So, I’m a thirty-something bride (39, to be precise) and I’m getting married next March!
Planning a first wedding at the age of 39 really gives new meaning to the term ‘life begins at 40′. I spent most of my 20s feeling cynical about marriage, and my early 30s struggling as a single parent and feeling cynical about men in general. I never imagined that I would begin my 40s as a starry-eyed bride. Yet here I am, enthusiastically launching into this optimistic enterprise, planning to end a promising career as an alcoholic and begin a new career as a wife (although the two aren’t mutually exclusive, of course).
I love the idea of promising to spend the rest of my life with partner (who shall henceforth be known as My Intended), and becoming officially a family with our two children. I thought I loved the idea of a wedding, but then I started to read wedding magazines and – worse – watch wedding programmes (like Don’t Tell the Bride).
In the past, whenever I imagined the occasion, I would see myself floating down the aisle in a white dress, looking adoringly into the eyes of my almost-husband who would be fighting back tears at my stunning beauty. I never gave a moment’s thought to whether I would need to hire chair covers with matching bows for the meal afterwards, nor what the flower arrangements would look like, or even what my ‘theme’ was going to be. Yet these details appear to be of vital importance in current wedding lore. Much as I enjoy looking at pretty pictures in magazines, and picking out colour schemes in my head, I cannot imagine that I would lose sleep over them. When I think of weddings I have been to, my main memories are of the bride’s dress, the food and the price of the drinks, and on that basis I am assuming that my guests will likewise be unable to remember what the table decorations were like after the event (particularly if I get the bar prices right).
Another scenario which never entered into my wedding day plans, was having both our respective children in the Bridal Suite with us. As chief bridesmaid and best man, they are an integral part of the celebrations, we love them dearly and wish to celebrate our union as a family – but we have shared a room with them before. My Intended almost stormed out to sleep in the car after a couple of hours of hysterical amusement over who just farted, arguments about whether we needed a nightlight, and complaints about the hardness of the pillows. To avoid a repeat of this on our wedding night (making it possibly the shortest marriage ever) we need Mary Poppins, or apartment style accommodation. How hard can it be to find one or the other?
I’ll be answering this question with hopefully a fuss-free, happy wedding day which doesn’t bankrupt us both and leaves us all with a warm glow rather than a simmering rage…