Alone at a Wedding

It’s official. My life has finally become a bad comedy for real.

Yesterday my friend got married. I was invited to the wedding sans a plus one, because I don’t have a significant other. But I knew that another couple from our old work place were invited, and I always got on with them very well, so I knew I would have someone to sit with, and talk to.

So when yesterday arrived, I got myself dolled up and drove an hour to the venue. I got there and gave my friend a hug (I’m not usually a hugger, but I made an exception because it was his wedding, duh). Then he said the words that made my heart sink. Our other work friends weren’t coming. I didn’t know a single other person besides the bride and groom. I was very much alone, in a room full of strangers. Aaaaand cue my social anxiety.

The ceremony was fine; short and sweet. The bride looked lovely in a simple, yet elegant dress of tulle and lace. The venue itself was a school camp, and despite my initial thoughts upon hearing that, it was actually quite a lovely spot. During all that talking, it was ok to sit there quietly, alone. Afterwards, whilst the bridal party did all the official stuff, another guest came to sit with me and we started chatting. As it turns out, her cousin actually runs the networking event that I attended a few months ago, and we had a laugh about a few remembered moments from the night in question. She was quite a character, and I enjoyed talking with her. But when it came time to go inside for dinner, she and her husband were seated far away from me, and I was put on a table with a bunch of middle aged strangers.

The meals were brought out – a serve yourself kind of deal, with roast meat and vegetables – but my stomach was churning and I was unable to eat. Which of course only served to draw unwanted attention, as people questioned why I wasn’t eating, and then cast sideways glances at me while they all conversed. I could read the looks on their faces, and practically hear them thinking how strange and rude I was. I attempted conversation with a few guests at my table, but none were particularly interested and I fell into sitting in silence.

My friend did come to chat to me a few times, but it was his wedding and he had many other people to talk to, so I didn’t want to monopolize his time. A couple of the groomsmen also came to chat a little, but for the most part I sat there very much alone, one of the few single people in a room of couples, and groups of friends. Am I glad I went, to celebrate the wedding for my friend? Yes. Did my solo presence stick out like the proverbial sore thumb? Absolutely. Was I acutely uncomfortable and anxious? You bet your ass I was.

Weddings are not traditionally events that one attends alone. They are a celebration of the very nature of being in a relationship. And there I was, sitting like the loser in every bad comedy you’ve ever watched. The only difference is that my actual life doesn’t come with that story arc and happy ending!

Honestly, it was a lovely wedding and I’m so very happy for my friend and his new bride. But I don’t think I’d be in a hurry to repeat the experience.

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Wedding Dress, Aug ’17

So, it’s late. Very late. But I just realised I never did a post about it, and I wanna talk about one of my favourite, and most challenging sewing projects. The Wedding Dress of August ’17.

When my friend Emily approached me towards the beginning of last year to make her wedding dress, I was thrilled, and flattered, and a little terrified. I’d worked on a wedding before, but it was alteration for an existing dress, and it was for the bridesmaid, not the bride. This request was a huge step up in commitment and level of difficulty, from anything I had attempted before. But, I enjoy a challenge and, like any good masochist, evidently love procrastination to the point of panic. So, we began by going shopping for the right fabric.

Now, Emily is not what you would call a traditional bride, and she in no way wanted the traditional marriage. No white dresses and tossing of the garter here! Instead, we went on the hunt for a forest green satin and when we found it, oh, what a perfect fabric it was. Weighty enough for the winter wedding, but not too heavy as to be stiff. So, with the fabric purchased, I set about making a toile for the bust.

The bust was the hardest part. It required many measurements, many adjustments, and about three different attempts at pattern making before I finally got it right. I was living in the city at the time, and my space and time were limited, so it was only when I moved back home that things really got into full swing. To flatter her figure, we opted for princess seams and a sweetheart neckline. Unfortunately I couldn’t find a matching green lining silk, so I lined it with black (which works with the black tulle overlay, don’t worry.) when I was happy with the shape, we had a quick fitting and moved on to the rest.

The next step involved attaching a waistband and adding the overlay to the completed bust pieces. This was also trickier than it should have been. Between the slippery lining fabric, slippery satin and almost weightless tulle, it became a battle to keep everything aligned properly to sew it all together. Boy, what a pain. I managed to get everything pinned together, but then had multiple sewing mishaps as one fabric slid away from the other, or the tulle pulled away from where it was pinned. To be honest, it was a bit of a nightmare. But I persisted, and finally got it all attached.

From there it was relatively simple. The skirt was just a large block of gathered fabric. I cut three large rectangle panels, attached them together at the side seams for three (yes, three) seams around the whole skirt, and then spent a heckin’ long time gathering all that fabric to the right circumference. The same thing with the lining, and again with the tulle. And voila, I had a dress. But of course, then I had trouble again with the waistband. The early measurements (triple checked!) turned out to be too wide, so I had to unpin the bodice from the waistband, adjust and reattach. But, after many more alterations, hemming, and final trimming of the tulle overlay, Emily ended up with a whimsical, beautiful, completely untraditional wedding gown. And, coupled with a flower crown and sparkly ruby slippers, she looked absolutely stunning. Plus, the wedding was like walking into an enchanted forest and without question, the prettiest wedding I’ve ever been to.

So that’s the tale of the August Wedding Dress. And on a quick side note, for those who are interested in all things pretty and magical, Emily happens to be the maker behind Le.ft_made, which is a Melbourne based small business she created to cater to all your witchy, whimsical needs. Pop on over to her Instagram if you wanna check her out.

Photo property of Vanessa De Santis
Photo property of Vanessa De Santis

Oh, What a Week!

I am never. Moving. Again. And by that I mean I am never moving house again, and also never moving my body again. After a full on couple of weeks, this last seven days in particular, I think I need a ten year sleep. Christ. Between moving house, and flying to and from Mackay for my sister’s wedding, I am thoroughly done.

The wedding weekend started off on a bad note, with a text message at 12:15 the morning we were supposed to fly out, informing me that our flight had been cancelled. When I managed to get that sorted, I discovered we were on a later flight, which essentially cut out the day. We arrived late in the afternoon, waited around a bit for an escort to where we needed to be, and then got to my sister’s house.

The last few days involved a lot of rushing around and stressing, in large part from the women in my family. This one was stressed because that one was stressed, and so the whole household was tense. I cooked dinner for 12 in between helping my grandmother with some salad prep and trying to keep everyone calm, especially my sister, who was a ball of stress and apology. I just have to give credit to her maid of honour, who was a big part of the reason why everything went as smoothly as it did, with her no-nonsense organisation skills and vaguely motherly command.

The wedding itself was short and simple, and then everyone was able to relax and drink and dance and enjoy the day. I sang a song, I made a friend (I know, I was just as surprised as you are!), I got mad at people touching my hair, and then the weekend was done and dad and I were on our way back to cold, wonderful Victoria. But things weren’t quite over for me yet.

Today I drove down to the city, to my new home. For the first time, it kind of hit me that I officially don’t live in my home town anymore. With only the remaining drama with my previous house left to really tie me to the town (a blog for another time), I have made the move. Today was largely spent unboxing, organising, unintentionally injuring myself, and the resigned sighs that came with realising I can’t hang curtains in my bedroom…at least not yet. I just have to hope that no creepy perverts live near us with a penchant for peering in uncovered windows. I’m in a position now where I have a billion things to arrange and sort out, and no more energy to worry about it. So for now, I’m giving up. I’m going to hunt down some food, sit on the couch and do absolutely nothing for the rest of the night. Solid plan, no?

Packing and Glitter

Just for a change, my life is currently very busy and somewhat stressful. Amidst preparing to move, trying desperately to get my affairs in order and still working full time, I’m glitterifying shoes for my sister’s wedding, organising my entire life into a series of boxes and trying really hard to hold my tongue.

The biggest thing in my life right now is the move. I’ve seen the unit my friend has already moved into, and the room I will take over when I get there officially after my sister’s wedding next weekend. It’s small, which isn’t a problem in itself. I’ve lived in small before. But I think it’s going to be too small for my bed and drawers, and that might pose a problem. Otherwise, the place is tidy enough…albeit entirely too close to other people for my liking, but what’s a misanthrope to do?

The actual move, I suspect, is going to be a nightmare. Between a three tonne truck, my little Yaris and my brother’s panel van, we’re gonna do it all in one big hit…and somehow have to move everything up a long and narrow driveway to the unit. Both my dad and I can be quote belligerent, so it will be up to my easygoing brother to keep us chill. I have to admit, I’m kind of already dreading it! Plus, as I found out with my last move, when one is a collector of books and various other smaller items, one discovers just how time consuming those items can be to pack and move, and then unpack and set out.

And then there’s the wedding. We fly out next Friday, come home on the Sunday. The shoes, fortunately, are now out of the way…and I think I’ll be finding blue glitter for months to come. My own fault. I knew I had to get blue shoes for the wedding, but kept putting it off until it was too late. My solution was to buy plain heels and cover them with so much glitter I could give a drag queen a run for her money. But I also have to find a way to get the backing track for the song I’ll be singing on a usb or a cd, so my sister and her soon to be husband can have their first dance. Plus, with all my clothes about to be packed away and sent to the city, I’m going to be living out of a suitcase for the next week. Great timing, universe.

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Add all of this to the fact that I still have no idea where I’ll be working once I get to the city (I have a job, I’m just not sure what store they’re putting me in) and the stress of having limited funds to do any of these things that, unfortunately, require having funds, and I think it’s safe to say that I’ll be glad when I’m settled in the new place and properly organised.

Anyway. Back to the packing, I suppose!

Never a Bridesmaid. Probably Never a Bride.

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Weddings are a big deal to some people. They go to all these lengths and spend all this money just to sign a bit of paper that says they’re officially ‘together’. Now, I have attended three weddings in the last month (two on the same day no less), plus hearing about countless others and I have to say, I’m not sure I understand what all the fuss is about.

I am not opposed to the idea of marriage. I just don’t really have a lot of faith in the whole institution. My parents are divorced, and I think their breakup is partly responsible for opening my eyes to the realities of marriage. Not all marriages end happily. Which isn’t to say that they all end badly, but I just figure, if you’re going to break up, it’s easier to do if you’re not bound by law. I realise how pessimistic that sounds, but hear me out.

When you talk about weddings, you say the couples get married because they were ‘so in love’, as if it’s what’s sets them apart from every other married couple in the history of ever. But, as my best friend and I discussed yesterday, no one ever gets married because they hate each other. Being in love doesn’t necessitate a marriage and there are plenty of people who love each other desperately and have never been married. I know two long term couples that don’t want to get married, and they don’t love each other less than any married couples I know. In the case of one friend, he doesn’t understand why he should get married out of obligation, when there are couples who want it way more than he does, who don’t get that right. Until gay marriage is legalised, he’s not going to marry his partner just because people think he should.

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Which brings me to my next point. Why do people get married? Sure, there’s that whole love thing, but I think there’s a part of it that directly relates to society’s (and family’s) expectation that they should. You get to a certain age, or you’ve been with your partner for a certain length of time, so what’s next? You get married and buy the house and have the kids. Because that’s just what people do. I know girls my own age who are already married and it feels so surreal because I still feel like a teenager half the time, certainly not mature enough for the lives these girls are carving out for themselves.

I guess at the crux of it, I just don’t really care all that much about marriage. No disrespect to the people who want the married life (if that’s what they really want) but I would prefer to live in sin. I don’t ever want children, and at this point, marriage is just something other people do. If it ever happens, fine. If it doesn’t, I would like to give a loud, resounding meh.