Down the aisle and up the duff

2 Dec

I looked like Geoff Capes on my wedding day

I love weddings. I’m an old romantic. Even if the couple have been miserable for years and nearly everyone thinks about standing up in the  “if anyone can show just cause why this couple cannot be legally joined in marriage” bit in the ceremony, a corner of my heart still sings with delight when the couple say “I do.”

I’ve been to a few weddings in my time: Jewish weddings where the couple have been so large I’ve feared for the frail chairs beneath them as they are lifted high into the air; Brixton weddings where the local drunks have showered the bride and groom with confetti (well, old fag buts and some fluff from their pockets, but in a nice way); third timers who know how to throw a party because they’ve learnt from all the other mistakes. My favourite type, however, will always be the family wedding.

My sister’s getting married this weekend, and I’m unbelievably excited. I have my Spanx (a present from her for being Maid of Honour, and according to the box, I’m ‘Living the Dream’ though I’d hope from the colour and shape of them, heaven is better than this.) I have versed my children in good behaviour, which basically means they’re allowed to drink wine under the table as long as long as they don’t ruin anyone else’s fun. I’m leaving the baby at home with a sitter, so I can reclaim my boobs for the day.  I keep phoning my sister and asking if she’s alright. She’d be fine if I didn’t keep bothering her.

I’m already bracing myself to deal with family members who will either be so drunk on the day that they’ll spend most of it horizontal (my younger brother) or so sober that they’ll be lecturing me on addiction and denial, as I quaff Champagne (my older brother.)

My sister has everything – including my stomach, bottom and upper thighs – under control. Watching her prepare for her big day has made me think that she’s doing it all right. She’s even laminated the table plans with her own fair hands. If I could do it again – and I won’t because getting married and staying married is exhausting – I’d like to do it like her.  I didn’t even plan a pre-wedding bikini wax, so spent my entire honeymoon wearing shorts in the pool. My husband found this very amusing. Then there was the major fuck up with my dress.

I congratulated myself on choosing something about six months before the day. It looked like a pair of expensive shiny curtains. It was green. My best friend told me that it was the wardrobe equivalent of an avocado mousse and the colour was plainly wrong (green denoting bad luck). He vowed I’d be divorced within a year. I’m still married, but he was right about the dress.

Then I got pregnant. At twelve weeks I’d put on two stone, probably something to do with the fact that my mid morning snack consisted of two croissants and a milkshake. A friend (no longer) told me she’d run me up a dress and make some for the bridesmaids too. Perhaps she knew I was desperate and my mum was flush. I’d seen the handbags she’d made and they were great. I didn’t really think about the fact that people don’t tend to wear handbags.

I collected the outfits five days before the wedding. My sister, maid of honour, went to her room and tried on her dress and duly burst into tears. She stayed in there to save me the upset.

When I tried on mine in front of my mother (I was now a stone heavier heavier at twenty two weeks pregnant) she couldn’t hide her horror. She then erupted into laughter that went on for so long I had to ask what the problem was. “I cannot believe I’ve handed over the best part of a grand for something that resembles Juliet’s dress from the local Shakespeare am dram costume department.” I hadn’t really looked down or in a mirror. My mind was on cake. But the sheer awfulness of it all was reflected in her face.

With only three days to go, my original dress had to be resurrected from the dead, and an aged seamstress had to be resurrected from over the V (we were in rural Ireland and as far as I can work out nobody has a house number, just a general geographical whereabouts). She managed to create a corset out of the sash. I now looked like a medieval pair of curtains, but the curtains fitted and I even had strings to open and close the back with ease, should I have wanted extra pudding.

Things that were bad about our wedding:

I looked like Geoff Capes from the back as I walked up the aisle.

I couldn’t drink a lot in front of the guests– I was with child and people would judge. I had to keep going to the loo to swig from the Champagne bottle.

Despite this, I was stone cold sober at midnight. I had swollen feet. I wanted to go to bed, but a small rave was taking place in my honeymoon suite, with my sweaty husband at the centre of the makeshift dance-floor beating his chest and saying to all the revellers“I love Grand Marnier” even though he hates the stuff but it was all that was left in the mini bar.

We didn’t consummate our marriage that night, because I’ve never liked sleeping with unconscious people.

Things that were good about our wedding

My daughter flew into my husband’s arms at the moment when we took our vows. This made us look like the perfect ‘functional’ family for once, with stepdad at the centre of his stepdaughter’s affections. We have never looked more like an advert for Standard Life health insurance than we did at that moment.

The vicar that married us called my husband Saul for the whole ceremony, when his name is actually Seth.

I ate lots of cake.

My father made a speech in which he told me he loved me. I think that was the first time since 1982.

I danced by myself to our song ‘Once In a Lifetime’ with all the actions. I didn’t have to be lead, or have my toes stamped on.  Then my sister joined me.


To my beautiful sister and my brother-in-law to be  – may you have a truly awesome wedding day and a happy, healthy life together. Xxxxx



2 Responses to “Down the aisle and up the duff”

  1. Florence December 2, 2011 at 3:18 pm #

    I’m pleased to see that Geoff Capes is still a cultural reference.

    • mothersruined December 2, 2011 at 6:10 pm #

      Ha! Glad you appreciate, though mentioning Geoff definitely shows my age. He’s a bit like Daley Thompson. Anyone below the age of thirty won’t know who these wonderful sporting heroes are.

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