This Friday a Princess marries her love! The stuff of fairytales, every little girl's dream and something our nation revels in, another Royal wedding. Millions will watch in Windsor or on TV and millions will be spent on pomp, pageantry and security, not to mention cheery merchandise, as the Queen's grand-daughter Eugenie (pronounced 'use your knee') marries Jack Brooksbank.
But cut through all the 'who's the dress designer', 'what route will the carriage take', oh and the fact that Granny is actually the Queen of England, what strikes me most is that, when they exchange vows, Eugenie will be just like any other young girl getting married. She'll be excited yet nervous. She'll be confident yet feel shy. She'll be wanting to soak up every second but looking forward to downing tequila later with her pals. And, when the sun goes down, she'll also be like every bride and want to do it all over again.
A wedding day goes all to quickly for anyone. The next day, the euphoria subsides and the tired bride and her beau are desperate for anything to make the memories come quickly flooding back.
I'm pretty sure Eugenie is firmly family focussed and as such, hopefully she will have arranged for a number of special keepsakes from the day to remind her of everyone that was there to share her special day.
If not, here's my last minute advice to her:
It might sound obvious but photography is an essential part of capturing all those special moments, even the ones the bride and groom don't see on the day. Having a good formal photographer is a good idea to capture those 'framers' or 'top of the telly' images that will showcase the day in the most perfectly poised way. Yet a more informal cameraman, briefed to take more reportage or paparazzi style photography, can better capture the atmosphere and personality of the happy couple and their guests.
Print them out! Too often in this day and age of digital photography, we take hundreds of photographs but leave them on our camera or phone. Treat yourself by investing in stunning frames or innovative reproduction methods such as acrylic or canvas and actually surround yourself in everyday life with images of your happy day.
Whatever size your wedding guest list, its often a good idea to try to arrange an overall photograph of everyone attending. In my own wedding album, we have a photograph taken from the top floor of the venue, down to us all in the courtyard, and 15 years on, this is the one photo that we all linger on. Commenting on who have divorced, who has passed away, how much the young ones have grown and laughing about various outfits that were so on trend at the time, anyone who looks at this photo is filled with warm feelings and memories of all those who helped us celebrate. Such a powerful keepsake. When else will you ever have all those people, so important in your life, all together in one photo?
Another emotive way to remember everyone who celebrated with you is to have a signature, message or fingerprint keepsake. Signature frames are hugely popular and, allowing for short messages around a photo of the bride and groom, they are a more popular choice these days than simple guest books. Our Signature Bears are also growing in popularity for weddings and they are great talking points on the day as guests sign them and pass them round, as well as being attractive, cute keepsakes.
Fingerprint Trees created by guest placing fingers onto an ink pad then putting their print and signature on a tree design, are also growing in popularity. They too make attractive keepsakes when framed in the home and are a great, practical, yet stylish way to surround yourself with memories of your day, rather than books packed away in attic boxes.
Many couples like to thank their special attendants on the day and quite often jewellery is chosen as a gift for Bridesmaids, Best Men and Ushers. Jewellery is perfect as it can be a timeless and long lasting keepsake. Flowers are often chosen for Mothers, which is nice, but will only last and remind her of the day for a maximum of a fortnight at best. Any item personally engraved is so powerful as a gift denoting special feelings of love and thanks in an extremely personal way that will last a lifetime.
Sometimes couples also like to buy gifts for each other to remind them of the day and often leave them with the Maid of Honour or Best Man to give to their loved one on the morning of the wedding. These gifts too are much better is personalised is some way or another and mean so much for many years to come.
Of course, Memory Keepsake Boxes are a useful way of keeping memorable trinkets and paperwork from the day. Invitations, table settings, order of service, garters whatever it might be, a Keepsake Box can make a thoughtful gift for the happy couple and the perfect way to keep their important bits and bobs safely together. Opening these boxes years after the event, especially with children, is always a lovely experience and help stimulate happy memories.
And whether it's Erdem or Stella, Eugenie's dress will undoubtedly be the subject of huge attention, no doubt appearing in an exhibition somewhere in the future. But what if she wants to keep it close, keep it personal to remind her of the day. A Keepsake Cushion made from a wedding dress looks beautiful laid on the couples bed and is a wonderful way to remind the bride of her fabulous day in her princess dress. Cutting up a wedding dress may sound a little drastic, especially before the bride has even worn it, but after the event, once the confetti has long gone and only the stains on the train remain, arranging this keepsake is a better way to continue to enjoy the dress and the memories.
So Eugenie and Jack, wishing you health, happiness and meaningful memories of your special day in your life together and Mr & Mrs Brooksbank. May your day be fun, your memories huge and your hangovers tiny!