Royal Wedding fever is gripping some of the nation this week – and I’ll admit it has captured my notice, for a couple reasons. This blog is not going to be how I feel about the Royal Family – I have scandalised my mother enough with the evolution of my views about that institution – but all this wedding coverage has got me thinking about how differently I would do things if my lovely husband and I were getting married now, 13 years after we actually tied the knot in 2005.
The Guest List. There weren’t many people I would knock off the original guest list, but I can certainly think of one or two. I would invite people who make us happy, and people who would make the day all about us, and not about them. I would invite the people we wanted to have there, and not the people that others told me I “ought” to have there – especially as we were paying for it ourselves! I don’t know what the financial arrangements are for footing this royal wedding bill (and I suspect I don’t want to), but I hope Harry and Megan have enjoyed being a little selective about the guest list; the exclusion of the Prime Minister, and the President of the USA, suggests that to some extent they may have.
The Dress. I’ve changed a lot in terms of my self-confidence over the last 13 years. I have a theory that traditions make people feel safe, and I always felt very safe when sticking to what was expected, what was the “done thing”, or how I thought things ought to be – often without any real sensible foundation or reason for doing them. My wedding dress is an excellent example of this – it was on the traditional white colour spectrum, sort of Victorian in style, with a long train that became a bustle. It was absolutely everything I wanted back then; and it was generously paid for by my gorgeous Mum. But if I’d been braver, I think I would have gone for the bright redvision of loveliness I saw in a bridal magazine at the time, and if I was doing it now, I most certainly would.
The Wedding Favours. Absolutely not. I’m not sure where the favours tradition came from – your guests are getting a nice meal and couple of drinks on you, anyway, for goodness’ sake – but I love the current trend of making a donation to a charity that is close to the hearts of the bride and groom.
The Speeches. Out of the three people who gave the speeches at our wedding – and every single one of them did a magnificent job, and made me extremely proud – I don’t think a single one of them really wanted to do it, and all of them were very relieved when they were finished. I think I would find a way to make sure all of those lovely and funny things they said about us were shared with our guests another way – perhaps in a collection of photos and memories on each table, supplied by all the people who contributed to composing the speeches. Then I’d have something to keep to remember the speeches by, too – because although I know I loved them on the day, I can remember very little about them, I’m sorry to say.
Looking back at things I would change is probably the wrong sentiment, because I wouldn’t really change anything about how we got married. My wedding day was perfect for me: on that day, in that time, and for that person I was. (And my husband too, I think – he seemed happy, anyway.)
I am delighted, though, to watch things beginning to evolve in society; the falling-away of doing things a certain way because it is expected, regardless of the inconvenience – and even heartache – it’s causing to others, is a very welcome sort of evolution to me indeed.
I wish Harry and Meghan a very happy day tomorrow, and a married life in which they too are able to do things the way they want to, in a way that makes them happy – and not because it’s The Done Thing. And I hope to see a few changes that make that possible for them.