THE To Do list for our wedding stands at eight, single-spaced, typed, A4 pages. Size 12. Times New Roman.

Some of the items on the list are already done, some are half completed and some we haven’t even started on.

There’s a key though, just in case you’re confused. Anything in black text is done, dusted, organised, sorted. Anything in screaming red hasn’t been looked at and most certainly hasn’t been paid for.

At this moment in time we are  in the red.

“Eight pages? EIGHT?” Yer Man looked at me aghast and elbowed his way in to the laptop to have a look.

“How does church, venue, invitations, dress, suits, flowers, cake, car, band and DJ take up eight pages? Can you tell me that? How?”

Men, eh? They’re simple creatures aren’t they?

“See there where it says ‘church’,” I started gently “well it isn’t just ringing the church and booking the date you know, there’s a lot more to it than that.”

“What?” sez he, a bit belligerently now it has to be said.

I sighed. And took a deep breath.

“Well, I had to ring the Sacristan and ask if the church was free on our date. Then I had to go down to him to book it. Then I had to ring the priest and check that HE was free on that date and confirm everything with him. Then I had to book our pre-marriage course and then actually go on the bloody thing. Remember that weekend we spent in a stuffy parish centre hall?” he nods uncertainly “well that was the pre-marriage course, that all comes under ‘church’. This week I have to order both our baptism and confirmation certificates from our respective parishes and I’ve to organise  a letter of freedom, whatever the fuck that is, from my own parish. We have to confirm with the church singers and the organist to sing on the day and pick what hymns we’re having at the wedding, and we’ve to put together a Mass booklet as well. We’re poor so we’re doing that ourselves. We’ve to pick two readings, one from the Old Testament, one from the New AND a Gospel. Oh, we’re also writing our own Prayers of the Faithful. We’ve to decide if we want altar servers on the day and if so, source them ourselves. Because our wedding is a Thursday, the kids would have to have a couple of hours off school, so I’m not foreseeing any problems there. We’ve also to source our own Ministers of the Eucharist, cos we’re having a big crowd and we’ve to organise envelopes with a few bob in it for all of the above.”

His jaw slackened and he sat down in the chair.

“In a couple of weeks we’ve to meet with the priest and fill out some church paperwork to make sure we’re ready for marriage and also confirm with him that the readings we’ve chosen are ok. I also ordered unity candles off Ebay for the altar and had them delivered BUT they spelled your name wrong – why can’t you spell your name the normal way by the way? – so I returned them and got new ones sent out. I found two gorgeous vases for the flowers on the altar as well and bought some ribbon to put around the vases. Oh, pew ends. We’re poor so we’re making our own. I sourced material on Ebay and it arrived and is up in the spare room. This week I’m sneaking into the church and measuring up the pews to see how much material we need for each one. Oh and I bought a magazine with examples of how to make your own pew ends, here, page 42, what do you think?”

“They’re lovely,” he managed, stunned.

“Just before the wedding then we’ve to have a rehearsal with the bridal party so they know what they’re doing and where they’re to stand during the ceremony. I think that’s it.”

He sat, flattened back against the head rest, lost for words.

“Jesus,” he choked out “Jesus, I would have just booked the church for the date of the wedding and…”

“Turned up the morning of?” I ventured.

“Exactly!” he gasped “I can’t believe this….”

He trailed off suddenly and lifted a shaking hand to the screen, pointing desperately to The List, a lightbulb going off over his head.

“Do you see there, there, where it says ‘venue’,” he started haltingly, “that doesn’t just mean ‘book the hotel for the day of the wedding’ does it?”

I shook my head sadly. And took a deep breath.