when up pops number 1 with the exciting news that she too has a ring on her finger of the engagement kind and is planning a wedding next May. Or rather we are planning a wedding next May. That, of course, means two weddings in a space of six months - or 'doing a Barker' as we call it in this village.
So wedding progress so far... number 2, a true accountant and always more grown up than the rest of us put together, on her engagement last summer, immediately initiated spreadsheets, budgets, guest lists (over which we had no control and therefore no responsibility) and plans. She researched venues and she and JS presented us with a shortlist which we then visited with them. Her sisters were selected as suitable bridesmaids and despite the fact that as a family we have not all been together since last September, bridesmaid dresses were selected down to a shortlist of two. The wedding dress was chosen, church visited, colours for bridesmaid dresses, flowers, chair covers, band, dance floor, food, cake, wine... have I forgotten anything? And all with the minimum of fuss and in the manner of a benevolent dictatorship. Then the inevitable happened and there was a slight wobble about the colour of things and a new directive was issued. All calm.
At this point I, of course, am quietly having a Mrs Bennet-like mild fit of the vapours (not quite at the smelling salts stage) because I don't know what to wear. Having an appearance which can only be described as 'fluid' over the last twelve months, it's hard to imagine myself in full mother-of-the-bride regalia. However I am sure once my Annie Lennox look grows into something more luxuriant (hoping anyway) it will be easier to go and try things on and grasp the nettle as it were.
Then two weeks ago on a mother and daughters 2 and 4 weekend in Edinburgh which was my lovely treat from the aforementioned siblings, number 1 and Valentine, the boyfriend, ambushed me in our Saturday night restaurant of choice. Of course, the sisters had organised this and it was wonderful to see the child I had not seen since October. But, unknown to her sisters, she had also received a proposal from her bf - now fiance - on her favourite beach on Colonsay and was now sporting a very sparkly solitaire. Excellent.
Fast forward two weeks and we are now working on a second wedding which is a completely different ball game - if you'll pardon the pun as touch rugby has definitely been mentioned. And here we are again with rather less spreadsheet precision, a lot more variables, suggestions of fairground attractions (not the band of the same name), different types of tent, multiple bridesmaids, wellies and a whole lot more. This will be interesting...
And in the meantime, we have been to another wedding where I am practically making notes on proceedings for future reference and where I was honoured to read the lesson. Not the lesson about the dinosaurs which was full of comedy value but the one about the art of marriage which was very serious and absolutely lovely and I only nearly cried once whilst reading.
So this is the current state of play. We shall, as Mrs Bennet would say, be very poor, pulling off two weddings. But we shall be very happy and most importantly, my beautiful older two daughters will be marrying wonderful life-long partners both of whom are undoubtedly the best boyfriends they've ever had.* Now we just need the other two siblings to wait until the family coffers have recovered before following suit.
*They have previously had some delightful and some less delightful boyfriends. All I'm saying is that you have to kiss a lot of frogs!!!
Fairground Attraction singing Perfect - exactly what these weddings will be: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=txapREGWHp0
My beautiful girls!