Posts Tagged: tips

May 11

Crying shame

One of the first weddings I ever went to was the joining in holy matrimony of my two favourite teachers, Miss Grehan and Mr Bradley.

It was brilliant – I played the drums in the orchestra and thoroughly enjoyed myself. It felt like a big occasion, like me and my friends had been let into the world of grown ups for a while.


But then it came to the big moment for them to exchange vows, and Miss Grehan couldn’t get her words out. She was choked up with emotion, and, well – she could hardly stop crying.

How strange, I thought at the time. Why would you cry like that at the crucial point on the happiest day of your life? What a strange thing love is.

Fast forward 15 years or so, and of course I understand.

I have become Miss Grehan – I am WORSE than Miss Grehan. I don’t know when I became such a soppy git, but it happened along the way somehow.

Not only do I cry at nature programmes (it’s so sad when the poor baby elephant follows his mother’s tracks the wrong way through the dust storm) and films (which are not even real life, for god’s sake), but I cry when watching the wedding videos of strangers on the internet.

What am I going to do with myself? I can’t blub my way through my wedding day!

I refuse to be a red-faced, red-eyed monster with make-up all over my face in all the photos, smearing mascara over anyone that gives me a hug.

I’ve looked online for advice. But nothing I found was very helpful. Lists on ‘how to stop yourself crying’ have suggested the following:

Cross your eyes (Oh this will look great in the photos)

Laugh (this will make me look like a total nutter)

Look up to the sky (ditto)

Eat ice cream (don’t think they let you say your vows while eating a Magnum?)

Yawn (might seem a bit rude)

Do mathematical problems in your head (this might make me cry more)

Go somewhere alone and let it all out or just jump on a trampoline (the first option might work if I could run off to the toilets for a sneaky cry, but the second?????)

Go outside and lie down on the grass and look at the clouds (what, and get stains on my dress?)

Further investigation – from real life people on message boards – did bring up some more helpful advice.

One person advised just putting the biggest cheesiest grin possible on your face. If you really stretch your cheeks and eye muscles, the redness and puffyness just goes away, they said.

Another person said they “just yell at myself in my head – ‘shut up, stupid!’ – that kind of thing.” That could possibly work.

A wedding planner had even posted her advice. She told all her brides to keep their tongue pressed against the roof of their mouth. If it worked for them I should deffo give it a try.

But then I read the following entry: “I learned this the hard way: if the tears come, and you just blink them back furiously, they have to go somewhere,” it began.

“That ‘somewhere’, in my case, was down into my nasal passage and out my nose.

“I discovered this when walking down the aisle at my wedding. I hadn’t expected to get so emotional. So I had a big trickle coming out of my nose.

“I’m just hoping it was dark enough in the church so that people couldn’t really see it, or else they have been polite enough not to mention it.”

Oh dear, a leaking nose is a much worse prospect than leaking eyes.

Maybe I should just have a good cry after all?

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! 

Mar 11

Six months to go

In exactly six months to this day, I will be getting married. How did that happen?

Fast forward to the big day, and by this point I will be approximately 30 minutes from making my entrance at the church. I will be probably having some sort of deep and meaningful with my bridesmaids/my dad/Linda/my mum, or all of the above.


six-months-blog-s.jpgI’m sure I’ll have already made a mess of my eye makeup (deffo need to invest in some waterproof mascara).

Hopefully I will be calm and collected and looking radiant. That’s the way I see it in my head, anyway.

Six months away from W-day is the perfect stage to be at, I reckon. It’s close enough so that you can see the light at the end of the tunnel, but it’s far enough away to give you that “I’ve got plenty of time to sort that out” feeling.

Not that I’m procrastinating, of course. Oh no, heaven forbid.

I would never do that. I’m sure that J would tell you that I am a total cabezota (stubborn head) when it comes to getting things done. If I get something in my head I won’t stop until I’ve got it done, no matter how much I annoy everyone.

Because now – and I can hardly believe this – I’m at the stage where I can write lists of things that are left to do, and not feel overwhelmed.

When I think back to when I started out on the long road of wedding planning, and how daunting it all seemed, I’m amazed at how far I’ve come.

I spent days looking at wedding venues on the internet and just thought “this is going to be hell”.

But it really hasn’t been so far. Sure, there have been some stressful bits along the way, but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed myself through it all. Now we’re at the half way mark, and I’m really starting to believe we’re going to pull this off. More than that, we’re going to create something pretty darn special.

And a lot of that has been down to my wedding planning secret weapon, my mother-in-law Linda – who takes no crap when people are being rubbish, has impeccable taste, always offers good advice, and has so many good contacts from the three other weddings she’s planned already. I really am so lucky to have her.

In the past few weeks we’ve managed to sort out some musicians for the ceremony, meet with our priest (who assures me that my paperwork won’t be a problem, wow) and figure out what we want in terms of the invitations. It’s all rolling along nicely.

So while I’m feeling all smug and organised, I thought it would be a good idea to do a ten tips I can offer brides-to-be, based on my experiences so far. So here goes:

wedding-blog-s.jpg1) Just do it
The first step is always the hardest, but you’ve got to take it. Buy a wedding magazine, start browsing venues, or book an appointment at a wedding dress shop. Once you’ve got the ball rolling, you’ll feel better.

2) Find your own Linda
Unless your sister or best friend has got hitched, you probably have limited experience of planning a wedding. So the best thing you can do is draft in someone who’s been there, done that, worn the dress. Mothers and mothers-in-law may or may not be a good choice, depending on the relationship you have with them. So, if need be look further afield – aunties, cousins, friends. And if you’re completely alone (and if your budget allows for it) you might want to consider hiring a wedding planner

3) Start early, and give yourself plenty of time
The main times I’ve been stressed have been when I’ve struggled to get the people I want for the job because I’ve left it to late. Look at the photographer saga - I thought seven months was more than enough time to find the snapper I wanted, I was so wrong. So the best thing you can do to make things stress free is start looking at venues, for a dress, the caterer and the photographer as soon as possible, and overestimate the time you’ll need. The early bird catches the wedding worm. Prioritise – there are some things that can wait till later in the process, like picking your wedding disco music, choosing the rings, sorting out the readings for the service, etc.

4) Lists are your friends
You’ve got a million ideas buzzing round in your head, so get them down onto paper. It’ll clear your mind and help you prioritise. Don’t get overwhelmed though, deal with things one at a time, and set yourself deadlines if you know you need and extra push.

5) Make a wedding scrapbook
If you see something in a magazine or on the internet that you really like – whether it be a dress, hairstyle or bouquet – cut it out and stick it in a folder or book. Then you’ve got it all in one place. Otherwise you’ll find yourself in the situation later where you know you’ve seen a pair of shoes you really love, but you can’t remember where.

6) Don’t expect your other half to be as obsessed as you are
Why doesn’t he care about the flowers or which photographer you choose? Because he’s a man, that’s why. Maybe you’ll find yourself with one of those rare ‘Groomzilla’ types who want personal control of the seating plan, but chances are, he won’t give a monkey’s. So take charge of the fiddly stuff and give him jobs he’ll be interested in – like researching the honeymoon or sorting out the DJ.

7) Keep an open mind
Don’t rule anything out on the premise that ‘It’s just not me’. Try every dress on in the shop and go see as many venues as you can. You’ve never done this before, remember? How do you know what you’re going to like?

8) Remember, it’s your wedding – nobody else’s
Don’t be worried about what your friends will think of your dress, or the song you choose for your first dance. It’s your special day, so pick something YOU like. Don’t totally disregard advice, though. If someone close to you is telling you a fuchsia pink dress is not a good idea, it’s only because they have your best interests at heart.

9) Compromise
You want a quiet wedding and your mum – who’s forking out for the big day – has in mind a guest list of 400. Or you want an Eighties disco while your other half wants heavy metal classics. Weddings are epic argument territory, so you have to compromise and talk through things properly. And apparently that’s the secret to a successful marriage too, so think of it as good practice. Nine times out of ten you’ll find a half way point, a solution that keeps all parties happy. But if you don’t, don’t resort to emotional blackmail. Nobody deserves that.

10) Enjoy it
If things all go to plan (and why wouldn’t they?) This is the only wedding you will ever plan. In your whole life, ever. It’s a once in a lifetime experience and you should try and treasure every moment. Even the stressful parts. It seems like a nightmare now that every venue you look at is over priced and looks like a Butlin’s ballroom. But trust me, you’ll look back and laugh about it all once you’ve found your fairytale location

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