I am well and truly in the throes of wedding prep (and also buying a house), quite aside from general wedding / hen attendance of other people, so what better time to squeeze in a blog post, too!
I have to say, when I got engaged, I felt like the people who were already married put such a downer on me…the comments like ‘oh, enjoy, it’s so stressful’ and ‘oh you think that’s the hard bit, just you wait until the table plan’. HOW is that helpful?! I remember people saying the exact same thing when third year of university rolled around and Finals were on the horizon. My approach to both of these big life events has been the same – the more stressed I become, the less productive and enjoyable my life will be – life is FAR TOO SHORT to stress out about what is effectively a large party (the wedding, not the Finals). The trick is to enjoy the journey. After all, if everything you do is only for the end goal, then the only purpose of life itself is to death. Therefore, I just haven’t been stressed and I think I have done pretty well, if I do say so myself! My stress management comes in the form of running, yoga, lots of walks around Brixton, oh and watching old people’s TV programmes (Gardener’s World, anything Agatha Christie related, anything about the countryside – don’t judge!).
And then it came about that I had a sick day from work, which doesn’t happen often, and I think was just from burning the candle at both ends. I ended up watching an entire series of a programme called ‘It’s a Vicar’s Life’. It followed a number of vicars going about their life in Herefordshire, and I became completely obsessed! This was after a weekend of very high levels of church attendance for me – the first was at a friend’s wedding, for which I made the featured skirt (more on that later), and the next was listening to the reading of the banns at the church in Brixton in order to collect our banns certificate. All I can say was that going to the church in Brixton was the most uplifting and bizarre experience of my life! It was completely chaotic, but fabulous! The hymns were great, the people were SO lovely – they all came up to us and wished us well, they prayed for each other, even sung happy birthday to each other, but what I realised was – church makes you live in the moment. The intercessional prayers mean that you are thinking about world problems, as well as problems closer to home, and it gives you that time to really live in the here and now and, in a way, it is a form of meditation. It was fabulous.
Just a small shame it was two hours long(!) and that I’m a non-believer.
I really didn’t want to write that sentence. I think what I realised is, along with the series that I watched, that the vicars and the church-goers are so kind to other people and have such a lovely community across all demographics and ages, that I think is hard to re-create in modern society and without that church structure in place. I appreciate the community experience is in other facets of life – my mother is a member of a very supportive tennis club who have become close friends and help each other out through thick and thin – but I think that is unusual. If anyone has other ideas of how this can be achieved, please let me know! I think my trick is to just take up reams of volunteering posts so that I don’t have to be a vicar but can still feel that I am making some form of difference and helping someone else in need.
…moving on…I had planned to sew my own bridesmaid dresses, and obviously was met with the reaction of being completely mad etc, and it is with huge disappointment that I decided not to do it. I hate to be the person who gives in, chiefly because I don’t want to hear ‘I told you so’ from all of those people, but the moment I decided to buy them, I felt the most ginormous weight lift from my shoulders. I had spent SO many hours of brain time planning them, researching fabrics, making prototypes etc, but I realised that there was no chance of me making all 5 in the weekends I had remaining before the wedding. So why am I mentioning this…well…one of the prototypes was transformed into this skirt that I made for a couple of very good friends’ weddings recently.
The fabric is amazing – it is Duchesse Satin from John Lewis, and honestly looks far more expensive than it is – it was £8 per metre – a bargain in my eyes! I bought 3m of it and effectively made three large panels that have a small circle in the middle for your waist. I then measured a waistband to my waist and made sure it was thick enough. The construction is very simple – side seams, back seam, attach waistband and zip insertion (less simple!!!), followed by the neatening up and hemming of the skirt (this took ages, and I have slightly messed it up due to the vast length of it and time pressures!).
I didn’t know what top to wear with this, and after a very boring shopping trawl of Oxford Street, I found the one I am wearing from Ted Baker, and am very pleased with it, albeit it was fairly costly.
All in all – I think it worked ok and I am pleased with the result!
Next stop – wedding and honeymoon – see you next time as a married lady!