The fun never stops

It’s been a busy week for the royal couple. From launching a new RNLI lifeboat to heading back to the place where the first set eyes on each other, St Andrew’s University – William and Kate seemed to enjoy their first official events since their engagement in November.

And why shouldn’t they? I am a firm believer that when it comes to spending time with your other half – when it’s right – you’ll enjoy most things as long as you are together.

I remember a number of years ago – summer of 2008 in fact when Rahim and I were in Canada for what seemed like 2 weeks of family engagements. No need to buy a hat (no major engagements of that kind), but I did have the pleasure of meeting and staying with his two sisters for the first time. Both lovely ladies who did nothing but make me feel extremely welcome.

That was the same summer when R met my dad for the first time. My girl friends who have known me since childhood had a fantastic time trying to convince him that he was like the dad in Guess Who. Lol – he isn’t… but they had much fun with that one.

Meeting the dad of your girlfriend can never be fun (no matter how great he is – it’s the anticipation that’s a killer!) – and the fun didn’t stop there. My mum’s high school reunion meant that we didn’t have to do a tour of the Caribbean and US to meet my aunties (my mums many good friends) – they were all there in one place. It seemed that Toronto was the place where we were beginning to truly get to know each others families.

At the high school reunion: Guyana in Toronto!

[For the record, ‘get to know’ includes the varying warnings R got from aunties… along the lines of “if you dare hurt our girl” etc etc]

I’m not sure whether the Middleton’s (be it parents or family friends) had that chat with William – but I would love to think that someone didn’t give a hoot that he’s a prince – and just wanted to lay down the law!

Either way – many years down the line – this couple seems to be having a fantastic time together, and hopefully when they go to Canada on their first official engagement as a married couple – they’ll have as great a time as we did.

Mine! (Hands off…)

The wheels of the bus go round and round… all the way through Kate Middleton’s home village in Royal Berkshire.

Kate Middleton bus tour

And like the wedding invitations, there will be a stop at her favourite pub Bucklebury’s Old Boot Inn. Pub landlord John Haley is understandably chuffed at being invited and has said that his spot at Westminster Abbey is “one seat I won’t be giving up.”

Which led me to wonder… what would you not give up? For me, it would be was my hubby to be, family and friends. Yes, yes, sweet I know – but there MUST be something more interesting than that which I would hang onto tooth and nail.

What would it be for you?

1900 down… more to go?

With 1900 invitations out the door… Speculation about who is receiving the first round of Royal Wedding invitations can now trickle off as envelopes hit the floors of [an alleged] 50 members of Royal Family, 40 Foreign Royal family, 200 MPs and Diplos, 60 Govenors/Realm PMs and 80 Charity workers (numbers above as per the Twitter feed of Sky News’ Paul Harrison).

The invitation above truly is a golden ticket – and hopefully something the royal couple look at with pride in those (sometimes rare but) important moments when you give youself a minute to reflect… and get excited about the upcoming big day.

… And woohoo… R and I will have a few of those moments of our own tomorrow as we finish up addressing and sending the balance of our invites. This excitement does not just derive from the sheer relief we will feel to tick this off the list… but also, it is the knowledge that our invitations reflect us. How… you ask? Is there not a standard way to doing invites as per the classy Kate and Wills golden ticket above?

Actually, no – the world is your oyster when you have the design stylings of my bridesmaid and graphic designer extraordinaire, Lulu. No gold embossed writing and rafts of white space for us,  but instead colours, words, symbols and illustrations reflecting the vibe of this [not royal, but I like to think pretty special] couple!

Again, our timing coincides…

However, I’m guessing Ms Kate Middleton won’t be sitting with a caligraphy pen in hand for much of the morning tomorrow. That’ll be just me then!

The Golden Ticket

It’s like Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory all over again… a small amount of ‘Golden Tickets’ available to a select few. This time however, said tickets are invitations to what is commonly referred to as the wedding of the year. (You understand, that as a bride to be getting married on the same day, I cast my ‘wedding of the year’ vote in a different direction… but appreciate that I am in the vast minority!)

The first 1800 tickets have now been posted according to varying global media sources – and potential guests wait with baited breath to see if they will be invited to any or all of the events.

Golden tickets... but who for?

While millions worldwide can only dream of attending, spare a thought for Mexican teen Estibalis Chavez, 19. She is lacking a golden ticket for any Willy Wonka style rare occasions, which is just as well as she has been on hunger strike for 8 days. Why you ask? Surely the answer is obvious! This teen thinks that there is a direct correlation with her hunger, and the heart strings of the future King and Queen of England. She hopes the strike will mean that Wills and Kate will invite her to their wedding. The term ‘cutting off your nose to spite your face’ has never been truer. Nor has the term “WTF?!!”

Are you serious?!

If this works... there will be a wave of hunger strikes globally

I don’t have a crystal ball… but I am willing to wager my remaining wedding budget that this is not a hunger strike that will be taught in the history books. This is not Gandhi protesting the British occupation of India… or Suffragette Emmaline Pankhurst striking for the rights of womankind – this is ultimately a girl fighting for her right to party… albeit with the royals. Is she a Beastie Boy of a new generation?

So I imagine it will be a no to Ms Chavez – attempted revolution or otherwise… and at the time of writing, the media has started reporting that Fergie, the Duchess of York is planning to snub the Royal Wedding – even if she is invited… a real shame for William who apparently sees her as one of his favourite aunts.

Creating the ideal wedding guestlist is often complicated (at best) for any bride and groom – and it’s evident that while royalty may bring some [many] privileges, hard decisions are hard decisions whoever you are.

In the run up to our April 29th shindig, I am reminding myself of just that… with 2/3 invitations out and just a 1/3 to go – it’s important to remember that you can’t please all of the people all of the time. There’s a chance that someone along the way may be put out by not being invited. Our non royal budget means we can’t invite everyone we would like to attend… but are so honoured by family and friends who are gearing up to attend from Guyana, Barbados, Canada, Kenya and more… and who knows, if she decides to eating is a good idea – maybe a certain 19 year old guest from Mexico may gatecrash if she decides to venture to Windsor instead of Westminster. Knowing we wouldn’t have to pay £X per head for her meal means I may not entirely object!

A Right Royal Registry

In his article entitled, “Does Kate Middleton Want Charitable Donations Instead of a Blender” TIME Magazine’s William Lee Adams speculates about whether the royal couple will say ‘I do’ or ‘I don’t’ to charity donations for their wedding registry.

Is there any debate?! This, may be the shortest blog post ever as although never one to tell another couple what to do (ahem… and I probably should not start with the future King and Queen!)  as all weddings are so personal… I do feel in this instance that there is only one answer to that question… and I hope it’s yes!

Really… would the latest steamer from John Lewis do it? How about those fluffy Egyptian cotton towels? A new salt and pepper set? One would wager that one would already have a hook up of this kind already. Wouldn’t one?

Even for ‘commoner’ couples who have been together for any length of time – too many traditional presents for the home are likely to create clutter and chaos instead of celebration – hence the move in popularity towards monetary gifts (a debate for another time).

Which brings us to the happy couple. While I cannot proclaim to have been invited to their North Wales home – I am prepared to wager that traditional items won’t be gifts that will float this royal couples boat, so Kate, if you’re reading this, I have a suggestion for your consideration.

From the guests from far flong exotic places – perhaps don’t stop their desire to contribute a bespoke token from their countries. Trying to curb any insistence about that could result in more orgaisational stress –  not needed! It’s all about picking your battles as a bride.

Beyond that… I am sure one of the 20 charities Prince William is a patron for will appreciate any Registry charity donations love that can go their way.

To each their own, but I know in my planning so far, I have perceived anything that seems like a no brainer as a gift… as it removes the challenge of too much choice.

It seems like this matter of a royal registry may be Ms Middleton’s equivalent of a forgone conclusion. Now that in itself is a gift!

The Best Man on his best behaviour? That would be best

How was it that Prince Harry being named The Best Man was considered news today?! The ‘news’ ‘broke’ and was played every hour on Sky News and in some of the UK’s finest newspapers like The Guardian… however, surely the news regarding such an announcement would have been if he wasn’t chosen!

Wills is lucky. I can only imagine how hard it must be for some grooms to choose a best man – but I don’t imagine it was ever a debate for him. For Rahim (my wonderful other half) however, it hasn’t been that cut and dry. He too is lucky. Like me, he is blessed with some fantastic friends and the choice of his best man is of course his and his only… however, I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I’ve found it difficult to truly hold my tongue and avoid pointing him towards my preference of friend to be bestowed with this honour.

You can’t blame me though can you? What if his choice shares the same sense of humour as a young Prince Harry in 2005, and makes a speech clanger as shocking, inappropriate and unforgetable as Harry’s fancy dress costume decision some years ago. That… just won’t do!

While I am confident neither of us have any skeletons in the closet that will be unveiled on our [hopefully sunny] big day in Windsor – I can’t shake the feeling that someone elses more laissez-faire sense of humour could throw a spanner in the works.

This is not a ‘phone a friend’ / ‘ask the audience’ scenario where there is any kind of extra chance. No no no… the immortal words of a wedding speech remain forever – and that makes me very much a fan of the ‘safe’ option when it comes to who is given that honour.

I won’t let myself be pushy about this… I may be his future wife but his boys have been there way before I was in the picture and of all the many things involved in wedding planning – this really does have to be his decision. I’ll respect it. Of course I will… I undoubtedly respect him.

So that’s that. All will be fine and work out beatifully I am sure. The only thing to remember however is not to let the gorgeous dress, coiffed hair and classy heels fool you. I will take a flying leap across the head table if needed to stop an inappropriate speech in its tracks. Luckily… it won’t come to that!

Potential wedding speech saviour?!

Bridesmaids are a girls best friend…

Not sparkly in the ‘diamond’ sense of the word but with fantastic ones perhaps being just as rare – choice of bridesmaids is not a decision to be taken lightly.

I have been absolutely blessed to meet wonderful girls / women in every instance of my life… from v young childhood in Barbados to childhood/teenage years in Kenya and now – late teen / adult years in the UK – where both my universities and my varying jobs have blessed me with some of the wonderful women I know today.

For that very reason, picking my bridesmaids was easy, yet hard at the same time. I was absolutely spoiled for choice and am confident not only in the 6 awesome women who accepted the responsibility when asked… but to a small, extremely significant selection of additional girlfriends who are bridesmaids sans [without] official title – donating their time, humour and talent to the big day.

This weekend, the Sunday Mirror announced Kate’s lineup of best gals for her day, to include her sister as chief bridesmaid and 3 much younger soon to be relatives. Lady Louise Windsor, seven-year-old daughter of Prince Edward and Sophie is among the chosen few (yes… if this is Kate’s complete lineup… it is official, I will have a larger wedding party then the future queen!) – and is apparently thrilled at the prospect of this inclusion.

A bridesmaid fit for a princess

And who can blame her?! Congrats Lady Louise… this will surely be an occasion that you will remember forever.

I sincerely hope that the memories my bridesmaids have following the day, like diamonds – will too be forever. Not for me being a bridezilla (that will not be me!), but for their integral, individual contribution to the event set to launch a lifelong marriage.

Thanks in advance to my 6 bridesmaids and 2+ surrogate ones who absolutely have my back. The invitations you create, the themes you help me bring to life, the time you take to stuff envelopes and to research customs laws (how much is it to bring in rum from Guyana?!) and other tasks are greatly appreciated.

While like Kate, I would have loved to have some the younger girls in my family involved – I opted against it partly due to my need for real hands on support along the way (though I would have loved to have you!) -and sincerely hope that these grown up girls will be just as excited when the day comes.