Make sure to take your makeup off before you go to bed.
By nothing, I mean we neither looked at nor booked venues, came up with neither a guest list nor theme, and did not discuss any possible menu plans, all of which would be bad enough if we also hadn’t failed to decide which country we’d be holding the shindig in (England or Ireland).
Seriously, in the time we spent messing one of my friends got engaged, married, and had the bash written up on a popular women’s website.
An entirely unstaged photo of me asking for help on the big day
On seeing that friend’s wedding album, my mother-in-law, who had spent the early days of our engagement pretending to be laid back, kicked things up a notch by waiting ‘til she had me alone to suggest we get on with setting a date. A date, she thought, would force us into action.
Little did she know that by the time she suggested that particular plan of action we’d already set two and, unless ignoring them in favour of hanging around our new flat playing Football Manger (him) and reading books about interior design (me, and no, I’ve done nothing about that either) counted, still done sweet fuck all.
Meanwhile, Mrs S - as my mother is never ever known - had taken it upon herself to start planning the happiest day of our lives on the basis that “someone had to.” At one point she even presented me with a nine-page fully categorized list of what needed to be done before and on the day of the wedding.
‘Lingerie’ had its own shudder-inducing subcategory, to say nothing of the horror that was sitting through an online video demonstration of how to make floral collars for the family dogs who, unbeknownst to me, had agreed to act as ushers.
At this point, the floodgates opened and what seemed like a Greek chorus of “advice” (for which read criticism of every idea I had) came from female family members:
“The wedding must be soon, and have an indecent (or impressive, depending on your perspective) amount of money spent on it. Marriage is a sacrament so it must also be in a church, in front of 300 people you haven’t seen since you were a kid, and didn’t even like then. The bride can expect to find herself wearing a winning combination of white frock, amazing shoes, veil and an anaesthetised expression that will disguise the massive tension that has led up to this day. The cake must be made by a professional. Cupcakes are not a fair exchange. The bridesmaids must have something in their hair. What’s this bollocks about the dogs?” they yodelled.
One of our dogsmaids
Since conflict unnerves me and even the dogs knew what they were wearing, I decided do some shopping, investing in a forties-looking dress that cost $100 from a US website, and commandeering a ring from an aunt that my grandma had returned to on the basis that it was “ugly” one Christmas to use as a wedding band (see, me getting the hang of wedding speak and all?).
But lo, for the wedding lovers in my circle even this, which was surely not that bad going for a week’s work, was not enough.
Dudes, it was awful. While the sparkling sugarcube that had now spent a good bit of time adorning my left ring finger added a delightful gravity to my life, bringing with it most wanted promises of commitment and security, the ever- increasing weight of everyone else’s expectations began to drag, pulling me first into anxiety before eventually turning me back into the truculent teenager I once was, likely to snap and swear whenever anyone even mentioned the ‘W’ word.
In the end, the only reasons my groom-to-be and I didn’t give up on the happiest day of our lives were social conventions and an offer of cold, hard cash from my Dad, who said he’d pay for the day if we made certain compromises. The main ones being that we married within one year, in a church rather than registry office.
The pale grey manicure of a newly married woman
He also asked if it was completely necessary to hold the reception in a crypt, complete with Mariachi band and invitations designed to look like B-Movie posters, but wasn’t too upset when we said yes.