I lost a fight with the Bishop

That is to say I totally caved so as not to get myself excommunicated for arm wrestling the clergy for my preferred wedding date. I wanted the 26thNovember, one day after our two year anniversary and more importantly not in the hectic month of December. But Bish got there first so our wedding will now be on 10/12/11. Truthfully the exact date wasn’t too much of an issue besides my explanation below.  The venue is booked for an evening do, save the date notifications have gone out to almost everyone and even the dress is ordered! Sound like it has been easy? Yes and no.
The venue narrowing process was reasonably easy. We visited a few which were obvious no goers –  I didn’t want the kids in a room three corridors and fourteen sets of doors away from the main room. We didn’t want to pay £175 a head for a three course meal no matter how yummy the food and gorgeous the grounds. We won’t be going in them, it will be winter. We couldn’t reduce the list of folks invited to the sit down meal to less than sixty without losing some dearest and nearest.  We narrowed it down to one venue and then the bun-fight with the church diary began.  We went back to the second choice venue which we knew could give us the earlier date, but we thought would be out of our price range until they came back with a quote that made our jaws drop.
So the debate began – do we go for the more expensive place we loved, on a date possibly more problematic for people with kids in Christmas carol concerts, work seasonal parties etc or go for the cheaper option we sort of liked, on the date everyone could probably do. We then threw into the mix the up until that point unspoken of, yet unsettling and ethically troubling thought of spending a fair whack of money on what is essentially a big party. Yes, a party celebrating something incredibly special, but this is a time when generosity and sacrificial giving is something very much on our hearts.
I know it is somewhat uncouth to discuss these things, but that’s what my blog is for – the nitty gritty of our lives, especially any ethical/faith orientated debates.  I’d love to say it was a long, prayerful, considered debate. But it wasn’t…we went for the later date at the higher cost! We loved the place, we loved that we could fit in (almost) everyone we wanted and the times we wanted them. We do have a strict, limited budget, of course we do, and the reception costs will come in under that in the end.  The day for both Rob and I is about faith, love and people and that’s what we are going to concentrate on. I can’t theologically justify the decision to spend more on the party rather than go for the lower quote, so I won’t try. It just felt right.
Next was choosing the dress, which had to be a reasonable quick decision because these things take months to make! The one I have gone for won’t be ready for fitting until late September. Other places quoted November which would have made me too nervous!
I’m not a girly girl, as outlined in previous blogs I don’t wear dresses other than at big occasions and even then I struggle. I don’t know how to “do” my hair, I have basic make up application skills and although I surfed around looking at wedding dresses, I walked into the first dress boutique and underwhelmed the assistant by not having a clue what I was looking for. That said, she was very sweet and helpful and I’d highly recommend The Bridal House in Aston Clinton.  I took Mum and the lovely Stacey who was incredibly helpful in many ways including as buffer material for me and Mum!
Mum, bless her, isn’t very good at constructive criticism, or keeping looks of dislike off her face. She knew I was worried about that – but the intended amusing yet semi-serious suggestion I made of giving her flash cards with scores out of 5 on it went down like a lead balloon. In the end, although she did struggle to articulate how she felt about any particular dress, her mainly non-verbal reactions, were truthful and therefore helpful. Unlike the woman in unnamed shop 2, who told me my waist was the skinniest she’d seen on a girl as tall as me, but that I had a bum like J-Lo. That combination does not sound good and so I took neither as a compliment. This was compounded as I was sharing a box filled dressing room with Miss Hertfordshire trying on her gala frock. Self esteem nose dive.
So all hail Brides of Portsmouth, an unpretentious, does-what-it-says-on-the-tin, bridal shop down the road from my sister. Another lovely assistant helped me pick ‘the’ dress even as she chased her toddler nephew round the store, trying to prevent him dropping his trousers to show us his nappy! I had Mum, my sister, the lovely Adele and my 5 year old niece to help this time. Sophie helpfully gave me the thumbs up or thumbs down to articulate her impression of the dress. The one we picked got a thumbs up so that’s alright then. No details on said dress will be released!
I had expected incredibly emotional moments when I was dress shopping and that when I put ‘the dress’ on, I’d have that moment of pure joy. I should have known better – I’m just not that kind of girl! The only time I welled up was on my 14th dress in the not-very-nice shop when I was just so tired and feeling pear-shaped, with massive man-feet that didn’t fit into any of their shoes, next to Miss World or whatever –  that I thought anything will do, the next one to look sort of nice gets my vote.
My learning point here was don’t do more than one fitting a day, don’t try on too many dresses and listen to your mum – whether she is grimacing or smiling. I was also glad I had another appointment in the diary or I may have panic-bought a dress and regretted it. As it was, I really enjoyed the later appointment – where I had lower expectations of the experience, and therefore they were surpassed rather than missed.
So finalising the photographer this week, organising invitations with our incredibly talented friend Tessa at Cornercube, then I might try and relax for a few weeks and concentrate on real work which is getting off the ground at church and the charity. Which I’m loving. And hopefully keeping up with my Open University short course I’m doing in photography at the moment. A few pics from that below…

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