The day it all began; my love of weddings was ignited way back in the mid 80’s. This is me, aged 5 as a Bridesmaid, this was the day that influenced my life so significantly. Some of our memories fade or take on different perspectives as we age, and we meander through our life, but some stay crystal clear as if it only happened yesterday. This day back in 1984 is one of those memories, so vivid I can almost touch it.
I don’t even need to close my eyes to be transported back to a room in my Aunt’s childhood home. The atmosphere is electric, a feeling of pure excitement mixed with trepidation, a sense of hysteria with too many people in the space and a million things all going on at once, everyone’s senses on high alert, I could feel the energy surging through everyone. The noise was thrilling, a little disturbing for a small girl with a hearing problem but intoxicating all the same; it made me smile, it made me feel alive. It was the sound of pure exhilaration. My nose twitches as the smell of flowers and an abundance of clashing perfumes tickle at my senses. I chuckle as I remember the vision of yellow, white, frills, lace, fizzy perms and my Mam’s beautiful face in amongst, what seemed like, a sea of women. There was another little Bridesmaid, she was called Shelley, I bumped into her years later waiting for a bus to my Performing Arts course, she looked exactly the same, I pictured her in her Bridesmaid dress, she still wrinkled her nose as she giggled as she had done that day; we chatted about our shared experience, the day we were Bridesmaids together, what we were up to now and who we still knew; it gave way to that warm fuzzy feeling memories of good times evoke and burnt the flame of my wedding passion further.
I can feel the silk of the dress as I was slipped into it; it was the second time I had felt euphoric; the first time was on meeting my baby sister, another of my most vivid memories. As the floral crown was slipped over my curly hair I felt pretty, for a little girl it was how I imagined Princesses to feel all the time. As we all jostled out of the house in a sort of organized madness I remember catching a glint in the eye of my Aunty; which now I have the honour of seeing in each of my couple’s; the sparkle of love, happiness, excitement and the exhilarating expectation of marriage and a future together; it’s a flash into the soul of another; again it made me feel so alive. I couldn’t get enough of what was going on around me, something as I grew I realised was one of my greatest pleasures; seeing people completely lost in pure bliss. I absorbed it all. I can’t remember the journey to the church but walking down the aisle was highly significant, not because of the act or occasion but at the age 5 years old in that moment I evolved into the mindset of a ‘wedding planner’!
I couldn’t understand why my Aunty went first then the big Bridesmaids then us little ones, I couldn’t shake the feeling that it just wasn’t right, the Bride was the main show, where was the build-up, the suspense, the crashing of the symbols, surely we should go first, build the anticipation, then the Bride should enter to the exploding fireworks of her awaiting guests. As I walked down the aisle, I noticed the dress on the Bridesmaid I followed wasn’t sitting right which meant the zip wasn’t correct and this was caused by the way she was holding her flowers. I spent the entire time walking down the aisle focused on this tiny detail, I didn’t notice anything else, can’t remember anything else but I can still see this image walking down the aisle in front of me. I have thought about it all my life so as a wedding planner I completely orchestrate the descend, it is planned out to the minute, each individual is consulted and every tiny detail checked; I love the image that was captured of me in action.
I can’t remember the service, but I do remember the party, there was a huge food fight, one thing is for sure my education in how to throw a good party started with my family. I played weddings all the time following this day, dragging my sister in on the act and practicing my version of a ceremony, ensuring it was perfect. Fast forward another couple of years to a planning day for another family wedding, I was chastised for my ‘wedding planner’ in the making opinion, it was still the 80’s and children still were very much seen and not heard. I’ll not go into detail but I was told off and sent out into the garden not wanted; it taught me the need to be tactful but more importantly it was the first string in my bow with regards managing emotions and the expectations of a whole family when it comes to planning their most precious of days.
The memory of that first wedding is with me with each and everyone of my clients. All those feelings, all the emotions that were conjured, my senses completely engaged; they all rise with each individual wedding I have the joy and privilege to plan. My heart quite literally soars, my skin prickles and again I am completely alive. I pour all of this into the care and attention of every single one of my couples. I cry with every Bride/Groom I send down the aisle and the day I don’t, is the day the chapter must come to an end.