Sunday, 1 May 2011

Brides Should Go Away!

Yesterday, after the excitement of the wedding day itself, the new Duke & Duchess of Cambridge strode across the lawns at Buckingham Palace to head off to their weekend retreat. I think not going straight on honeymoon is a wise move - the hiatus is an opportunity for things to calm down a bit. They can escape back to Anglesey for a while, William can go back to work and Kate can catch her breath too. But not going on honeymoon, they have more chance of spending their first few days of married life in peace!

But another few things that struck me yesterday were firstly, how does Kate look so amazing after such a long and tiring day? She never looks like she's wearing much make-up at all but she never had dark circles or dull skin either - just how is that possible? But enough of my personal jealousy and onto the point of this post - the going away...

'Going away' used to be something that happened at all weddings - the bride and groom would leave the party and head off for their first night wherever that might be. It was a chance for a big send-off, to leave the day on a high and for lots of brides, to get changed into another yummy outfit (and it also gives the groom a change to leave his suit behind which is so handy if it needs to be returned to a hire shop whilst he's away!).

However, over the years, 'going away' has gone out of fashion. Whether it's because so many weddings take place at venues with accommodation so instead of leaving in a blaze of glory, the newlyweds need only wander upstairs or might it be because of the "It's my party, I'm staying until the bitter end" feelings or the fact that now, wedding weekends are so much more popular? I don't know but I'm all for brides going away and here's why....

From experience at hundreds of weddings, I can tell you that the sight of your gorgeous wedding at the end of the night isn't one you want - all your carefully planned decorations are looking a little worse for wear (as are quite a few of the guests) and quite a few of your guests are likely to have left already if you hang on until the very end. Far better to leave when the place is still packed and let the last thing you see of your wedding be fabulous, not a picture with the guests that have stayed slumped in chairs, tired out!

And there are so many fabulous ways that you can 'go away' - choose a leaving song, get everyone dancing and then head off, give your guests torches or ribbon wands to wave as you go and ask everyone to get outside. I've seen brides & grooms leave to fireworks along the driveway, surprises as friends have hired them vintage cars to 'go away' in and lots of emotion packed into one place as all guests are there as the stars of the show leave.

And of course, the 'going away' gives brides the chance to pick out another fabulous outfit to leave in. Practically, this is a time when going shopping makes sense - if you're spending the night at a hotel before heading on honeymoon, think what's going to happen to your gown. You won't be taking it with you (well, I sincerely hope you won't be!) and then who's going to have to come and get it and take it home for you? Better to change before you leave and detail your Mum or a friend to be on dress duty for you.

I've spoken to lots of people about this in the last 24 hours - friends, brides, journalists and other wedding pros and it seems that 'going away' is something that lots of people miss and there are so many reasons to do it, all of which are better than the desire to spend another 15 minutes on the dancefloor! If you've planned your day, planned your entrance and planned the impact you want to have, plan to go as well. As the saying goes 'always leave them wanting more'...

Images - BBC, Alexia Admor

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