Fourteen weeks to go until the big day.  I've just posted an update over at Jocelyn & Ian giving a bit more information on what we have planned (and where there are gaps to be filled!).  I'm looking forward to it all, I think, but there's so very much to be organised.

Here's something I didn't mention over on the other site:  It transpires that there are some definite cultural differences between wedding traditions in the UK and the USA.  I'm starting to realise that American weddings are somehow more of a show, a presentation, than they are in Britain, and that the US wedding industry has found niches to fill that their British counterparts haven't yet dreamt of exploiting.  It's proving to be an interesting test of Jocelyn and my self's ability to communicate and compromise.

You want an example?  OK.  Whilst Jocelyn was recently home in the US, she sent me a link to the website of "a lady who hires out linens and chair bows for weddings".  I have no doubt that the Americans amongst you think this perfectly reasonable, but as far as I know (and I've checked with many friends), there are no equivalent service providers in the UK.  The table linen and colour of the chairs are, generally, a matter for the reception venue, and we would never dream of questioning their choice, let alone bringing in a third party to adorn the tables and chairs.  So, it took a little while for Jocelyn to successfully explain this concept to me.  She got her way, of course, but it does mean that her best friend Lisa is going to have to lug a dozen tablecloths and eighty-odd chair bows across the Atlantic and back again come April.

In other places, Joce has had to compromise.  She initially wanted to follow the American tradition of placing bells on the tables to be rung to wish good luck to the happy couple, but I pointed out that as this isn't the done thing here, it may confuse or even irritate the waiting staff and the band we have arranged to play during the meal!

There are other differences: 

  • In the USA, bridesmaids are adults and any young girls will be "flower girls".  In the UK, all the bride's helpers are bridesmaids (no flower girls).
  • In the USA there is usually a "ring-bearer" (which always sets me off sniggering and making poor LOTR jokes), whereas in the UK the rings are the duty of the best man (the misplacement of these is the source of much sit-com humour).
  • In the UK, guests bring their own confetti or rice to throw - in the USA it is provided.
  • In the USA, the invitations are sent out containing RSVP cards, wheras in the UK we expect our guests to get down to WHSmith and buy their own card to send back (or more likely these days, to drop an email).
  • In the UK, the cake is fruitcake, whilst in the USA it is what Jocelyn refers to as "regular" cake (though naturally we Brits think fruitcake perfectly "regular" - you get the picture).  We are hoping to utilise the layered nature of wedding cakes to satisfy tastes from both sides of the Atlantic.
  • In the UK, the signing of the wedding registry forms an integral part of the wedding service - the happy couple, vicar and witnesses retreat off to a side room to perform the signing whilst the congregation chat amongst themselves for 5 minutes!
In the greater scheme of things, I admit that these are very minor cultural differences - I watched a documentary on TV once about a British woman who married a Masai warrior, and I can't possibly contend that the gulf between California and Yorkshire is so wide, although sometimes it feels that way.  Suffice to say that it makes life interesting to decide to share one's life with someone from a different continent, and I'm pleased to say that with a great deal of open and honest communication, it's proving to be good fun, too.