I am Some Bridey Love Mum

Ok so it’s a bit off topic maybe, but my Lovelies have asked for more Lifestyle content, and sure why not?

So tonight is Mammy’s advice to any Brideys in the audience.

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The Him and I got married on a Wednesday, over Christmas in 2009, which was (you might remember) the year of THAT BIG SNOW.  I’m sure it was a huge inconvenience to many.  I’m sure some people grumbled about our choice of date.

But here’s the thing about weddings, they’re a lot like parenting really.  Because everyone has an opinion (or ten) and if you try to please everyone, you’ll spin right through the whole event in a whirlwind of stress and worry.

So from an oul married woman to you, the lucky Lovely who is planning your big day, here are some of my words of wisdom…

  1. Firstly, you WILL get opinions thrown at you.  As usual, people usually don’t mean any harm or to interfere, and yet it can be exhausting.  There is NO WAY of avoiding this.  We had our whole wedding arranged and booked for 18 months before we even put a ring on.  We got engaged just 10 months before the wedding, announcing our engagement and the date and venue etc in one go… and even then, we had “You need to look at this venue/band/DJ etc.”   We didn’t.  We’d booked what WE wanted.  And it was perfect.

2.  Do what YOU want.  Don’t book a hotel just because that’s where your 4 sisters got married.  Don’t get married in a chapel/church/field because that’s what people expect.  Don’t have a video if you don’t want one.  Don’t wear heels if you don’t want to. Don’t have a top table if it terrifies you.  Don’t have a traditional first dance if you hate the thought of it.  Decide with your partner how YOU see your day, and WHERE you see it happening, and do it.  You’ll be married the same as everyone else whether you have fancy cars or 47 priests on an altar. Your Day, your way.  And yes you may have some people grumbling about how THEY would have expected it, or done it, but unless you’re marrying your great Aunt Jacinta, her opinion isn’t that important.

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3. Don’t get caught up in who can and can’t make it.  Whoever wants to be there and CAN be there, WILL be there.  Life gets in the way some times; illness, no babysitter, kids suddenly sick, weather… And while you might be genuinely sad that someone can’t make it, or doesn’t turn up, the wedding will go on without them and you’ll still be married to the love of your life.  The only people who NEED to be there, are you and your partner and whoever is celebrating the marriage for you! We had some guests who didn’t make it (or used the snow as an excuse not to make it!) and yet, the day went on and we’re still married.

4. Stick to your means:  Don’t put yourself in debt for 5 years for one day.  You don’t NEED most of the things you think you do. Why do you need the most expensive hotel?  Why do you need 6 Bridesmaids? Why do you need eleventy billion people there? If you WANT them there, go for it.  If you don’t, why are they invited? If (like us) you are both from huge families, don’t be afraid to set limits.  Only aunts and uncles, or first cousins only, or adults only… or only the family members you see and spend time with?  Imagine!  Imagine NOT inviting the cousin you haven’t seen since you were 4, or the aunty who you’re pretty sure despises you? Imagine!

If you are going to be paying for this wedding yourselves, YOU are in charge of what, when, how and who…(If getting help, of course the people who are helping to fund it should be respected and included in plans.) Yes of course, many of us want to keep everyone happy, especially our parents, but it is YOUR day and if you are going to have to leave out your team mates or workmates so some schoolmate of your Mum’s (who you don’t know) can come, it might be time to have a chat with Mum.  Surround yourselves with the people who mean the most to YOU.  (Both of our sets of parents hosted a table each at ours.  It worked perfectly for everyone. Just a suggestion!)

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5. Say NO.  “We want to get you a magician as a gift.”  “We’d love to get you doves as a gift.”   “I’d love you to wear my veil.”   ALL of these are kind gestures and if they suit you, go with them.  But if you hate magicians, don’t want to see any birds on the day (unless they’re on your plate) and don’t want to wear a veil, JUST SAY NO.  But I might offend someone… Are they you?  Are they your partner? Are they getting married? No? Well then, they’ll get over it BECAUSE IT’S NOT THEIR WEDDING DAY!

6. To Kid or not to Kid…  OOOOOOOOOh, yes.  I am going there.   You can probably guess where I’m going with this.  Do you WANT kids at your wedding?   Then THAT’s your answer.  If you have kids, chances are you’ll be glad of some company for them.  If you have nieces and nephews, you’ll most likely want them there.  I’m talking OTHER people’s kids.  It’s so difficult to draw a line here and you’ll always get “Well if the kids aren’t invited, we can’t go…”  And while this is sad, it’s not your problem.

If we are invited to a wedding and the kids are invited too, unless it’s their aunt or uncle, they ain’t going NOWHERE!  If we’re invited to a wedding and can’t get a babysitter, we don’t go.  Or one of us goes.  It makes us sad, but our kids come first.  If we are invited to a wedding without the kids, usually we highkick it up the road, delighted at the prospect of a date day!

Of course, every situation is different and there are things to consider, (eg. Your friend’s Baby is 5 weeks old and she’s breastfeeding tends to be a genuine enough one), but if it’s someone who has 3 kids and just wants to bring them, then NO.  This is hard to do.  It causes problems.  It did at ours.  But we stuck to our guns and only had the first cousins, the youngest of whom was 5.  Outside of that, nope.  Some people didn’t come.  We were sad.  We’re still married though.

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7.  Delegate:  If (like me) you are a complete Monica, this can be hard.  But rather than getting stressed about what needs to be done the week or day before, delegate.  I only had one grown up BM. Thankfully she is as OCD as I am, but she took charge of things like collecting dresses and flowers and such, allowing me to spend the day before my wedding relaxed, getting my nails done and going for tea with Himself.  I did the same the day before hers. She gave me a to-do list. I dood it.   And never mind the BMs, I bet you have a friend or two who aren’t in the wedding party but who’d love to help with stuff? Let them.  Don’t spend the week before your wedding so busy that you miss the excitement of it.

8. On the Day:  1.  Between courses at the meal, we went to 2 or 3 tables to say hi to our guests.  It only took a few minutes and it meant that we didn’t feel obliged to spend hours after the meal walking around tables.  2.  Every so often, we’d meet to take it all in. Just us. He’d nod across or I’d catch his eye and we’d go to the bar, on our own, have a drink and watch the fun unfolding around us.  If we hadn’t, we wouldn’t have seen each other all evening AND we’d have missed his cousins doing a human pyramid on the dancefloor!

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9.  Does it matter?  Problems will arise and issues will present themselves.  The people you THINK will be problematic or stressful, are usually the opposite.  No.  The drama Llama usually comes in the person you’d least expect.  No matter what arises, stop and ask yourself, Does it really matter?  Does it really matter if John Joe and Jacinta won’t come if Nancy is invited?  Does it really matter if your hotel tell you they have to change the layout of the room.  Does it really matter if your invitations have the wrong shade of mauve on the ribbons?  Does it really matter if Uncle Jenny doesn’t like the band?  NO.  So unless the problem is going to affect you and your Him or Her getting married and declaring your love to each other, feck it.  It doesn’t matter.

10.  Enjoy.   Yes it’s cliched and it’s easier said than done sometimes, but your wedding day REALLY should be THE best day EVER.  And it will be if you remember that table plans and flowers and bouquets and all that jazz are superfluous.  Only have them if you want them.  (Ditch the table pan.  I’ve been to so many weddings recently where bar the front row of tables of immediate family, the rest of the hall was free-for-all.  Worked great.    Allow other people to help, do what YOU want and remember what’s important to YOU.

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And if you disagree with anything I’ve written, that’s fine too.  My way obviously isn’t how EVERYONE would do it.  You don’t have to agree.  You do what is right for YOU.

I loved every second of being a Bride.  I loved every second of our wedding day.  I’d do it all over again in the morning… and I’d even marry the same Him.

If you are getting married, I wish you all the love in the world.  Enjoy every magical moment, however and wherever you’re doing it.

Mammy x

I am Stage Mum

“Where do you find the time?”

“How can you be bothered?”

“It can’t be worth that much work?”

Musicals.

I’ve been on stage my whole life, first as an Irish Dancer and for the past 14 years, as a member of Letterkenny Musical Society.  This year, we’re doing Dolly Parton’s 9 to 5 The Musical.

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The ultimate Girl Power Show!

Every September, we meet to begin our winter of rehearsals and of fun.  It begins as once a week, and by February each year, it’s 2 to 3 nights a week and Sundays.  At the minute, I’m eat, sleeping and breathing 9 to 5.  I’m having ideas at 3am that are sending our Producer into tailspins.  I’m dreaming about walking on stage with no bra on.  Last night, there was a Bull in the wings as the curtain was going up… and it wasn’t me.  My kids are singing the songs and my head is spinning.

I don’t KNOW how I find the time, but I do. In fairness, I rehearse when the girls are in bed. The Sundays are hard but it’s only for such as short time.  The LMS gets me through the winter. It’s a family.  It keeps me out of trouble.

Yes it’s a lot of work. Yes, it’s busy.  Yes it’s a lot on top of being a Mammy AND working 9 to 5… But it’s worth it.  Every member has a busy life.  We all have day jobs.  We all have families.  We all have commitments.  We all get stressed and tired coming up to the show, but then?  Get-in day arrives and the curtain gets ready  to rise, and we remember WHY we do it.

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Next Sunday, the side door to the stage is rolled up, sunlight flooding the stage.  Lighting rigs are hoisted at head height while the crew work on them.  The production team are creating the world for the characters to inhabit. This year it’s an office in America in the late 70s.
I’ll arrive in the middle of it at around 3pm and walk onto the stage. I’ll close my eyes.  The familiar voices of Hubby and the usual suspects calling instructions to each other, co-operating and working together will make me smile.  The sounds of the cordless drill…the smell of fresh wood and sawdust…the muffled conversation of the sound guys from the auditorium… it will be beautiful.

I’ll open my eyes and look at the chaotic scene in front of me, wondering (not for the first time in my theatre life), at how within just a few hours, this chaotic canvas will be transformed into a completely believable world into which our amazing cast will step.

 

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And then I’ll do what I do and get together with my colleagues to get our heads around the problems and challenges that only a production team can face, and by the time our cast arrive, we’ll be ready.

So how do I have the time?  How can I be bothered?  Is it worth it?

Yes.  Because this is ME.  Yes, I have children.
My girls are the most important thing in my world.
They are my show.
They are my production.
They are the choreographed chaos of which I’m most proud, and I’ll direct them through life with the same dedication and love that I put into the shows.

But they are also only a part of me.
Yes, I am their mummy, but I’m still me.
I’m still the drama queen that lives for the stage.
I still love the theatre.

I still love how pretending to be someone else can bring me to emotions that I’ve never experienced.  I love to entertain.  I love to make people laugh. I love that I can make people cry…
I still get goosebumps when I hear someone hitting that note.
I still get so carried away watching my closest friends on stage, that I cry because I absolutely believe the pain they are conveying.

And so, standing there next Sunday,  I won’t feel guilty.

Yes, it’ll be a week of rushing and balancing, but my girls are quite safe and well looked after (the dog is so responsible!), and they know that show week is important to Mammy and to Daddy.

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I’m playing Roz!

My girls will grow up in rehearsals for shows.
They’ll see the stress and work and time and effort that goes into this “hobby”.
They’ll learn confidence, respect, organisation skills.
They’ll experience the fruits of the long months of hard work, and they’ll learn that if you want something to happen, you must work to make it happen.
They might even perform on stage with me at some point.

Maybe they’ll work backstage with their Daddy.
Maybe they’ll hate it all.  That’s OK too.

But if I can’t continue up to be who I’ve always been, just because I’ve been blessed with two little darlings, I’m not doing anyone any favours am I?

I am after all, Still Stage Mum.

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9 to 5 opens on Tuesday 27th and runs until Saturday 3rd March. 

Tickets for Friday and Saturday are almost sold out, so if you fancy being swept away by a super cast, a hilarious script and beautiful music, get your tickets soon.

Buy tickets here