Of course, we all know that weddings are big business. From Penis Pinatas to emergency Teeth Whitening, the show had everything a Bride could want (and plenty more besides). I'd forgotten how much stuff you're supposed to need, and I'd definitely forgotten the timings involved. Tell a wedding professional that you're getting married in less than 42 years' time and you get the sucking in of air through teeth that any plumber would be proud of. In the end, I found myself wading in like an old veteran on the wedding circuit, tutting "Come come, Giles, you know full well that 10 months is PLENTY of time in which to print some invitations."
I had the odd pang of "Oh I wish I'd known about this when we were getting married" (most notably when four young men dressed as waiters burst into a surprise a cappella rendition of 'Livin' on a prayer'), and of course plenty of envy watching The Bride trying on lots of gorgeous dresses, but really, on the whole, I was glad that the Wedding stage was behind me and that I was now into the Marriage stage. Because for all the dreaming, doodling and dieting (who am I kidding, there was very little dieting, I felt it would be an insult to Castiliagno's corsetry not to give her something to work with), I found myself far too nervous to be the radiant bride. I wept so much coming down the aisle that Mr W thought I'd been struck by some hideous flu bug since the rehearsal the day before. Sniffling, wobbly, and with a gentle frizz rising in my up-do, I wasn't really an A grade Bride. But I'd like to think I'm at least a B+ Wife.
That's not just false modesty (although if Mr W has any sense he's either scrolling down to the Comments section to bump up my grade, or ideally reaching for the Interflora number...). Really it's more a reflection of the sort of journey that I think marriage is. I think it is possible to be an A grade bride because it's only for one day. Being a wife (and a husband, of course) is, I think, more of a course-work based approach.
Anyway, as experiences go, the Wedding Show was a fairly magnificent whirl of royal icing, french lace and hairspray. I tried on tiaras, sampled cakes (purely in the name of duty) and entered more prize draws than you can shake a Swarovski encrusted stick at. And at the end of it all I came away with three very clear feelings:
1) I am so pleased that my sister is so happy.
2) I am so pleased that I got to marry my best friend.
3) I have GOT to dig out my wedding dress and veil and twirl around in them once the kids are in bed.