ORGANISING a wedding is a stressful business. Of course it’s lots of fun too, but nobody tells you just how stressful it’s going to be, with most of the pressure, if you’re honest about it, coming from yourself.

I call it The Fear.

Like most brides I have the usual fears, big and small. I worry that someone (me) is going to spill something sticky and dark down the front of my dress on the morning of the wedding. I worry that someone (me) is going to squish the cake transporting it to the venue. I worry that I’m going to trip going up the aisle and even worse I worry that Daddy Dunne won’t be able to catch me. I worry that I’m going to cry at the vows and then later again at the speeches despite telling myself fiercely that I’d rather die than make a show of myself in public.

Bigger things such as the hotel going out of business the night before the wedding, the car not showing up, the videographer denying all knowledge of our booking also worry me and I’m conscious of a constant low-grade worry at the back of my mind that there will be some problem with the paperwork, legal or religious, which will mean we won’t be able to get married at all.

The sing-song in the residents’ bar at the end of the night worries me. It’s a family tradition and I know there’s no point in even trying to deny that it might happen but that doesn’t stop me worrying. Not about me, I can hold a tune. But The Sister. Lord above, The Sister. She sounds like a drowned cat scraping its claws down a blackboard and worse, she doesn’t know the words. This is the same sister who thought it was ‘Put another Rasher on the 45’ instead of ‘Brimful of Asha’ for YEARS. Imagine THAT slightly merry at 2am. Now tell me I have nothing to worry about!

The band or the DJ ‘bantering’ with the crowd worries me. What if they don’t take me seriously? What if they ignore my wishes that they simply shut up and play the music and start doing their own bit of terrible, terrible stand-up into the mic? What if they force me – or Merciful Hour, The Sister – up on stage to sing with them?

I worry that Mammy Dunne won’t enjoy herself. She’ll want to, I know it, but she’s a worrier (I don’t lick it off the stones) and will spend the day making sure everyone else is having a good time, barely eating, never sitting down, not standing still for a minute. She won’t sleep the night before, maybe even the week before and by the end of the wedding day she’ll be mentally and physically exhausted. And there isn’t a thing I can do about it. I worry about that.

What if I don’t look like a blushing bride on the day? What if instead of looking my most beautiful self, I just look like myself? What if despite the hair, the make-up, the designer dress, the oh-so-pretty shoes and the I’m-getting-married ‘glow’ I just look like me? There was a thread on Weddings Online (the online wedding forum I have a pathological addiction to) a while ago discussing this very subject. It was something like ‘Are all brides beautiful on their big day’ and while most thought all brides had that something special on the day, some thought otherwise. ‘I’ve been to weddings where the bride looked terrible, not good at all’ one commenter said ‘so I just said oh it’s a lovely day, congratulations, I didn’t say anything at all about how she looked.’ I felt almost breathless reading it. What if that happens to me?! What if people congratulate me on how lovely the ceremony was, how nice the hotel is, how well the day is going? What if they say nothing at all about how I look? I’m a shallow article, I know, it’s not important at all, not the point of the day. But I still worry about it.

Overwhelmingly however, the thing I worry most about, the thing that gives me The Fear, is the thing I can’t control – what are ‘people’ going to think of our day. Will they compare it to other days? Will their little faces light up when they spot a mistake, something outside the norm, a bit of gossip they can relate back to their friends? Will they twitch in their seats desperate for the meal to be over so they can run to the toilets to run us down? I worry that our day is going to look cheap. I’ve never had to have ‘the best’ of everything. I don’t own anything designer, my clothes are strictly high street, most of the furniture in our new house is second-hand and it’s never mattered to me whether something cost €10 or €1,000, that’s never been on my radar. Until now. Like most couples, we’re on a budget and are looking for the best price on everything, even the tiny things like table scatters to dress up our tables and ribbon to decorate the wedding car. It’s sensible, I know, why pay twice as much for something when you can get almost the same item at half the price? But what if it looks cheap? What if all the prudent choices we’ve made, the careful price comparing, the hard slog finding what we want at a decent price is dismissed with a wave of a hand and a shrugged ‘well, it IS a recession I suppose’?

What if all the worry isn’t worth it?

I’m currently nursing a fine ulcer which is worrying itself slowly but surely into the lining of my stomach. It might help to hear some of your worries.



Image: Sharron Goodyear /