Now, I know a lot of you probably think I exaggerate some of the incidents I relate, but I swear they're all true- I really did fall down a manhole at 17, and our ski trips usually entail some disaster or accident. Events leading up to our nuptials did not disappoint either:
Take my wedding dress for instance. I had gone back to the north east to do a bit of dress shopping with my mother and sister. Finding "the dress", I ordered it on the spot. Because we were in a bridal chain shop, I assumed they would place an order in the London branch for me, but no, the Newcastle shop wanted the sale so they insisted on it being delivered (from the warehouse in Watford) to Newcastle, and then shipped down to London for alterations. Three weeks later they finally admitted they had no idea where it was. Worse, time was running out for me to order another dress and have it altered - because of course, even though this was all their stupid fault, they weren't going to rush me to the front of the queue or make any other concessions. Dear God - that would be customer service!
A week later it arrived. I'd love to tell you that was the end of it, but because of this stress plus the US visa application process, I was losing weight by the minute, (ah, memories) and every time it came back from a fitting, it was still too big. Picture the scene, the night before the wedding (probably after one to many glasses of champagne), taking in the side seams with my ancient Singer sewing machine.
Talking about the VISA application, my father-in-law-to-be had to get his Senator involved because our paperwork somehow got lost between DC and London. In those days, there was no Internet so I couldn't "track" anything. It was impossible to get through to the US Embassy on the phone, so every lunch time I traipsed over there and begged some pissy beaucrat to see if my visa was through. Sadly, it didn't come through till a month after our wedding, so the B&C came back to the USA without me. Even worse, no one bothered to call me from the Embassy when it did come through and it sat there for a few days till I could get round there again. Grrr.
The wedding itself continued in the same vein. The day before, a friend and I had gone round to the Hurlingham Club and decorated the pillars with ribbon to match the table centre-pieces. The following morning I took the cake stand around - to find the cleaners taking all the ribbons off the pillars. I stood there with my chin on the floor while the manager flapped and promised that they would replace them, not to worry, etc. etc. (They looked better than mine did!)
My mother had bought my cake and ordered a very unusual, asymmetrical cake stand too. After the wedding meal she asked what the B&C and I were laughing about and I told her we had been taking bets on how long the cake stand would take to topple over. Oh how we laughed -until we realised the cake stand was a traditional Tower of Pisa model and my mother's arty farty one was nowhere to be seen. Oh well.
And then of course, there was that curly perm!