Tag Archives: Hen’s night

Wedding recap, Part 1: Aftermath, plus The week before

I’ve needed more time than I anticipated to get ready to write these recaps. The wedding and everything around it did a little bit of a number on me. The first out-of-towners arrived 10 days before the wedding; the last of them left 4 days after the wedding. That’s two solid weeks of thinking about the logistics of hosting and entertaining guests, and that’s a pretty damn tall order even when you’re not also getting married.

It did get to me in the end. My mood got a little unstable, and I might have done a spot or two of spontaneous, this-is-all-too-much type crying, when it was the Tuesday after the wedding and we’d made it through but there were still seven guests staying in our two bedroom apartment, and I needed sleep like a baby needs…sleep, and I ran away to a friend’s place to have a nap. That might have happened, I can neither confirm nor deny. By the time the last people left, late on Wednesday night, my body was starting to show signs of illness, and then I spent the whole night and next day with a fever, moaning about feeling simultaneously too hot and too cold and having zero appetite, which was an outstanding way to spend M’s last day before going back to work, which was also coincidentally the first time we had together in a two week period that had included marrying each other.

But I do feel better now. And now that I’ve had a chance to get a little perspective on it, I can see that my crumbling at the end was an expected response to the circumstances. Here’s the problem: having a whole bunch of people suddenly come visit at once takes up a lot of time, and leaves no space for actually getting stuff done.

In the run up to the first people arriving I was buzzing around trying to cross off things on my to do list (remind me to write about The Saga of the Dress), but not everything was finished before they got here. Eh, I figured it wouldn’t be too hard to find 20 minutes one evening with my fiance to write our joint thank you speech, or to take my mom with me when we stocked up on all the booze we needed for the wedding, or to go buy the flowers and then hang out with my bridesmaids while we assemble them into bouquets.

But nope. Of course, that is not how it works. Instead, what happens in these situations is that you spend an hour getting twelve people to agree on where to have dinner, and then another hour getting them there, even though it is a 10 minute walk away. This one is walking slowly and is lagging behind, this one is eager to go and forges ahead but gets lost, these two decided to take a detour, someone else is too hot and is unhappy.

The good news is, even though the people were work, they were also reassuring. The low background hum of panic in my head did in fact subside for a while when my mom and bridesmaid arrived. The wedding stopped seeming so abstract and became just a thing I was going to do with my best supporters around me. We were going to have fun, and everything was going to be ok.

And though I wish I could have held onto that feeling for longer, there were lots of wonderful parts to that week. Spending a good chunk of time giggling like a crazy person over very silly things with bridesmaid R, taking my brother B with me to do  the final try on of the dress and him approving of it, hanging out at the pool while our various friends from different parts of our life met each other, and them telling us afterwards, “your friends are so cool!”

And being looked after. My mom dispatched me to a nail salon for a mani-pedi. Local friend Z, who is a makeup genius, volunteered to do my wedding makeup and we did a trial and she did a brilliant job. Local friend V who is better than me at hair came over, and then helped me get closer to working out what the hell to do with my hair. There was my hen’s night.

Definitely there were good times, but there was also a lot of pressure, self-imposed, to make sure everyone was enjoying themselves enough, and there was not going a minute without being asked another question, and there was no time out alone or with my man, and stuff on my to do list was not getting done. Stuff got shoved aside for later – We’ll do this on Bintan! Once we get there everything will be easy! My mom assured me that online she had found out there was a booze shop close to the resort to get all the drinks from. Surely we’d easily find time to write the speech. It would be no problem to finish off our playlist, to edit the processional song to something usable, or to do everything else that was still undone.

Everything would work out.



(It didn’t really all work out.)


I get by with a little help from my friends (and family)

[I am married and weddinged! I wrote this post last Thursday, on the 4th of October, in the only free time I had to myself in a week, but ran out of time to publish it before we all had to hustle off again. Standby for wedding recaps coming at ya like a beam like a ray like a kestrel*. It was wonderful and it was difficult.] 

The first three guests arrived a week ago, and then three more arrived, and then five arrived…The last seven days have been a whirlwind of people wrangling, flower shopping, flight time checking, poolside hanging, spreadsheet consulting, insomnia. In a few hours we will be off to the Registry of Marriages to do the legal thing and then we’ll all take the ferry to Bintan and then I’ll suddenly feel much calmer (I’m hoping).

It’s been a rollercoaster. The joy of being reunited with loved ones, combined with the harried-ness of making sure all their needs are attended to. For the first three days M and I didn’t get so much as ten minutes alone together. There have been six people staying in our apartment, and the lounge is basically a backpackers hostel now. Happy Hour is downstairs at five all day long.

And I had a whole thing I was going to write about how my friends have been crazy awesome about being supporting me and getting into the spirit and showing us love, but right this minute there are 4 guys and 1 mother buzzing around me and I don’t think they’ll let me get too many more sentences out. You’ll have to wait for the recaps.

Meanwhile, M and I got respectively bucked and henned the other day:

Electro Girl, Electro Boy

I was in a crazy 80s-belly-dancing-bride-goes-to-a-rave get up that bridesmaid R orchestrated, and it was ridiculous but also unexpectedly flattering.

My get up included an apron with my initial, sequins around my wrist, and a requirement to have a wooden spoon about my person at all times. (Sorry the pic so small).

Onward to the wedding!

PS. If you don’t understand the electro reference, please go ahead and discover The Mighty Boosh. Here’s a clip to get you started.

*Yes, this is a Mighty Boosh reference.

Choose your bridesmaids by not overthinking it

Have you guys noticed the amount of bridesmaid drama on the blogs? It’s an ever-popular topic for the Ask Your Blogger to Solve Your Dilemma type of advice columns (you know, those contrived melodrama columns that make me yawn so). East Side Bride receives so many emails about bridesmaid crap that she started a second blog devoted to simply posting the emails. She quaintly calls it My Maid of Honor is a Cunt.

I think what is going on is that, like so many others things, the role of the bridesmaid has become regarded as ceremonial necessity. It’s not a proper wedding without at least one, and the role of the bridesmaid has become weirdly formalised. Take for example the list of tasks the bridesmaid is supposed to perform – The Knot (who else?), gives 24 duties. Now granted, some of these are not actually jobs, there’s plenty of fluff in there like “Keep the bride laughing” (memo to my bridesmaids: if you don’t extract at least one laugh from me per every 5 minutes of wedding reception, I’m cutting you from my friends list), but there is some legit actual work in there too. Let us take a sampling:

  • Make sure everyone gets their bridesmaid  dresses, go to dress fittings, and find the right jewelry
  • Host or cohost a bridal  shower for the bride.
  • Keep a record of all the gifts received at various parties and showers (Wha..?)
  •  Plan the bachelorette party with the bridesmaids
  • Collect any gift envelopes brought to the reception and keep them in a safe  place
  • Dance with the best man during the formal first-dance sequence and possibly be  announced with him at the beginning of the party. Also dance with other  groomsmen, the groom, and others.

What is the dance sequence stuff? That sounds like it belongs, if anywhere, in a world where young ladies also have such a thing as a debut into society, followed by attending balls as a means of finding a husband, and men ask for permission from their love’s father before proposing, and the wedding is paid for by the bride’s family, and that all sounds a bit like Regency England, or maybe a wealthy old money subset of southern US. I always get those two mixed up. I think it’s the carriages. Except even Emma and Mr Knightley did not hold a private ball as a wedding reception, so, burn. This formalised dance sequence oddness does not belong in our world, ok? What is it with this urge to build elaborate etiquette ceremonial behaviour into things that don’t need it?

And the same applies to the other alleged official duties of the bridesmaids. Act as official collecter of gifts? A shower and a bachelorette? (Quick aside: Words that are feminised by adding ‘ette’ or ‘ess’ on the end irritate my feminist sensibilties. Manageress? I don’t think so. My people don’t use the term bachelorette, we have Hen’s nights).

Anyway, I really like how Miss Manners describes the duty of bridesmaids. There’s only one: be a friend. Just, be a friend. Also note, there is nothing about matching clothing.

Things get so much simpler once you start ascribing to this view. No longer is the success/legitimacy of your wedding dependent on your bridesmaids’ ability to look equally ravishing in dresses of the same cut and shade of Tangerine Tango. Who cares if they suck at putting together a celebration of penises I mean Hen’s night. And hence, all angst surrounding bridesmaid antics or lack thereof, are instantly dissolved.

By extension, the angst of deciding who your bridesmaids should be also dissolves. In my opinion, you should only have attendants that are obvious choices. In fact, since their job is to be a friend, they choose themselves…by being your friend. The person who spontaneously decides to arrange a shower for you (if this happens, you should look into your daily hygiene habits. Hah! I kill myself), is performing the standard role of attendant, so then it becomes obvious to go ahead and call them an attendant. After we got engaged, my dear friend Z, who resides in Perth,  didn’t waste time going “We get to throw you a Hen’s night!” while dear friend R, who is living the Parisian dream, went “Oooh, can I please make you a garter? Or a ring pillow?” These chicks also happen to be close confidantes, so, done.

So easy. So simple. So melodrama-free.