Once upon a time (a year or two ago), I was a single lady with a press pass for a wedding fair. I wrote a heap of anecdotes from the show into a Google doc but they never found a home in an article so here are five of them…
—– THE DRESS —–
“Oh, I’ve actually been a lot more naked than this for work.”
There is a pause while the dress fitter and I digest the latest thing I shouldn’t have said out loud during the wedding fair. I have to quickly explain about a waxing feature I did for a website once.
I am halfway into a traditional wedding dress. In case you’ve never had the joy of that experience, remember when Han Solo was flash-frozen in carbonite? I imagine it’s almost exactly like that except the carbonite has been replaced with silk, certain types of bra are out of the question and Darth Vader expects you to look radiant.
Then you add heels.
—– THE CAKE —–
“Are these real cakes?”
I am bending over next to a cake stand trying to do the culinary equivalent of looking up its skirt. I was lured over by the promise of icing before remembering (please do not ask how I know this) that demonstration cakes are often just polystyrene blocks covered in sugarpaste. The upskirt has yielded glimpse of neither sponge nor fruit and this is a massive concern.
I draw a complete blank at this point. What do I say to a cake seller who has no real cakes? How does one assess him?
“Is there marmalade?”
I have panicked. I remember using marmalade to help stick the marzipan to a Christmas cake once. Perhaps I should have asked about the marzipan situation instead.
He looks at me strangely.
I think I remember seeing some small hotel breakfast-sized portions of jam in one of the cafes around the periphery of the showspace. The man seems to be getting exasperated with me for some reason so I instinctively decide to try and help him.
“I think there’s some jam…”
He turns away from me decisively and smiles at a real bride-to-be.
—– THE CAR —–
“Basically, keep your legs together.”
A model is explaining to me how you get in and out of a car gracefully in a wedding dress. And by “gracefully” I mean “while not familiarising your wedding party with your waxing arrangements”.
Her advice reminds me of a thinly-veiled lecture our head of sixth form once gave during an assembly about the dangers of spending lunchtimes in cars with boys. It seems that no matter how old you get the advice stays the same.
Boys. Cars. Knees together. Well done, you are a lady.
“And make sure you sort of ease yourself in backwards.”
My mind is instantly somewhere entirely inappropriate.
—– THE CATCH —–
“Someone was saying earlier that a wedding fair is actually a good place to pick up a guy.”
This unexpected piece of information comes as I confess to a lady manning a decoration stand that I am not a bride-to-be.
I suppose it makes a perverse kind of sense – a man at a wedding fair is demonstrably not entirely wedding-phobic. However, despite this excellent point, I can’t help questioning the overall thrust of the logic. Would he not be there planning his big day with someone else?
But then a darker possibility presents itself. Maybe he comes to wedding fairs for fun. And by also being at a wedding fair he would think you were also a fan of wedding fairs. Then you would be expected to participate in his hobby, poring over issues of bridal magazines which thump onto the doormat month after month and attending a never-ending stream of wedding fairs? The future is suddenly awash with pastel-coloured Pinterest boards and opportunities to care about ribbon.
“I think perhaps this man would be a Not Very Good option.”
—– THE DRESS PT 2: THE DRESSENING—–
“Do you like it?”
I am standing in front of a mirror wearing a green slip dress over which the assistant has lowered a lace layer.
“It is beautiful.”
I’m not lying, it is beautiful, but I’m not having a transformative Moment, What has actually happened is I have accidentally immersed myself in wedding – swamped myself in it, in fact, as I’m a good foot shorter than the person for whom sample sizes are made.
After I head back into the changing room I try to picture myself at a wedding. A wedding involving this dress. Any wedding. Someone else’s wedding. A play in which there is a wedding. An island of weddings. With dinosaurs, like Jurassic Park.
This leads to a few minutes of pretending to be a combination of a T-rex and Godzilla until the assistant lady asks if “everything’s alright in there?”
I emerge wearing my jeans, tshirt and backpack.
“That one is £2,000,” says the assistant.
I do not blink.
This is because I am currently pretending to be a bride-to-be who doesn’t react to high prices. Certainly not by surprised blinking. But I realise that having committed to not blinking I am unsure when to start again. My eyeballs start to feel chilly and the assistant seems concerned.
I blink five times hoping that that will redress the balance.
I think it is time for me to leave.