Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Wedding leftovers: Part II

The truth is we pitched up at the Farm with a rented MPV stacked to the ROOF (literally, we should have taken a picture really) with twigs, leaves, jam jars and booze. I was a passenger for the duration of the trip, slightly overheating under the pile of Dan's kilt, emergency jacket (in case his wasn't delivered) and my dress.

And I am a little (a lot) embarrassed about how much work our nearest and dearest put in on Friday night and Saturday morning to pull it together. Half our guests were there on Friday night (about 30 people all together) and everyone pitched in - that's a lot of people. Jars were filled with stuff, fairy lights were hung, leaf bunting was tied and hung, DINNER was COOKED for everyone (that was planned, but I still can't believe my cousin did that), flower arrangements were made, name tags were tied to jars... the list is endless. Everyone sort of enjoyed pitching in I think, but even so I get red faced thinking about it.

In the wedding world, and (most of) the wedding blog world, everything looks perfect. I was scared of somehow 'missing out' on ideas that would make the day even more special (ridiculous), so I massively over indulged in wedding blogs before the wedding, and I've no idea why because most of the time I didn't enjoy it. In the end I cut back massively just because I couldn't stand reading any more of the same lines. And in the end, pretty much all the stuff that went into our wedding was our ideas anyway - which is exactly how it should be*.

Our wedding wasn't perfect and I don't think it's right that everything looks perfect in blog/magazine land, because it's not the real world. It creates unreal aspirations and desperation. Even when I was writing our Rock n Roll bride entry I was uncomfortable about the unbalanced perception I was giving the world. I want to redress the balance. In the interests of full disclosure, here's some more of our wedding disasters**:
  • We did actually hand make chocolate leaves to go on top of the cake - and they looked awesome! - but in the rush to get out of the door we left them in the fridge. Our cake topper, which was two love birds Dan bought me years ago, went missing completely (I thought we'd lost them, but thankfully they turned up the morning after). Our cake had no decorations.
  • Half the Ocado order we'd carefully planned for delivery to the farm wasn't delivered, and in the chaos no one noticed till it was too late. Thanks to some last minute supermarket dashes by, yes, our guests (guests? no! slaves!) disaster was averted.
  • The laptop/speaker combo happened by the skin of it's teeth and only because of the perseverance of a dear friend.
  • I started out wanting to make buttonholes for all our guests, this dropped to just the family (half the guests) and then on the morning of our wedding I found half an hour to tie seven for the absolute closest of close.
  • I'd wanted to make a proper feathery head piece to wear, but never had time - in the end I stuck a few in at an odd angle. I had feathers to tie round the cuffs of my boots and sew onto the the neckline of my cape (wouldn't have got the damned thing upside down then, would I) - didn't have time for those either. Didn't have time to do my nails either.
  • I practiced my hair once before the wedding and had no real clue if it would work at all, and no real finesse on the day. It stayed up, that's about all I can say!
  • I adjusted the straps on my dress myself (which took hours) and then when I'd done it I didn't have time to put my dress on again until I got dressed half an hour before the ceremony - I was lucky, it was not a disaster, but god knows it could have been. I knew it was stupid, but I couldn't seem to do anything about it.
  • I printed out owl masks (blow ups of my illustration) for the party later on, but never had time to cut them out or tie the ribbons on.
  • I never made menus for the tables, or door signs for people rooms or any number of bits of paper I'd at some point planned.
  • We ran out of prosecco for the toasts
  • Shame of shames - we didn't have time to think or buy anybody proper thank you presents. This needs to be rectified soon before the guilt consumes me.
But even that doesn't really reflect the feeling of impending catastrophe I went to bed with on the Friday night. Dan and I spent the night before the wedding together. We're useless when we're separated and didn't contemplate the traditional wedding-eve separation for more than about 10 seconds. We both went to bed late and beyond anxious, though. It's crossed my mind since that maybe it isn't a great idea to put the two most anxious people in room together for an event like this. Our anxiety had enormous positive feedback as it passed between us and we kept each other awake. Every time I got close to sleep, my heart started racing and I'd snap wide awake on the verge of a panic attack. I wasn't anxious about the marriage bit, I was anxious about the whole thing turning into a total fiasco and wasting everybody's time and money forcing them to travel so far for this thing. I had so much to get done in the morning still - putting together table decorations into something the caterers could deploy, setting out the cake, button holes, never mind getting ready! - and all I could think was that the whole thing was just going to be awful for everybody. 

I'm not exaggerating - I was the most stressed and anxious I've ever been, it was horrible. Finals? easy. PhD viva? hah! I laugh in the face of such trifles. All those moments in my life I was only ever going to let down myself - screw this up and I was going to let down everyone I loved - everyone. As well as wasting more money than we could afford for a fiasco. Apart from our mortgage, it was the most money either of us had spent on anything ever, and more than we could have conceived possible just a year or two before. And on - lets face it - a party. Pretty frivolous if it all went down the pan.

I was freaking out most of the morning trying to do stuff and eventually was pretty much manhandled into getting ready by friends. Even then I have this perception of dozens of people coming in and out of our room while we were trying to get ready finally - it's all a bit of blur. I don't know whether it was because Dan and I were getting ready together, or just because we were both there on site. I just remember being overwhelmed with all these people and our room looking like a bomb had hit it. God knows what the registrars thought when they interviewed me before the ceremony. It was all very surreal and not at all how I'd imagined it was going to be.

Photo by Laura Babb
But suddenly it was fine. Eventually everyone else had to get ready too. I was alone for a few much needed minutes. Dan had the task of welcoming everyone and chatting to people in the hall. All I had to do was wait. I got a few moments with my family whilst we were waiting for 'the nod' to go through. Then we walked into the hall and I was sort of nervous. I remember looking at Dan as we walked in. It was only an hour since I'd last seen him, but it seemed so much longer. He had a big grin on his face and looked so visibly happy that I finally began to relax.

Photo by Laura Babb
All the anxiety has a very happy ending. It was the most amazingly beautiful day. I was too cynical to believe it would feel like the happiest day of my life, but it really was. When I think about how happy I was it makes me feel a bit dizzy.

Photo by Laura Babb
* There's no point making anything part of such an incredibly intimate moment if it doesn't reflect who you are. If a modern day wedding is anything - for a couple who've been together for seven years already, own a house together and, by logical analysis, don't need a marriage to stay together - it's a moment to celebrate who your are as couple, thank everyone who's supported you through life to get you to this privileged point and establish how your going to live the rest of your lives together.

** On the scale of disasters I know these don't rank highly, the key elements were all there and it was only a wedding after all. But even a logical bride (and groom) loose track of what's important when it gets to crunch time.

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