Susie Rushton: The tyranny of wedding magazines

Notebook

Share
Related Topics

She'll have been briefed on Royal protocol and forced to hand out non-disclosure agreements to her guests, not to mention turn a polite ear to God-knows-what marital advice from Camilla, but Kate Middleton will have managed to swerve one irritant for many a bride-to-be: the wedding magazines. Advice and "inspiration" from the likes of
Cosmo Bride, Brides, Wedding, You & Your Wedding and
Cliché & Cashburning (I may have dreamt that last one) is of little use to her.

Consider a few, entirely typical, cover lines from the current crop of wedmags. "Real Brides' Savvy Money-Saving Tips," "Dream Dresses From £185!," "794 Ways To Personalise Your Day". I think it's safe to guess that, in Kate Middleton's case, saving money by hand-writing the invites herself, buying a nice cheap frock or – despite a well-placed rumour she has designed her dress herself – making her wedding "personal" haven't been an option. ("How To Cope With A Jealous Bridesmaid" is one wedmag feature that might have caught her eye, though.)

I've had cause to buy a stack of them myself lately, and as I'm sure anybody who has consulted these self-appointed bibles of nuptial style will agree, they are a festival of utter absurdity, overpriced goods, eye-wateringly twee aesthetics and misguided "etiquette".

And yet it is impossible to finish reading one of these publications without concluding, like the marketing-suckled consumer I am, that I absolutely must order six-dozen bags of monogrammed M&M sweets packaged in dinky little bags, as "favours", or risk sending home our guests seriously insulted at the lack of "thoughtful touches" on a day they naturally assumed would be themed with all the flair of a West End impresario ("Fifties Patriotic Tea Party" is a current favourite in the wedmags) and yet, also, movingly "personal".

In fact, if there is a trend that currently obsesses all of the wedmags, that interests them even more than the big white dresses, it is "personalisation". You might reasonably ask how a wedding can be anything other than personal: it involves two people doing something really quite personal in front of their family and friends.

But in the big-bucks wedding industry, "personal" means something else. It denotes a very specific, ultra-girlie visual style – think Cath Kidston, plus hydrangeas and slutty shoes – which has more to do with interior decoration than a major emotional rite-of-passage.

"Personal" means having to buy lots and lots of little expensive gewgaws decorated with lovebirds or Union Jacks or terriers, whatever is appropriate to your "theme". None of the guests will care about or even notice any of it, and you will begin wedded life with a bloated overdraft and a very strange set of wedding photographs. God knows, the photos of her big day will also be deeply bizarre, but on the wedmags front, I think Kate's had it easy.







It's hard to beat a garden centre over Easter ...



On Saturday, in deepest Kent, I followed the crowds to one of Britain's favourite Easter weekend destinations: the garden centre.

The sun beat down. The nurserymen watered their seedlings as if fighting fires at a chemical plant. We carefully swivelled our trolley up and down aisles that brimmed over with verbenas and lavenders and rambling roses. We ate ice cream and admired a giant cactus the size of a beach ball. Without a car to carry any purchases home to London, I couldn't buy more than a packet of seeds, although my co-shoppers loaded up the trolley with plants. The scenario was blissful.

On the way out, I noticed a sign that announced the centre was due to operate on Easter Sunday. Was it, like some other nursery chains across the country, planning to flout trading laws? Stores larger than 280sq m are banned from opening on what would be a bumper day of the year; to circumvent these regulations, some garden centres this Sunday planned to allow visitors not to buy, but only to look.

The Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) is protesting the trading law that stops them cashing in on a day when many gardeners would stock up. In the meantime, horticulturalists desperate to indulge on Easter Sunday will just have to window-shop. This will be small consolation to the HTA, but I say that it is one of the few consumer experiences where browsing is just as good as buying.







... except maybe with tea at Hampton Court



Another Bank Holiday highlight for me was the tea room at Hampton Court. The average British gastropub's frites might still be a bit on the chunky side, and our wine is experimental at best, but the country's tourist-attraction tearooms can't be bettered.

Despite an influx of fretful families at exactly 4 o'clock, we found Hampton Court's main cafe spotless, well-organised and stocked with delicious cakes, lemonade and cream teas. At the equivalent attraction in France – one of the country's many chateaux, for instance – the paying visitor is very unlikely to find an in-house place to feed and water.

I recall one lunchtime last year at the Abbaye de Fontenay in Burgundy, a historic attraction given top billing in the Michelin guide to a French gastronomic heartland. Famished, we followed a cup-and-saucer symbol on a signpost outside the Abbaye, only to find ourselves in a dingy room next to the lavs containing two vending machines, one selling cans of Coke, the other cigarettes. The French tourism industry is missing a highly profitable trick.

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application Developer

£30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Service Engineers - Doncaster / Hull

£27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Service Only Engineers are requ...

Recruitment Genius: Employability / Recruitment Adviser

£23600 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Employability Service withi...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

South Africa's race problem is less between black and white than between poor blacks and immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa

John Carlin
Queen Elizabeth II with members of the Order of Merit  

Either the Queen thinks that only one in 24 Britons are women, or her Order of Merit is appallingly backward

Janet Street-Porter
Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...