Wednesday, April 04, 2007


I am realising that I am a very low-maintenance woman who has suddenly got to become a very high-maintenance woman on account of TBWW ( The Big White Wedding). I have tried to avoid becoming what is colloquially known as a ''Bride-Zilla'' ( see pic) and going bonkers spending money hand-over-fist on all the wedding-related tomfoolery that zillions of websites, shops and magazines are keen to sell the sweating bride-to-be. You say 'wedding' and the price usually doubles. When I went with my friend Jeanette to get a cake for her wedding, we went into the shop and asked for 'a cake'. Then 'a cake for a wedding'. The price was 40% higher. The next day we went back and there was a different person behind the till.
I said we wanted a wedding cake and as she reached for the Special Supersonic Wedding Prices brochure and as Jeanette rolled her eyes, and hissed at me, I jumped in quickly.
''A wedding cake for a conference'' I said.
''A conference?'' she asked, looking puzzled.
''It's um, a conference of wedding organisers, to, um, discuss weddings.'' I said, improvising hastily, ''and we will be discussing how much the mark-up is on things that are sold as being wedding-related, and sharing our in-depth knowledge of how much things like wedding cakes should really cost, because of course, we all know the truth. Of course, we're happy to recommend suppliers who don't charge mad prices, because it really puts brides off if they know they're being ripped off...''
''Well, of course we'd be happy to charge you a price for a normal cake'', she said.
''Marvellous. Thanks for that''
It does make me wild.
I have not bought a single bridal magazine, visited a single bridal shop and only registered on a bridal website so I could use their handy budget planner as my excel spreadsheet skills are ropey (I always used to get my assistant to do excel sheets for me at work, it was our guilty secret. He could do formulas and colours and everything, I used to flap admiringly and bring him coffee).
However, as TBWW is only weeks away, the pressure is suddenly on, and now I have finally been able to jettison tiresome things that were taking up too much head space and slowing me down, I am faced with a bewildering array of instructions relating to Essential Grooming Tips that I must faithfully follow in order to Make The Most of My Big Special Daaaaaaaaaay, Or Else.
I cannot believe that people write such things, in apparent seriousness as '' Beauty: Your 12 Month Plan'' that suggest meeting your hairdresser, colourist, stylist, dentist, beautician, masseuse, pedicurist, manicurist, acupuncturist, spiritual healer, herbalist, doctor, waxer, colour consultant, chakra-rebalancer, eye-brow-shaper and probably gynecologist ( 'for assured honeymoon freshness!') a whole flipping YEAR before you walk down the aisle!
Not to mention florist, photographer, organist, caterer, wedding invite designer ( actually, all those are quite sensible and I have done them).
Then there's wedding shops that sell frocks and stuff. They are all By Appointment Only. Which is an excuse to be pinned down and scolded and sold to. I haven't dared go in. It will be only too obvious to the scary matrons within that I have failed, my nails have failed, my hair has failed and I am Just. Not. Taking. Grooming. Seriously. Enough.
I have instead gone to Anna Maria D'Amato, a genius corsetiere and dress deigner in Enfield who is rustling me up the dress of my dreams to my own design in ivory silk with a corset that is not only comfortable but cinches my waist in to Jayne Mansfield proportions. After the wedding I will dye it black or midnight blue and vamp about in it at every opportunity.
As to veiled threats: I am scared of veils and will only trip over it or get the damn thing caught in my lipgloss or something, so I will just content myself with some silk roses in my hair.
However, the TBWW approaches and so I am going to have to book a flurry of appointments and hand myself over to be scraped and plucked and dyed and filed and painted and primped and snipped and poked over until I pass muster.
At the very least, I had better go and get a hair cut, fast.
Some people do this grooming stuff all the time. I have a new respect for them. I like to be clean and to smell nice and wear pretty jewellery and clothes that fit me, skirts that swirl and swish when I dance, but being a Perfectly Groomed Woman strikes me as being a bit like a farmer: a back-breaking round of cultivating and harvesting and cropping and feeding and chemicals and unguents, and it seems to involve getting up early, and thus I fear it is not for me, Bridezilla or not.



Blogger Kate said...

It is all just a little bit scary! I had a lovely chocolate cake from Waitrose and got my dress from House of Frazer (not a wedding dress, just a prom type one) as I couldn't be bothered! I hope you have a fabulously stress free wedding run-up.

April 04, 2007 12:24 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

good wedding photography does NOT need to be crAzY expensive. Of course you don't want to go $300 from craigslist or get someone "building their portfolio" either.
I know from a bunch of wedding photographer's forums that they are actually TRYing to raise prices, to put more money in their pockets. How greedy.

April 04, 2007 1:05 pm  
Blogger zoe said...

gah! the second time that i got married i was six months pregnant, so i just bought a skirt and jacket with an elasticated 'pregnancy belt' that matched my posy.

strangely enough, the thing that i found the most stressful was the wedding list. my then husband-to-be refused to go around choosing the crockery etc and i collapsed in a puddle of tears half-way through the shop!

i hope you have a lovely, stress-free day - and enjoy getting pampered - it's one less thing that you have to do :)

April 04, 2007 1:54 pm  
Blogger jailhouselawyer said...

You don't half look different with that wedding veil on. Have you looked in a mirror lately?

April 04, 2007 3:34 pm  
Blogger Rachel said...

Grrrr! Raaaaaaaaaaaaaagggh!

April 04, 2007 3:36 pm  
Blogger Mopsa said...

I have chewed over the concept of a perfectly groomed woman being like a farmer and have decided that although it is a fab allegory, that sadly being the latter, I can never be the former. I smell like the lambing shed at the moment - a pleasant but not crowd-pleasing scent.

April 04, 2007 3:43 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh dear, how out of date I was with Weddingery, not having heard of Bridezilla (which has its own Wikipedia entry and even a [defunct] website).

'Bride of Godzilla' would make a good film, wonder if Richard Curtis would write it. 'Godzilla, Actually' ? 'Three weddings and a flame-breathing bride in a rubber monster suit' ?

Off to the wholefood store with you for macrobiotic marzipan and low-carbon canapes !

After the last day or two it's good to have some fun in blogland.


April 04, 2007 5:26 pm  
Blogger TN said...

'honeymoon freshness' - they really use that phrase? Pfffft.

April 04, 2007 10:53 pm  
Blogger Ms Melancholy said...

I am so with you, Rachel. It took me 10 minutes to buy my wedding dress. I left my partner in the queue at John Lewis to go to the toilet, and came back with a wedding dress and an empty bladder. I didn't do flowers, hair, make-up, manicure or aromatherapy massage. And I had the best day of my life. Enjoy it. You deserve it.

April 04, 2007 11:12 pm  
Blogger TryingTimes said...

Rachel; whatever occurs, however you plan it - please just take a mental pace backwards and thoroughly enjoy the experience of the day.

My wife and I planned our wedding in secret - most people thought they were turning up for a surprise birthday party for my (then) fiancee's mother.

The dress came from an on-line specialist.

The cake (because we're peculiar) was carrot cake and thoroughly excellent!

When I turned and watched the bride walk down the aisle I had to wipe a little tear away.

She cried during our chosen vows.

Our photographs are magnificent (get a great photographer!).

Enjoy yourself, you deserve it.


April 05, 2007 7:40 am  
Blogger Debi said...

My partner and I used to be wedding photographers and have attended literally dozens of weddings over the years.

From this experience I would say that the best ones are not necessarily the ones with most planning or costing a fortune, but those where the couple are determined to enjoy every moment, including those not in the plans, knowing they are making memories.

So in one word - ENJOY!

April 05, 2007 11:18 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We complained a fair bit about the extra cost and arsiness that the word "wedding" seems to attract whenever we were out shopping for cake, favours etc. But to some extent we were buying insurance: the snippiest people beforehand were the ones who were willing to give us the most slack on the actual day.

I suppose they've had so much experience of planning that they know that they can only be generous and flexible before or during the wedding: not both. And if a normal cake doesn't turn up, you can always rush out and buy another, which isn't really the option when it's all part of TBWW.

Best of luck, though. It does end up all right on the day. Just keep the wedding you want in your sights, but be realistic; don't let anyone or thing deflect you from the elements of it you consider totally essential. And keep the fathers of the bride and groom well-watered.

April 05, 2007 3:09 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy happy day! You will be a lovely bride! I wore a flowery dress with silk flowers in my air, and got married in a friend's garden. Then we were our own wedding band, since my hubby's a drummer and I play guitar and sing. And since most of our friends are musicians, we could switch off, giving the bride and groom a chance to dance as well! I wish I could find the video! It was lots of fun!

April 05, 2007 9:04 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm getting married at the end of May. Thankfully t'other half and I are completely on the same planet (the one called 'earth') and we're spending money where we want to (mainly on having a damn good party for all our family and friends afterwards) and refusing to pay out if we feel we're being ripped off. Personally I'd prefer it if she wore combats, but she's bought a dress that cost about a third the price of her mother's outfits. We had similar price-hiking experience with the DJ - we sent separate requests but with exactly the same details but lo and behold when we mentioned a wedding it went up 50%. As a photographer I'd love to do my own shots, but that may get a bit tricky!

Whatever happens, we're out to enjoy the day, and the meaning of it, and no-one is going to stop us doing that.

April 11, 2007 3:17 pm  
Blogger Suw said...

I'm getting married in Feb next year, and am completely at a loss about the dress. On the one hand, I don't want to spend a fortune, on the other, I want to look nice. Thanks for the corsetiere tip - will go take a look!

April 24, 2007 12:53 pm  

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