Originally published: 20.04.16
“When’s your Mum arriving?” is a question I’ve been asked so often in the last couple of months that I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve heard it.
It’s a question that gets me on edge as soon as it’s out, because – without fail – the next bit of the conversation is identical, every single time.
“We’re just having a very small wedding, us and two witnesses”
“Oh” they then say, looking aghast, with no attempt to conceal their horror, just like every other person who’s asked the same question. “Is she really upset?”
One thing I never anticipated when it came to our wedding was the backlash on behalf of my family, from people who have never even met my relations. The thing is, Liam and I obviously both asked our parents how they felt about us eloping before we organised anything. We wouldn’t have done it if they really weren’t happy about it. And beyond that, I never considered it to be anyone else’s business.
We’ve discovered that we’re a bit odd in this respect. For me, our wedding day is about Liam and me, about our relationship. It’s about setting up the foundation for the rest of our lives together.
But I’ve come to realise that that’s not what our wedding is about for many other people.
Suddenly, in the last week, I’ve become overwhelmed by the number of well-intentioned friends, family and colleagues telling me I’ll look ‘perfect’. I’ve got to say, it’s freaked me out. The penny has only just dropped that the single part of our wedding that most other people care about is how I will look.
It has emphasised to me that we’ve made the right choice. I’m so relieved that we’re not having a traditional wedding, that there’s no big white dress or gaggle of bridesmaids. If the pressure of looking good for our intimate little ceremony is getting to me, I can’t imagine what I’d feel like if I was going to have a whole room full of people staring at me, appraising me. I’m not stupid, I get the curiosity. I’ve joined in with the fawning and cooing over brides’ photos myself.
A lot of people have told me their expectations for my wedding. (My parents should be there. I should look ‘perfect’. I’ll need to get my dress taken in before the wedding because of all the weight I will lose.)
But can I please remind everyone of my own expectations (surely the ones that actually matter)? In four days, Liam and I get to declare our love and commitment to each other and get married. That’s what a wedding is really all about. Let’s not forget that.
5 things I’ve learned while preparing for the wedding
- Facials work for about a week, then your skin goes back to normal. Don’t waste your money.
- Don’t be fooled into thinking that a small wedding means there’s nothing to organise or pay for. From buying our outfits to getting our marriage licence to all those name-change forms, we may not be stressing out over seating plans and place settings but there’s still plenty to think about.
- Even in 2016, some people are horrified by the fact we’re eloping and that I haven’t spent a fortune on my dress.
- People have an insatiable curiosity for anything wedding-related. Even the staidest of my male colleagues has been regularly asking me whether I have ‘something old, something new…’
- I never got around to that wedding diet, never found the time to squeeze in ten gym sessions a week, I’ve been busier than ever at work and my Grandad died two weeks before The Big Day. You’re getting married? Yeah, and? Your normal life doesn’t get put on hold just because it’s your wedding soon, and nor does anyone else’s. Just chill out and enjoy it.