September, 2011

Sep 11

Signing off…

When I left the house today one of the neighbours held the door open for me. When I told him thank you and goodbye, he replied: “hasta luego senorita

Not something I would normally think that much about (apart from to feel happy he had thought I was young enough to be called “miss” as opposed to “Mrs”.

But today it seemed significant as I won’t be a señorita for much longer.

One year ago, give or take a few days, I got engaged. Now, in only a matter of days I’m going to get married. The whole thing is surreal.

Weddings always seemed like things that happen to other people, not to me. And even when we set the date it seemed like some mythical milestone off in the future, something that would never happen.

Yet here it is. On Saturday I will become Señora Borrachero and married life will begin.

When I think back to the moment I took the plunge into the bottomless sea that is wedding planning, I had no idea the amount of time, work and money that goes into the whole thing.

Why anyone would want to be a professional wedding planner, I have no idea.

The stress has started building up in the last few days. And it’s not just me. Poor J nearly had a nervous breakdown the other day while he was trying to put our table list into alphabetical order.

And I had one today when a man from a restaurant I’ve never heard of rang up to confirm my booking for Friday night for 40 people. We’re still not sure who made that booking or how he got my number, but it’s cancelled now. An ex boyfriend trying to mess with my head maybe?

The pre-wedding manicness is probably going to get worse as this week goes on. My parents are arriving tonight with my aunt and uncle. Hopefully someone has already broken it to Auntie Joyce that there’s no beach in Madrid.

It’s all manageable – so far. We just need to breathe deeply and remember that it’s only a wedding.

The important thing is me and J, saying “si, quiero” in front of all our loved ones. The other things are extra details.

Anyway, this is my last day at work. I’ll be back post-honeymoon with the full report, but for now I’m signing off.

Thanks for sharing my journey from engaged to here. What a journey it’s been.

Spain’s own Duchess of Alba said “Every good love story ends with a wedding”.

But she’s wrong. Because really the wedding is only the beginning. And I can’t wait to see what happens in the next chapter.

Sep 11

London hen

Sometimes you think you really know a song. You’ve danced to it a million times and sang along in a drunken stupor, after all.

But you don’t really know it.

That’s how I feel after my first proper Japanese-style Karaoke experience, anyway. Crazy In Love seemed like such a good idea at the time. But once we all got past the “uh oh uh oh uh oh uh oh” bit and the “your love’s got me acting so crazy right now” it was frankly, just a bit of a mess.

We fared much better with Ghostbusters and Bohemian Rhapsody.

And the great thing was, we were locked away in a room away from the general public – much different to any other Karaoke night I’ve ever been on. It definitely became trendy in London after I left.

The Karaoke was just one high point in the wonderful weekend that was my second hen. I am such a lucky bride to be.

And this one – which took place with only two weeks to go before W-day – couldn’t have come at a better time.

Just when there was the slight whiff of stress on the horizon, it was time to forget about it all – throw some clothes in a suitcase and do a runner to London. Perfect.

It felt like the best place to be saying goodbye to the single life – since I spent a good part of my Twenties in the city terrorising various bars and night clubs.

And it was a great chance to catch up with my London crowd – some of which I haven’t seen for years and are happily married off with children.

It was great to walk into the Japanese restaurant that my chief bridesmaid Phoebe had sorted out and see them all there waiting for me.

I was so happy and busy hugging them all to death and trying to talk to everyone at once that I failed to notice the surprise they’d prepared for me – a whole wall postered with various pictures of me over the years – looking terrible, not so terrible – but most of all, looking much younger. Where did the years go?

It was such a lovely touch, and after we left the restaurant they dismantled the wall so I could take it with me.

The hen definitely had a different feel to it this time round. There was no veil wearing, so there was no catcalling and chats with random strangers.

We did get chatting to a few people when we got to the final part of the evening – dancing at the club where Phoebe does some of her work as an artist manager.

They seemed puzzled when we said why we were all out together. Maybe girls don’t usually go to dance to garage on their hen dos. Or maybe we didn’t look ‘henny’ enough. Little did they know I had some after dinner chocolates in my bag in the shape of… well, you can probably imagine.

The one thing that the two hen parties did have in common though were the large amounts of alcohol consumed – and the rosy glow they left me with afterwards.

It was an amazing weekend, and I have amazing friends. I don’t get to see them all as much as I would like, but occasions like these are priceless. I will cherish every single second of the weekend. I haven’t laughed that much in a long time (well, maybe since the last hen weekend!)

So thanks to all my London hens – especially Phoebe for sorting it all out – you made it a night to remember.

Sep 11

A modern day trousseau

What is a trousseau, I hear you ask. Well, this is what it says in the dictionary:

“trous•seau, n. [French, from Old French, diminutive of trousse, bundle. See truss.] The possessions, such as clothing and linens, that a bride assembles for her marriage.”

Apparently, in days of old, young women would excitedly put together a trousseau. They would gather stuff for their new married life in something called a “hope chest”.

The booty would include jewellery, lingerie, toiletries and makeup, and bed lines and bath towels for their new homes.

And since Victorian times, this bride-to-be treasure chest would include new outfits to wear on the honeymoon and during the first days of newly-wedded bliss.

It was a big deal for some. Victorian writer James D McCabe wrote the following about high society trousseaus in his 1872 guidebook Lights and Shadows of New York Life:

“The society woman must have one or two velvet dresses which cannot cost less than $500 each. She must possess thousands of dollars worth of laces, in the shape of flounces, to loop up over the skirts of dresses… Walking dresses cost from $50 to $300; ball dresses are frequently imported from Paris at a cost of from $500 to $1,000.”

It all seems a bit over the top if you ask me.

Why am I telling you all this? Because I’ve been gathering together my own trousseau, in preparation for my honeymoon.

It’s mainly just clothes and shoes, though – since me and J already live together I don’t need bed linen or bath towels.

As far as I was concerned I was just shopping for honeymoon stuff – till my friend Mulenga pointed out there was this fancy term for it. I didn’t realise it was this big tradition.

We are lucky enough to be having a lovely beach honeymoon. (And more on that later) So at first I just thought I would make do with last season’s summer wear.

But then my lovely mother-in-law Linda offered to take me shopping. What did I do to deserve her?

I’m not massively into labels so I stuck to the High Street – H&M, Zara, Mango etc. Your money goes so much further that way. No $500 velvet dresses for me.

And I’m certainly not keeping my new purchases in a hope box. But I’m thrilled with them just the same. All I need to do now is sort out some good books to read on the ebach and I’m all sorted.


Above I’m wearing: Left picture: Culottes (approx €25.00), top (€4.99) and scarf (€7.99) H&M, Shoes (approx €20) Musgo

Centre (Maxi dress, €24.99 Oysho, shoes: £35.00 Kurt Geiger

Right: Playsuit: €29.99, H&M, Shoes approx €30, Zara

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