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.
Or 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 entr√©es 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!