Why is it that weddings bring out the Veruca Salt in most brides-to-be? (Please note, I said 'most', so engaged women reading this need not take offence. You, dear engaged reader, are the exception.)
All of a sudden, previously calm, collected, fun and frankly nice women, lose the run of themselves and turn into almost frenzied fanatics. It's as if some women have a tiny, hidden 'Bridezilla' switch on the fourth finger of their left hand, and, unbeknownst to them (and everyone else), it is flicked to the 'on' position by an engagement ring.
The majority of people are now getting married a bit later in life, and should really know better than to let themselves get carried away like this. January is the month of wedding fairs, which, as far as I'm concerned, are as distressing as circuses. Not modern-day circuses with contortionists and the like. I mean the ones of old with dancing bears. On hot plates. Being poked with sharp sticks. Those kind of circuses. The not cool kind. And before anyone puts me in the "jealous singleton" category, I happen to be engaged, which apparently qualifies me to comment on such matters.
The idea of a wedding fair makes me feel a little queasy. Yes, I know there are big decisions to make about dresses and flowers and venues and eco-confetti and alternatives to sugared almonds that say 'look how cool we are', but surely if you never thought of them before, then you don't need them. It seems that planning a wedding these days is all about impressing other people rather than having a day that reflects your relationship and personality. A friend of mine is bridesmaid to her cousin this autumn, and they had agreed with me that your wedding day should be about what suits the couple -- and, of course, their budget -- and they said they wouldn't be going to any ridiculous wedding fairs, which are essentially just there to sell you things you don't need. But then the day before the big event in their area, the bride panicked and bought tickets.
She said she hadn't slept for the worry that she might miss something. She went and came back, having decided she suddenly wanted a three-metre train and a cake so huge, that I'm sure it could kill a man if it toppled over. I know it's a hugely important day, but so is turning 21 or 50, and no one's started up a birthday fair to peddle ideas for those days. (Note to self: idea for Dragons' Den.)
At my last reckoning, there are about 20 sizeable wedding fairs around the country in January and February this year. Yet women who know their likes and dislikes in every other part of their lives will pay good money to be told what and where they should be wearing/serving/drinking/dancing to/honeymooning by people who just want to make a sale.
TV presenters are the Willy Wonkas of these magic wedding factories; ready to show you all the beautiful shiny things you never knew you desperately needed to make your big day perfect.
My best friend got married a few years ago and I was bridesmaid. Yes, of course, we walked around bridal shops (heavily punctuated by lengthy vodka breaks) and looked through numerous magazines. Yes, of course, she wanted everything to be perfect, but she never lost the run of herself and morphed into someone she wasn't, and the day was a perfect, stress-free reflection of that.
After writing this, I fully expect all my friends desperately hope I'll become a Bridezilla as soon as my own date is set, and instantly do everything I said I wouldn't, but I'd be willing to bet a five-tiered, chocolate biscuit cake embellished with sugar roses and edible lace to match the bridesmaids' dresses, that I won't.
Oh God, but doesn't that sound perfect ...