1. My outfit
Before children: Weeks before the wedding I would try on several different outfits and if I couldn’t find anything appropriate, I would go on one or more shopping trips to a big city, complete with leisurely coffee breaks. Ensure that my accessories match, buying new ones if necessary.
After children: The night before the wedding realise that, ‘oh sh*t, nothing fits me any more!’ Panic trip into our local town while S does T’s bedtime routine. Grab several dresses in Sainsbury’s and pray that one of them fits.
2. Getting ready
Before children: The morning of the wedding would be spent painting my nails, washing, conditioning and styling my hair, perfecting my makeup.
After children: Quickly shave my legs and pits, run a brush through my hair and think ‘f*ck it, that’ll do.’ Make up goes on the car while I try not to stab myself in the eye with my mascara.
3. The ceremony
Before children: Enjoy the romance and emotion of the day. Take in all the details of the decoration, admire the gorgeous outfits and try not to cry too much during the vows.
After children: Try to contain a wriggly toddler long enough to see the bride come in then miss the rest of the ceremony after he starts screaming.
Before children: Not required.
After children: The massively over-tired toddler desperately needs a nap before he goes into full-on meltdown mode. Sneak off to our hotel room and sit playing on my phone while he snoozes away an hour and a half.
5. The meal
Before children: Have several glasses of wine and tipsily enjoy over-dinner banter with the rest of the table, appreciate the carefully thought out menu and table decorations.
After children: Shovel in my food while helping the toddler to eat his. Try to stop him knocking over glasses, stabbing himself with cutlery and touching the food plates that are hotter than the surface of the sun. Have half a glass of wine and a couple of sips of champagne with the speeches because I will need my wits about me later to stop the toddler kamikaze-ing the flower arrangements.
Before children: Drunkenly sing along to all the cheesy classics, busting out my finest moves on the dance floor and continue drinking and laughing until the wee small hours.
After children: Watch the first dance then sit with a half-asleep boy cuddled up on me before heading up to bed at 8.30pm.
7. The morning after
Before children: Huge fry up to cure my hangover. Cringe at stories of my antics from the night before.
After children: No hangover, yippee! And no embarrassing stories (well, not of my behaviour anyway).
I’m starting to see the appeal of ‘no kids’ weddings, but he does look pretty cute in a suit…