Despite a few hiccups (such as the marquee actually blowing away - we were lent another at the eleventh hour), the wedding was pretty damn fantastic. Our plasterer and decorator were our witnesses for the legal bit on the Friday which felt totally appropriate and while the carpet fitter overlapped with my mum arriving, the house looked pretty good.
It was not a classy party. My family joined us for dinner on the Friday evening and plans for a really early night were put aside in favour of making martinis with homemade flavoured vodkas. The small DIY ceremony was lovely but the drinking had begun. The kind of drinking that sees the bride passed out entwined in her best friends arms.
But you know what? It was perfect. There was lots of dancing and laughter. At one point my eldest stepbrother asked whether it’d be terribly inappropriate to ask where we kept the vermouth and soon my brother was spotted sporting a vibrant Appletini which if reports are true inspired a speech by my mate Trev on the true masculinity demonstrated by drinking vibrant cocktails.
There was the slight unfortunate aspect of my friend Jelly bringing her super cute and rather contagious baby that everyone cuddled and danced with. Roughly half of the guests followed their hangover with a winter vomiting bug. While I battled my hangover to serve a roast for eleven on the Sunday, Monday saw me poleaxed and the first day of our honeymoon cancelled.
But I married a great man and he shrugged it off. Train tickets, hotel and show tickets in the bin and he booked car parking at Heathrow. On Tuesday morning I rallied enough for our flight. And five nights in New York. Which was surprising.
1) The buildings are REALLY tall. I mean I knew they would be tall but they’re really tall. And there are lots of them. I’ve been to big cities but New York is crazy tall.
2) You can make a minifig of yourself at the Lego store at the Rockerfeller Centre.
While there was hair for flowing ginger locks, short and sophisticated salt and pepper was unavailible
3) It’s not always cold in December. We sat out until 10pm one night at a bar with heaters.
4) The Statue of Liberty is pretty small. Everything else is massive but she’s pretty dinky.
5) Chinatown is like being in China when it comes to food. This made me incredibly happy.
6) A horse drawn carriage ride through Central Park is worth every penny.
I wish I could go everywhere by carriage and with a blanket!
7) The piano at FAO Schwartz looks pretty shabby these days.
8) Tiffany and Co is possibly the most magical shop in the world.
9) I have a very generous husband!
I may just wear it every day!
10) Times Square is as bright as daylight at night.
11) It smells like pine (I guess this is because the Christmas trees are all real).
12) It is really backward in some ways; the subway system seems on its last legs, mobile phone coverage is very clunky and things like airport shuttle services are poorly managed (compared to Turkey for example).
13) There is a Lego model of Captain Jack Sparrow!
So what is your heart's desire dear?
14) Californian wine costs about the same as European wine.
15) The Empire State Building is a right pain to go up compared to the quick and efficient Top of the Rock[erfeller] which has a better view (because the Rockerfeller Tower isn’t much to look at and the Empire State Building is impressive.
16) Waiters in Little Italy talk like they do in films.
17) French toast with bacon and maple syrup is genius. Simply genius.
18) People aren’t particularly impatient (this may say more about me than it does about New Yorkers).
19) The most popular song for buskers is Oh Holy Night. If I never hear that damned carol again it will be too soon.
20) Hot Spiced Cider is just hot apple juice.
21) I shall be making Hot Spiced Cider every December hereafter.
22) They take their decorations very seriously. The trees in Bryant Park were bathed in an amazing soft light and I couldn’t work out how it was done. The husband was the one to look up and realise they were lit from above from a nearby skyscraper. Impressive!
23) I like salty popcorn. Kettle Corn NYC popcorn converted me.
24) The fat Americans live elsewhere.
25) While most Salvation Army collectors ring little bells, some have microphones and amps and belt out proper songs.
26) I like my oysters small but I can’t tell the difference depending on where they’re from (ie. East or West coast).
27) Going to the Grand Central Station Oyster Bar was my best trip recommendation (thanks mum and Bill) and as I was told, have the Clam Chowder as it’s awesome.
28) “Local” New York is everywhere from diners to street vendors selling Christmas trees.
29) The tea is better than the coffee.
30) They do have “cars big as bars” and with that I’ll leave you with one of my favourite Christmas songs...
My heart sank when I realised it was now December. While admittedly I was tucked up under new sheets, on a new bed in the almost-completed loft conversion and this was considerable progress from a few weeks ago, the house renovation is not going to be finished in time for the wedding.
In eight days my family will arrive. In eight days I will wake up to the beginning of a weekend of family, friends and festivities and while I am excited as hell about that, I’m concerned about the state of the house.
Last night I put up the first Christmas tree in the living room. This room is finished and as decorating it took me about seven hours, it was a big task to get out of the way. I sit here now looking at a twinkling tree but outside the hallway is still not plastered. I have boxes of decorations labelled by area but the window baskets at the front of the house (fresh greenery and gold baubles with storm lanterns underneath) are barely visible for the rubbish the builders are yet to take away.
I’m ok. My dress has been pressed and is hanging in the nursery and a week today I’ll be getting my hair and nails done. The food is ok. The drinks are ok. A million tiny things still need doing in the house and the builders have gone AWOL. I’m a control freak at the best of times but with a houseful of guests imminent I’m rather eager to have the house bathroom finished.
I can accept the painting may not be finished but I need the hand basin mounted! I can live with the plasterer leaving as my family arrive but I want the front garden to be welcoming and my wreath on my door.
I’m trying to stay reasonable and to keep my calm but it’s tough. The project has been far bigger than anticipated with electrical work, complete replastering, dry rot repairs, and rotten window lintel repairs. When I said I hoped it’d be done in ten weeks, everyone thought it’d be done in eight. We are nearing the end of week twelve. There isn’t much blame to be laid, although I’ll probably be complaining about the surveyor. For the most part everyone has been fantastic.
It’s just one of those things.
It makes me appreciate how much I’ve changed over the last few years. A few years ago I’d have been hysterical. In fact, when looking for a wedding related document a couple of weeks ago I found my write-up of my first wedding that I’d put up on a wedding planning forum (funny the stuff that seems to disappear into the depths of your hard drive). Looking back it was so sad; the girl writing it was so desperately unhappy and trying so hard to make everything perfect in the hope that this would make people (her new husband in particular) love her.
I’m not going to play down the importance of marrying someone who is right for you over someone who isn’t but was I the person I am now back then, I wouldn’t have married my ex-husband. Not because of him per se but because you should feel happy about getting married and I wasn’t.
What is keeping me sane is the fact I’m getting married. The fiancé keeps texting me reminders; on Tuesday he told me I was a fortnight from boarding a plane to fly to New York. NEW YORK! I’m going to New York for my frickin* honeymoon! So the bedroom doors probably won’t be painted in time for the reception, I’m going to see the tree at the Rockefeller Centre! And it’s not just the flashy stuff. Amidst the meal planning and organising I’m doing, I realised that we hadn’t made plans for what we’re doing for lunch after our legal paperwork the day before the wedding proper. I suggested Nandos. It’s near the registry office, there’s a car park. Nandos, it’s the perfect choice for our first meal as man and wife in the eyes of the law.
We’re having fun. I love that we’re having a romantic little wedding breakfast for two at an everyday place. I love that there is something just for us before the ceremony for 18 and house party for goodness only knows how many.
What is different this time is that my dreams are not tied up in a day. In many ways what is stressful about the house is that my dreams are tied up in that. It’s our home but hey, it’ll be done by Christmas. I suppose I see the potential for fun in next weekend as being relatively unrelated to the venue being perfect and everything running like clockwork. Whether or not a good time is had by all will largely be determined by the people. Everyone is coming to see the fiancé and me. Sure they expect to be fed (which is reasonable given the wording of the invites) and will need a working bathroom but beyond that, things are just little details. Everything could go hideously wrong and it still be a great day.
A friend (one I hadn’t spoken to in ages and who is coming) asked me today whether I was excited and I stopped enough to realise yes, yes I am. It’s been a tough few months living in a building site but the end is nigh.
It will all come together in time. I could do it this weekend. It’s just putting on a dress, marrying my best friend then making merry with my mates.
Bring it on.
I’ve no intention of getting precious and Bridezilla about things. Once upon a time I went on an adventure to the Far East to find myself and figure stuff out. I became a KL Partygirl and Partygirl’s don’t pout their way to a happy ever onward** they run at it in high heels with a smile on their face!
* I have never used this word before, I’m trying new things.
** The fiancé subscribes to the belief that Happy Ever Afters are stories that haven’t ended yet.