Monday, 26 October 2009

The dress that wasn't and the me that isn't

I was so sure I would never be one of the those who fell in love with a dress. I mean, it's just a dress and no piece of clothing has ever made me feel it was "the one" before so why should something long and white do it now?* I thought I'll go somewhere ethical and cheap, pick something that looks OK and that'll be it. On to the more important things.

Oh that long white piece of clothing, there's so much bloody hype about it. It seems to define us brides in a way the rest of the wedding paraphernalia doesn't. I'm pretty sure this isn't as it should be. But whether we choose to go whole hog traditional or not we can't help it making a statement about ourselves - white; not white; short; long; veil; no veil; vintage; new; home-made; bought for a fortune; bikini; jeans & tshirt; statement; no statement; whether or not we make these choices consciously, they end up saying something about us and also about how we feel about the whole wedding thing.
I know, I know, I'm totally over thinking this. I can't help it I'm afraid, it's a serious flaw of mine. That and subclauses.**

I tried to put all this to the back of my mind and off I went to my first ever wedding shop which happened to be an Oxfam Bridal and tried on a heaps and heaps of dresses. And nothing felt right but I didn't know why - I mean, they were all wedding dresses, what more did I want?
So on Mum's advice I went to some posh shops to have some fun with it and to get an idea of what I thought suited me. And I saw tons of stuff I liked and decided what cut and what fabric I preferred and preened and pranced in front of my bridesmaids and it was all very golly. But I couldn't put my finger on what was bothering me. Somehow these dresses came with baggage - it was as if they were wearing me. I did feel like a bride and that's what I was, right? "A" bride? What the hell was the problem?

So this is the dress that answered that - not because it was "the one" ... but because it wasn't.

My sister persuaded me to put it on. It's tea length, big skirted, 1950s style. I put it on and just loved it - it was the kind of dress you knew you would have a good time in. And it was so flattering - it gave my cucumber shaped body curves and showed off my legs. It swung about in the most fabulous way. Ooh I loved it.

Look - look how pretty. Click on this link and see how it swooshes and swings.

But but but. I knew this dress wasn't me - it's for someone pouty and dainty with short neat hair - Amelie or Coco, not gangly northern European Bella. My sisters could pull it off - they ride cute bicycles, do arty things and wear creative jewelery. My hair is always a mess, I have bad spacial awareness and I can't do neat eye makeup. In the past I've longed to be a girl who could wear that dress but I have now come to terms with the fact that I've got my own thing going on. I realised that what is most important is not that I look as pretty as a picture but that my friends and family, and most importantly Nick, recognise me on my wedding day.

So much as I find it absurd that one piece of clothing should have such over-hyped significance, I think I'd rather define than be defined.

And as though to prove my point Style me Pretty featured that dress in a photoshoot - soo cute but me in white gloves and oversized pearls - it just ain't me baby!

Then, after all that 'right-on-sister', personal affirmation stuff, I have promptly gone and got myself a serious crush*** on a stupidly expensive dress. Oops.

*I'm being a bit disingenuous because I do in fact search high and low for the perfect jeans and when I find them, after an inevitably lengthy struggle, love them more than inanimate denim deserves to be loved. But, hey, I practically live in them so that that's different.

**Please note that I am not making any judgements or assumptions here either - I not saying
what a dress says about the bride - just commenting on how it somehow says something at all!

*** Note "crush" not "love". I'm still trying to be a bit rational.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

An Arbitrary Grading ....

The number of things on our to do list that are "in progress" has increased significantly over the last few weeks I am relieved to say although nothing but booking the church is as yet marked as "completed".

One little tick though goes next to the guest list.

I think.
Oh my days it's a tricky one. Via the wonder of Google Docs we set up a shared spreadsheet upon which we added absolutely everyone we could possibly wish to have at our wedding. So did our parents. Unsurprisingly we ended up with a list of several hundred people. So a couple of weekends ago Nick and I crept home to Ma and Pa's with more than a little trepidation, to refine the list. Trepidation because we'd heard so many horror stories about the fearsome family feuds that erupt during this process. Well maybe you could put it down to a good Sunday roast, or maybe there is no-one in our ken contentious enough to argue about, or maybe my folks just rock, but Montague and Capulet it was not.

However, as we aimed to get it down to about 100 and the ‘A’ list was well over that, we all became steadily more hard-hearted. Ma and Pa were pretty ruthless but in the most gentle and humorous way, as they dozed by the fire with the cats on their laps ...

"Well, yes they are our best friends but their children are younger so maybe they can come to a little sisters' wedding."

"Oh, they'll still be our friends if they don't come."

"we'll invite them for a holiday instead"

but mostly it was "B list" "B list" "B list"

"have we made it to the 'A' list ??"
It felt quite ridiculous doing this sometimes – as though we were putting some kind of arbitrary grading on friendships and relationships - as though it was some kind of ghastly VIP list - aren't we being a bit pooterish? Maybe no one would want to come anyway? Maybe they'd rather all be at Glastonbury that weekend???

Finally we got down to the very barest bones of our friends and family circle. And yet it still wasn't under a hundred. We settled it at 120. Half a dozen or so of those were either over 90 or living so far away we could confidently expect them not to come and maybe a few others wouldn't be able to make it. Not that I would wish even half a little finger of those people away.

Convention says invitations should go out a maximum of 2 months before the wedding but since everyone will have to buy plane tickets and book hotels etc we’re going the “Save the Date” thing too – we are aiming to get these out within the next week or so, mostly by email to save money and the planet. Ideally we’ll have a very simple (not at all cheesy in any way) website URL included. I know I know – websites are often horribly naff but it will contain maps and hotel info and hopefully guest can arrange car shares through it, things like that - useful stuff.
I just wonder though, can you ask people to RSVP to Save the Dates? It would help so much if we knew if anyone definitely couldn't come...
picture via

Monday, 12 October 2009

and a bit more blog loving ...

Like many a bridal blogger I love browsing sites like Style me Pretty and Snippet and Ink, mostly just checking out the lovely pictures for inspiration. The recommendations however, are rarely much help because they are all America based. And I wondered why there was nothing similar for us Brit Brides. Surely we too want something more than the pathetic little that is on offer - that isn't raming products down our throats or isn't painfully cheesy (you know, bright pink, comic sans script and has little info beyond lists of soft rock songs to play at the wedding disco).

Well earlier this summer our prays were answered by a little lady who didn't just wonder - but did. Little Miss Wedding. In her own words ...

the only UK wedding site to offer brides inspiration and ideas that are a little bit different – glamorous, fun, creative and good value. That is what we are all about. Having fun, celebrating the love and enjoying these special times with friends and family.

Hooray! We love her blog a lot.

And bless her cottons, she named my blog as one she likes too - wowsers!

Ok, so she's a friend of mine. Her site does rock though as does she. Thanks Little Miss Wedding and good luck on the next adventure!