I’ve just come back from Maratea, a cute little hillside town on the coast of Italy. Just down from the Amalfi coast. A gorgeous little spot that was chosen by Mr and Mrs J to celebrate their nuptials. The four day event was a fabulous way to hang out with a group of lovely people. I haven’t had that much fun since band camp, when this one time… Or school camp even when the boys… never mind. It was a LOT of fun.
I was chief bridesmaid, which I thought meant I’d have some sort of special tiara, or maybe even a sash for the occasion. That is Miss Universe apparently, and I have to say there were a few sideways glances when I paraded out after the ceremony in my very high cut one piece – apparently you don’t do that at weddings, that’s Miss Universe as well.
As chief of the bridesmaids, what you do have to do however, is risk public humiliation by speaking in front of a room full of people. To say I was nervous is the understatement of the year. I was having anxiety dreams about it three months ago! Two days before speech day, I was out by the pool, overlooking the ocean, trying to write out my speech long hand on some scrappy notepaper. Then I practised in front of my huge crowd of six people. I nearly threw up, developed an awful stutter and kept laughing slightly hysterically. NO, the preparation wasn’t going well. So I changed tack and told everyone at the wedding on a one on one level that I was beside myself with nerves and asked them to laugh loudly, even if bits weren’t funny.
The big day arrived. Mrs J will remember it as her wedding day, I will always remember it as the day of the speech. We had 5 hours to get ready, which you think would be ample time for us to put a bit of slap on and paint our toenails. You’d be surprised at how quickly our prep time disappeared. 40 minutes late we sashayed down the aisle, to the relief of all of those who were assembled, as menacing black clouds rolled in over the hills. I was given a bottle of Kalms, with the instruction to have 2. Over the course of the evening I chugged back the entire bottle, they were natural and must work psychologically. I was past the placebo effect, what I really needed was a valium. In the absence of ‘mothers little helper’s’ champagne would have to do the trick.
Many glasses of champagne later, a little before dinner dancing and then it was time to be seated for dinner. Speech time was drawing closer and my nerves were increasing by the second. Normally an alcohol lightweight, I was chugging back full glasses of red wine, with it seemingly having no effect whatsoever – well in my mind anyway. The bride did lean over at one point, shift my glass slightly away from me and suggested I eat more food and drink less wine. Apparently slurring isn’t looked upon favourably in speech making circles. The other speeches happened around me and I noted that the best man had props – he’d only brought in a toy trumpet that had to be blown at certain parts of the speech. I didn’t have any props! I was done for. The best man’s speech went on for 40 minutes, prolonging my agony.
The result is a little bit of an anti climax really. I got up, I spoke, people laughed and then I sat down. No public humiliation, lots of positive feedback and then on with a magical night of dancing under the stars. In light of my success I might take up public speaking for a living, conquering your fears and all that. I suspect I’d turn into a raging alcoholic however, so will stay on my chosen career path and give the bright lights and lecturn a miss for now.
Here’s a toast to the lovely bride and groom, thanks for a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful (there’s that stutter again) day, I had a fabulous time. mwah x