31 January 2009

It takes a village

Throughout this early and very intense stage of wedding planning, I have learned one clear and valuable lesson: “No bride is an island.”

No matter how smart you are, or how smart think you are, you can always benefit from the knowledge, wisdom and experience of others.

Obviously, a lot of the advice that one is given when one is a “Bride-to-be” is often a load of old rubbish and nonsense. Such as the email I received from a friend (and I use the term loosely) of mine, who wrote recently with advice about Bridesmaids. To illustrate her point, she included the following, a picture she found on a bridal blog she’s a fan of:

Her advice: “Choose your bridesmaids carefully, make sure they are all shorter and fatter than you. And, everyone knows the drill. Pick a ridiculous color and a god-awful design that no one looks good in.” 

It was only after reading this message that I began to contemplate just how and why the sender counts me amongst her friends…because I’m shorter and fatter than she is, perhaps?  Hmmm….

Well, I discarded that advice from my mind, as swiftly as I deleted her message from my inbox. From the ridiculous to the sublime, wedding advice runs the gamut.  As does, I’m proud to say, wedding support. Barford in a very small English village, in a small English county. Not much happens here, but there is always a lot going on. And a village wedding is big news.

As if I weren’t “novelty factor” enough, I now carry the mantle of “upcoming Bride-to-be.” This quite happily translates into one receiving sweet, little missives regularly through the door. Short, handwritten notes of advice with names and phone numbers of people I should contact, speak to, get to know, and etc. And, more importantly being a Barford bride-to-be means I am routinely invited round to bright, warm living rooms or cosy kitchens for countless cups of tea and girlie conversations about wedding invitations, music, flowers dresses and honeymoon plans.

There is something about weddings, isn’t there? We women love them. No, I mean we really love them! I remember, (was it last year?) when Elizabeth Hurley got married and had three different wedding ceremonies, with at least 5 different dresses! The press scowled and poo-pooed her, but not me. “Lucky cow!” I thought. I mean, who wouldn’t jump at the chance to wear each one of the wedding dresses you like, and every pair of wedding shoes you want, but no, the rest us have to settle for one dress, one day. Well, phooey!

And, as it happens, I’ve lived part of my life as a professional Theatre director, so “putting on a show” is in my blood. It makes difference whether the “production” is Off-Off Broadway or a small village wedding, the principle is the same: It’s all about the details.

I’m very thankful I’ve got a team of people (dare I call them my Village People?) pushing me on the details.

Graham, Ron and Phil.  No, they are not a Beatles tribute band. These three chaps are my best mates at the gym. Between them, their average age is 70; and on one of my first days at the gym Ron beamed at me proudly, and said: “Bet you can’t tell which ones of us have had hip replacements.”

These fellas keep me motivated, and honest.  When I feel weary and fed-up, they cheer me on. When I’m late coming into the gym in the morning, a merry rebuke or two comes my way from the treadmills. I admire their chutzpah and their skills. These guys are no joke. They are there before I get there, and they are still working out long after I’ve thrown in the towel, and headed off for a cup of tea and wedding talk.

The “tea & talk” support team are super, too. Diane, my sassy Scots friend, is spear-heading the “wedding favor” crusade. I have decided to give jars of marmalade or jam as our wedding favor. As we are leaning toward lavender as the wedding theme colour, I thought, naïve, novice jam-maker that I am, that it might be clever to produce a lavender jam/marmalade as a gift to give our guests.

Di loves a challenge, and she was all over this project in no time. She’s planning to experiment next week with a “Lemon Lavender” recipe we found online last week.  Over coffee and chocolate biscuits – I resisted as best I could—we discussed wedding music. Di is a huge Lesley Garret fan, so we talked arias. It’s so nice to have people in my life with whom I can really discuss classical music.

(I’ve had some rather zany ideas about music lately. I’m toying with the idea of walking down the aisle to “O Mio Babbino Caro” better, and for me, more importantly, known as: “The Theme from the film ‘A Room with a View.’”)

On Tuesday, after the gym, I went round to Sally’s for tea. Sally’s another amazing woman. (We need to get her into Barford W.I.) Sally is an actor, who has performed and lived previously in the U.S. and Canada. There is something about theatre people, isn’t there? I mean the world over, we’re just part of one big global tribe.  She’s one of those people that you meet, and you swear you’ve known them before. And she makes a fantastic tea-cake. I could not resist. We spent the afternoon bouncing around wedding ideas, mainly about flowers. 

Thinking I may copy Liz Hurley and carry a lilies of the valley bouquet. Lily of the Valley is such a beautiful flower, and it has such an incredible smell. I like the idea of having flowers that carry a strong scent – okay, a no-no for allergy sufferers, like myself—but, at least theoretically, I like the idea of making this a very sensuous—as in feast for the senses—event.

Oh, it’s just fun, isn’t it? I hope in the midst of the chaos, and the inevitable onslaught of “To Do” lists and deadlines that all of this continues to be fun. 


Victoria Plum said...

"O Mio Babbino Caro" is such a beautiful piece of music and perfect for walking down the aisle!

Andrea said...

Great article. I love your favor idea!Brides, see www.creative-theme-wedding-ideas.com
for other theme wedding ideas