So here we are, the day before the big day. I really can't believe it is actually here. Today is full of things to do - rehearsals, picking up cakes, picking up my dress and finally, oh so finally, sitting with my girls with a glass of champagne.
I just wanted to say a big thank you to you all for all the wedding advice you have given me, all the help and excitement. And for putting up with the numerous wedding posts!
I am signing off for a few days now as.... wait, oh yes... I AM GETTING MARRIED ON SATURDAY!
ps promise to post photos and please keep fingers crossed for a rain free day! x
So we're on three days to go and things are getting crazy. Like insane.
As a nice break from the insanity, last night I went home to see my family and popped up to my Nana's. Now, I love my Nana, she is brilliant, one of the smartest and sharpest people I know as well as one of my favourites. Once we got there she insisted that we had a sherry.
I hate sherry.
How a drink manages to be so sickly sweet and yet so strong tasting, anyway, I manned up and accepted my drink (Steve didn't. Because he is a wussy pants.).
I politely sipped it and only winced slightly.
After a minute or two, my Nana proposed a toast,
'To the end of Olivia Kerridge!' she announced, raising her glass.
Ummm.... lovely sentiment Nana but lets remember that I am not in fact dying. Just getting married and changing my surname....
It is such a very strange feeling to be getting married in less than a week. This whole process I have been counting down, saying 'In one year's time', 'in six months time', 'in three months', 'in eight weeks', 'in three weeks' that to finally actually get here is beyond... well everything.
It is beyond exciting, beyond bizarre. It really feels weird. Like this day that has been in my mind for so long, that I have planned and slaved over, that every little detail I know about, is actually going to happen. It feels so abstract, like it was something that I daydreamed about, that would never really happen.
But it is.
This Saturday, Steve and I will stand in front of everyone we love and declare we love each other totally and completely, that we will care for each other, stay with each other and support each other. We will all eat and drink and be merry, we will dance and laugh and pose for photos, we will wear lovely clothes and celebrate.
I always wondered what the few days before a wedding were like for a bride and groom, I assumed a whirlwind of appointments and packing and business. And it is. But it is also full of a feeling of anticipation, of nervousness, of tingley arms and random spates of butterflies, of frustration as I try and get everything finished, of excitement and jumping up and down joy. And a little bit of sadness.
I have loved being engaged. It has been such a special time for us, bringing us closer together, not only Steve and I but our families and friends, both to us individually and to each other. I have been so conscious that I will never have this time again; we have been surrounded by excitement, with love and just brilliance and it is ending.
So, in a pre-wedding toast, please grab that glass of wine (or juice box or cuppa...) and here is to the marriage we will have and hoping it will kick my lovely engagement's bum!
In preparation for the wedding, both Steve and I have been trying to eat healthily and work out crazily. This officially started way back in the depths on September but really only got going the first week of January.
Now, as documented in the comments of my favourite wedding site Rock My Wedding, I am a big fan of Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred. It is pure evil but by god it works, a dress size down since January = happy happy Livy.
The thing is, the work out is brutal, each move is compound meaning everything aches. And aches some more.
To start with, I would battle through with Steve laughing at me but then things changed.
A spell of icy mornings meant that Steve couldn't go for his 6am run so I innocently suggested that he did the DVD, it's only 20 minutes long, and, after all, he was sure it was super easy.
Now he no longer laughs.
And listening to him doing the DVD is the funniest thing ever. He huffs and puffs and growls and occasionally you'll hear:
'Five more? Fuck off!'
'Jillian you evil sadistic bitch'
And my favourite, at one point on Level 3, Jillian tells you to remember why you wanted to do this in the first place and focus on that:
'I've changed my mind Jillian, I want to be fat, lazy and happy!'
And that is why I love him and why, in less than one week, I will be proud to be his Mrs.
Once I had purchased the dress, I began the long wait for the dress to actually arrive. And then, one fateful day before Christmas, I got a call. She was here!
I therefore rang to make an appointment to try her on and therein found the problem. My dress shop, fabulous as it is (and it is), only allow try on and fitting appointments between 10am and 2pm Tuesday to Friday. And I would need four of them.
I asked if they would make an exception, I mean, I didn't have the holiday time to just waste away on two hour fittings every couple of weeks and I was pretty sure my boss would suspect 'dentist appointments' every other week but alas, they were firm with their rule.
So, thinking quickly, I explained that I was a primary school teacher (I'll point out now that I work in PR) and therefore could not just abandon my class of six year olds for a few hours each time. And bingo! I was suddenly granted 4.30pm appointments on Friday afternoons.
And that should be the end of the story. Except I couldn't keep my mouth shut.
No, I had to tell the staff about the adorable little year 1s I taught. I'll say right now that I didn't actually want to expand on the myth. I truly didn't. But when you are standing on a box in a beautiful dress and a woman holding very sharp pins asks you how work was that day, you really have no choice.
So off I went, on how I have a little girl called Emily who cries every day for one reason or another and how I have learnt that it is just an attention seeking device and have methods to deal with it, how I have a little boy called Daniel who eats crayons, how I have identical twins called Ruby and Flora who always try and trick me by switching seats and on and on....
It was all going swimmingly, I had the shop assistants enraptured by my hilarious tales and I was feeling like a wonderfully funny human being who was fabulous in every way.
And then the shop owner arrived. A lovely woman who, like the others, got absorbed in my stories. And then asked me which school I taught at.
Again, thinking on my feet, I mentioned the school my brother attends, I mean, I can name some of the teachers and vaguely know the layout...
Shop Owner: Oh my goodness my friend's boy goes there - Connor, he's seven do you know him?
Me: Ummmm.... there are a few Connors.... I haven't taught him.
Shop Owner: Shame. My little baby, Jake, we would like him to go there, what is the best way to do it?
Me: Ummmmm..... do you live in the village?
Shop Owner: No, is that important?
Me: They do go for residency first but I'd apply and get his name down. It is a very good school so there is demand but then, some of the other local schools are very good as well. Have you considered any others?
Shop Owner: No, we want him to go there, they have a great reputation and you seem like such a nice teacher. Shall I call the head and say I know you?
Me (super, super fast): No! Really, no need for that. How old is Jake?
Shop Owner: 7 months
Me: You have ages of time, if I were you, I'd wait at least a year before making that appointment.
Shop Owner: A year?
Me: Definitely. Anyway, how is the hem looking?
So now, having possibly ruined a 7 month old's chances of a good education, the dress finished and just waiting to be picked up. And I can escape from the web of lies.
I have a wedding post coming up this morning, I promise but then I read this and decided it had to come first.
A long time ago I wrote a long post on rape, here, and, in typical Livy style, it was longwinded and complex. But real. And important. But I decided that, while there should be issues of importance on this blog, it was a place for fun, to relax and not be serious. However, after what I read today, I just couldn't let this go by. It is just too sad and infuriating and wrong. And by not talking about it we condone it. We all need to be talking about this, anywhere and anyway we can.
Sexual Assault Prevention Tips Guaranteed to Work
1. Don’t put drugs in women’s drinks.
2. When you see a woman walking by herself, leave her alone.
3. If you pull over to help a woman whose car has broken down, remember not to assault her.
4. If you are in a lift and a woman gets in, don’t assault her. You know what? Don’t even ogle her.
5. When you encounter a woman who is asleep, the safest course of action is to not assault her.
6. Never creep into a woman’s home through an unlocked door or window, or spring out at her from between parked cars, or assault her.
7. When you lurk in bushes and doorways with criminal intentions, always wear bright clothing, wave a flashlight, or play “Boys Who Rape (Should All Be Destroyed)” by the Raveonettes on a boombox really loud, so women in the vicinity will know where to aim their flamethrowers.
8. USE THE BUDDY SYSTEM! If it is inconvenient for you to stop yourself from assaulting women, ask a trusted friend to accompany you when in public.
9. Carry a rape whistle. If you find that you are about to assault a woman, you can hand the whistle to your buddy, so s/he can blow it to call for help.
10. Give your buddy a revolver, so that when indifferent passers-by either ignore the rape whistle, or gather round to enjoy the spectacle, s/he can pistol-whip you.
Don’t forget: Honesty is the best policy. When asking a woman out on a date, don’t pretend that you are interested in her as a person; tell her straight up that you expect to be assaulting her later. If you don’t communicate your intentions, the woman may take it as a sign that you do not plan to rape her.
OK, so there's an element of humour there, of course, and that is good. But there's also painfully true satire of the culture surrounding sexual assault.
You NEVER get to blame the victim of an assault. Not ever. You don't get to say 'that's what you get for taking your hot blonde self to the middle of a violent protest'. You don't get to say 'if you don't want to be raped, avoid walking in the woods or crossing poorly-lit car parks'. Never, never, NEVER.
That's not to say that I don't think getting drunk on your first date with a near-stranger is risky behaviour. It is. But if that near-stranger uses your drunkenness to get what is not his to take, that is rape and the fault is his and his alone. Risky behaviour does not make sexual assault ok. Lara Logan was doing her job, a dangerous job, yes but she did nothing that made the attack on her ok, because there IS nothing - NOTHING - that makes sexual violence even the littlest bit ok.
When one person uses another person's body for his (or her) own pleasure, without the other's consent or with coerced consent, violently or not, that is rape and it is depraved and disgusting and should be punished. And if we keep saying 'but she knowingly put herself in a dangerous situation!' we are missing the point. We're missing the point so much that we're running over the point with a huge truck because we can't see it.
Rape is depravity at its clearest and ugliest. Sanity and morality would never condone taking sex by force - it is their polar opposite - which means rape is the absence of sanity and morality. It CANNOT be excused. A victim who walked willingly into a crowd of angry thugs is still a victim. 'Boys will be boys' never has been and never will be a viable excuse for sexual violence.
We think we're past that, I know. But I learned recently of a rape victim in a rural area who was denied justice and her rapist sent on his way, because he was a boy with such great potential and the people around him (parents and head teacher ironically) didn't want his promising young life ruined by the sordid truth of what he'd done.
This is happening, not just in the middle of violent uprisings overseas. It's happening everywhere and every day. And every time it happens, every time sexual violence is excused or validated or rationalised, every time a rape victim is left helpless, we are all victimised. The excused rape of one woman is the rape of all women.
Until people - all people, or at least most people - will call it what it is, it won't go away.
On Sunday, my lovely sister was over and, bored at my Nana's and with a dictionary close by, we decided to play the Dictionary Game.
Now, for those of you less familiar with the Dictionary Game, it is super fun, especially when drunk. Unfortunately, on this occasion (it being 4pm on a Sunday and at my Nana's bungalow), we were not but we embraced it just the same.
Anyhow, you basically grab a dictionary, one person flicks through the pages, the other says stop when they feel like it, then that person picks the side of the page, the column and eventually what number word they want (say fourth from the top etc...). And then that word is the word that defines you.*
So my sister goes first and gets 'Superfluous', we all laugh, my Mum gets 'Commander', my Nana gets 'Fractured'.
Then it's my turn. I choose when to say stop very precisely. I pick my sides carefully - left and left again. When picking my number I nearly say 11 before something comes over me and I go with 4 instead.
I sit back, waiting for my defining word...
Yep, the word that defines me perfectly.
*Reading that back it sounds like a really tragic and super uncool game. But I stand by it. A bit. Don't judge me x
This is the site that greeted me yesterday morning on my mantlepiece:
Yep, I am that sad that I have been counting down and chalking it up and we are now in the 'days' as opposed to 'weeks' section.
I am getting married in 9 days. NINE DAYS!
And, of course there are still a million things to do including choosing a first dance. Yep. Still not got one. It is not so much that we can't find a song we like.... more that we can't dance. At all. Indeed, Steve and my first dance will actually be our first dance - we have never, ever danced together at a function before, not even swaying. Therefore all the fun, more 'us' songs are out of the question as the most we can muster is a cling and kiss and move very slowly dance. So we are aiming for emotional and slow, like slower than slow.
So far we have one option and we both love the song. Simple you say? It should be but for whatever reason neither of us is commiting to it which probably suggests something isn't right with it.
Onward we plod.....
Other things still to do include buying my knickers, working out what to have as my something old (don't suggest the knickers...), making CDs of all the music for the ceremony/drinks, actually deciding on all the music for the ceremony/drinks, making photo signs once my foam board comes, packing. Oh and all the little bits and pieces such as collecting bridemaid dresses, persuading groomsmen to try their suits on, collecting said suit, hair appointments and for some unfathomable reason, I decided it would be a good idea to shove a dentist appointment in as well. Why not?
So last night, we were flicking TV channels while discussing wedding stuff and randomly leave on something called 'All New Fat Fighter Families'.
Now the show is absolutely appalling, hosted by a very bizarre self styled 'Former Fattie' (his words not mine...) who says 'Ooooerr' and 'Get off your fattie bum bum blubberly!', it is all about family sets who are obese. Now, these are the programmes that Steve hates, raging from the especially when it comes to the sob story bit.
For example in this case, Fattie Bum Bum Man talked to the sibling set about the death of their father,
"Now Sarah, Tom, you both mentioned the death of your Dad, what would he say to you if he was here today?"
Before Sarah or Tom can answer, Steve interjects,
"Ummmmm... stop eating cake? I mean seriously, why would their Dad dying make them eat more?"
Now, I am a sensitive woman and decided to take the moral high ground;
"Steve, have you never eaten anything for comfort? Never?"
"No, that's what I use drink for."
ps. there were more, less politically correct things he said, specifically when the pair were trying to exercise but I thought I would spare you x
It is such a very, very bizarre feeling. And something that I have deliberately tried not to blog too much about. Strange I know but, overthinker here, I don't want to be the woman who only talks about her wedding day, a perceived Bridezilla. Which is stupid as, with 18 days to go, of course that is all I am actually doing (apart from a full time job, my Mum's birthday, Valentine's Day, oh, and hosting an impromptu dinner party tonight... sometimes I don't half make things hard for myself....).
But I feel bad when I open my mouth and wedding blah comes out because I know, deep down, that it is not the big deal to anyone else but me. But, you know what?
I have decided that I am allowed to become a total wedding bore for the next 18 days - I mean, these are the LAST 18 DAYS I can really go on about it aren't they?
And, to spare my nearest and dearest the boredom, I have decided that this is the outlet to do it on.
So, starting today, get ready to be weddingfied Livy style, commencing with this picture:
Yes, this is the corner of my living room (see my fishies, Barry and Lady Jemima McLove?), these are all the boxes full of wedding crap stuff. And there is more coming. Oh yes....