Here comes the bride – or rather, her mother
I’m delighted to welcome bestselling Sophie King as my first guest blogger to get the ball rolling in style…
Hi!’ said a friendly voice in the street the other day.
It came from a strapping young man on a bicycle, who was on his way back from school where he’s a teacher.
‘Hi,’ I said, giving him a kiss on both cheeks. ‘Fancy coming round for supper tonight?’
No – it wasn’t a toy boy or one of my sons or indeed, my husband. It was, in fact, my son in law who, together with my daughter, has just set up home round the corner from us.
If someone had told me, two and a half years ago, that I was soon going to acquire a third son in the family (on top of my own two natural ones), I wouldn’t have believed them. For a start, I didn’t feel old enough to be Mother Of The Bride.
MOBs are meant to be sensible and able to produce a fully-risen Victorian sponge instead of one that sinks in the middle. They don’t do belly dancing or wear silver sparkly nail polish on their toes. They clean their kitchen windows and they never, ever, forget to empty the washing machine instead of leaving the contents to stagnate for three days after a 60 degree hot wash which has shrunk the contents.
But suddenly, I had to grow up overnight. Not only that, but I had to accept that my little girl was going to be a real, married lady. And – as a small aside – I had five months to organise a wedding for 120 guests.
There was only one thing for it. We all had to get cracking, especially as my daughter and future son in law (that word again!) were then living on the other side of the world from us. Emails flew back and forth with lists and requests and research findings – and more lists and requests and research findings.
Meanwhile, my daughter had clearly not inherited my own approach to shopping ie never spend more than ten minutes in a shop because there are more important things to do.
Oh no. Instead, she tried on 128 wedding dresses. (I didn’t know there were that many styles.) In order to keep a sense of proportion, we took a friend of mine (a former Lady journalist) and a friend of my daughter’s ( a nurse in intensive care.) Both proved invaluable. Indeed, called ourselves the X-Factor wedding dress panel. My daughter would parade out in the suggested dress and we’d give our verdict. The result, I have to say, was stunning.
But then came the next hurdle: my first mother of the bride dress. First? Read on…. It wasn’t until I went shopping (reluctantly), that I realised what a big business this is. The first place I went to, had outfits starting at £600!!!!! So did the second, and the third. In the event, I bought a chic-ish dress from a catalogue for an eighth of the price. But it felt more like a vague attraction than true love itself. Then, two days before the wedding, I passed a shop window with a turquoise dress and a little jacket to match. ‘Catch me while I swoon,’ I whispered. You can guess which one I chose …
The day before the wedding, I was pretty certain I’d got it all organised – until the brass band leader rang to say that due to the tumultuous wedding conditions which had just been forecast, it would be helpful if they had a marquee.
Unfortunately, other MOBs had already nabbed every single tent listed in Yellow Pages but luckily, a friend stepped in to save the day – as did a lovely neighbour who got up at dawn to erect it!
But it was when my daughter walked down the aisle, that I really found myself lost for words. My little girl looked so beautiful and happy as she took her new husband’s hand. Suddenly, all those early years flashed before me. Her first steps. Her first day at school. That tumble from her first bike ride …
‘Do you take this woman…’
The rest of the service was a blur, to be honest, because it was all so lovely and emotional. But at the end, I realised two things. First, it really was time to make a Victoria Sponge that didn’t sink. And second, I need to find another wedding so I can wear that spare MOB outfit …