Just because you’re getting married, it doesn’t mean you have to become a moron. This was my biggest fear. Over the years I’d sat back and watched as seemingly rational women got engaged and went bat*hit mental. I might like a glittery Miu Miu heel as much as the next woman, but I didn’t watch Kate Middleton cruise through Westminster Abbey and think, ‘Sure love, but why so understated?’ What I did find, however, is that other people are obsessed with weddings. They will ask you about it constantly, they’ll launch into monologues about flowers, they will have a friend who did something with a marquee... Be strong. If you give in to them, you will be the woman Googling veils at 3am. Don’t be her.
1. You don’t have to buy a wedding dress
I’ve been into a bridal shop twice in my life. Once with a friend, once for a feature (#journalism). The thought of straddling a sweaty sample size dress in order to approximate what one may look like on said day didn’t appeal to me and, to be honest, I’ve never looked at a single wedding dress on anyone ever and thought it was nice. I have, however, spent many an afternoon wandering lustfully around department store floors gushing over gowns. Ready-to-wear is an easier option (no appointments/fittings) and much better value, especially if you are shopping in the summer fashion season – there are so many divine pale/white dresses available. I bought mine from Matchesfashion.com (and had it shortened perfectly at Designandalter.com) having tried on lots in their private shopping suite in Marylebone. A friend successfully ordered a bunch of pieces from Monsoon and tried them on at home. Net-a-Porter.com has a dedicated ‘bridal’ section, and Asos.com has just launched their own bridalwear, as has Self-Portrait. There are many, many options that don’t include a matronly sales assistant bulldog-clipping you into a ghastly strapless confection.
2. Minimise your decisions
Throwing a wedding is basically a long list of decisions. I can make about five before I’m bored, so I learnt that the key to retaining sanity was to cap them. I hired a brilliant florist (Yolanda at Chiaramello.co.uk), I set her a (modest) budget, I made some vague noises about a giant bouquet and a colour scheme. I showed her my dress. I let her get on with it. What flowers do I like? Whichever in-season ones she with her expert eye likes. We had the reception in a pub (food, drink, staff, tables all included) – one decision. I delegated transport and entertainment to Charles (groom). Charles made a spreadsheet. I also got some help from a wedding planner (not as fancy as it sounds – Unionweddings.co.uk will do as little or as much as you pay them to) to set up on the day. This meant I didn’t have to put up any fairy lights or faff about with table settings. Ideal.
3. Assemble a girl squad
This only occurred to me on the day, but I had a stealth team of women who helped turn me out into something presentable. Weddings are all about word of mouth help. My wedding planners were handy friends. My florist was a friend of a friend; I found my photographers via a recommendation (Sweetpeaandivy.photos – a duo, which mean they work quickly on the day, plus they are very nice and patient); and through them I got the number of my hairdresser; my make-up was done by the gorgeous Hannah Martin at Bobbi Brown. Even with my cold heart, I feel quite teary and indebted to them. A wedding is more than two people; it’s everyone using their skills to help you out. This was the most humbling part of the whole thing for me.
4. If you tell people you’re on honeymoon, you will get champagne
Shout out to the Rosewood London hotel for providing me with a fresh glass every time I moved location, plus for introducing us to what we came to recognise as the honeymooners’ welcome: heart-shaped chocolate cake and red berries. I miss it.
Victoria Moss is Senior Fashion News and Features Editor at The Telegraph
Follow Victoria on Twitter at @missvmoss