April, 2011

Apr 11

Jess and Mike’s wedding

It’s a totally different experience going to a wedding when you’ve got one of your own to plan. It all seems that little bit more exciting.

You really pay attention to even the smallest details, right down to the beading on the bridesmaids’ dresses, the place cards and the order of the speeches.

blog-jess.jpgOr is that just me? Did it finally happen – did I turn into Bridezilla?

Anyway, not only are you on the rob for ideas you can incorporate into your own special day, but when the bride walks down the aisle to take her place next to the man she’s ready to spend the rest of her life with it hits you – I’m next.

That’s how I felt at Jess and Mike’s wedding, which took place at the picturesque Hampton Court House on a beautifully sunny day this month.

The bride looked absolutely stunning, even though she confessed she’d only slept for about three hours.

“This is the most nerve-wracking thing I’ve ever done in my life,” she told me. Wow, quite a contrast from J’s brother, who had a siesta before his wedding (Spanish weddings generally take place in the late afternoon and go on till silly o’clock the next morning.)

Anyway, Jess needn’t have worried. The whole day was perfect. I couldn’t fault it (not that I was trying!)


More than anything I felt a real sense of empathy. In the last three years I must have been to about ten weddings. And that’s no exaggeration. What is that all about? You approach 30 then all of a sudden it’s like a wedding domino effect.

In not one of those weddings did I really stop to think about all the work, the planning that goes into absolutely everything.

But in Jess and Mike’s wedding I did. And I felt like applauding them at the end of the day.

There were some really nice touches – like bringing out Spanish jamon and cold meats and cheese towards the end of the night, when everyone was flagging.

And after my experience with the caterer I could appreciate just how good their food was – the waiters were excellent and it was a plated service. In other words they brought out full meals in courses served complete on plates rather than bringing out trays of food and having you serve yourself. I certainly wouldn’t have noticed something like that five months ago.

And the entrées were amazing too. At one point I thought I was in danger of filling myself up on these delicious teriyaki-flavoured sausages that were being passed around.

Jess is half Spanish, so it was really useful for me to see how they handled the language split, especially when it came to the speeches.

In a Spanish wedding there are none – so it must be a bit of a strange thing for Spaniards to get their heads round.



In fact J asked the Spanish contingent of his eight best men if they would be into the idea of saying a few words and they all flatly refused.

Anyway, in our wedding there will be speeches (you can’t have one without in my opinion!) so the problem is, how do you cope with the language thing?

The way Jess did it was to address some groups of people in Spanish, and some in English. So she spoke to her Spanish father and her friends from Malaga in their own language, and her British mother and London friends in English. Made much more sense than trying to translate the whole thing into both languages. Think I’m going to follow her lead.

One thing I learned is that the ones who really party, full steam ahead, are the parents who’re out without their kids for the night. So I’d better watch out – there’s going to be a few of those at our wedding!

The other is that I definitely need to get a pair of flats for later in the night. After a full day in what I thought were my comfortable heels I was absolutely crippled, doing ‘The Living Dead’ shuffle up the lane to the hotel at the end of the night.

All in all, it was a beautiful day, and I feel lucky I was able to celebrate it with them.

So wishing you all the best Jess and Mike – if my wedding is even half as special as yours I’ll be over the moon.

***PS – That’s me, directly to the right of the bride in the picture above, in case you’re wondering! 

Apr 11

An invitation to rain

It’s going to rain on my wedding.

That’s what I’ve been told anyway. Not by a weather expert, not even by a spiteful ex (though I’m sure I don’t have any.) No, I was given this lovely prediction by the lady who’s making my wedding invitations.

Honestly, you should have seen my jaw hit the floor.

rain-blog-story.jpgIt was the second time I’d visited the cosy little stationary shop with Linda. After looking through countless folders of invitations which more or less looked the same to me, we had decided on a lovely card with hand-written calligraphy in dark green.

We’d rejected having a border though, as the effect reminded Linda of the sort of cards that people used to send round in Spain informing of a death in the family. I certainly don’t want anyone to be thinking of funerals when they get the invitation.

So we’d got onto the part of instructing the shop owner what we wanted written on the cards – half of which are being done in English, the other half in Spanish.

When it came to telling her the wedding date – September 17, she started to tut.

“Oh dear, there’ll be bad weather that weekend,” she said peering sternly over the rim of her glasses.

“Oh really?” I asked in disbelief.

“Yes,” she informed us. “the first two weeks of September are always good. Then the weather gets bad. It’ll probably rain.”

I just sat there with my mouth flapping like a frog trying to catch flies. Linda, however, didn’t miss a beat.

“Well, we can’t change it now,” she answered back. “We shall just have to get ourselves some beautiful white umbrellas. Problem solved.”

I didn’t know whether to be amused or annoyed. You’re not supposed to say things like to brides, are you? I thought you should tell them everything will be perfect and that it’s going to be the most gorgeous and perfect day ever, with brilliant sunshine and birds singing and flowers in full bloom and stuff like that?

But rain? And this lady works in the wedding industry for Pete’s sake. Surely she should be thinking about what’s good for business before opening her mouth. If I’d been a sensitive-type-tantrum-throwing bride I could have stormed out of the shop saying I would take my business elsewhere. That would have showed her.

“Take no notice of her,” said Linda after we left. “That’s the kind of thing my mother-in-law probably would have said to me. She’s just blunt, that’s all.

“The main thing is she does her job well – she’ll make you some lovely invitations.”

And she was right, but the whole thing got me thinking. What if it does actually rain. Sure, I live in Spain, but that doesn’t 100 per cent guarantee me beautiful sunshine. In my mind’s eye I see myself skipping down the (sunshine-lit) road with J, hand in hand from the church to the reception venue. But what if I have to dodge puddles on the way?

Maybe we should order some of those beautiful white umbrellas. Just to be on the safe side.

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