December, 2010

Dec 10

The show is finally on the road (kind of)

Sometimes the thinking about starting a tricky task is actually worse than doing it. It was true of maths homework and, as I’ve now discovered, it’s true of planning a wedding.

The being in the ‘just enjoying being engaged’ stage is fantastic. The congratulations, the drinking champagne, the daydreaming…

blog-story.jpgBut the longer you stay in it, the bigger this small part of you that thinks ‘oh my god, I really should get off my behind and start planning’ grows. Till one day it becomes a monster that’s throttling you, and the only thing you can do to shut it up is go out and buy a bridal magazine.

Or should I say “try to buy a bridal magazine?” Every shop I’ve been into doesn’t seem to have any. I don’t know if it’s because they’re so popular here in Spain that they immediately sell out or because the shops I’m going to are particularly rubbish. Whatever the reason I didn’t have any luck, until my mother-in-law Linda turned up with not one, but two.

Oh and a Pronovias catalogue. (novia means bride – it’s probably the biggest bridalwear shop here in Spain)

So now at least I’m able to look at dresses and work out what I want (something simple, classic, maybe on the vintage side). And, more so – what I don’t want (Something big, fussy or in any shape of form which resembles a meringue).

And I have a starting point for the most important thing – the venue. Now all we have to do is pick up the phone and make some appointments

Dec 10

Where do I start?

“Gemma, how do you plan a wedding?”

She laughed, but I was only half joking when I cornered my already successfully married co-worker Gem in the kitchen with exactly this question.

Some of you might have read her lovely blog Here Comes the Bride. If you have, you’ll know why I felt she was a good person to go to for advice – she pulled off her big day with the poise of a pro. And she never seemed overly stressed (well, not on the surface anyway). Surely she could let me in on the secret?

question-blog.jpg“Kath, don’t worry,” she told me. “You’ve got lots of lovely people around you who’ll help you.

“The most important things are your venue and your dress. Everything else will just fall into place once you’ve got that sorted out.”

Of course she’s right. Though I really wish my mum was here in Spain to help me (and was fluent in Spanish,) I do have a good team here. J’s mum has helped organise three other weddings (his older sisters and brothers) and I have three future sisters-in-law who will gladly help out.

I guess it’s just like starting your homework – sometimes the worst thing is actually thinking about doing it. Once you get started you realise it’s not that bad really – actually it might be sort of fun.

And testing too, I guess. A Spanish friend Christina told me, after congratulating me on my engagement: “Let me just tell you one thing – you’ll both argue about the wedding, there’s no way around it.”

J is not so worried though. “You just plan it with my mum, I’ll just turn up on the day,” he says. Of course he’s joking, isn’t he?

The dress can wait for now. So the first thing is finding a venue. At the moment we want to do something really small (only for the families) and something a little bigger in Madrid for friends too.

The harder thing will obviously be finding the place to say “I do” in Spain, so that’s what we need to concentrate on first. We want to have a ceremony in a church too, so that’s another consideration.

My future mother-in-law Linda has already said she’ll come with me to look round places. But before we do that there’s one important thing that needs to be decided – how many people – and who – are we going to invite to this wedding?

Oh my god, where to even start on that one?

Dec 10


I’m engaged. I still can’t believe it. Seven years after I first met my boyfriend, J, in a bar in London, he has finally become my fiancé. And somewhere in the not distant future, we’ll somehow have to sit down and plan a wedding.

My story will be slightly different than your average bride’s, I suppose, as I’m British and my husband-to-be is Spanish. We’ve got the difference in language and traditions, as well as the whole logistical side of things to sort out. I know we’ll manage it somehow, though.


For now I’m just basking in the glow of being engaged. It’s a weird sensation. Everyone tells you that your whole life focus changes, and for me that hasn’t really been true. Perhaps it just hasn’t really sunk in yet.

J proposed in the mountains of El Escorial, close to Madrid – where we live – and it couldn’t have been more perfect. The sun was shining, we were admiring the view when he suddenly went down on one knee, and I got the shock of my life – in the best possible way of course.

Everything seemed to go in slow motion and I asked him: “Is this really happening now?” It felt like a scene from a film. I can’t stop smiling remembering it now.

It wasn’t until long afterwards when I finally stopped shaking, when I realised I’d forgotten to take the ugly support bandage off my wrist (yoga injury, don’t ask!) So in all of our memento pics I have a beaming smile and a bionic hand. Never mind, it’ll make the occasion far more memorable.

The rest of the day seemed to pass in a blur. The whole thing felt so surreal until we actually started phoning people to tell them the good news. I keep looking down at the gorgeous ring on my finger and just going off into a daydream.

Questions about what I want my dress to be like or have I thought about what to do with my hair are just met with: “I don’t know.” I was never one of these little girls who spends hours dreaming and planning her wedding day.

I knew I would do it one day, when I found ‘The One’ for me. Now that day’s arrived, and I couldn’t be happier that I’ll be settling down with a Spaniard.

We still don’t know when and where we’ll tie the knot, but hopefully it’ll be sooner rather than later. Before we start to make actual real life plans I think I’m entitled to at least a week more of daydreaming. That’s fair, isn’t it?

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