Getting married is one of those big milestones whether it's you who's getting married or a friend or relation. It seems to be a natural progression from your twenties into your thirties. There's been the '18th birthday party era' and then of course the '21st Birthday Era' when you attend countless big parties in one year, often they are one weekend after another so it rolls into one big year of revelry and gargantuan hangovers. Then there's the 'Graduation Year' which was a particular favourite of mine and now as I currently wonder about the 'Wedding Era', the babyshower and christening stage is suddenly upon me too. I look wistfully back at all of the other big milestones my friends and I have all celebrated together and I can't help but smile because as we entered the 'Wedding Era' I quaked in my boots a little.
Being confronted with a summer's packed full of close friends getting married was daunting. What do I wear? I certainly can't wear the same dress to several ceremonies which meant I had to go shopping and find a ton of dresses with shoes and bags to match! Ans also what on earth do you buy for a wedding gift that is both original and will serve a purpose in their married life? Plus romance and me? No thank you, pass the sick bucket. So it came as a huge shock as I watched the first of many friends step onto the dance floor for their first dance as man and wife I found myself welling up. How could this be? I'm not sentimental in the slightest but there's something about weddings, especially if I have contributed to the special day somehow. I want it to be perfect for my friends and now with each bride I meet and work for I pray the night before for clear skies. I cross my fingers and my toes that everything runs smoothly for them and they can look back on their day with a huge smile on their face because it really was perfect.
One wedding in particular stands out for me. Mainly because I was very involved in the arty side of the day but also because the gorgeous bride; Jo's smile was plastered on her face from start to finish. She looked so incredibly happy and I was so glad to be a part of that.
It naturally started with the wedding invitations. I've designed and printed a few for friends in the past as part of their wedding present. Jo and Dan had a beach and nautical themed wedding and wanted the invitations to reflect that. Hence the beach hut. Then came the wedding shoes which I painted for Jo with softer blues and stripes to compliment her dress. And then the table plan, table headings and table settings (nigh on two hundred of the little bu*gers, one pebble per guest), all hand painted to match. Phew!
On the day of the wedding myself and Hannah from Hannah at Sweet Dream Events http://www.sweetdreamevents.co.uk dressed the wedding and set up the venue whilst Jo and her bridesmaids primped and preened in the neighboring hotel. I then legged it back home to have my hair done by the wonderful Hayley from Elite Hairdressers http://www.elitehairdressing.co.uk . She also styled the Bride and the bridesmaids hair. As I got ready, I peered out at the sky hoping that black cloud I could spy would pass without dripping a drop of rain. I also wondered about the Groom and how he was faring with a houseful of Best men and Ushers; no doubt hungover and nervous about speeches and looking handsome in their suits. There was lots to think about and worry over - and not a jot of this showed on Jo's face as she glided down the aisle grinning from ear to ear.
And so I seem to have come to the end of the 'Wedding Era' with just one wedding to attend this year but I'm left with a deep respect for weddings and marriage. I take my hat off to the Bride and Groom's out there with all the months of preparation, the family and friends politics that seem inevitable as you try to keep everyone happy. I'm reminded of comical scenes from the film Four Weddings and A Funeral with conflicting groups of friends, exes, crazy drunken uncles and cringe-worthy best men speeches. I have to say I've witnessed it all at the wedding's I've attended; from a hilarious groom who dressed up as Michael Jackson and executed a rather impressive, groin-grabbingly fantastic dance from Thriller to a rather rambunctious dance floor of wedding guests getting carried away moshing to Nirvana and breaking one of the bands expensive guitar pedals. I've even witnessed a member of the wedding party thump her Mother on the nose and breaking another wedding guests wrist. But I have to say no matter how the day pans out all the Bride and Grooms smiles are flawless and unfaltering. Which is what it's all about!