I’ve just read an article in the Observer about how to survive a wedding – and the one thing that probably had half the country up in arms was the suggestion that the bride should not bother trying to diet, but just wear a corset. I totally agree and I’m living proof that it works.
When I got over the shock of being proposed to, the full horror of having to organise a wedding descended on me. It was like organising 10 Christmases all on my own, at long-distance (I live in Nottingham; the wedding was in Somerset), on a shoe-string, and we needed the weather to be on our side. The night before, I was a nervous wreck. I actually had to be forced to sit down and eat something!! Me!!
The point I wanted to make with this wedding was that it was about the real me, not some air-brushed, spray-tanned, shrunken copy of a million other brides. And the real me, underneath the predominantly black wardrobe and Clark Kent specs, is a tad on the flamboyant side. The dress was a present to me from my Best Woman who happens to know a very good seamstress. I stole the main idea from Jean-Paul Gautier’s dress for Crystal Renn, who, as you all should know, is the world’s only size 16 Supermodel. I turned it pink, put fake roses down the front, and added lace sleeves. I didn’t want to show too much flesh, but I wore a corset (from Corsets-UK) which pushed everything up enough for me not to have any bra straps to worry about, then the neckline could be just on the shoulder, but it didn’t matter if it fell off the shoulder either.
I made my grand entrance (very late!) to the registry office to “Love Me Tender” sung by The King – it was a fancy dress wedding, so Elvis (in his Las Vegas incarnation) was the usher. My bridesmaids were a black cat and an angel. Not sure what the groom was supposed to be... possibly the Sheriff of Nottingham? We’d kept our costumes a secret from each other. We had planned to leave to the strains of “Mr Blue Sky” by ELO but the music started and nobody moved. Then I realised my new husband was singing! And so was everybody else. Then they all played air-guitar... so that’s when I started dancing too!
Next, 100 guests had to climb onto a tractor-trailer covered in bunting to be taken to a stone circle for a hand-fasting ceremony. The circle was blessed with fire, water, rose petals and (in a slight change to the traditional ritual) chocolate! The black cat handed out Easter eggs to everyone. Finally the happy couple climbed onto an altar stone and were hand-fasted, then wrapped together like a maypole in multi-coloured ribbons. Everyone burst into a spontaneous rendition of the Archers’ theme-tune at this point.
I added a red velvet cloak (e-bay!) for the outdoor ceremony as it was freezing, but at least it didn’t rain. Then into the farm-house for food (piles of it – self-service, veggie) and champagne, then a ceilidh. The corset hurt like hell after the first hour or so, and I was hugely relieved to be able to change (after the bonfire and fireworks) into a purple number (from Monsoon) for the salsa in the evening. The angel did a tap-dance, another couple did a tango. The other fancy dresses included Beauty and the Beast, a Teddy Boy and Girl, a belly-dancer, a flapper, a witch, Superman and two James Bonds.
Through the stress of organising all this I stuck to my guns about not dieting and not being someone I’m not. I just wish I could do it all over again.