I AM feverishly eyeing a colleague’s packet of newly opened chocolate digestives. She must have a bladder the size of an elephant’s. When IS she going to leave her desk for five minutes? I’m supposed to be looking at wedding outfits online in my lunch hour. There are, apparently, only three styles of wedding dress in the whole of the world wide web and I loathe every one.
My wedding, or `dreading’ as it’s now known, is, happily, on the 21st of June…..and I’ve been told I’ve left the whole dress thing VERY late indeed. This is, of course, because I have nil interest in presenting myself to marry the man I love dressed as Miss Haversham. Yes, horrors, I’m a first time bride at 48.
If you’ve recently browsed anything bridal and you’re a female post 30s, it is all a bit dispiriting. Plus it is compounded by the fact that I will also be the largest bride in the world, easily picked out from space like the Great Wall of China.
The good news is I have got some blue diet tablets from the GP, so by rights I should be a size zero by then. The new problem will be the flowing folds of saggy skin. I’ll see what my trusty frock wizard suggests. Perhaps I should go for a ruched look to complement this or just spray myself ivory and opt for lots of burly bridesmaids to haul it after me like a train. Well, we’ve a way to go yet.
But it really is irksome. Even the Brides of Dracula, to a woman all over 400 years old, somehow managed to pull off the old bride thing, but hey I’m not prepared to go quite that far.
My brief to the frock wizard was `hide everything’. Even the digestives, I hear you thinking, but what I meant was the bingo wings, the bum, the tum, I could go on. Ideally, on the day, I’d like to peek out of a twitcher’s hide that Bill Oddie had recently vacated having left binoculars and a `decoy’ bride propped up in the corner. You know, smaller, younger, looks great from the back.
And then there is the coven of good friends who have turned into Trinny and Susannah fuelled with righteous indignation. All stylish women who, I have to say, look back on their own wedding pictures 20 years ago and deeply regret the meringue, the his and hers curly perms, the soft focus wedding pictures.
Didn’t stop one of them frog marching me to a lingerie shop for a bra fitting and then hooting triumphantly when it was confirmed that I was indeed wearing the wrong cup size. I managed to swot at her feebly with a rolled up copy of something glossy with `wedding’ in the title until she left me alone in the cubicle. Actually the bra’s great. I hate that she’s right.
As advice is something I’m not short of I should really count myself lucky. The fact that I’d prefer to get married in pyjamas is no one’s business but my own. My daily ration of advisory calls goes like this. I make a suggestion and all of my senior design gurus yell `Nooooooooo you can’t do that’. I show them a picture of hair, clothing or mumble about undies or try to form the word `trousers’ and again I’m subjected to a low snarling. Blimey, you wouldn’t want to spoil their day now would you!
There are, of course, advantages. My fiancé John is the biggest of these, obviously. As he’s 47, he’s also a little bemused by all the fuss a wedding seems to involve.
His views summed up are: “I don’t know why we need to spend all this money, I could do it all for a grand.” Plus, as he works in construction management and they have a brilliant canteen that feeds 500 construction workers every day, he did offer to ask the canteen cook to do our catering, bless.
“They’re brilliant, pies like your Mam used to make, proper gravy, lovely apple pie and custard,” he assured me, adding thoughtfully – “or we could have disposable BBQs!”
My reaction? “Yes, well, while there is nothing more attractive than a bride covered in gravy sauce, I’m not sure pies and custard aren’t a step too far for a wedding, even for me.” But I have to say, I like his thinking.
Although he does have his romantic moments. Like the day he asked me to marry him – proposing by climbing the highest peak in Spain (while I lay next to a pool at the villa) and journeying down with crystallised ice `diamonds’ from above the snow line.
Inside he’d buried an engagement ring. I got a thousand diamonds from the roof of Spain, the one that didn’t melt in the sun while we drank chilled white Rioja and nibbled olives was mine!
Enjoying the moment
With that spirit in mind we’ve decided that doing things the non-traditional way for our big day could be fun too. Do we have to have wedding cake? Well, no. Do we have to invite lots of people we don’t really know very well or like very much? Not really, no.
Do we have to have The Birdy Song, an irritating DJ, melon, followed by Chicken Supreme and raspberry cheesecake with some manner of coulis from a squirty bottle? Again, no.
Leaving one nod to tradition – we are not allowed to see each other the night before the wedding. A rule we’ll both enjoy snapping like a twig.
Can we `revenge’ months of advice via a wicked seating plan and evil speech? Oh yes. Can the groom stop saying `how much!’ at every turn? No.
I think someone out there should give us older brides a break. Mutton or lamb you are what you are but as a confirmed trouser wearer and devotee of slimming black the whole thing is more than a challenge. I know my friends are right and of course I love them to bits, and I need to do my best to look `stunning’ on the day. But somehow I can’t get that image of the Vicar of Dibley out of my head. She just looked so darned comfy in those pjs!