Monday, 8 June 2015

The wedding connoisseur

Over the weekend my number 3 child and only boy in the family was heard to mutter "please no more wedding and dress talk!" And, of course, we still have six months before the first wedding and eleven before the second. Methinks there will be more heartfelt and indignant requests from the only one of my children not wearing a posh frock before we get to the end of this road.

This is foreign territory for our family and the rules of wedding planning have certainly changed since we got hitched 31 years ago. As I explained to number 1 daughter who is the April bride, when we got married, the adults, ie our parents, made most of the decisions and invited most of the guests. Thirty one years later, the children make most of the decisions and invite most of the guests. Talking to my friends, I realise that we are the generation who will miss out. 

Not that our opinions are not be solicited and noted. Just that, no more - and then occasionally, after negotiations between bride and groom to which we are not party, our suggestion may be deemed appropriate and added to the plan - or spreadsheet in the case of number 2 daughter - the November bride.

In the last four weeks we have been lucky enough to have attended two weddings and, added to the one we attended in the autumn, I have amassed a critical - in the positive sense - range of ideas and possibilities. What strikes me most strongly is that there is now a genuine individual character to each wedding. When we and our friends were getting married, the only real difference was the best man's speech which ranged from very long (if my beloved was doing it which was on no less than three occasions in our early days) to mildly witty - if we were lucky. Everyone stuck to the rules and when we were 'weddinging' every other weekend thirty something years ago, the memories of those occasions are almost interchangeable. Not so now.

Every wedding seems to have a personality of its own - some in the form of quirky details... mojitos in jam jars, gambolling groomsmen and so on... and others where the whole day has adopted a theme. Now the theme thing seems to me a great idea. So when the November bride was in the early stages of spreadsheeting, we suggested Bollywood, bagpipes, video loops of pictures of her as a child, gospel choirs and so on. Strangely enough, the answer in its most definite tone was 'No'. So the November wedding will - we hope - be elegant and stylish. No quirkiness though there may be a few minor rebellions on the day...after all the father of the bride might yet decide to dress up for his big speech as Bishop Desmond Tutu - his favourite fancy dress persona! No, I promise, it will be as the November bride wants it - absolutely perfect. 

The April wedding is already developing an entirely different character. The bride, who is not known for conforming to the norms at the best of times, has already mentioned big tops, dodgems, wellies and touch rugby under the auspices of a wedding discussion. Not to mention food stalls on the lane, camping and some ideas regarding music and dancing which I can only describe as unique in my experience of weddings. We shall see. Like all parents of the bride the cost of letting her imagination run wild may well keep us up at night - especially when we are in post-recovery mode from the November wedding. 

As very fortunate attendees of two really beautiful weddings in May, we realise that the bar has been set very high indeed but now we feel we are in the advanced stages of wedding training and we hope very much that the two brides of the family and their respective fiances will have absolutely the perfect day. All available digits crossed!

Post script... On Saturday, I went to the first fitting of the wedding dress with the November bride and I can tell you nothing, absolutely nothing, prepares you for the transformation of the taggled-haired toddler into the most beautiful bride in the world. Utterly breath-taking!

Sam and Rachel - so romantic! 

Emily and Olly - absolutely beautiful

And we scrub up pretty well for weddings too! 

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