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To paraphrase Mariah, all I want for my wedding is YOU....

Posted on: Friday, 26 August 2011

We didn't have a wedding list.

Each to their own, but I think they're a bit cheeky. And often uninspired. Full of sensible items to give Aunty-Mary-who-buys-you-a-LOVELY-knife-block a sense of satisfaction rather than the happy couple a frisson of genuine pleasure and excitement.

Call me odd, but knife blocks don't thrill me. I couldn't have unwrapped a knife block the morning after the wedding and raised much more than a, 'Oo. Knives. Nice.'

Which, as I tell the kids at school, is a crap adjective for anything.

Being of Celtic persuasion, I knew that my lot would give us money. Yusss siree. It's a bit gypsy-esque, but at any wedding I've ever been to in the homeland there comes a point where bulging cards are surreptitiously passed from relative to Bride or Groom or Father of the Bride or worrever.

So that bit was easy.

We debated whether to write anything about presents on the invitation, too, but decided that, too, was a bit cheeky and liable to get a bit vomit-inducing: 'We have everything we could possibly want in each other and in you sharing our VEWWY SPECIAL DAY WITH US, but if you WOULD like to flash some cash then...' You know?

Like I say, each to their own. I suppose I was absolved from a more difficult decision by the fact that I KNEW my lot would bring money and we wouldn't, therefore, be inundated with crap presents from a significant number of guests. For the rest of folk, I figured if they wanted to buy us a gift, they would. 

'But what can we get you?!' some people wailed.

Bedders would shrug.'Whatever. Be creative.'

Ooo, he's maddening, ain't he?

But oh my word, did some people live up to the 'be creative' brief. Not a toaster in sight.

So over a few posst I'll take you on a tour through my favourite gifts. You might find an idea or two for weddings that you're going to yourself where the bride and groom have been similarly maddening and given their poor guests absolutely no indication as to what they might like.

Although this first one is kind of hard to copy.

Behold the 1951 General Electric Co Bakerlite Valve Radio.

Excuse the poor photograph. T'was taken on the crackberry. And we have bought a beautiful digital SLR as a bit of a wedding present to ourselves but I'm still figuring it out ;)

Now, OK, we have some cool friends, and Josie and Jon are amongst the coolest. Effortlessly cool in a 'my-parents-are-antique-dealers-and-my-eyeliner-is-always-on-the-perfect-side-of-smoky-and-I-am-sooo-wearing-a-vintage-hat-to-your-wedding-darling' way. But they realy surpassed themselves here.

Get this. They bought the radio, re-conditioned it and got it working and then made us a little auction-house style write-up in their wedding card. 

It's beautiful and rare and absolutely unique (like them - GUSH!)

And we nearly cried when we opened it.

But then we got a grip and turned it on.

And, like Jos had written on the card, once the left had knob had been 'twizzled', it took a few seconds to warm up...and then the sound crackled and broke through...and the cricket was on!

I felt like I had fulfilled all of my Quantum Leap dreams and JUST STEPPED INTO THE 50s.

So, what's the moral of the story? If you want to make your slightly-geeky friends very, very happy, you need to buy and recondition a bakelite radio for them? 

Mebbes not that precisely. But personal presents (err, what do Laura and Adam like? Old stuff. And the radio. I KNOW!) are just the bestest.   


Posted on: Thursday, 25 August 2011

I am a sucker for a pretty parcel and a gift tag shaped like a bird.

A Tale of Two Weddings

Posted on: Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Eh? What's all this? TWO weddings?

Well, not only does the title of this post give me an opportunity to make a literary pun - always welcome - but, as some of you may be aware, my sister is getting wed in...ooo...TWO WEEKS. 

I know. I've only begun to come down from my monumental helium-balloon-esque high and there's another bloody wedding to look forward to. And at this one no one will be staring at little ol' me; they'll all be checking out my stunner of a sister. I shall be free to Get On Down. And I won't miss the canapes like I did at my own do (bastards). Yessssss!

Actually, they're having a Hindu blessing in the morning, then an Indian banquet, then heading for the Catholic Church at 3pm, THEN having a rip-roaring party. So it's kind of two weddings in one day. So it's really A Tale of THREE Weddings.

But then my literary pun wouldn't work. So sod that.


And so I shall be telling the story of TWO weddings: mine and hers. In full technicolour glory. Mine first - I'm bossy like that. It shall be a tale in numerous parts - I'll try to remember as much as I can. And I shall accompany it with some (largely unprofessional) photos to tell the real tale of the day.

Ooo, exciting.

OK. Are you sitting comfortably? Then we'll begin.

T'is the morning of Saturday the 30th July 2011. It is 5:30am. I am awake. I feel sick with nerves.

My knees are trembling. I am in LYING HORIZONTALLY IN BED (is there any other way to lie?) and my knees are trembling. This has never happened to me before. I think the most nervous I have ever been in my life prior to this point was over a piano exam.

It doesn't even begin to compare.

Adam is eight miles away in a hotel in Durham. He has texted furiously during the night at various intervals about being wide awake and about the band's missing PAT test document (oh, the romance!) and slightly more slushy things that I won't subject you to here - mainly because he would kill me.

Alex, my best friend and bridesmaid, is lying next to me. It's as if it's the old days and we're sixteen and we have slightly fuzzy heads from a 6th form party the night before and have spent half the night talking about the very important issue of WHO-GOT-OFF-WITH-WHO? We've got slightly fuzzy heads alright, but thank Christ it's from red wine rather than the Pink Kangaroos that were popular back in the day.

I am awake. No amount of self-scolding along the lines of, 'Now, come on Laura, back to sleep for another half an hour...you've a long day ahead of you, you know..." is gonna work. I am awake.

And so we get up. And we go to the hairdressers. My original hairdresser fell through and so I ended up having my hair done at 'Snippy Snipz' (honestly, the name is that bad - I can't even remember the exact name, but it was literaly THAT bad) in the middle of a council estate in Wardley. My mum knows the hairdresser's mum. One of those random connections. Oh, the glamour. I've had two trials. I go in today and ask for something different. 

"Just wave it and pin a few bits up. I don't want it to look neat, either. I want it to look, err, messy. You know."

Joanne, hairdresser to the stars of Wardley, raises an eyebrow. And does exactly as I ask.

We go back home. Everything is so bloody mentally busy I don't even have time to get nervous. The photographer arrives. My mum's counsin and her aged husband land. The DJ and family friend 'Mental Marky J Scott' waltzes through the door with a cry of, "Check out me suit, man!" My brother James dons his own suit, as does my dad. Suit Wars commence. The whiskey is opened. My dad's on tea duty. Sarah, sister-in-law-to-be, arrives and gets her make-up kit out. She tells us all the gossip from the previous night, including the drunken fallouts and OHMYGODAUNTYSUEGOTATATTOO! Aunty Sue is 66 and previously completely untattooed. Mental. We all enjoy passing aroud the Vivienne Westwood shoes and smelling them. The flowers arrive and are carried into the house on a huge tissue-paper cushion. I feel like Elton John. The car arrives. Richard - friend, guest and chauffeur for the morning - joins the party. Mum, Alex and my sister are due to leave. Neighbours gather on their driveways to wave them off.

And then all hell breaks loose.

Mum loses her glasses.

I'm tottering around the house bouquet in hand, trying to find them. Everyone else is drinking whiskey/drinking tea/taking photographs/checking their reflection/smelling the Vivienne Westwood shoes. No one is listening to me.

"Mum's lost her glasses. Clare, mum's glasses are missing. Have you seen mum's glasses?"

Mum, meanwhile, is cursing under her breath. "For f...Jesus...where's....?"

On reflection, this is honestly the most stressful point of the day. I need a klaxon. "MUM'S LOST HER GLASSES!"

Everyone snaps into action. Glasses are found. I almost cry tears of relief. Then we gather outside for the obligatory in-front-of-the-garage-door photo opportunity before everyone departs in various cars and leaves it to just me and my pa.

I love this picture. I love that my mum has just found her glasses and all is well with the world. I love the fact that Alex is practically STRANGLING her bouquet with excitement. I love that my sister is wearing a dress that goes entirely against her early stipulations ("Well, I'd like to wear a strong colour....and preferably not strapless..." - and what did I do? Put her in a strapless oyster number) and still manages to look like a stunner. I love that I look slouchy and relaxed and nonchalant and that's kiiiinda how I was feeling. I was fairly chilled by this point. Unbelievable, I know.

And then the car whisked them all away.

And it was just me and dad.

Well well well.

Posted on: Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Reader, I married him.

And it was a day of a short lace dress, some fun shoes, a Jon Snow-inspired tie, a sprinkling of Tender is the Night confetti, 175 ENORMOUS lamb shanks, some almighty craic and a fecking brilliant band.

We're off on honeymoon armed with a copy of 'Pub Walks in Northumberland'.

Catherine's inscription on the inner leaf? "It had me at 'Pub'." Me too. Can't freakin' wait.

More of this later.

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