Alice-Azania Jarvis: Like buses, weddings all arrive at once
In The Red
Saturday 16 April 2011
It is – or so the magazines keep telling us – the Year of the Wedding. Don't pretend you don't know why. Even the most ardent of Republicans can't have failed to notice the hourly updates on the state of Kate M's hair, weight, ability to dress herself, etc. Or Kate Ms' – let's not forget Kate Moss – impending (and, if you read Grazia, far more interesting) nuptials.
In a coincidence so staggering that I've yet (to the undoubted delight of my colleagues) to shut up about it, it's also the first year that any of my friends are to wed. This is enormously exciting. As a child, I was starved of weddings: my cousins were either too settled, too far-flung, or too liberal to tie the knot. The only one I went to was my parents, when they – two children and two decades into their acquaintance – decided to get hitched. It was lovely, of course (I was maid of honour, which suited me down to the ground), but it wasn't, to my 10-year-old mind, a Proper Wedding. Mum wore yellow. Dad wore jeans. And it was all over and done with in the space of an hour.
Ever since, I've pined for the real thing. It's never happened. Summers come and go, colleagues flit off to marquees in Surrey and Sussex and Somerset and I, well, I just stay at home. No one I knew got married.
And then, suddenly, they did. Rather like buses, after an eternity of nothing, I'm spoiled for choice. This year I have three: two in the summer, and one in autumn. All at once, I realise what I've been missing: a chance to get dressed up, yes. A lovely day out. Also: a hell of a lot of spending.
"What are you going to wear?" This has become the small talk of choice amongst those invited. Of more concern are my plans for getting to and from the do. A hotel is in order, apparently. A train ticket, obviously. And – a gift.
This is the minefield. Is it ok to present the bride with a single highball (£2.50)? A wastepaper basket (£9.95)? What, exactly, is wedding list etiquette? Rather like the summer sales, I feel as though I should have some kind of strategy here: get in before the good gifts go, choose something that might remind them of you (even though they chose it in the first place). Fortunately, none of the brides-to-be have been hugely demanding; even the most expensive presents come in under the £100 mark. Unfortunately, I'm still flummoxed. Would the garlic crusher be a terribly bad idea?
Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown
Mark Dampier: An infrastructure fund that builds returns by taking different roads
Simon Read: Timeshare owners accuse Macdonald Resorts of land grab
Donald MacInnes: Let's pretend Scotland won and now a salmon is running the country
10 tips for taking out a personal loan
Bargain Hunter: Win a new iPhone 6
- 1 Mario Balotelli: Staff at arson-hit Manchester Dogs' Home convinced Liverpool striker is behind five-figure donation
- 2 Friends 20th anniversary: Alison Jackson photographs reunited cast
- 3 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 4 The response to my Pizza Express review has been overwhelming, and taught me a lot about journalism
- 5 Free U2 album: How the most generous giveaway in music history turned into a PR disaster
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Scottish independence: The Queen breaks silence on referendum debate – as think tank warns of £14bn black hole if Scotland votes Yes
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
iJobs Money & Business
£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: **URGENT CONTRACT ROLE**...
Up to £100k or £450p/d: Saxton Leigh: My client is a leading commodities tradi...
£320 - £330 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...
To £75,000 + Pension + Benefits + Bonus: Saxton Leigh: My client is looking f...
Day In a Page
A six-bedroom terraced house with large south-facing roof terrace, cinema room and wine cellar
A new seven-bedroom home built in Queen Anne-style with swimming pool and parkland views in Mortimer
A listed, four-bedroom farmhouse in the rural hamlet of Rushall with detached barn, four acres of gardens and paddocks
A first-floor flat with two bedrooms, a spacious reception room and communal grounds in a leafy part of London
A three-bedroom flat with a spacious rootop terrace and balcony, accessed from a private gated courtyard
A Grade II-listed pile with six bedrooms, stables and 39 acres of grounds in Standlake
A two-bedroom flat with boutique hotel-style interiors, close to the foodie haunt of West End Lane
A two-bedroom flat in a beautiful old vicarage, with many original features, close to the city centre
A three-bedroom 16th-century home with an aga kitchen, private gardens and heated outdoor pool, in Hadleigh
A three-bedrom home in sought-after Queen's Gate Mews, with Italian marble-finished bathrooms
Surrounded by glorious countryside in the village of Udimore, sits this impressive four-kiln oast and barn conversion
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
Chapel House is a former vicarage with nine bedrooms in the beautiful Upper Wye Valley
A five-bedroom B&B and separate owner's accomodation with potential for conversion
Enjoy summer by the Thames in this two double-bedroom converted warehouse in Rotherhithe village
A one-bedroom, luxury apartment with private gym and concierge service in Moorgate
A four-bedroom house in Hermitage Gardens with three reception rooms and landscaped gardens
A seven-bedroom Grade II-listed property with a separate self-contained apartment
A five-bedroom Victorian house with three reception rooms and galleried landing, £695,000
A six-bedroom farmhouse with five acres of land in a former cloth-making village
A secluded seven-bedroom detached house with large private garden, £490,000
A three-bedroom cottage overlooking Sarratt village green with open fires and solid oak floors
A three-bedroom maisonette flat in a Grade I-listed, Georgian townhouse in a sought-after location
A one-bedroom apartment located within a private gated development, north of Turnham Green
Look forward to a brighter future at two-bedroom Sunny Cottages, ideal for Londoners looking to downsize