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Posts tagged ‘bridesmaid’

The wedding: Róisín and Tim

I don’t know why, but that’s what they will always be. Róisín and Tim. Never Tim and Róisín, which would be as abnormal as a river flowing uphill, or having sex after marriage.

The cake: photo for my mum, who had no interest in the happy couple whatsoever, but issued strict and specific instruction to return with photos of the cake from 129,600 angles so that she can imagine it in full three dimensions. (Mum: 129,599 photos to follow.)

Considering we didn’t topple into bed until the wee hours, toppling out at 07:30hrs the following morning was a stunning effort, I felt. Since I wasn’t sure whether I’d get a sniff of lunch, I wanted to fortify myself with breakfast, before official bridesmaid duty commenced at 09:00hrs.

Afterwards, Husband reinstalled himself in bed and I went to see what sort of pre-wedding nerves were loose in Róisín’s suite.

The NASDAQ composite index fell 11% when our bouquets were delivered and Róis didn’t like hers – and while she was at it, she wasn’t mad keen on the bridesmaids’ either. Specifically, her bouquet was too ‘structured’ and didn’t feature enough foliage; while the remaining bunches were ‘too pink’.

Her sister and Maid of Honour, Fiona, and I were preparing to spruce up the bouquets with some branches hacked off the trees outside, until Róis let slip that the florist was based in the leisure centre in the hotel.

Róis would normally be the first to agree the relative unimportance of flowers in the scheme of things, so I assumed the shrieking – which was gaining in momentum – was a culmination of weeks of stress. Normally, I would have given Róis a lecture about the importance standing up for herself and regularly bestowing small, expensive gifts on her best friends; then booted her arse off to give the florist a piece of my mind.

However, since it was her wedding day, I gathered up the bouquets before the shrieking hit freefall and goose-stepped off to the florist with my hair in rollers.

“I’m a bridesmaid. The bitchy one,” I introduced myself.

The florist didn’t disagree.

Kylie’s Stylist spent about an hour gathering up Róisín’s hair and coiling strands into a fabulous confection at the back. It would have taken less time, except that every time Kylie’s Stylist was poised to pin a painstakingly twisted curl into place, Róis tossed her head around.

Róis is gorgeous anyway, but looked completely, unconditionally beautiful with her dress and makeup on (well, I was Kylie’s Stylist’s prototype, so she made all her mistakes on me). Pretty much everyone asks what the dress was like – so: it was off-white satin, with an artfully draped strapless bodice. Róis retained a dressmaker, who took in the skirt to better fit her lower body and ideally achieve a Grecian Goddess style effect which would make Tim quiver at the altar with suppressed and appropriately chaste desire. When I say she was radiant, bear in mind that I only resort to cliché when there is no viable alternative.

Tim looked all right. Waistcoat, cravat etc.

The ceremony was held in the Trinitarian Abbey in Adare, just outside Limerick. Even though they always do on telly or in film in real life, the Roman Catholic church errs on the side of caution by not asking whether anyone present has any cause or just impediment to these two persons should not be joined together in holy matrimony.

Róis had asked Fr Tommy whether she could include one of Kahlil Gibran’s writings, on marriage. The piece has special significance to Róis and her family, and she had introduced Tim to the writings of Kahlil Gibran early in their relationship – presumably when there was nothing on at the cinema – as you do. Tim didn’t know about the rearrangement, and I caught a wonderful little moment between the newly-about-to-be-weds when Róisín’s brother Adrian commenced the reading:-

Then Almitra spoke again and said,
And what of Marriage, master?
And he answered saying:
You were born together, and together you shall be for evermore.
You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days.
Aye, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness.
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.

Love one another, but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.

Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.

Very lovely.

After the service, the rest of the 80 or so guests went to the pub while the wedding party posed for photos. Then everyone went back to the Woodlands Hotel, where the reception swiftly degenerated into drunken revelry involving seriously bad dancing

Model demonstrates drudge of marriage

The girlies: Fiona, Róisín, Trish, me

Róis pre wedded bliss

Some happy couple

Even the wedding cake was in tiers

Shortly before Husband and I left New Zealand, Róisín called me.

“You know your mother?” she said.

“My, er, mother,” I repeated. Róisín’s conversational gambits are often challenging, but this was exceptionally quirky even for her.

“Woman who gave birth to you.”

“Oh, her. Well, can you ever really KNOW someone?” I said, playing for time.

“Ok look, how good is she at cakes?”

“CAKES?”

Here, in case you were wondering, is where this is going: my parents were going to London because Dad was fertilizing Lord’s with some dead bloke’s ashes – turns out there’s no legislation governing the public disposal of burned human remains in the UK, can you believe – so Mum rang Róisín to see whether she would like to meet up for lunch since Róisín’s the only person they know in London.

According to Róis, the phonecall went something like this (Note: any paraphrasing is a regrettable but necessary side effect of reporting this third hand):-

Mum: How are the wedding plans coming along?

Róisín: Feckin shite! I haven’t even got a wedding cake organized-

Mum: A cake, you say? I can bake. <in the background, to her friend> Dolly! DOLLY! Can you ice cakes? <mutter mutter> Royal or fondant?

Róisín: Sorry- what?

Mum: Royal or fondant? The icing.

Róisín: Oh. Er, white? I don’t really know- I’ve seen a picture-

Mum: How many tiers?

Róisín: Ah, two? Or three?

Mum: Grand.

I thought it best not to get involved. In fact, up to the time I reached London, I considered it quite an achievement that I had successfully avoided any kind of bridesmaid duty.

Róisín soon addressed that by asking me to be her foot model.

You might consider this an odd request that mines virgin Bridezilla territory, but I felt I was getting off lightly. After all, I was only required to donate my foot temporarily, not a kidney or a husband. Anyway, I relish any genuine opportunity to show off my feet, because they are quite lovely: small for my size with perky arches and novelty toes that can perform a variety of tricks.

We were in a bridal shop at the time, and I have no idea why Róisín wanted me to model shoes for her, but I happily clomped around the place debating the aesthetic qualities versus comfort of a range of slingbacks, mules and court shoes. We got chatting to the shop assistant, who bore a striking resemblance to Little Britain’s Vicky Pollard. She sported a diamond on her ring finger.

I was in reflective mood upon leaving the store.

“I find it heartwarming that someone so ugly can find love in this cold, cruel world,” I said to Róisín. Indeed, I was genuinely touched that Vicki’s stunt double could attract a mate – although I didn’t want to go so far as to imagine what class of person it might be.

“What are you on about? That girl is no more engaged than you or me,” said Róisín scornfully.

“Well, before I say: REALLY?!, can I remind you that you’re getting married in three weeks? But apart from that, REALLY?! Also, what about the ring-”

“Fake!” said Róisín. “If you put a match to it, the thing would melt right off.”

Of course, I realized she was right, and Vicki’s stunt double is destined to roam the earth seeking her soul mate indefinitely.

Apart from shoe hunting/modeling, dress fitting and moral support, Róisín really didn’t challenge me; in fact, we hadn’t fallen out even to the extent of a minor disagreement.

Then the wedding cake blew up.

Not literally, but as good as.

Within about three minutes of her conversation with Róisín, Mum had baked three fruitcakes in increasing sizes. They smelled divine: rich, fruity and spicy; loaded with almonds and soaked in poitín. She sent the cakes to Dolly in Limerick for icing – which is around about where the thruster boosters get entangled in the space capsule when Dolly was felled by a vicious virus.

Mum is not an uncompassionate woman, but is occasionally undermined by an unerring instinct for a dramatic twist – especially if it comes with splatter related visual and/or sound effects. She’s not great at plots, but my god, she can sniff out a plot twist from five kilometers if the wind is blowing in the right direction. Therefore, a week before the wedding, Mum was providing five-minutely updates on Dolly’s condition and the state of the cake.

Dolly was too sick to shop for ingredients, apply almond paste, or drop the cakes up the road to Theresa The Fondant Queen. Furthermore, Theresa’s husband had emphysema and took a turn for the worse and wasn’t expected to last the week.

“Look,” said my mum, the soothing manner in which she said it swiftly dispelled by what followed. “If the worst comes to the worst, we can just slap on some icing. How difficult can it be? It’s just sugar and water.”

“Mum,” I said on a rising scream. “I’m not sure you want to be SLAPPING anything on a WEDDING CAKE. Slap something on a banana cake, maybe. Birthday cake, most likely. But wedding cake needs delicate application of fondant with the expertise gleaned over years of icing cakes-”

“I HAVE iced cakes before!” said Mum defensively. “I can cook!”

“Absolutely,” I agreed. “But let’s face it, you tend to sacrifice presentation and garnish for flavour and quantity.”

Don’t think I was unsympathetic; generally I approach cuisine in much the same way. Regardless of the presentation, it all looks much the same on the way out, so you’ve got to wonder what is the point?

However, I make an exception for wedding cakes.

In the end, Lucy collected the icing ingredients; Dolly rallied sufficiently to apply the almond paste; Lucy dropped the cakes to Theresa who, welcoming the distraction, applied the fondant; and Róisín collected her wedding cake last night. She pronounced herself ‘delighted’ with it, which is just as well

Hereby awarded the bridesmaid’s official Seal of Approval

For some reason, I thoroughly enjoyed London City this time around. I lived there before relocating to the Middle East in 1998, and had fun because I was 24 and it wasn’t Ireland and I was earning my first salary that wasn’t fake money. But after two years I was glad to move on.

After nine months in the Middle East, I passed through London. I felt completely displaced. The city doesn’t ever really change, but I had. Whilst on the surface the sights and smells were familiar, fundamentally they were not.

Since then I’ve visited London once or twice a year. I catch up with friends, sit in a park, do some shopping (mainly window-based), and look forward to leaving.

This time, it felt different. London is the same: the ever present soundtrack of sirens and car horns and wheezing bus brakes; the smell of horse dung and the acrid aroma of lightly sautéed rubber; the menacing stalk of accountants armed with The Financial Times. It is still possible to feel absolutely alone in the swarming hordes of commuters.

The Tube may be a miracle of underground engineering, but it remains a grimy pit. You are tackled to the ground by charging bankers trying to make the closing doors, and you’re thinking: “DUDE! There’s another train in ONE MINUTE! It’s not like your entire day – or the REST OF YOUR LIFE which, let’s face it, is going to be empty and meaningless ANYWAY – will be ruined if you don’t make this one.” And you still don’t say it out loud because that would be quite unspeakably, dreadfully, quintessentially rude; although the sequence of events leading to your broken collarbone and a crisp packet in your hair is not.

(I nearly talked myself out of how much I dug London there, but don’t worry: I’m back on track now.)

As usual I stayed with Róisín, who lives in Clapham with her fiancée, Tim. The day after I arrived, I arranged to meet Róis at St Bart’s Hospital. She provided Irish directions, which don’t work that well outside our homeland, so I was armed with my trusty A-Z.

When I emerged from Bank Tube Station, London looked fabulous and the bells of St Mary-le-Bow were tolling. I wandered down Cheapside breathing in the fresh carbon monoxide and marvelling at the architecture. After nine months living in a wilderness, I was completely unused to such volumes of people, and stumbled around like a human skittle, grinning like a blithering idiot high on the joys of life. It took five minutes on average to cross from one side of the pavement to the other.

When I reached St Bart’s, I reached the centre of the hospital by way of an antiseptic labyrinth.  There is a small fountain in The Square, looking a bit shabby against a backdrop of scaffolding and skips. Yet as I sat on a cast iron bench mentally diagnosing passers by, with sparkles of sunshine playing on my face, I felt ridiculously and inexplicably pleased with myself.

Two days later I met my agent for lunch, then wandered through Regent’s Park: the Queen Mary’s Gardens, the Inner Circle and the boating lake. Then I sat under a tree wriggling my toes in the moist grass and deterring dogs from weeing on me (it’s easy as long as you don’t impersonate a lamppost).

My fabulous friend Róisín looks terrific and happier than I’ve seen her in years. Tim is terribly posh and rather English. Everything is ‘jolly good’, ‘quite so’ and ‘frightfully <insert choice of adjective of no less than four syllables, unless it is the word ‘shabby’>’. He always eats at the table, sits up straight, never talks with his mouth open and doesn’t throw food.

Róisín’s new yardstick for assessing people is Tim’s reaction to them. It quickly became apparent – to me, at least – that this unit of measurement is virtually useless because Tim likes EVERYBODY. His life closely resembles a musical. (I regret to say it often sounds like one too.)

Tim would almost be too good to be true, but for a sly sense of humour which is unexpected, bloodthirsty and occasionally vicious. Therefore, he is hereby awarded the bridesmaid’s official Seal of Approval

Chances are this is a building on Baker Street

Cheapside/Poultry

Door and mysterious package

Happy birthday to me

Husband claimed that, due to the time difference, my birthday didn’t start until 11:00am yesterday, but he gave me my presents anyway. He took me shopping on Monday and I chose the new book by Marian Keyes and ‘On Chesil Beach’ by Ian Mcewan. In honour of my great and ancient age, I also picked out a knitting book, some needles and balls of wool. These gifts came with a signed guarantee that Husband would wear anything I produced. Foolishly, he failed to insert a subclause that they had the requisite number of holes and were within striking distance of two sizes.

If you are looking for a husband, do try and choose one who gets anxious that you don’t have enough presents. In fact, Husband was so concerned about the scarcity of giftage – despite my protesting that he’d got me more than enough of just what I wanted – he drove into town the day before to bolster the birthday offering with two DVDs, and a bottle holder and mudguards for my bicycle.

After the gift ceremony, the sun came out. Husband affixed my bottle holder and front mudguard and we went cycling. I’ve never been concerned about the skidmarks administered by the back tyre, but the mud and small twigs splatting onto my glasses was always distracting – especially when trying to negotiate a bank or predatory bush. The new front mudguard effectively abbreviated the mud, and is high enough that trees don’t get stuck in it (that much).

We returned home to find my bridesmaid dress in the post from Róis. Over the last week, she has engaged in some alarmingly un-Róisín-like pre-wedding stress over whether she should get my dress in size 10 or 12. The outlet’s size guide on the Net indicated that size 10 was perfect around the bust and hips, but no matter how much I sucked or how tight I pulled, my waist resolutely refused to conform to 68cm. Róis and I had several emergency phone calls about the issue, and eventually I instructed her to get the size 12 on the grudging hypothesis that it could be taken in if necessary. Róis evidently knew I was conflicted about it, because she got the size 10 – and it fits. Perfectly. Well, it had to on my birthday, didn’t it? Lucky it arrived when it did.

My second family all called and the Outlaws in South Island Skyped and sang me Happy Birthday with party hats on. I was so touched I would have cried except I was laughing too hard.

Later that evening, Husband and I went for dinner at The Hangar. We cooked our food on stone slabs heated to 400˚ and didn’t singe ourselves once. Then Husband took me to see The Incredible Hulk (I would like to hastily point out that it was at my request; Husband is not that romantic on his own initiative). It wasn’t the best movie ever but it was fun.

Turning 36 was pretty cool

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