It was a simple request, chosen specifically because it was foolproof, impossible to get wrong and wouldn’t land me in trouble with the police, the government or inadvertently involve me in the hacking scandal.
“Just peel off the paper invite which has been lightly glued onto the card,” said Lindsey.
Before this, the only significant responsibility I’d undertaken for the wedding was asking her dad if I could marry his daughter. By comparison, this was in Blue Peter activity territory.
As it transpired, I’d have had an easier time building Tracy Island out of toilet rolls and Fairy bottles.
Basically, I made a right old hash of it.
I was immediately told off and informed that I must not attempt to modify the invitations ever again. I wasn’t particularly upset with this instruction, but did feel a little bit pathetic. After all, the task with which I’d been entrusted could have been performed by a very small child. A small child wouldn’t have left the card looking like the aftermath of the Hiroshima bomb. Nor would they have insisted that they could fix it and make it look less like a nuclear wipe out and more like a wedding invitation, only to be told by someone cleverer than them that it would be a far safer idea to go and make a cup of tea instead.
There’s a brilliant BBC3 program called Don’t Tell The Bride. The premise is simple; give the groom twelve grand and tell him to organise the entire wedding. All of it. Without ever speaking to the bride.
How I have laughed at these poor chaps as they grapple with the life-and-death trip wire that is The Right Wedding Dress. I chortled, as they picked bridesmaid dresses more suited to a night out in Lava and Ignite. I practically soiled myself laughing at the guy who blew nearly the entire budget on a trip to Vegas, leaving the majority of the bride’s family without a wedding invitation. “You’ve broken my heart,” she sobbed at the airport, uninvited brother looking on wearily in the background. It is human misery at its absolute best.
However, I have a newfound respect for these guys. How they do it is beyond me. The program only features the main bits – what it fails to highlight is the need to fill in all the gaps. The tiny little touches that make a wedding. The things that, as a guest, you spot, comment on and ultimately remember.
Take ‘favours’. When Lindsey suggested we offer them to every guest, I very nearly canceled the entire do. I had no intention of being lumbered with promises to assist cleaning out Uncle Kev’s shed, or of providing lifts for the older generation without vehicles. And there was no way I would ever help someone fit a bathroom. Particularly if it involved tiling.
To my relief, I learned that favours are just little presents you give to everyone. But I didn’t know that. And because I didn’t even know of their existence, they would not have been present at the wedding, had I organised it.
I’m lucky. My future wife has almost single-handedly directed the whole thing. With the help of some very creative and generous friends and family, and myself occasionally destroying cards or suggesting entirely inappropriate music (Dark Side Of The Moon in its entirety during the wedding breakfast was apparently a poor idea) she’s conducted everything without ever turning into a ‘bridezilla’ or boring everyone to death about it.
I also know it is going to be one hell of a do – because of her.
I’ve long-held the belief that a wedding is primarily about one person – the bride. Us blokes turn up, say our bit at the altar, thank everyone during the speeches, get ridiculed by our best mate in front of our entire family and, eventually, end up at the bar with a long-lost uncle nursing a Jack Daniels. None of that’s particularly difficult, but what Lindsey’s doing is.
And I can’t wait.