Bridesmaids, Bouquets and Biscuits

The remainder of that afternoon Mum and I looked through my scrap book of “wedding” pictures I had cut out and discussed what else needed to be done.

The first thing I did was explain to her what James and I wanted in the beginning and how I in particular had got completely sidetracked by all of the traditions and expectations of what a “wedding” should entail.

My Mum bless her really wanted me to have the whole big white do and for her daughter to be the archetypical “disney princess” so really when I showed her my idea’s she wasn’t sure – they all seemed very “different” to what she had envisaged.

When she and Dad married they really didn’t have much money (Dad wasn’t even qualified and all of their savings was going on him buying his own practice) so a simple registry office affair and tea and sandwiches at a local village hall was about the extent of their big day.

So by her own admission she wanted me to experience everything she never did and never could.

The fact is she and Dad have been together 40 years ( married 35) and are still blissfully happy. My Dad calls my Mum “gorgeous” on a regular basis, they make each other laugh and would do anything for one another.

So who gives a toss that there wedding day was cheap is chips? It’s the bit after that counts and they have done it the best way possible – they are growing old together forever. Who could ask for more than that.

Besides and I told her as much, in every picture I’ve seen of their wedding everyone is smiling and laughing, my Grandad looks like the proudest man alive and my Dad looks like he can’t believe his luck.

And that is what I wanted to achieve above all else – a happy happy day.

Anyway my Mum on a glorious sunny day in June 1977 in her “bridal gown” of a second hand pale blue suit and hat? pretty as a picture and distinctly Jackie O esque 

James and I were in a much more priviledged position financially of course but I was still determined not to spend just for the sake of it and make sure that we LOVED everything to do with our wedding – not just “liked” it.

So I promptly ripped everything out of my scrapbook that was “nice” and left only the things in there that (I thought) were “totally fabulous” and I felt sooooo much better about it. Mum was still apprehensive ( she still had both feet firmly in camp “nice” at this point)) but I had a good feeling she would come round eventually.

Hmmmm so my major sticking point – this whole colour theme thing.

Now I like lots of colours and maybe that was my problem, I felt too restricted – for example by having the bridesmaids in a single hue – I would feel like I had to use this particular shade in everything.
So the plan was to make it all look cohesive but not matchy matchy.

Nothing like setting yourself a difficult task in a restricted time frame.

Bridesmaids dresses in general were a major issue, why were so many so darn awful? Was in some kind of secret bridezilla type trick to make all their lovely friends look so completely tragic that they would look even more amazing in comparison??

Picking my bridesmaids had been easy. My sister Melissa ( she was so excited when we brought the date forward – she would ring me at least 5 times a day to discuss plans) My best friend ( and reason for us meeting in the first place of course!) Sarah, my other best friend Melissa (I’ll refer to her as Mel to avoid confusion) and James’s sister Kirsten.

All slim very attractive girls – oh easy peasy – they could wear anything right? wrong… they all have COMPLETELY different colouring.

1) Melissa – mid brown hair and pink toned fair skin

2) Kirsten – blonde hair with a golden skin tone

3) Mel – very dark brown hair and dark olive skin 

4) Sarah – redhead with a very fair freckled complexion

My first thoughts were right how about the same dress but a different colour for each one? Then I thought better of it, what about if they couldn’t all agree on the same style ( there were after all so bloomin’ many) or that two wanted the same colour as each other? and more to the point what colours anyway, would they clash with each other? – wasn’t this just even more complicated?


What a nightmare.

I actually really liked the idea of ivory, it would flatter everyone and that way with such a neutral back drop, I could have all different sorts of colours to my flowers and stationary which I knew I wanted. They would have to be short dresses obviously for fear of ” erm which one is the bride?!…” but I figured all the girls would be fine with that.

My favourite flower ever since I can remember was hydrangea, they also featured heavily in my scrap book “totally fabulous” pictures often without me even realising it until I went through the whole lot again for my “stripping out” exercise.

Light bulb moment alert.

I’ll have hydrangea as my main flower in ALL the different gorgeous colours that I loved, hot pink, bright blue, that sexy mauve shade and the vibrant green which often has all the other colours touching the petal edges in some way – brilliant.

In fact if I had the bridesmaids in ivory they could have a different colour hydrangea bouquet each and I could have a massive pouf of ivory hydrangea for myself.


Hmmmmm now I also love a gerbera and a delphinium….. ah well I’m sure I can fit those in too somehow .

I spoke to all the girls of course to check they were happy with 
a) Ivory and b) short pin-flashing frocks

My sister, Kirsten and Sarah were all really pleased with the idea and Mel was my last call…..

me: Hi babes, am ringing to discuss bridesmaids dresses…

Mel: Oh lovely have been wondering when you would call, was just about to call you actually as have been living in fear…

me: Fear of what pet?

Mel: Well I saw pictures of my cousins wedding yesterday and the bridesmaids were in like these burgundy wrap dresses….

me: Oh different ….like a Diane Von Furstenberg type look?

Mel: No babes not like DVF, like they were going to the office ….. and they didn’t fit properly either …..and the colour was SOOOO baaaaad….

me: Like a row of giant winegums?

Mel: Oh My God yes! yes that’s it!! winegums!!!

me: Babes I promise not to make you look like a giant winegum or any other type of confectionary for that matter. I was actually thinking of Ivory, short sophisticated but a little bit sexy?

Mel: Oh Charlotte really? that sounds beautiful! woo woo I am so excited now!

me: Excellent, and no more living in fear yes?

Mel: Nope totally fearless, not a giant burgundy sweet in sight

me: Excellent pet, now help me find you girls the perfect dress…….

And let me tell you I lucked out big time here. Within a few weeks I had found a totally stunning chiffon layered number in French Connection, it was almost exactly what I had imagined in my head.
Told the girls – they all went and had a look, tried on, REALLY loved it ( two have since worn theirs again already) and I ordered them in one go off the French Connection site.

A few minor alterations and paired with super cute muted grey/silver peep toe shoes from Coast ( sky scraper heels for the petite girls Mel and Sarah and kitten for the leggy two Melissa and Kirsten) and we were all set to go on the Bridesmaid front…


Author: Charlotte O’Shea
Purveyor of short shorts. Make-up junkie. Hopes to grow old disgracefully.

2 thoughts on “Bridesmaids, Bouquets and Biscuits

  1. Random place to comment, but I have somehow got stuck in your story when I’m meant to be earning a living!!! Or at the very least picking up my daughter from school! But I actually cried when you talked about your parents’ wedding and long marriage. My daughter’s currently 3 and I’m already afraid of becoming the MOB who lives vicariously through her daughter’s wedding, because my own wedding was of the chips variety too, but hopefully she will see us like you see your parents when that time comes. Thanks for the perpective. x

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