Confessions of An Imperfect Bride ~ Part Three

It’s the final installment of the world’s most loo-oriented wedding report from our favourite Science Lady, Katie. If you haven’t already, catch up on the wonderful tale here.

There are, of course, more toilet-based anecdotes in Part Three. It wouldn’t be Katie if there weren’t, no? But there is also sheer beauty, searing honesty and the single best dancefloor picture I’ve ever seen.

Onwards…

Despite being so hungry that I genuinely stole candy from a baby (well, I nicked Haribo sweets from a 10 year old, and he offered, to be fair, but even so), we didn’t get food as soon as we arrived at the venue. We had scheduled the romantic couples photo shoot for this stage, to allow us some newly-wed alone time before the insanity of the reception. Everything is less romantic when your stomach is rumbling though, so in the end I necked a Bellini in the hopes that the peach juice would sustain me, and stole some fruit from my new husband’s Pimms when it didn’t. Even this didn’t really make us romantic though. We just aren’t the romantic types. Our photographer told us off because in the casual stroll along the Thames photos, we were actually striding along, and I won’t even discuss what happened when I attempted to gaze thoughtfully at the ceiling. The photo speaks for itself on that one. We did still get some beautiful photos, luckily, which is a serious testament to the skill of our photographer and our joint willingness to sit down with a good book.

 

I’m not going to describe the reception in detail. I don’t remember it in detail, as it happens. I remember it in crazy flashes. I will say one thing though… it is impossible to go to the loo on your own in a big wedding dress. I sort of knew this before the wedding, and I had assigned myself a loo buddy bridesmaid*, because I knew I wouldn’t manage alone. But even I didn’t really truly foresee the issues at hand. It’s actually vaguely ironic that you spend so much time turning yourself into this polished and glamorous version of yourself, and then you spend some considerable time with your dress up round your head, having this conversation:

 Me “Have you got the tulle layer? All I can see is ivory silk and I don’t want to wee on my tulle”

My loo buddy bridesmaid C: “I think I’ve got it all, you’re good to go”

Me: You can’t SEE anything can you?”

C: All I can see is dress, K. I barely know you’re in there”

Me: I have stage fright.

…………..

Me: “Right, okay, that’s done… oh, I don’t know if I can reach past all this dress to wipe…”

C: *vaguely hysterical* “Wipe. Don’t say wipe. I am not wiping. I love you, but our friendship has not reached wiping level.”

Me: “Made it… hang on, I can’t reach my knickers… no… I’m there…. I’m good”

None of that is classy. But it was funny. Either way, it’s definitely worth making sure you have a Mum or BM or handy friend willing to help you with this process. And make sure they know it won’t be classy.

Also, in terms of toilets (honestly I will stop spending my wedding report talking about loo business at some point), size matters… I’m not kidding ladies, if you’re looking at venues and you want a big wedding dress, check the toilet size. I tried to go in a standard cubicle at our venue, and once my dress was in there with me, the door wouldn’t shut. And my dress wasn’t particularly vast, not by wedding dress standards at least. Because I am classy and dignified and serene, and all those other bridal things you’re meant to be, I was totally prepared to just wee with the door wide open, but luckily someone took pity on me and gave me access to the disabled loo before that became necessary.

Once I’d sorted my loo routine and mainlined some cake and scones, we could relax into the reception. There was laughter and chatter and joy, there were brilliant speeches.

We had to play Mr & Mrs in front of my Grandparents. My sister gave me the best wedding present ever and sang for us, and the room stopped still at the sound of her voice.

I utterly failed at bouquet throwing, much to the disgust of all our young guests. We circulated, and chatted, and grinned at each othe like loons. Throughout it all, I was delirious with joy… but I wasn’t relaxing. If anything, I was getting more and more hyped up and emotional.

It is a testament to the skill and brilliance of my make-up artist and my photographer that there are no photos in which you can tell that I shed even one tear during our reception. However, I’m all about the truth behind the pictures, and in truth I spent 20 mins on our wedding day sobbing in the loo. The reasons why are long and complicated, but in short, I got overwhelmed and had an anxiety attack. Part of me wishes I hadn’t, because it was such an amazing time, and I hate that the crazy anxious part of my brain couldn’t just give me that one perfect day. But, it couldn’t. It was never going to. I tried walking it off with my husband, but it didn’t work, and since it would have looked fairly dodgy if Gareth had accompanied me hand-in-hand into a toilet cubicle while I panted with anxiety, we deputised my Mum to stroke my hair while I sobbed and gasped and retched my way through my panic.

Weddings go on, though. And to be honest, I don’t wish I hadn’t panicked. I am who I am, and it would be daft to wish to be anything else, especially on a day when someone amazing had just promised to love me for who I am forever. And it didn’t ruin our day, either.  Just like it didn’t ruin our day that our first dance was ridiculous, we chose a song that meant nothing to anyone but us, and it was a daft jokey tune that proved to be impossible to dance to without looking like a proper muppet. So, we looked at each other, and laughed at our own ridiculousness. It may not have been beautiful, but it was us.

The dancefloor was definitely the place that I really let go of any residual stress and tension. I danced almost nonstop all night, doing inadvisable shimmies and Beyonce-style chest thrusts, the phrase dance like no-one’s watching sums it up perfectly. Sadly many people were watching, including a photographer. I only stopped dancing to go and refuel on cake, having disappointingly missed dinner to due to the whole anxiety attack in a toilet cubicle escapade. Someone trod on the back of my dress as I was jumping too enthusiastically at one point and the bustle holding my train up gave up, ripping a hole in my dress. About 10 min later the emergency safety pins that my Mum had fixed me with also gave up. By the end of the night my left arm was aching from hiking my skirts over it to dance properly (and when I say properly I mean with puppy-like levels of enthusiasm and next-to-no skill). Occasionally I would bounce up next to Gareth on the dancefloor, or bump into him as I stalked the marquee in search of cake. Each time we just grinned at each other, there were no words to say. 

 

By the end of the night, I was shattered. I’ve said before, and I will say again, I don’t know who has sex on their wedding night but whoever they are, they have more stamina than me. By the time I got out of my dress, and had managed to remove at least half of the pins in my hair, I was ready to drop. But it was the most incredible, chaotic, overwhelming, joyful, euphoric, crazy, terrifying, beautiful day of my life.

All of the gorgeous images in Katie's epically wonderful report are by the quite excellent Andrew Dobell.

 

*My gorgeous bridesmaid C was my toilet buddy because she also got married last year, in September, so we agreed to swap loo duties for each other. And we’ve slept in the world’s smallest boat cabin together in the past, so we have very little dignity left in our friendship anyway.

 

Categories: Any Other Wedding, Marriage, Wedding Reports
30 interesting thoughts on this

30 Comments

  1. Becca
    Posted July 30, 2013 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    Oh congratulaaaaattttions.

    I didn’t have a dress that needed assistance with lifting. I had a dress that I couldn’t move over up or down on my hips without taking it off and needing to spend 50 minutes doing it up again. In the end, after trying to wee like in Thailand (you know, where you stand UP and ON), I wriggled my dress up one mm. I have never been so scared of weeing during this process. Ever.

    • Carly
      Posted July 30, 2013 at 9:15 am | Permalink

      I have just realised this with my dress in the past few days! It’s a lace up back so there is no way I can take it off each time!! Advice please?!! My bridesmaids and I were rolling around on the floor laughing yesterday imagining how a toilet stop might go! X

      • Becca
        Posted July 30, 2013 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

        Hello! Mine was BUTTONS. You are best off alone. I anticipated it in advance so didn’t drink that much until just before the ceremony when I just NEEDED a cup of tea desperately! Most are fine as I’ve had loads of friends with fishtails but mine was a Suzanne Neville and those things just don’t bloody BUDGE a mm.

        I basically held it up hip height and then just jumped for 10 minutes until gravity did its thing to my body and it was a couple of mm lower down. Getting back into it was just as bad.

  2. Posted July 30, 2013 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    I love this!! I don’t think I’ve read a wedding report where The Panic isn’t contained by the sheer joy of Wedding. I ruined my experience of our reception because I freaked out for most of it and then spent MONTHS afterwards beating myself up about it. I need the trademarked KL level of self acceptance and forgiveness – it was always going to happen. And everything was still wonderful at the same time. Freakouts and wonderful days can co-exist successfully.

    The pictures are fabulous. Love it- makes me wish I’d had a massive dress just for the loo experience!

    Px

    • Posted July 31, 2013 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

      RE the dress, me too! The spiral staircases in our venue would have made for some laughs too I bet, dammit.

  3. Posted July 30, 2013 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    I think I’m lucky because all my anxiety came and went in the morning, and I pretty much just cried it all out. Also my dress was super easy to wee in!

  4. Sandie
    Posted July 30, 2013 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    So awesome, Katie! What a fabulous tale of your day.

    My anxieties came out during our meal with the worst attack of IBS pains and bloating that I have ever had! I was so desperately upset that I couldn’t eat the amazing BBQ feast that we’d been looking forward to for so long. For the first and only time, my dad’s trusty Rennies (washed down with champagne) worked a treat, and all was well again!

    S x

  5. Anon
    Posted July 30, 2013 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    “dance like no-one’s watching sums it up perfectly…sadly many people were watching including a photographer”
    - this is ME! More drunk than anyone else (always) at every wedding I have ever been to. Many MANY wedding photos exist of fairly sober guests standing around bemused as a I drop it like a ho’ on the wedding dance floor that never, I hope, made it into any commemorative albums.

    Have totally loved this whole series. Am I am so happy and, even though I don’t know you, extraordinarily proud about the perspective you got on your anxiety. As a panic attack sufferer I get so much strength from knowing that there are such awesome women out there staring it in the face and not letting it beat them down. K you are an inspiration:)
    X

    • Posted July 30, 2013 at 8:52 am | Permalink

      Well this has just made me tear up on the tube. Thank you, that’s an incredibly nice thing to say. Anxiety is a bitch, but I think it helps just to accept that it’s part of you, and carry on being awesome on the dance floor! I am often to be found, dancing like I think I’m in a Step Up film on the dance floor. I’m not even usually drunk.

      KL x

  6. Posted July 30, 2013 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    Great wedding story! And I was told a great toilet tip if you have a layered dress- sit on the toilet so you are facing the cistern/wall- makes the whole process a whole lot easier!

    • Fee
      Posted July 30, 2013 at 8:56 am | Permalink

      We must have cross-posted, my fellow genius!

  7. Fee
    Posted July 30, 2013 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    This is just gorgeous and wonderful and you are a stupendous bride KL.

    A little tip that was invaluable to me on my wedding day – if you’re in a big dress, go onto the toilet forwards. Basically, straddle it. MUCH easier. I will leave you with that mental image.

    • Posted July 30, 2013 at 8:33 am | Permalink

      WHY did no-one tell me this?! That is genius. And hilarious. But mostly genius, I think.

      KL x

    • Posted July 30, 2013 at 8:44 am | Permalink

      Few wins comment of the day!

    • Carly
      Posted July 30, 2013 at 9:19 am | Permalink

      I don’t get it, why does that make it easier? Apart from being able to pretend you are riding a horse along a beautiful landscape rather than being sat on the bog with your wedding dress up round your ears! X

      • Posted July 30, 2013 at 10:40 am | Permalink

        I’m guessing with bigger dresses there are often trains so front is a lot less fabric? I will definitely try this method!

    • Posted July 30, 2013 at 11:53 am | Permalink

      Haha – I had heard this before but I told some blokes at work about it recently (can’t remember why – it was in context though and not just blurted out randomly) and ruined their image of brides forever!

      Lovely post as ever KL – makes me want to go back and look at all my wedding photos now too. I completely forgot to throw my bouquet (although I think it could have killed someone, it was quite heavy and also I didn’t want to squash the flowers) and no one reminded me!

      K x

  8. Fee
    Posted July 30, 2013 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    I think it’s because you’re lifting your dress from the front which means that a) You can see better what you’re doing and b) you’re just lifting the front rather than the back and sides. Worked for me – I didn’t need any help at all!

    • Lynsey
      Posted July 30, 2013 at 9:53 am | Permalink

      I get married on Saturday – my dress isn’t even big but I am so tempted to try this!

  9. Posted July 30, 2013 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    Ace wedding report KL!
    I freaked out and had a big cry on Ross’ shoulder the night before when we STILL hadn’t chosen our first dance, then had a wee practice in our bedroom with the song we eventually chose. I think most people have some sort of meltdown at some point during planning/proceedings!
    I had dress tearing incidents too (not the ‘bodice-ripping’ period drama sort!), the bustle wouldn’t stay up and people would step on my dress and pop the buttons (thankfully just for show) off. I had to hold it up for ceilidh dancing and really stressed out one of my friend’s boyfriend as he spent the whole dance worried he’d step all over it! Little did he know my dad had already stood on my dress as we were leaving for the church :) Eventually at the end of the night when I took it off the zip broke and I had to very ungracefully wriggle out. It’s now in the bag I got it in and I haven’t looked at it since – oops!

  10. Posted July 30, 2013 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    Love this Katie!! that is all xoxox

  11. Amanda M
    Posted July 30, 2013 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    Fabulous post. And what wonderful photos – your photographer really captured a lot of personality (and it looks like there’s a lot of personality to catch). I really love the one of you looking at the ceiling as it really demonstrates graphically the chasm between real life and a photographer’s imagination! Hilarious!

    The loo story is so funny. I had a slim A line skirt to my dress so managed by myself (despite repeated offers of help from my experienced bridesmaid – my 9 year old niece!) – helped by the fact that I couldn’t seem to eat or drink anything.

    Btw – you have hair like a mermaid’s. Fact.

    • Posted July 30, 2013 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

      Best hair compliment ever!

      I felt quite sorry for our photographer during the couples portrait bit, I was just hopeless at being photographed and G was little better. We had a photo where we look like we are kissing under my veil but actually he was muttering against my lips “what the hell are we doing?!” and making me laugh. Andrew did an amazing job of capturing us, not posed and perfect but laughing and silly. He was the absolute perfect photographer for us.

      KL x

  12. Posted July 30, 2013 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    I only remember going to the toilet once on my wedding day and my mum helped me.
    Surely that can’t be right. Maybe I’ve blocked out the other visits due to horrific mental trauma.

  13. Posted July 30, 2013 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    I LOVE THIS. SO MUCH.

    I had afew moments to be on my own in the toilet as there were so many people and I always find that overwhelming. So glad we only had 96 people. Many more and though I would have loved to see them I might have been a wreck.

    My dress ripped right up the back. Thin and light and stuff so easy to pee in but thin so ripped right up the back when someone stood on it. Oops. Don’t care though – it is a sign I had an amazing night!

    And I threw my bouquet so super long the only person standing that far back was my sister who knew it would be no dainty throw and stayed near the back despite all the people trying to get her to move forwards. It landed in her hands. She knows me too well.

    Oh and I can see how people manage on their wedding night. Ahem.

  14. Yanthé
    Posted July 30, 2013 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    I knew this final part would be awesome, but literally had to come and read it ASAP having checked in on twitter and figured a certain topic of conversation was inspired by this post! Funny and honest and wonderful as ever Katie, thank you.
    Am now off to to give some thought as to whether I will need to line up a bridesmaid as bathroom assistant!

  15. Posted July 30, 2013 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

    Thank you all for the wonderful wonderful comments and messages and the hilarious twitter conversation about my last paragraph. Apparently the ladies with more stamina than me totally are out there. I am in awe.

    And thank you to Aisling, Anna and Clare for letting me use their beautiful and classy and wise blog space to ramble about my toilet habits, bad dancing, delirious joy, neurotic anxiety and other general lunacy. I can’t think of anywhere on the internet that would publish a wedding report featuring bridal wiping with no qualms. Amazing.

    KL x

  16. Elsie
    Posted July 31, 2013 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    I don’t want this series to end, Katie you are such an entertaining writer & the things you say remind me so much of one of my friends it’s uncanny. Your dance moves look scarily similar too!
    I’m not a bride but I’m saving up the toilet advice to pass off as my own to my best friend who is soon to be the bride, not because I want to be a good helpful bridesmaid but so I can laugh at her straddling the toilet in her frock.

  17. Zan
    Posted July 31, 2013 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    Didn’t get a chance to comment yday but fabulous writing as always KL :)

    LOVE the photo of the Beyonce dancing….! And all your photo’s are gorg. Fact.

  18. Posted July 31, 2013 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    Glad to know I’m not the only one who failed at the ‘looking thoughtfully into the distance’ pictures. Most of the time I was just fighting to contain the laughter as I felt like such. A. Dick! (Sorry for saying the word dick, twice, in the comments on your wonderful wedding report…)

    I actually ending myself laughing at your toilet conversation and remembering taking my friend to the loo in her wedding dress. Ah memories.

    “I’ve said before, and I will say again, I don’t know who has sex on their wedding night but whoever they are, they have more stamina than me.” – I’m sending this to Gav. A year and a half later and he still won’t let me forget it.

    Beautiful, Katie, just stunning. Xx

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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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