And today, in the beautiful Bucks countryside, I thought I’d let a bona-fide bride-to-be tell you about her experience of riding the roller coaster that is planning a wedding. Hope it’ll make you smile as much as I did!
The floor’s yours, Mrs Moore-to-be:
Well, hello all you B2B! Delighted to make your acquaintance. I expect you’re wondering who I am and what I’m doing here. So let me introduce myself: I’m Mrs Moore-to-be and at the tail end of last summer I decided to write a blog describing my experience of planning a wedding: www.awarwickshirewedding.com
Quite by chance, Anna stumbled across a post I had written about buying The Dress which resulted in her inviting me to guest blog on her site. It’s an invitation that I’m delighted to accept.
I can hardly believe that in less than seven months I’ll have dispensed with the ‘to-be’ bit of Mrs Moore-to-be and will, I hope, be basking in a kaleidoscope of beautiful memories of our wonderful wedding day. But, to be honest, the way I feel right now, I’ll be lying in a darkened room in a state of complete exhaustion.
I guess you might be thinking that my malaise has been caused by the stress of juggling too many pre-nuptial balls or the constant pressure of attempting to shoehorn the ever expanding costs of our wedding into a budget which is straining at the seams. And, I confess, there are moments when I feel that my project planning and financial management abilities are unequal to the skills required to get this show on the road.
But no, the main factor which has caused this dip in my energy levels is something entirely different: it’s the effort needed to negotiate my way through the dizzying array of choices with which I am faced at every phase of the wedding planning journey. Indeed, I have reached the stage when even choosing which wedding magazine to buy is liable to trigger feelings of mild panic. Mesmerised by all the glossy covers, I dither for an age in the supermarket as I try to assess the relative importance of discovering the latest trends in floral styling as opposed to the hottest bridal hair ‘updos’ for 2012. Prevented by the plastic wrapping from being able to peep inside and make an informed choice, I dismount the horns of this particular dilemma by purchasing both magazines. And then, on the way out I notice another magazine offering essential advice on how to wear a veil…
Of course, deciding which magazine to buy sits at the thin end of the choice wedge. Open one such magazine for even a cursory glance and you’ll find yourself almost hypnotised by the sheer multitude of options available. And yet, the choices presented in these wedding magazines represent only the tiniest tip of the biggest iceberg. Embark upon an internet search for any wedding related paraphernalia and you’ll feel as if you’ve dived into the deepest ocean of opportunity. But B2B beware. Opening up this treasure trove of delights can, if you’re not very careful, curdle into a source of untold angst as you stress over the relative merits of such weighty matters as a vintage style diamanté hairpiece vis-a-vis a pretty floral hairband.
Things were oh so different when my parents married in the early 1960s. Back then weddings weren’t big business like they are today and whilst there were choices to be made, the alternatives were much more limited. Take, for example, the choice my parents had with regard to the venue for the marriage ceremony itself. They could either get married at the local parish church or at the local registry office. It was a straight ‘A’ versus ‘B’ decision. Nowadays, it’s more like ‘A’ versus the entire alphabet. Following changes in legislation, a huge number of venues have jumped on the wedding ceremony bandwagon. From ruined castles and stately homes to steam train stations and old cinemas, there really is something to tickle the fancy of every bride and groom. Even those who are seeking a church wedding, like me and H2B, aren’t let off the choice hook. As long as a ‘connection’ can be established with a given parish through regular church attendance prior to the marriage date, it’s now possible, with the agreement of the Vicar, for couples to marry outside their parish. Once upon a time that wouldn’t have offered much scope, but thanks to the UK’s extensive motorway network, the ecclesiastical world is your oyster. Indeed, last year after we settled on Compton Verney Art Gallery in Warwickshire as the venue for our wedding breakfast, we spent numerous weekends driving around the area searching for the perfect church in which to make our vows.
Perhaps the problem lies less with the number of choices available as it does with the pursuit of perfection. So much emphasis is placed upon the wedding day being the most perfect, most marvelous, most wonderful day imaginable that even those ordinarily blessed with a relaxed disposition can find themselves suffering from emotional vertigo when trying to reach the summit of these Himalayan-like expectations. And worse still for those of us who have always fallen, as I do, into the ‘obsessive perfectionist’ category. For us, the strain of having to choose between all these options is immense and huge effort is required not to buckle under the pressure and morph into a wailing, weeping Bridezilla.
In view of the above, you’d be forgiven for thinking that I might be hankering after simpler times past and wishing that my experience was more like that of my parents. You must be joking! Don’t be fooled by that trembling Bridezilla lip into thinking that I’m having anything less than the time of my life. For whilst having so many options to assess is without doubt confusing, stressful and frustrating, it’s also inspiring, thrilling and exciting. Believe me, I really wouldn’t have it any other way. Not for all the confetti in the wedding world. Which reminds me, I really need to make a choice between biodegradable pastel coloured tissue paper or naturally dried pure white flower petals…