Archive for July, 2012

Like millions of others around the world last night, I tuned in to watch the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games. It was the first time in months that I’ve sat in front of the TV for four solid hours, but every second was worth it. From the a cappella opening lines of Jerusalem to the beautiful convergence of 204 flaming copper petals to create the Olympic cauldron, the final result of Danny Boyle’s creative vision was, in a word, spectacular.

The Ceremony truly encompassed the best of our ‘Isles of Wonder’, with a very British sense of humour. Whoever came up with the idea of Mr Bean doing Chariots of Fire deserves an Olympic medal for comedic genius. The industrial chimney stacks rising into the stadium gave an awesome sense of anticipation and Her Majesty greeting James Bond was another highlight.

The only aspects of the Ceremony that didn’t really do it for me were the text messages that kept popping up during the section celebrating British music: I’d have rather just listened and enjoyed the dance routines. Having said that, it was undoubtedly an event ‘for everyone’ and I can only jealously imagine what the atmosphere in London must have been like.

I’m not sure it’s within my lexical ability to satisfactorily describe the scale and spectacle of the five Olympic rings joining above the Stadium and showering golden fire towards the floor below, but suffice to say that if you did miss the Ceremony last night, you need to get on iPlayer now. I doubt there’ll ever be another occasion that sees Lord Voldemort, Mary Poppins and Isambard Kingdom Brunel in the same place, after all.

Hats off to everyone involved, from the huge cast to the masters of technical wizardry behind the scenes. ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’ has well and truly begun and Great Britain has done itself proud.

If somebody offered me £12,000 for a wedding, I would be delighted. If the condition of this was that my fiancé had to arrange the whole event alone and that our special day would be filmed as part of a TV series, namely Don’t Tell The Bride, I might be less inclined to accept the offer. If £25 grand was on the cards but this was in return for sharing my wedding with an unknown couple and having to compromise on several aspects, right down to the dress, I would tell whoever suggested it they were mad.

It seems not everyone would take my stance, however, as this is the premise in Battle of the Brides, a new reality series currently airing on Sky Living. Two brides-to-be who have never met are offered £25,000 towards a shared wedding day, provided they can agree on whose dress they will both wear, whose transport they will both use, and whose theme and entertainment will shape the reception. Cue tears, tantrums and tension.

Call me old-fashioned, but surely the most important thing about a wedding is that it’s the day you commit to spending the rest of your life with the person you love? Yes, it would be fantastic if you could also afford to put on a gourmet banquet, arrive in style and wear the dress of your dreams, but these aspects often seem to overshadow the marriage itself in series such as Battle of the Brides. Now I’m not saying I wouldn’t like to have such wonderful things, I just wouldn’t want to broadcast my day to a percentage of the TV-watching public in order to get them.

In the event of ever getting married (not even remotely on the cards, by the way!), I’d really prefer that my husband-to-be and I planned the day together and took as much time as we needed, even if it did mean saving every penny for a few years. Perhaps I’m naïve about the financial realities of a wedding, but I also feel that in a time of economic difficulty for Britain, some of these programmes are causing engaged couples more stress than is necessary due to their desperation to tie the knot. If you love each other that much then why not wait – then you won’t have to share what you hoped would be a full on biker-themed wedding with someone who prefers a classy Caribbean twist.

As for Don’t Tell The Bride…well, I freely admit that I do tune in to watch it now and then. For some reason it doesn’t infuriate me as much as Battle of the Brides did, possibly because there’s not an underlying determination to eradicate someone else’s desired wedding theme. Nevertheless, it would take a lot of pre-briefing and nerves of steel before I ever let my hypothetical fiancé take the reins alone for planning our wedding…