So it's Easter weekend and after giving up chocolate for lent (read: 40 days and 40 nights), I've gone all out and managed to consume two large Easter eggs and their innards in 48 hours.
Normally I'd feel a pang of guilt for my greediness but this year I'm recoiling in horror. It is simply not acceptable behaviour for a bride-to-be who has finally been cajoled into booking a day of wedding dress shopping (yes, it's finally happened)! Spurred on by my BM's but also the fact that during a conversation with Pete, he politely mentioned that while he was happy to sacrifice cake, cars and cringe worthy extras, he really would like me to wear a wedding dress. Fair do's).
However, instead of signing up for a juice cleanse quick sharpish, it appears my rebellious streak has lead me to take on a sugar-crazed pre-wedding dress diet. This has to stop. I have five weeks to get my figure primed and ready for fittings. Chocolate bars need to be swapped for green goop and espresso martinis must be sidelined for soda water. Let's see how that goes.
So... dress shopping. Here's some things I was unaware of. First up – the deposit. On average, us b2b's (fyi – this is the abbreviation for bride to be – I thought it stood for business to business but in all the bridal mags, that's the chosen format!), should expect to pay around £20 to £25 deposit for an hour of trying on time. In which, you should be able to whip four to five dresses on and off and find 'the one'.
Now, I don't know if you're like me, but it takes me around that time to get an outfit sorted in Topshop's changing rooms and that's just for a night out. One hour to choose a wedding dress? That's ambitious. The solution? Double the deposit and get an extra hour. So that's £40 in one shop... but that is redeemable against the dress if I find one I like. Gee whizz.
My second piece of advice – ask how much the dresses start at. The second shop I calledbchecked in with me re: budget. "Errr, I just cannot justify spending more than £1,000 on a dress for one day," came my reply. "Ah, all of our dresses start at £1,500 I'm afraid," was the response. I politely declined the appointment and whatsapped my BMs. While they agreed with my bridal backing down, another friend has urged me to rebook. She suggests finding a brand or style I like and then hunt down something similar for less money. And if I do find my dream dress, to jot down the designer and style and then scour the sample sales or second hand sites and track it down that way. As a born and bred Midlands girl living in London, my heart might lie in Camden Passage, Islington but my roots stretch as far as Leicestershire so it's worth a looksie at least.
And it's not just my dress I'm making headway with. I have already ordered, bought and had the seal of approval on the BM's outfits. While I was going to wait until I'd sorted my get-up, it just so happens Asos came up trumps with a forest green frock that ticked all the BM's riders. No knees out, no upper arms on show, not too tight and not too OTT. And they can accessorise them every which way to make them as individual as they please. The best bit? They ring in at under £100...for all three. Which means more money behind the bar, ding ding, sorry dad.
Their smug faces have fallen somewhat sour though as I'm still failing to deliver the hen-do goods. The thing is I just can't decide how many is too many on the invite list. Is it better to have one overall hen-do or tailor it to your audience? Should I consider a smaller shindig for close friends (weekend away), a separate low-key affair for family (afternoon tea) and then a final blow-out for work peeps and London pals, or is that extravagant? Are there rules? I've been on – and arranged – enough hen-dos to know that these are costly affairs which is why I'm trying to be mindful that Vegas might not be appropriate for everyone...
Another hot topic right now is the subject of DJs. It's come to light that a friend of a friend who dabbles in DJing is now 'doing' a couple of weddings a year and might be willing to offer us mates rates. Do we go for cost and ease – we have that 2am late license which most DJs would charge us extra for – or is it going down the route of mixing business and pleasure?
Plus, while I was swaying towards a pretty prescriptive set, a recently wed friend urged me to 'leave it loose'. She'd been so caught up with having the perfect playlist that she'd provided a detailed list of what songs she wanted and when, insisting the DJ didn't stray from the list. However songs that she'd been singing along to in her Citroën suddenly didn't sound the same over the loud speaker which meant losing people to the bar and the DJ cracking out 'Come on Eileen' in a vague attempt at regaining a crowd. It's fair to say that didn't work either. Maybe it is best for the pro's to be left to their own devices. Plus our mutual friend is called Dave and everyone loves a DJ Dave.
As for the venue, it's still not completed. I'm not worried, the due date is May, it's just everyone else that keeps telling me I'm brave. Brave or stupid but I can't do the invites until then and I can't really nail the décor which means I can rock the blasé bride vibe for just that little bit longer. Even our food tasting has been postponed until October, which is probably a good thing considering I need to reign in my bad eating habits before then. Now about that juice cleanse...
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