Fighting body fascism and teaching the kids about feminism

As the wedding draws closer, I am starting to feel the pressure that I thought I had done well at resisting: – the pressure to look beautiful, slim, elegant. I am considering detoxing, waxing, and even omitting my nightly glass of wine. This is the result of trying on dresses almost daily in my search for one that I can imagine wearing in public. I realise that I never wear dresses, for the simple reason that they just don’t fit me. They are not designed for buxom women like me.

‘This kind of thing is harder for women,’ I tell my daughter, Chief Bridesmaid ‘we are under a lot of pressure to look nice in our wedding dresses.’

‘Well of course,’ she says ‘the dress is the main thing about the wedding.’

‘Yes, but the men don’t have to worry about that, do they?’

‘Ha ha, well that’s because they don’t wear a dress Mum!’ She laughs at my silliness for some time, before she is struck by a thought.

‘He isn’t worrying about his suit though, is he Mum?’

She is beginning to get the point of my observations. This conversation went better than the one I had the other night with Chief Bridesmaid and my future stepson, Best Man:

Watching an old video for Band Aid, I saw a sea of male singers,

‘Music was just like a boys club in the 80s, wasn’t it? There are NO WOMEN at all in this!’

‘Yes there are!’ the kids like to argue these points with me. When I challenged them to show me the women in the video, they shouted ‘there’s one!’ as John Taylor came into view. It was hard to convince them that any of the members of Duran Duran were male, and as for Boy George and Marilyn – impossible. They then proceeded to shout ‘There’s ANOTHER girl!’ every time a member of Bananarama appeared, until it seemed that Bananarama outnumbered very other band.

The androgynous pop stars of the 80s look very strange to our children.

Magazine cover from the 80s, with Duran Duran (top left) and Boy George (top right)

Magazine cover from the 80s, with Duran Duran (top left) and Boy George (top right)

It’s a different story today.

Magazine cover from 2012 with Rhianna, JLS, The Wanted and One Direction

Magazine cover from 2012 with Rhianna, JLS, The Wanted and One Direction

As more women have become successful in the music industry, gender differences have been emphasised. Women can look almost like caricatures of femininity; from eyelashes to nails, to footwear, they are decorated in bright, impractical colours, while the men are dressed in plain clothes – in the case of JLS, just a white vest in order to show off their muscles.

Brides seem to have always been caricatures of femininity, from the 80s

Princess Diana - the 1980s power princess look

Princess Diana – the 1980s power princess look

To the present day

Kate's tiny princess look

Kate’s tiny princess look

There doesn’t seem to be all that much difference between the two gowns – the Big White Dress look is pretty much the same, whatever the era.

Marriage is, of course, whatever you make it, but the wedding service does seem designed to bring the age-old pressures of a patriarchal world bearing down – I’m worrying about things I haven’t considered worrying about for years, in fact I’m having to work hard to prevent myself being taken back to teenage levels of body insecurity. On this journey with me is Chief Bridesmaid, who is already a little worried about her developing figure. In talking to her about these things, I try to show her that it’s not wrong to feel these insecurities; sometimes they are impossible to avoid. It’s how we deal with them that is important. I hope that she will learn to question why she feels that way, and in doing so avoid being helplessly swamped by external expectations.

What’s in a Name?

I’ve noticed that a lot of my daughter’s friends have double-barreled names. This seems to be the solution for when you have two parents with a different surname; instead of arguing over whether the child should be called Forrester or Davenport, you just call them Forrester-Davenport. Which seems like a good solution (even though it sounds a tiny bit daft), until you consider what is going to happen when Olivia Forrester-Davenport has a child with Sam Smith-Williams: Lucy Smith-Williams-Forrester-Davenport? And when she marries George Parker-Jones-Fletcher-Carpenter?

Another solution might be a Brangelina-style amalgamation of both names. Forrenport? Or Daventor? I think it could catch on. Each generation would start afresh with a new name, throwing off the baggage associated with the previous one. Although tracing family trees would be a nightmare…

So, what is in a name? How important is it? The law recognises name and religion as two of the most basic aspects of a person. Given as a birthright by parents, these things can only be changed by someone other than a parent if a child is adopted. Upon reaching adulthood, traditionally a woman lost her right to her own name when she married, taking that of her husband. The loss of a woman’s maiden name was seen as a loss of identity, a symbol that she had ceased to belong to her father and now belonged to her husband, in line with the tradition of being given away at the altar.

Women and children’s names can be changed – men’s, rarely. Women’s identities are more fluid nowadays. Few women see themselves as ‘just’ someone’s wife. One friend got married and changed her name, but retained her maiden name at work – because Peterson was easier to pronounce than VanSchallwyck. Another friend kept her maiden name. In reply to shocked relatives who asked whether he thought his wife should change her name, her husband would say: ‘but I’ve got used to calling her Lisa.’

My daughter and I share a name (my maiden name), as do my Intended and his son. There is a neat symmetry to it. If I were to change my name, our family would cease to be symmetrical and my daughter would be the ‘odd one out’. She might have some explaining to do at school, whether her name also changed or remained the same. I wouldn’t like to put her through this. Yet there is a part of me that would like to share a name with my Intended. When this is a choice, it feels very different to something that has been enforced.

So, my choices are: double-barrel, change my name, get my Intended to change his name, or stick with seperate names. Or, maybe I could keep my name for work, school, the doctor – but change it where it’s really important: – like on Facebook?

What do you think? Do you prefer double-barreling, made-up names, flitting between two names or keeping to the one name? And which one would you choose?

Thirty something bride? A confession

I am never going to be a thirty something bride. Just as I never wrote that novel before the age of 40, never became an astronaut, never battled the seas in the Rainbow Warrior to save the seals…I have come to terms with all of those things, but would it sound childish and pathetic to admit just how desolate I feel about never having been married before reaching the age of 40? How much of a failure this makes me feel?

In one of her novels, Joanne Harris writes about a proposal.

‘There it was in her hand. The small dream,’ as the character holds the ring. This phrase always stuck in my mind. The ring, the marriage, the happily ever after, is the small dream that women are handed as little girls. It’s in the books, the films, the lives of all the women who have gone before. A woman who has never been married is incomplete, a sad figure: a spinster. Big, bachelor dreams are for the boys..

As my 40th birthday hurtles towards me, the wedding plans just aren’t coming together. There is still no date set, no clear idea of the venue, no wedding dress ordered – and I know that I am going to be the 40-year-old bride.

I spent my 30th birthday alone, with an 8 month old baby. That day, to get myself through, I thought about my 40th birthday. I thought, by then this baby will be 10 years old. Work will be easier. Feeding her will be easier. I will be able to go to the toilet by myself. I will definitely be happier. There is no salvaging this birthday, but I will make sure the next one is better.

Now, to keep the promise I made to myself ten years ago – to be happier – I realise that I must stop defining myself, and my happiness, in relation to my status as a woman. On my 30th birthday I was defined by being a single mother, with all the pride and shame that burned in me because of that. Now, I am defining myself by my marital status – spinster at 40 – and I am allowing myself to feel shame again, and disappointment, at the small wish that I was never granted.

No, I will never be the thirty something bride, just as I was never the woman with a husband sitting by her side in the ante natal clinic. But these things don’t define me. There are so many other things I have been, and can be.

This year, my 40th, is apparently the beginning of the rest of my life. It cannot be another year of mourning for my abject failure to conform to anything like the ideal of a ‘proper’ woman. I hear my 30-year-old self calling through the years, and I can’t let her down. I would like to tell her, yes the baby is a 10-year-old, and she lets you go to the toilet on your own, she brings you breakfast in bed on your birthday and she has repaid you in gold for every sacrifice you ever made for her – the pride you felt when she said her first word is nothing to the pride you will feel when she comes out with her first bitingly sarcastic comment. You did well, 30-year-old self.

And to my future 40-year-old self, I would like to say – your 50th is going to be AMAZING!

All about privilege and not much to do with weddings

I have been working hard for the past couple of days. Today I was going to write a post about my engagement ring, but I decided to write about privilege instead, because that is just the kind of mood I am in.

There was a minor media storm lately regarding Caitlin Moran’s comment on Twitter that she ‘literally couldn’t give a shit’ about the fact that the sitcom ‘Girls’ features an all-white cast. Her comments triggered some debate over whether a show which has managed to become successful while focusing entirely on the concerns of the ‘Girls’, providing a rare portrayal of ‘real’ women on TV, should also feature women from ethnic minorities, and whether feminists as a group should ‘give a shit’ about whether it does or not.

Moran has been accused of demonstrating a sense of entitlement in not engaging with this debate. She answered her critics by stating that the question ‘why are the women in ‘Girls’ all white?’ is as relevant as the question ‘why were all the members of Abba white?’.

Abba is a pop group that formed in Sweden in the 1970s, where the population was predominantly white. ‘Girls’ is a sitcom written about life in New York in 2012, where the population is predominantly…oh, hang on…

The writer of ‘Girls’ focuses upon what she knows. She doesn’t extend her writing beyond her own concerns, and neither does Caitlin Moran. They don’t think about their own white privilege, because they don’t have to.

I started to think about this in relation to male privilege. This is something that all feminists can understand; it’s probably what made them become feminists in the first place. For me, it all clicked into place when I had a child. It was then that I felt the brakes applied to every aspect of my life. It was like the change from cycling along smooth flat ground in 3rd gear, to struggling up a hill in 1st. Motherhood engenders a total transformation, a complete rethink of priorities and lifestyle – yet for a father, this transformation is entirely optional.

As a single mother, I would watch news items where children went missing or were abused. The reports would focus on the mother and what she had done wrong: she took her eyes off her child for too long, she went off and had fun and left the child with an unsuitable person, she worked too much – I would marvel at the invisibility of the father; where was he? Sometimes my question would be answered, when the father would pop up on the screen, stating how devastated they were about what had happened to their child while admitting with a complete lack of embarrassment that they hadn’t bothered to see their child for several years. They had, in fact, gone off and had fun and left their child with an unsuitable person – the mother, who they were now stating they always knew was no good. Nobody would suggest that he might have shared some responsibility for the situation. For every single mother who is vilified in the press, is an absent father who is secure in the knowledge that the buck does not stop with him.

Not having to worry about things because they don’t concern you, is what entitlement is all about. Not asking questions about the lives of other people, accepting the status quo as long as it works in your favour, and dismissing other concerns as irrelevant – that’s how to feel comfortable with your own privilege. It strikes me that through reading some of the blogs here, I have gained insights into other lives, sometimes reading about struggles that I have been lucky enough never to have had, sometimes seeing the world in a new and different way – and sometimes realising that I am privileged. I still think mostly about my own experience, of course, but hopefully this all helps to ensure that I would never be the journalist who fails to query the absent father, or the feminist who when asked about race issues, says ‘I literally couldn’t give a shit about it’.

I would like men to question their own entitlements; not to abuse their privilege just because they can. By the same token, I feel that feminists (including myself) have a responsibility to do the same.

Tribulations of a 30H Bride

Oh, those ******* dresses! Not even champagne and friendly encouragement could convince me that they suit me..Not even my mother could manage to look entranced at the sight of me in The BWD (Big White Dress). Not even the addition of a tiara and a veil to cover my face would ever convince me to appear in public in one of these dresses.

It’s Just Not Me.

There may be a reason for this; two reasons, in fact. As I try on a dress, there they are, making the top of the dress stick out almost horizontally, as there is certainly not enough material to go around them.

‘Well, obviously the dress will need some adjustments, or the vicar is going to get an eyeful. He’ll be like, hmm, let’s take our time over these vows!’ the shop owner is saying. Oo-er missus, we are indeed talking about my chest, and what hangs there: those vicar-distracting, dress-ruining, joke-inducing mammary glands which are here today to teach me not to tempt Fate by saying anything as sappy as ‘today I am going to choose the dress that I will wear to marry the man I love’. Fate will simply slap you in the face (well, it would if I jumped, but I learned long ago not to make THAT mistake).

Fate endowed me with these ‘assets’ very early on in life, and has been having a good laugh ever since. ‘Boobs’ are funny, everyone knows that. They’re just so rude. At the age of 10, boys would ask if I was a ‘Page 3’ girl and dissolve into helpless laughter. At 14, myself and a friend (who shared with me the affliction of a D-cup) would spend our PE sessions resolutely walking (NEVER running) past the school classroom windows. The wrath of the PE teacher was nothing compared to the laughing and pointing of the boys on seeing a pair of jugs jiggling before their eyes. When I got older, this tendency of males to point out to me that I had breasts still continued, but could seem a little darker, sometimes quite disturbing. When at university, a male colleague suddenly interrupted me mid-sentence with a look of utter contempt on his face and the question

‘Do you ever read Mayfair magazine? You remind me of a girl I saw in there,’ I had no idea what to reply.  A friend who had overheard, yelled

‘Who do you think you are? You can’t talk to women like they’re a piece of shit on your shoe!!’ and explained to me that he wasn’t talking about some prestigious high fashion magazine where women were showing off clothes, but a porn magazine where women were showing off their large breasts. In either case, he would have been following the misogynistic tradition of reducing a woman to her physical characteristics, but the second comparison did seem more insulting to me at the time.

I began to feel quite disconnected from my breasts, what with them being so very rude and funny, and me being really quite polite and serious. They seemed like a separate entity, entering the room before me and getting all the attention, while the real me resided somewhere else, in my head.

I realise that complaining about being a 30H provokes the same reaction in some women as thin women complaining about being thin provokes in me, that is: a) it isn’t a real problem and b) isn’t it considered by most people to be a Good Thing? The problem is, that for women there is perceived to be a Right and a Wrong way to look, and there is always pressure to conform. Nowhere is this pressure more apparent than in the choosing of a wedding dress. More than any other garment, the wedding dress says something about the wearer. Its very colour has been taken to symbolize the purity of the woman. Nowadays, we think that white wedding dresses signify virginity, although initially they weren’t worn for this reason, but to symbolize the wealth of the bride’s family; white can only be worn once, and only a rich family could afford to buy a dress that wouldn’t be used again. So, the dress came to be a statement of both ostentatious wealth, and modesty and purity. The groom’s dress, on the other hand, came to signify…nothing at all. Men were free to walk down the aisle as themselves, their clothes being simply clothes, rather than statements about their sexuality, purity, or wealth.

Modern day wedding dresses definitely symbolize wealth, being quite expensive, and while they no longer have to signify purity, a pair of breasts is seen as giving the wrong message. As the women in the wedding dress shop circle around me, adding a sparkly belt here, a head-dress there, and muttering ‘that’s nice, it distracts a bit from…’ with vague gestures in the direction of my unmentionables, I realise that I am probably in the wrong shop.

My ‘boobs’ often seem to take on a significance all of their own, mainly down to the portrayal of large breasts in our culture. They conjure up the idea of sex, and availability. Yet to me, they’re just a part of my body. It is quite pointless to try to hide them, or to worry about whether other people will see them as ‘rude. I decide to reclaim them, to decorate them with pride.

Typing ‘corset makers’into a search engine, I come up with this website of beautiful dresses. Dresses fit for a queen.

The Child-less Wedding

(This picture is not very relevant. The little girl just makes me laugh.)

It has come to my attention that there is a growing trend for children to be excluded from weddings. Whether you call these events ‘child-free’ or ‘child-less’ probably reveals where you stand on this ‘issue’, which has provoked debate from Mumsnet to WordPress.

I first became aware of the trend when my sister got married last year and made it clear that children weren’t welcome – including my 9-year-old daughter. This sent shock waves through my family, and I must admit to feeling hurt and angry at the fact that she didn’t consider my daughter to be one of the ‘close friends and family’ she wanted at her wedding. The reasons she gave (‘I don’t want noise or crying during my wedding vows’) didn’t make sense either, given the age of my daughter. Now I’m planning a wedding, however, I see that this is a fairly standard response. Rather than invite some children and not others, it is easier to exclude all children, who are increasingly seen as a huge threat to the careful choreography of a wedding.

The reasons given are as follows: general noise and disruption, not remaining vertical (hiding under tables, falling into things, rolling on the floor), breaking things, boring other guests with their inability to carry on a rational conversation and complaining when they themselves get bored. On top of all this, there are Just Too Many of Them and they Cost Too Much to Feed.

My sister’s wedding was the intimate, relaxed day she wanted, which she ended with a midnight swim (still in her tiara). I was still hurt by the perceived slight to my daughter, though, and retaliated when she asked about my birthday party (to which she is usually invited):

‘There will be loads of children there. You probably won’t like it.’

I invited my friends and all their children to a buffet style affair at my house, expecting some decorous wine drinking downstairs and some noisy chaos from the kids’ bedrooms. However, this year all of my friends had arranged babysitters. With no children to remind the adults to be sensible, the wine drinking didn’t remain decorous for long, and the party lasted until 5am, about an hour longer than the last unsmashed wine glass. It’s not often that I am more sober than anyone else, but it seemed to happen on this occasion, and I realised that there are many reasons not to let people get drunk at your party.

These are pretty much as above: general noise and disruption, not remaining vertical (falling into things, rolling on the floor), breaking things, boring other guests with their inability to carry on a rational conversation and Not Knowing When it is Time to Go Home.

Which leads me to the conclusion that alcohol and children are both equally disruptive, and mutually exclusive, but in a choice between the two, alcohol generally wins. The child-free wedding seems to be part of a growing trend to separate children (and, by extension, mothers) from the rest of society. Commercial outlets provide places where children are ‘free’ to gorge themselves on sugar, then swing on ropes and scream to their hearts content (ie soft play centres) and other spaces where adults are ‘free’ to get as recklessly drunk as they like. These things feel like fun at the time, but result in irritability, headaches and empty wallets shortly afterwards. I have nothing against rope swinging, or getting drunk. Nobody can get more outrageously drunk than a mother who rarely gets to go out in adult company (I can speak with authority on this) – but wouldn’t it be nice if mothers and children spent less time confined to the house, and more time in the company of others, and wouldn’t this have a civilizing influence, on all sides?

For my wedding, I’m envisaging a European cafe-style scenario, kids playing hide-and-seek among the trees while the adults sip their drinks in a sophisticated manner, allowing me to enjoy everyone’s company, be they 9 or 90. Never mind that the wedding is in March, in Manchester, and I’ll probably make the mistake of drinking champagne for breakfast. I can dream…

The Dress

Fairly soon after we announced to our children and our parents (in that order) that we were getting married, we changed our status to ‘engaged’ on Facebook.  Of course, I am not dependent upon social media for my identity (honest), and didn’t NEED to change my status to be officially engaged – but bizarrely, it did feel more real to me once I had become ‘engaged’ on Facebook and enjoyed the predictable flood of congratulations from people I haven’t seen since school.

What was less predictable for me was the ensuing barrage of diet advertisements which now flash in the corners of my eye as I log on. I had become used to the ‘Adele lost 2 stone’ advert, but now I am distracted by the ‘White Dress Diet’, not to mention the ‘Wedding Diet’, alongside a competition to win personalised m and ms for wedding favours! Yes, Facebook certainly knows I am engaged and assumes this means I will be on a diet, as does the entire internet. Even a search for wedding trainers (see my shoe dilemma) came up with someone who would make me run around a field and do press-ups in order to be worthy of my Big Day.

Being beautiful seems to be a vital part of being a bride (as if anybody would marry a woman for any other reason!) and being thin appears to be a vital part of being beautiful. I was annoyed by this implication, especially the thin part, until I went to try on a wedding dress. The bridal diet obsession then became clear. It is not possible to look beautiful in a wedding dress unless you are a) very tall and statuesque or b) a stick insect. If you don’t believe me, find the thickest, widest and longest swathe of material you can (a pair of curtains would do) and drape it around yourself. Press it flat against your bosom and pin it at the back, preferably tightly enough to make some flesh bulge out around the sides. Now add some frills for added bulk. Now imagine this whole ensemble in WHITE.

The wedding dress is the opposite of the little black dress. It is, in fact, a big white dress. The BWD does not, like the LBD, make you feel as if you have lost a stone. It makes you instantly wish you could lose 2 stone. I now believe that the diet industry is paying the wedding dress industry to continue to make these unflattering dresses. The number 1 reason for dieting has got to be an impending wedding (just check any Weightwatchers magazine for proof of this one).

Apparently, we have Queen Victoria to thank for the white wedding dress, which became the norm after she wore one to marry Prince Albert in 1840. Before then, women just wore their best dress – in any colour.

It has now become such a strong tradition that few wedding dresses deviate from white, or off-white,  and it is hard to imagine ‘feeling like a bride’ in anything else.

Yet there is no escaping it, the BWD does not suit the thirty-something bride. I took my ten-year-old daughter, Chief Bridesmaid, to Debenhams as she had begged to be allowed to help me choose The Dress. She sat on a chair and enthused as I walked out in the first dress. She enthused about the second dress, and the third. An hour later, her enthusiasm was beginning to evaporate. I was back to the first dress which she and the sales assistant agreed was the best.

‘I look like an enormous white square,’ I said sadly as I regarded the vast expanse of lace, tied at the waist with a piece of thin ribbon, making me almost as wide as I was tall.

‘Well I think you should get that one because actually you just look RIDICULOUS in all the others!’ snapped Chief Bridesmaid, patience finally gone. I had to laugh – and seriously consider the possibility of getting married in my best jeans.

Looking at wedding venues, or the origins of Bridezilla

So, given that we are supposed to be getting married in March, we thought we had better arrange some visits to wedding venues.
Having searched on the internet beforehand, I had a pretty good idea of what most of the places would be like and picked four that seemed representative of the options available to us. We visited a couple of city centre hotels, an oak barn and a refurbished Monastery. We were met by ‘wedding coordinators’ who instantly bombarded me with talk of things I had hitherto failed to notice the existence of: ‘cake pops’, chair covers and up-lighters, as well as more familiar things such as ‘the bar’, dance floor and top table. The romance of the wedding was very quickly grounded in reality as I was handed lists of suppliers and prices, and stipulations about a minimum spend.
I say ‘I’ not ‘we’, because that is exactly how it was. It was as if my Intended had become invisible. Ladies, visiting a wedding venue is the only time that you will speak to a salesperson with a man by your side, to find the man completely sidelined and ignored in your favour. The sales adviser will direct all proceedings at you and only occasionally condescend to involve the ‘Groom’ in a joke (usually about his lack of interest in the whole affair). The result of this is that the jokes become a self-fulfilling prophecy. My Intended began to look bored after about 10 minutes of being excluded from the conversation. Failing to make eye contact with the sales adviser, he started to watch my reactions instead.
I found it all slightly disconcerting at first, but soon began to enjoy it, remembering the boring two hours I had spent watching him buy a car. (I did get to test drive the car. The salesman said I had ‘done very well’. He was highly amused). On this occasion the amusement was all mine as the wedding coordinator pityingly said he was getting

‘…what I call ‘groomface’. It’s when it all gets a bit too much for them.’

As ‘groomface’ and I walked out of the venue, I enjoyed the feeling of, for once, being placed firmly in charge of proceedings. Although the day being constantly referred to as MY day seemed rather divisive, and made me feel solely responsible for it. I could imagine this making me a tad ‘bossy’. According to urban legend, however, this would make me a ‘Bridezilla’. The sight of a woman totally in charge of an event is obviously still so unfamiliar that the only way it can possibly be described is to liken the woman to an enormous mutated lizard with atomic breath.

 

Here is Godzilla, looking remarkably like a woman in wedding dress…I look forward to my transformation, and hope I get the superpowers to go with it.

If the shoe fits…

Shoes are a vexed issue for me. Both my feminist principles and my feet rebel against the idea of wearing heels, for my wedding or any other occasion. Yet there is something of a dilemma involved due to the fact that my fiance is 6’5, and I am 5’3. This could give the wedding photos some unwanted comedy value. One particularly witty friend having already compared us to the Krankees, I am concerned that a wedding photo depicting my the top of my head at approximately waist height next to my smiling husband will bring tears of mirth rather than tears of sentiment to the eye.

I used to wear heels frequently. This may have been one reason why it took me and My Intended to realise the full extent of our difference in height. He was simply taller than me, as most people are to a woman of 5’3. Likewise, for a man of his height, looking down at the top of someone’s head is normal. He just didn’t realise that the top of my head was a few inches further down than that of most people, once I removed my going-out boots. Heels may well have been invented as part of a male conspiracy to make women walk like ducks (see Caitlin Moran for a good description of what happens when women wear heels at a wedding), but they are also a godsend to short women everywhere. A pair of heels can turn a small quiet mousy woman into a tall, firm-treaded Amazon, capable of eyeballing anyone without hurting her neck (until she trips over, at least).

Eventually I realised that the effort of walking in heels, coupled with aches in my calves and back, was making me disinclined to leave the sofa. I discovered the joys of a comfortable shoe in which I could walk for miles; just as empowering as being suddenly tall, but in a different way. A quick search on the internet reveals that I am not the only woman who doesn’t relish the thought of waddling down the aisle in a 6 inch stiletto. Converse have tapped into the comfortable shoe market with a customising service for their shoes. You can walk down the aisle in a pair of ‘chucks’ bearing the legend ‘Bride’, you can buy Swarovski crystal embellished trainers, and Etsy is awash with people offering to embroider Mrs …(insert married name) on your sneakers in sparkly thread. These all look beautiful, but for me this option involves carrying a stool to stand on so that my groom can ‘kiss the bride’. I am not sure that this is a good solution. If anyone has any suggestions, do let me know!

Other than persuading my Intended to shorten his legs, my only option appears to be a pair of platform heels.

.

 

With a pair of trainers in my bag for later…