Friday, November 09, 2012

critical mass questions

...meanwhile, back in London, and in real life, not in the swirling mist that makes up my imagination, there are a few things that have gone down here which are worthy of mention. But need some advice on desperately.

Firstly, you may remember that we live next door to someone who has Tourettes (true story). Obviously didn't know this before we invested in a property in London, and while it might be "time to think about putting our house on the market, honey," he lends a colourful, if not frightening, dimension to the building.
Anyway, it gets worse. Our shower exploded (oh, and so did the washing machine. And my iPod smashed. And the Brit had to pay tax in. Basically been raped moneywise at a time when we are meant to be saving for a fucking wedding), so we had a plumber come in and fix it.

Our neighbour cornered the plumber apparently, asking him to look at his kitchen tap. Plumber entered his house, only to emerge pale and stammering, after viewing what could only be loosely described as Satan's getaway London pad when he's not chilling in Hell HQ.

There was shit - literally shit - everywhere. Human effluent on some of the walls, piles of newspapers, rubbish. A scene from a horror film. He's a hoarder, pathologically collecting items.
While this is shocking and horrible, we are now faced with a moral dilemma. Do we alert the council? So that he can get the help he needs? Or will he know it's us and get really defensive and turn on us? (He swears at his door continually, and it's mostly obscene and scary.) I have no doubt he's desperately lonely, and yet comes across as someone who is generally sound when he's not screaming 'Cunt!' at his door. We've had perfectly normal conversations with him in passing.

What do we do. Report it? Mind our own business?

Secondly, I'm starting to finally enjoy organising our wedding.
That may or may not have something to do with the fact that we've found someone to marry us, and have a more solid idea of how it's going to look. It does feel like every corner we turn, we're bleeding cashola - paying deposits here, getting quotes there, wandering how we will pay for this, seemingly making life lasting decisions. ("Who remembers flowers anyway? Surely we should hire a jumping castle instead? That would be way more fun.")

So my questions are, as the critical mass of the Internet, who have attended a wedding or two in your lives, a short poll below. If you don't wish to leave a public comment, please do drop me a line at

1) Have you ever been to a wedding where you remember the flower arrangements on the tables? If you remember, what did they look like?

2) Think of the best wedding you've ever been to. What three factors made it the best?

3) Think of a memorably bad wedding you went to. (And then tell me their names so I can look them up on Facebook.)* What made it average?

4) Is it more important to have great food or great music? (If you had a choice)

5) Should the guy get a manicure? (Seriously. As seen on Mad Men, and the fingers of a guy here who just got married.)**

Then lastly, it's cold outside, it's been a long week, and I can't wait to head home to watch movies, have a glass of wine and snuggle on the couch. There are no questions here, this is done. And I can't wait. 

* Kidding....mostly...
** Completely joking about the last question.


Val said...

Report him. He will die in that mess and then his death will be on your conscience! Seriously he needs help and you are the help he needs.
Your wedding - without answering all the questions, let me just say that the best weddings I have ever attended over the years have been the most unpretentious, the ones where you feel like family and everyone is celebrating the love. Please don't overdo everything to be cool - no-one ever remembers the flowers and place settings (and they swipe them anyway). A happy couple, happy family, happy guests and you are made! Good food, good wine, good company. Simple!

Big Dog said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bron said...

Agree with Val, report him. Then least we all also get to watch them clean it up on Grimefighters.

Flowers - no, I don’t remember any flowers. I do remember when someone had large vases with gold fish instead though. I also remember doing flowers for friends who were saving money and I can’t even recall what they looked like.
best wedding - great venue, relaxed and noisy. they had a hog roast at midnight. and a great cover band playing cheese all night until the last person passed out. Most weddings I have enjoyed has been because of the music ( and drink of course) Ukulele bands, Mariachi bands, dad singing .. it’s all good.
worst wedding - Ipswich. that alone should be reason enough, however this wedding had no plan - too much free time to stand in heels and make idle chit chat with no drinks while photos happened. Tiring, boring.
Music always beats Food.
The guy should definitely get a manicure. And a pedicure.

Tara said...

AS someone who has recently (2months ago!) been there and done that, might I offer a few words of advice; which of course you are more than welcome to totally ignore.

1. Flowers are a rip-off unless you ave a VERY specific look & feel requirement. I ask my florist specifically for Casablanca lilies for my bouquet (cos my Mom & sister had them in their bouquets) and then told her to gather together whatever flower that were in-season in our colours. it was very casual and relaxed and no, no one will remember it.

2. The best wedding I've been to (other than our own cos nothing can top that!) was one where the bride & groom were totally unapologetic about doing it their way. From major things like a totally atheist commitment ceremony, and a bright red short dress, to smaller thing like re-using thesis drafts as confetti because it meant something TO THEM. And also speaking from my own experiences, you will catch flak from someone if you choose a jumping castle over flowers, but at the end of the day it is YOUR wedding and YOUR special day and the decisions you make should reflect you as a couple and should not be made simply to make other people happy/comfortable. This is probably the hardest thing about weddings, the unrealistic and sometimes surprising assumptions and preconceived ideas of others.

3. Stands to reason therefore that the most awful wedding I went to was 'canned' as in it felt as though it had all been picked out of a catalogue by the MIL & Mother of the bride and there was zero input from the couple other than showing up to say I Do.

4. Music = Food but if I HAD to choose, get a really good DJ. For the love of God, no wedding singers. Our priorities were Good music, good food and photographs. The dress, flowers and venue were all somewhat secondary.

5. One last piece of advice, sit down now and try to rough our a timeline. Think about how long it'll take for your make-up/hair/getting dressed etc. Then add at least 50% to that. If you want photos immediately after the ceremony, make sure that your guests have enough booze/snacks/activities to keep them entertained. (e.g. jumping castle!) or games or a photobooth or SOMETHING. Likewise if you abandon them with a ton of booze and nothing to occupy themselves with; expect them to be v. drunk and therefore possibly disruptive during speeches etc. It's a very personal choice but we loved having photos before the ceremony, just us two. it was very special and it meant that we were able to mingle with guests after the ceremony before dinner and we actually got a chance to see people who'd travelled specially that way. because you won't get a chance to see everyone.

6. Try not to stress about the small stuff. If' it's not going to make a material difference to your marriage in a year, let it go.

Sorry for the essay! Good luck and remember to HAVE FUN!! xx

Kate said...

Personally, the best weddings I’ve attended have been casual – no formal or cocktail wear (or heels) required. One of the most memorable has the be the one with the reception that lasted all day – from breakfast through to supper. The thinking was that many people had travelled a long way to be there and everyone deserved time to relax. It was great spending hours chatting to friends and picking at the continually stocked buffet. I don’t remember the flowers or the food from any of the events, but I do remember being bored stiff through some of the speeches – for everyone’s sake, keep them short and few.
Along with birthdays, your wedding is the one day you’re allowed to be completely selfish, so do it exactly the way you want. The jumping castle is a great idea (even if you were joking). Add a waterslide and an inflatable boxing ring – guests will be talking about your wedding for years.

Pebbles said...

1. I only remember my flowers, we had four small square vase-thingies, holding two tealights, and two gerbera daisies. Nobody else's flowers truly stand out. Candles are pretty enough.
2. The best weddings are the ones that were the least formal. The less stressed the couple are, the more they will enjoy it, and the more everyone else will enjoy it. Nobody has a riproaring time in a tux. Oh and serve light snacks and drinks (pretzels even) while you're getting the pics taken. People get hungry.
3. The worst? The food was not that great. There were no veggies or salads for instance. 8 people doing speeches? Yawn!
4.Food. Yes I realise all my points pretty much revolve around food. But all your guests will be eating, and only half of them will be dancing. Your friends will take care of a bad DJ. There's not much risk of that.
5. Meh. My groom even had a healing scab on his hand. I just hid it with my thumb. Besides, a good photographer will smooth out any nasties later. As long as his nails are trimmed and clean, and his cuticles not looking like the sahara, you're fine.

Anonymous said...

Hi Peas!

Flowers – over rated! Our venue Morrells (who also did the flowers) wanted to rip us a new one! I know my bouquet was white roses and that there were St. Josephs (they smell divine!!) in the chapel, and roses on the tables (very little) Which still looked great, because our tables were set with a lot of other things (so you didn’t miss the flowers) And remember to use the flowers all over! Move them from the chapel to the venue, don’t get flowers for both!

Food – Our guests STILL talk about our food!! We really had fabulous food!! And a lot! It wasn’t a buffet help yourself dinner – everything was served to our guest per plate. We also had freshly baked bread on the table for each guest as you walk into the dining room. They loved it!!

Music – Get a nice DJ with every single song out there! One that knows what the people want after a couple of songs.

Photos – Spend your extra money here! The day goes by so quick that you will only have photos left! It really is sad… I would give anything to have our wedding day over again! And yes I would spend more time with the guests than taking photos – so get a photographer that knows what he/she is doing so that you are not gone for ever and miss your day! Also know your best side ;)

Video – Try to get some video! Don’t necessarily go all out and spend 1000s on a video. Get someone to take bits of video throughout and combine it with a song. I came across a girl in Pretoria that did that (and yes it is shaky and all over the place) but you get the idea! I would have loved to have something like that!! Her link if you want to see the video.

Gifts – It can get expensive if you invite everyone and their cousins! I heard of a couple that bought lotto tickets and gave each guest a quick pick lotto ticket of R5. Put it in a nice envelope or tie a ribbon around it.
They should give you gifts!  Ask for money… but in your currency! He he (kidding)

Most of all enjoy the day!! It goes so quickly!!


Peas on Toast said...

Thank you all SO much for putting in the effort to give me some solid, truthful advice! You're all wedding wizards, and I've taken each and every bit to heart - even reread some of it so that it sinks in.

Much appreciated, it has really helped us carve out our ever-stretching budget. Eeek!


Kat said...

Sorry for the late reply:)
Report your neighbour it sounds like he really needs help.
On the wedding
You guys are getting married in the Midlands and the place lends itself to a casual country wedding. I have been to some amazing weddings there.

Flowers- get whats in season. Table arrangements... the smaller the better. Everyone I know hates the giant ones were you can't see across the table. My brother is getting married in April and is just having beaded candles for the centerpiece.
The best weddings are casual and fun. Just make sure people have something to do. Standing around for hours kills the vibe.
Worst wedding... well its a budget thing but I hate it when people are over the top cheap. Custard in a box and asking constantly for donations. Yuck. The worst wedding I went to was a dry one and they hadn't warned anyone. I doubt thats likely for you but it sucked. Oh and dont force people to play games!!!
You need decent music but an ipod play list will work if you can't afford a DJ. Nasty food will be something people remember. My BIL is getting married in October and they are just having a cocktail party. I have been to a couple of those and they work really well. Great for a budget and it gets rid of the table planning.
Enjoy and Good Luck:)

noodle said...

Flowers aren't everything, but they are pretty. Just make sure they aren't in the way of table conversation.

Best wedding ever. The couple didn't disappear for 3 hours for photo's whilst the guests starved to death. They had cocktails and popping candy while they spent 30 minutes taking pics. Then we moved to our tables and ate yummy cheesy, bready, antipasto type things while we listened to some speeches. While drinking free wine. Then the tables got packed away - and the DJ started playing awesome music. We basically discoed the night away. Running theme of all my favourite weddings. No formal sitting down area, and not enough chairs for everyone. Makes for better mingling.

Worst weddings? Being held ransom all day and night, when to eat, when to sit down, when to whatever. Awkward atmosphere, where everyone is stuck at their tables.

Food is important, but people will be just as happy with lots of simple food made well. It doesn't have to be fancy. That said, I have never had a tasty roast dinner at a wedding.

Good music is essential… I can recommend some great DJs in Durban - inbox me if you like.

Oh, and dude needs a manicure…