Planning an English country wedding | Part 6: Chaos and gambling

Join Country Life’s Annunciata Walton from engagement through to ‘I do’, as she tracks the highs and lows of planning a rural wedding up north (from London).

I have reached a stage of my life where I spend most of my time responding to the comment ‘Gosh, that’s soon isn’t it?’ with, I’m afraid to say, poorly feigned good humour. My cheeks have repetitive strain injury from fake smiling. I have started to hiss as I reply through gritted teeth, ‘yesss, yes it is soon!’.

No, I haven’t got outfits yet for my nine page boys, flower girls and bridesmaids (curse you brothers for being so bountiful in offspring). No, I don’t know what colour their knickerbockers will be. None of them have presents yet. What do you mean ground almonds are too expensive? The invitations are not out yet. And bugger off. Yes, I know the wedding is only two months away. Cheese with fruit in it is revolting, I don’t care how pretty it looks. No, I will not purchase 18 toasters for table synchronicity. Let them eat cold toast. And don’t you dare call me bad tempered.

When all else fails (and by all else, I mean everything to do with my wedding), focus on somebody else’s. One Saturday morning, I find myself hand-making a head contraption (to call it a hat would be quixotic) for a cousin’s wedding. I have just completed a turban-effect combination of silk scarf and old kaftan, with which I am rather pleased, when my betrothed enters the room.

I smile winningly. ‘You look like a blind man has done a sculpture of an elephant. On your head.’

Back to the wedding then.

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planning an english country wedding

Gee Brothers stationery

Of course, it doesn’t help that we are having our home renovated and are permanently lugging suitcases between relatives. At least, that’s my excuse for the surrounding chaos of unfinished tasks.

During two weeks spent with my four-year-old nephew and two-year-old niece, for example, I indulged in conversations on how to feed camomile tea to a monkey, why daddy has a caterpillar stuck in his toe and what to say to a monster when you see one in the garden, when I should have been choosing a colour theme, taking calligraphy courses, having facials, humming Mendelssohn and practising my veil walk.

Instead, when the invitations finally arrive from the printer, I discover that I’ve lost the expensive calligraphy pen purchased in more organised days. I’ve lost my address book, too. Along with my sanity, they are probably tucked up together at the bottom of a dust-covered box with my marbles and sense of humour.

We grow even more tired. Envelopes don’t taste very nice. However, bar a couple of incidents—one involving chocolate, the other too many Lucys—the invitationing process goes smoothly. And slowly. Very slowly. My father makes a joke about a herd of goats as a dowry and I am too tired to object.

planning an english country wedding

One For Arthur wins the 2017 Randox Health Grand National

Inevitably, we turn to gambling. A surprisingly sunny day for the Grand National (a rare non-wedding-related outing up north) lifts our spirits. Jamie wins every race and I lose most of my money. But what does it matter? I am beyond caring. ‘What’s yours is mine,’ I remind him. He is too relieved not to be wedding-planning to care. So am I. We’re nearly there folks. Nearly there…

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To be continued… look out for the next instalment as Annie plans her English country wedding, delving into a world of dress-shopping, venues, flowers, bridesmaids, intensive decision-making, cake-eating, wine-tasting and much, much more.