The AOW A-Z of Getting Married is a resource for brides (and grooms) to be. It’s a welcome piece of sanity in an industry-saturated world where people are bombarded with what weddings they should have, what they should act like, and how a bride should feel. Created by the team behind Any Other Woman, this A-Z is the first collaboration of its kind, bringing together posts from readers across the AOW community filled with advice, wisdom and experience from sane, smart, real women, many of whom have been there. From wedding planning to family trials to breaking taboos, no topic is out of bounds. We are honoured and excited to run each and every post, and we learn from each and every one of our readers.
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Y is for Yes it matters by Sarah
Yes, it matters that you spend time on your hair and make-up if that’s what you want. It is not a waste of money to get a professional in if it sets you up for the day without wonky eyeliner or curling wand burns and makes you feel confident enough to forget about how you look after the first five minutes and breeze into your wedding feeling like bl**dy Beyonce, if that’s your thing.
No, it doesn’t matter if by 10pm your hair has gone a bit sweaty from vigorous dancing, your French lace train has a big old muddy footprint where your Dad trod on it and your carefully chosen just-the-right-shade-of-nude lipstick has been kissed off. You looked great all day, you’ve danced with all your best mates, drunk delicious drinks and – in my case anyway – stood on a wild and windy West Wales sand dune for 40 minutes with your new husband having snogging pictures taken. The bride with a pristine dress at the end of the day probably hasn’t had a great time. It’s for wearing!
My dress got really really dirty. But it went to the beach and had a great time..
Yes, it matters that you’re surrounded by people you love and who love you on your wedding day. That’s all really. Whether you want to keep that as small and intimate as possible, or whether your day won’t be the same without your mate from uni who is the only other person who knows about the time you cried over a boy while mainlining Findus Crispy Pancakes – the day is about more than just the love between the couple getting married. It’s a unique chance to share that love with all the other people who make your life special. It feels brilliant.
No, it doesn’t matter if there are people there who you don’t really know – if that makes life easier. Controversial one, as many people feel very strongly about this, especially if it’s a deliberately small wedding. At our wedding there were a few people who I’d never met before. All I can say is – if someone you love really wants someone there and you can accommodate them in any way, does it really matter? I don’t think it does. It won’t impact on your enjoyment and the person you love is happy.
Yes, it matters that you have some photos of your wedding to cherish after the big day. Hopefully many, including at least one that radiates the fizzy feeling you felt right at that special moment. As the Any Other Photo series regularly proves, these photos can be taken by anyone; a professional wedding industry photographer, your uncle with the Nikon, or someone’s girlfriend who just happens to snap the iphone at the right moment and remembers to put it on Facebook.
No, it doesn’t matter if you don’t have 5,000 photos of every conceivable combination of family and friends who were there on the day, lined up with you both. Your wedding will probably only be about 12 hours long in total. That’s 12 hours to say some really important, special vows, share a toast or a joke with your guests, savour a bite of the wedding breakfast, breathe in the heady smell of flowers, Champagne and wet grass, dance with your bridesmaids or ushers, your dad. Watch your new husband/wife from the other side of the room and feel all tingly that you just married them. Eat cake. These things are all infinitely more fun than standing, sweating under midsummer sun or freezing in February snow and bellowing instructions to photographers and ushers through a fixed grin for yet another group photo. No, you might not get a photo of you and Aunty Barbara on your wedding day. No, there will never be another chance to get it again. But Aunty Barbara was there! She had a blast on that booze cruise wine and you didn’t live your wedding day through a lens.
Yes, it matters that your wedding day reflects you as a couple and your life together. It feels nice. If you love music; there is nothing better than creating the perfect wedding playlist together, even if it takes hours, involves fiddly mp3 downloads to make sure there is no ‘dead air’ and you forget until the day itself that actually, all Snoop Dog songs involve some pretty hardcore inappropriate swearing. You’ll dance together in your kitchen to that playlist for many years afterwards. The same goes if you love baking, or growing herbs for bouquets, tattoos for the whole of the wedding party; whatever. It doesn’t make you a ‘bridezilla’. These are part of your wedding day and can become part of the fabric of your life.
These took an inordinate amount of time to sort out and laminate. But we found them funny and now they’re framed in sets in our house. Image by Paul Donovan Photography
No, it doesn’t matter if you don’t cut a cake or if it rains a bit, or you forgot to write the names of the cheeses on the special heart-shaped mini blackboards you hand painted, just because you saw them on a blog. Your guests don’t know and absolutely won’t care. This is not – thank god – that terrible Four Weddings show. Everyone is there to have a good time. There are no marks out of ten and when you’re celebrating your first or thirty first wedding anniversary what you’ll remember is the dancing, the people; the love and the life you’ve created together.