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My Best Friend's Wedding

Last updated September 11th, 2014

By Susie Butchers
I was told that in your mid-twenties, like a snowball effect, all your friends start to get married. As predicted, my main social activities and holidays over the last few years have been almost entirely taken over with engagement parties, weddings and hen-dos. Thankfully, I love weddings.
These celebrations have taken me all over the country and abroad and have spanned all weather conditions from two feet of snow to the hottest day of the year this year.
As a serial bridesmaid I have seen the joys (and stresses) of planning the big day. Most recently my best friend Katie tied the knot in a beautiful South of France wedding – as her other half is Indian the week-long celebrations featured a series of Indian festivities as well as a traditional British ceremony. We danced and sang at the ‘Ladies Sangeet’ an evening of folk songs dedicated to marriage and the bride. On the night before the wedding we donned saris and decorated ourselves with henna and wedding bracelets before taking part in a traditional blessing of the couple. This wedding was an amazing example of how to plan a highly complex week-long event co-ordinating 120 guests travelling from all over the world, and make it look easy.
I have long had my best friend down as the most organised person I know, but now she wins the award for the best (unofficial) wedding planner I know. Soon after the engagement she set out a huge and complex ‘gantt chart’ used by project managers to plan and track tasks.  Every single action point was mapped out, from choosing table decorations to writing the wedding vows. I was initially sceptical- I’m a big fan of lists but this was on a whole new level. However, as the wedding drew nearer, I could see how this chart was fundamental to her planning and gave my friend constant reassurance that things were on track. I honestly think this prevented a lot of sleepless nights!
Another great approach was to delegate. Katie managed to get a great balance between having a firm hold on the overall planning schedule while also relinquishing responsibility for some of the smaller details. This allowed family and friends to add lovely personal touches to the wedding and feel they really had a part to play. For the outside ceremony the brides’ sisters decorated the trees with beautiful silver and white wooden hearts (a surprise for her) and a friend was entrusted with sourcing some flowers from a local florist in the small French town where the wedding was held. Another friend acted as celebrant for the wedding ceremony, taking them through their marriage vows, and even the photography was left to family who were happy to contribute by capturing the special moments.
Not a natural details person, Katie’s strength lay in organising the logistics. Working out how to accommodate 120 guests in family and friend units for their week-long stay was like the most challenging table plan known to man. But she anticipated potential problems like a pro, organising a welcome package for each house with milk, bread, and provisions. She also drew up a local information sheet with details of the week’s schedule complete with dress codes and timings. This way she wasn’t fielding questions all week and all the guests could plan their own time.
To my horror, for my contribution as Maid of Honour I was asked to make a speech. I’ve always felt one of the major perks of being a woman is not having to make a speech at a wedding. However, who could deny their best friend such a request on their wedding day? So, after a few glasses of champagne I braved the microphone and to be honest, I enjoyed it. As I started to recount the story of our friendship I relaxed and even got some laughs. This was a really special week full of lots of new experiences…I’m looking forward to what the next wedding holds.

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