Why I Started Dreading My Wedding (and What We Did About It)

Ah, wedding planning. Never has one process been so laden with expectation, expense and other people's opinions. Maybe it's because I've done it all before but I never wanted to try and achieve a Pinterest-perfect day. I was hoping I could avoid any planning-induced freak outs.* But freak out I did.

After Pete and I got engaged last August we decided to crack on with wedding planning. We knew we wanted to get married in 2016, it had to be in the school holidays, and we already had another close family wedding planned for the summer. So we started planning an Easter wedding (whilst reassuring everyone that, yes it was quick but no, I'm not pregnant). Plus added bonus: we're getting married on my 30th birthday, so only one cringeworthy celebration to plan!

Originally we wanted to have a traditional, 100- people strong guest list. I'd had a really small wedding (10 guests) first time around and I felt like I owed it to my family to do it 'properly' this time. For about a week this was really exciting, then reality started to hit. The freak out came. I didn't like the idea of 100 people looking at me, and the logistics seemed ridiculously complicated. Although I had been repeating the 'keep it simple' mantra to myself, it was all starting to get a bit out of control. I guess I felt like, if people are coming to a big wedding, they're going to expect something wedding-y. And, I'm going to say it, big wedding aren't cheap. Yes, we could have found the money, but it seemed ridiculous (to us anyway) to spend more on one day than we would on our next car. Before I knew it I was dreading the wedding. As in, actually crying about it every night. I think it's a big, unhelpful stereotype that all women dream of their big day, I was actually dreading it.

Eloping wasn't an option (Pete didn't want to- I would have) and I was worried my family and friends would be disappointed if I cut down the guestlist.

So what did we do? Well, we're still getting married! We found a compromise. Immediate family and very close friends only, giving us a total of 35 guests. It did lead to a couple of difficult decisions, and I really hope I haven't upset anyone too much. I hate upsetting people, but ultimately it wasn't worth putting myself under months of stress. There are some people I feel very close to that I just couldn't invite. Yes, weddings are about friends and family, but they are also about the couple and I think most people would agree it's better if the bride makes it to the wedding day alive and (relatively) sane. 

As usually happens to me in these situations, everyone was far more understanding than I'd anticipated. This feels much more manageable, and the planning process has, for the most part, been pretty enjoyable. Having such a small, close group has allowed me to not really give a crap about the details. Goodbye, Pinterst! Goodbye, wedding magazines! I'm proud to say that my wedding day will not be very 'matchy', my invitations were brought off the shelf, there will be no favours, and I haven't made a fucking thing (except cake). It's ok to not have a sophisticated wedding, it's ok to not have a unique wedding, and it's ok to not be obsessed with the planning process.

That said, I did freak out again last week about everyone looking at me, so THANK FUCK we'd cut the numbers down! Ah well, it's my (birthday) party and I'll cry if I want to.

But you know what? It's only a wedding. It's one day. Marriage, now that's worth freaking out about....

*I'm not entirely sure why I wasn't expecting to freak out. I always freak out, about everything.

February's Photo An Hour: My Transport-Themed Hen Do!

I'm always excited when I'm doing something on a Photo an Hour day. so having my actual hen do on an actual Photo an Hour day was pretty flipping exciting. There were many, many photo opportunities over the three days, so I've strayed a bit from the Photo an Hour theme (I'm a maverick like that).

All of Friday I was a big ball of Hen Do nervous excitement. I finished work, did a quick Sainsbury's run, dumped an obscene amount of Lush products into my bath and attempted to chill the frick out. Beth was first to arrive, so I collected her from the station and Hen Do Fun commenced!

I decided that I wanted to have my hen weekend in London so that the overnighters could cram into my flat for sleepover-themed fun. Apart from that I had no idea what our weekend plans were...

10.30am: Bedding mountain. We managed to cram seven of us into my one bedroom flat.

11.30am: I was highly visible. At this point the fancy dress theme revealed itself... TRANSPORT! It's true, I love transport (especially trains and the tube). I'd been wondering if we'd have a theme for the weekend; my thought process had been, 'Peep Show? Too specific. Babysitters Club? Too specific. Transport? Too weird.' Turns out nothing was too weird (and that's why I love my friends).

12.30pm: I SAID YES! 
We met some of my other friends near Green Park tube, then commenced our first activity: Tube Treasure Hunt! It was actually, genuinely brilliant. In three teams we had 90 minutes to complete a page of challenges and clues to solve. I felt like I was on The Apprentice (except there's no way anyone would give me a job for that).

1.30pm: Treasure Hunt over! Our team came second (the winning team managed to persuade a man to take his tops off, an elderly couple to kiss, and took a photo of a policeman's bum so fair play). We were given a ridiculously plentiful array of London tat, including these bad boys:

2.30pm: We made it to Greenwich (after nearly losing Jen in a comedy tube incident) VIA THE DLR and headed to 'Spoons for a cocktail jug or four, and some actual introductions. 

3.30pm: #carouselfie

4.30pm: Afternoon tea! If I'd had to put bets on what my day would include, I think afternoon tea would have been a pretty safe one. I did not, however, expect to be having my afternoon tea on the Cutty Sark. The food was so, so good. The scone were some of the best I've had (and I love scones) and every single one of the cakes was perfect, Like, actually perfect. 

Tiny cake/giant lady.

5.30pm: We took a trip through the foot tunnel (due to the insistence/persistence of my friend Clare) and were rewarded with this lovely view of Greenwich. My phone camera hasn't really done it justice, but never mind!

6.30pm: We headed home (via Lewisham, no less).

7.30pm: No sleepover is complete without facepacks....

8.30pm: ...or wine...

9.30pm ...or Cards Against Humanity. If you can't laugh at dead children on your hen do, when can you?! What's that? You should never laugh at dead children? Oh. Sorry. What about doing unspeakable things to pugs? It's ok to laugh at that, right?

 The photos kinda stopped here (more wine = less remembering to take photos) but I think it's important we take a moment to savour the brilliant of the above round. Especially because 'genuine human connection' was Rando Cardrissian's! (Or as I'll now forever refer to him, Rando Fandango.)

 The Sunday involved refuelling in Julia's in Beckenham, with more excellent cake (and all the caffeine). Any meal that involves cake and avocado is a surefire winner in my book. 

I really did have such a brilliant weekend. My friends really are the most supportive, hilarious, weird, clever, wonderful humans. I'm a lucky bean.

P.S. Thanks Jane and Louisa for organising our monthly Photo an Hour shenanigans... I think the next one is 27th March, which is Easter Sunday and the day after my wedding. Should probably do some more wedding planning!