The ordeal is over. I have found the wedding dress. And since discovering that Jon reads this blog, this is all that I can say on the subject. Except that it is neither white, nor long. Much, I am sure, to the disappointment of several interested parties.
This has been a great relief– the lack of a wedding dress had been a psychological barrier (or good excuse) to not get on with any other aspect of the wedding preparations.
But I have now been forced – pretty much at gun point – to put together a 'to do' list. It turns out that tracking down vintage vases and traditional Mexican bunting is not a priority, but organising a florist is. So this weekend my mum and I visited the venue to meet Jodie the florist.
I'm ashamed to admit that I did, briefly, lose it and I blame this on a magazine I stupidly bought. It is a magazine dedicated in its entirety to wedding flowers. Pre-engagement, I was blissfully unaware that such magazines existed. In WH Smith, I felt so utterly tragic about buying the magazine that I ended up buying another five magazines, unrelated to weddings, purely to dilute the impact. I genuinely would have rather been caught buying a porn magazine.
Since becoming engaged, I've quickly found out that unless you have unlimited money and time to devote to the wedding preparations, bridal magazines are a depressing experience. Perusing the flower magazine on the train to my parents' house, I think the average cost of a table single arrangement was about £800, and I would need about 12 of these for starters, plus a bouquet, plus church flowers, plus other combinations of flowers that I didn't even know you needed .
The overall effect was less inspirational, more panic-inducing.
So I arrived armed with an array of scraps of paper and a whirlwind of terror. When I explained my budget to Jodie, she didn't laugh, which was a comfort. However, while I can talk about fashion until the cows come home, it turns out that flowers leave me mute. First off, I can only name about four varieties of flower on sight, and I don't even like daffodils that much.
I found myself gagged by ignorance, while my mother reeled of a plethora species, half of which sounded like types of skin rash, and Jodie the florist nodded sagely. I tried to throw in some suggestions but they were met with "I don't think you'll find them in July" or "You do realise they smell like urine?"
In fairness, it wasn't an entirely unhelpful experience - after describing in layman's terms ("you know, the one that looks like a fish bowl stuff with petals"= ranunculus, apparently), I returned with a list of flowers to look up, as well as a list of flowers and foliage that I simply cannot stand (yellow roses and laurel feature high). Jon judiciously skipped this flower appointment, but when I spoke to him that night, my biggest concern in the world related to the inevitable (as I thought) violent reaction from guests if my bouquet didn't match the table decorations, and the fear that they'd consequently abandon the wedding reception in disgust.
The next day I got some much-needed perspective. We walked past the local village pub where a wedding reception was just about the kick off; the bride's train was dirty, her flowers had did not match those of the flower girl (who had mud on her knees) and the page boy tied his tie around his head, Rambo style. This scene was completely uncoordinated in the eyes of magazine art director. But guess what? Everyone looked really happy. It reminded me of what Jon and I had originally wanted from this wedding; a big party for our friends and family. The stack of wedding magazines are now in the recycling bin. And thankfully, I'm feeling a lot saner.