My other half and I are have headed back to the UK for two reasons this Easter. One: it is a time to be with family and friends. Two: we have a wedding to attend the first weekend of April of the gorgeous Mr and Mrs T to be.
I can't wait. It is my first wedding of the year and signals the start of the season where the other half and I live a Hugh Grant esque lifestyle from April through to the end of September attending a different set of nuptials every other weekend. Yet whilst this is a tiring and expensive process, (it isn't just attending the ceremony, but the hen/stag dos, the hotels, the present...the dress), I bloody love a good wedding.
Here are my tips for surviving the matrimonial months unscathed.
1) Book early
How many of us have received a wedding invite months in advance with all the information that the bride has kindly put inside only to put it in the kitchen drawer/on the fridge to forget about organizing anything necessary until about three weeks before the big day? I wager a few.
I urge you, this Easter Sunday, not only to break lent, but to break this habit. My best advice would be to book accommodation/flights/cars early. This isn't about being organized, it's actually about not being forced into situations closer to the time that one can only throw money at. It will save you from having had to pay £200 for a Ryanair one way flight from a Portuguese wedding when you could have flown with BA at a much cheaper price if only you booked 4 months earlier. Or finding out on the Monday, three weeks before you drive to Cornwall, that the only accommodation available within a 15 mile radius of the venue is a single room at a hostel and you have a plus one.
Instead, I suggest reading, and digesting, all the bumf you are sent as soon as possible and dedicated thirty minutes of your time on the following Sunday morning to book what you need to.
2) Buy early
Whilst you are booking your inevitable long wedding weekend away, it makes sense to buy from the gift list/donate to the honeymoon fund. If you donate to the honeymoon fund months in advance, it spreads the cost of the wedding as opposed to having to pay for it all in one hit. Buying from the gift list early also does this. Additionally, it also saves against any issues arising from the gift list becoming a morose minefield if attacked too late. Last year, I had to buy a selection of the world's most boring kitchen implements that added up to a decent gift amount, as all the fun gifts had gone. Another year, I had to buy a couple one hand towel, some Brabantia bin liners (not the bin), and a couple of cast iron trivets as I hadn't looked earlier enough to nab the Le Creuset pan. I was mortified as they were really good friends of mine that I was so so happy for.
3) Know what you are going to pack.
About a week before the wedding, is a good time to plan what you are going to pack and wear. This may sound ridiculous, but as most weddings fall on a Saturday and we usually have to spend Friday afternoon/night travelling to them, this leaves us with the weekdays nights to ensure that our dress is steamed, that the husband has pressed his party suit, that our high heels are not covered in mud from last year's wedding. After completing a day of your 9 - 5, who really wants to do this? Hence, planning what you are going to pack about a week before. It's a good time literally to iron out any issues - just how are you going to transport your silk Reiss dress without getting it creased? Does the weather look like you are going to need a jacket? Does it match?
These are all things I try to ask myself to save myself from running around on a Friday night in a foul mood with my husband trying to blame him for the fact that I have put on weight and my fitted Whistles number no longer fits and I have nothing else clean to wear.
5) Pack Nurofen and Berocca
Whilst we are on the subject of packing, ensure that you have a small pharmacy in your bag for the morning after. No matter how much I try to tell myself that weddings are marathons, not sprints, I do end up drinking for nigh on twelve hours which always plays havoc with my head and/or stomach. As such, I always try to take some form of painkiller in my suitcase and an effervescent tablet. I like Berocca as I can stick the flavour, but Alka Seltzer is good hangover cure too, as are rehydration salts. More often than not, all I really need is sleep, but usually this isn't possible due to making the hotel brunch and check out time.
Another good item to pack is ibuprofen in the form of a cream. On my wedding day, I had been given advice to put this on the soles of my feet. I walked around in my shoes all day like I was on cloud 9, and that wasn't just from marrying my wonderful husband. Just a £2.99 tube of liquid painkiller also does the trick. I love to dance, and this tip will keep you dancing all night with shoes on your feet as opposed to at the side of a dance floor.
6) Wear wedges
Though this isn't always possible (it depends on the dress and occasion!), wearing wedges will not only prevent against aching feet at about 20.00 when the band start, but also stops you sinking into any lawns and helps one walk across a graveled path with some semblance of dignity. In the past, I have been beholden to a beautiful pair of stilettos only to find that when walking between the church to the canapes to the marquee that I look like a giraffe learning to walk. After this, I bought a pair of nude peep toe wedges from LK Bennett that have seen me through two wedding seasons and counting.
Lastly, eat a good breakfast and line your stomach. No one likes waking up to be asked the question 'and how are YOU feeling this morning'. Wedding hangovers are bad enough without the guilt of being the most merry person at the reception.