As a survey shows couples are choosing to downsize their nuptials: Are smaller weddings better than big bashes?
There’s a saying that today is the first day of the rest of your life. On no other day (apart from the day you were born, and you had no control over that) is this as true as on your wedding day.
It the first day of the rest of your life as a spouse, possibly a parent, and a member of another family. On just about every level, it ranks up there as one of the most important days of your life.
So why treat it like any other?
I can’t bear small weddings. They just don’t feel like an event. They feel like a dinner or a lunch party with speeches and a few vows thrown in. Not only are they unremarkable, but they’re downright dull. If you are a friend of the bride or groom at a small wedding, you’re bound to be stuck next to some ghastly relation who wants to talk about their irritable bowel syndrome. This is of course one of the many major advantages of the big wedding. You can dilute all your unpleasant guests among the people you really like and truly want to share your big day with.
At a big wedding all of life is there from small children to the aged. It’s a rare chance (especially in England) for relations of all ages to come together, something that hardly ever happens. There are those who argue that a small wedding is cosier, somehow more personal. I don’t agree, give me a crowd every time. As Jordan Baker puts it in Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby: ‘I like large parties – they’re so intimate.’
What I wanted when I got married was a BIG dress and a BIG wedding. Don’t forget, although I was married almost two decades after Charles and Lady Di tied the knot, theirs was THE wedding of the century and what every girl dreamt of. We all wanted to glide down the aisle in a cloud of white past pews packed with admiring family and friends. There was going to be nothing understated about my wedding because I wanted the day to stand out forever more as one of the most memorable of my life.
Your wedding day is a one-off (or at least that’s the plan) so why not make it as big as possible? At our wedding I loved flitting from people I had known at school to colleagues and relatives I hadn’t seen for at least ten years and had actually forgotten how much I liked. It was a fabulous opportunity to celebrate not only the married life ahead of me but the life I had already lived up until that moment.
The fact that so many people showed made me feel special, and isn’t that what a bride is supposed to feel? The fact that we managed to tick almost everything off our present list was a bonus too.
Helena Frith Powell was born in Sweden to a Swedish mother and Italian father, but grew up mainly in England. She is the author of eleven books, translated into several languages including Chinese and Russian. She wrote the French Mistress column The Sunday Times about life in France for several years. She is a regular contributor to the Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday, The Times, Daily Telegraph, Tatler Magazine and Harper’s Bazaar.
Helena has been the editor of four magazines, including M Magazine, a supplement for the Abu Dhabi based National Newspaper and FIVE, a high-end fashion glossy, also published in Abu Dhabi. Helena was also editor in chief of 360 Life, a quarterly glossy magazine published with the Sports 360 Newspaper in Dubai, part of the Chalhoub Group.
Helena contributes regularly to UK-based newspapers and magazines and holds a Masters in Creative Writing from the University of Cambridge. Helena is working on a thriller called Thin Ice that will be published in 2021 as well as a novel about the relationship between Virginia Woolf and Katherine Mansfield called Sense of an Echo.
Her latest non-fiction work Smart Women Don’t Get Wrinkles came out in hardback in 2016 and in paperback in April 2018.
Helena, who was educated at Durham University, lives in the Languedoc region of France with her husband Rupert and their three children.
More France Please, we’re British; Gibson Square 2004
Two Lipsticks and a Lover 2005; Gibson Square (hardback)
All You Need to be Impossibly French; (US version of above) Penguin 2006
Two Lipsticks and a Lover; Arrow Books (paperback) 2007
Ciao Bella Gibson Square; (hardback) 2006
Ciao Bella Gibson Square; (paperback) 2007
So Chic! (French version of Two Lipsticks) Leduc Editions 2008 (also translated into Chinese, Russian and Thai)
More, More France; Gibson Square 2009
To Hell in High Heels; Arrow Books 2009 (also translated into Polish)
The Viva Mayr Diet; Harper Collins 2009
Love in a Warm Climate; Gibson Square 2011
The Ex-Factor; Gibson Square 2013
Smart Women Don’t Get Wrinkles; Gibson Square 2016
The Arnolfini Marriage; Amazon Kindle December 2016
Smart Women Don’t Get Wrinkles (paperback); Gibson Square spring 2018
The Longest Night; Gibson Square spring 2019