Despite spending almost a year planning my wedding (the downside of picking a venue that’s in demand), there are loads of things I still don’t feel qualified to tell you about. Why anyone bothers with favours for the table, for example. (Don’t – no one appreciates how long it took to tie that twine. And by the time you’ve got to dinner even you don’t care.) But there are some things I most certainly learnt along the way. Things that don’t always get said. Here’s what no one tells you about getting married...
1. Organising a wedding is a bit like a funeral
Ok, I know that sounds weird. But my theory goes that just as funerals were designed to keep you busy and help you process your grief, weddings – and all the grief that goes with it – are a way of making sure you’re marrying the right person. So if you’ve actually made it to the day itself, congratulations. You’re meant to be. And will be well versed in dealing with the last 48 hours.
2. You'll need to take up running
No, not to lose weight. But because there’s no other way to relieve your stress on the day before the big day when a bridesmaid accidentally leaves her dress in London. And the wedding isn’t in London. (Yes, this is a true story. And only a 10km run helped.)
3. You'll wake up the morning of your wedding hungover
With a dry mouth and either no clothes on or your earrings still in. You definitely won’t have taken off your make-up. Because the night before – when finally all the pressure of planning is over and you’ve only got your best friends and family around – has a temptation to get out of control. That’s ok though because even if you wake up at 5am needing to gulp down water you won’t have a hangover by breakfast. Your wedding day is like a holiday – magically free of headaches.
4. However many tests you've had you'll hate your hair and make up - until you've messed it up a bit
Ok, I’ll ‘fess up. This might just be me. But if you’re not used to being primped and preened, seeing yourself with an up-do and more fake eyelashes than Conchita Wurst will freak you out about. Do set about messing it up – but not too much because when you see the photographs of you at 3am weeks later, you’ll be glad you had enough make-up on to last.
5. Confetti goes absolutely everywhere
Yes, it makes pictures look brilliant. But it also goes everywhere, including down your braless (and, let’s be honest, probably a bit sweaty) boobs. You’ll be picking it out – or watching it fall out – all day long.
6. No one ever tells you your wedding day will actually be so much fun
True story. Everyone tells you about the stress and the drama. But that’s all in the run-up. The day itself? All your best friends and favourite people drunk, happy and laughing. It’s unexpectedly so much fun!
7. It probably will rain
And you will spend the first two hours of the day watching the clouds get darker. But don't worry about it. As long as you have spare wellies for guests and enough booze no one seems to mind. (FYI, mine were from the always reliable Hunter, in a customized crate from Not On The High Street).
8. Doing a speech is a great idea
No one expects the bride to speak so there’s no pressure – just a lot of love from a room willing you to get through the thing without bawling. Word of warning though: if you’re going to do it, go first rather than after your dad's. I can’t remember enough of his because I was thinking about mine.
9. One person will get absolutely wasted
And it won’t be the person you think it will be. My bet? It’ll be one of your parents’ friends. Which is a winner because you don’t have to look after them.
10. After parties are a great idea
Forget what everyone says that you shouldn’t have more than a glass of champagne at your wedding. You won’t have to – you’ll be happy enough without alcohol (I’d hope). But having an idea of what happens as an after party is a great idea. Because when it gets to 2am you’ll be knackered, yes, but you’ll want to carry on. Because when’s the last time all these people were together? Just be sure to leave before the bitter, bitter end: I walked out to my groom’s mates serenading me with Wonderwall (don’t ask) at 4am and thus avoided the rant from fellow non-wedding guests in the hotel at 6am. Sorry about that.
11. But equally waking up together the next morning is pretty special
‘Wake up! I want to dissect everything!’ were the words I greeted my new husband with the next morning as he groaned through a hangover. Surprisingly, we’re still married today.
12. Dry cleaning your wedding dress will cost you more than most dresses themselves
And you'll have no idea what to do with it afterwards. But hey – who said fashion was practical?
13. You'll be so tired but wired for the start of your honeymoon you'll cry if you get the tiniest spot of rain
Ditto: if the car doesn’t start or the restaurant food is terrible. That’s normal. And doesn’t mean you’re not going to have a great holiday. Just make sure you’re booked somewhere suitably special for night four, by which point you’ll be relaxed-ish. We went to The Fasano in Rio and it was amazing.
14. You'll be glad you got a professional photographer
Everyone else's photos might be funny but theirs tell a story of the day you’ll be desperate to remember.
15. You'll still have a wedding drawer full of crap months later
Full of crap like leftover invitations and twine you can't bear to throw away. As you can see I can offer no advice on this.
16. You’ll finally be able to enjoy weddings again
The weddings you've got this summer no longer need to be treated as scouting missions or point scoring exercises. Instead you can be the drunkest one there. Because, as I’ve very much discovered, someone needs to be.