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  1. Choosing the Right Bridesmaids and Groomsmen

    When you get engaged the first thing everyone wants to see is the ring and you yourself as the new Bride-to-Be can’t stop looking at it. Making it catch the light so that it sparkles, holding your hand up to your face so that just happens to be in the eye line of your colleague sitting opposite you.  To be honest that novelty doesn’t wear off, I still do that with my ring and I’ve been married eight years.

     However, once that ‘bling’ moment has died down (a little), you start to think about planning your wedding, and I’m not going to lie, it’s an immense thing to do and can be a little overwhelming, so it’s only natural that you’ll want to enlist help in the form of bridesmaids and groomsmen.

    Bride and Bridesmaids

     This in itself can be a huge task of who to choose and how many to have.  You might notice that friends suddenly start being extra nice to you, bringing you a nice cupcake to have with your coffee, or turning up on your doorstep with a pile of wedding magazines.  Being a bridesmaid is a huge honour and not a role that should be taken lightly. 

     What you need to remember and should be at the forefront of your mind when choosing who to have is that they do ultimately have jobs to do on the day. They’re not your ‘maids’ for nothing.  They will need to help get you to the toilet, keep your make-up topped up, ensure you’ve got a drink in your hand, keep an eye on Aunt Mavis, keep the children away from the champagne etc. 

     Therefore, what you don’t need is someone who is going to be worrying more about the size of their bum in their own dress than whether or not yours it tucked into your knickers! There are no hard and fast rules to dictate who you should have and how many you should have.  It used to be traditional that the Maid of Honour was someone who was already married, but that isn’t so today.


     When I was choosing my bridesmaids, I did have a list with about 20 names on it, and I had to whittle that down to two, actually I had to whittle it down to one, because I had already made a promise to one of the girls when I was 15 years old that she would be my bridesmaid, she was only three at the time, but I stuck to my word.  She is the only person I’ve known all my life and watched her grow from a baby to a beautiful young woman and it was a real honour to have her as my bridesmaid, she came to all my dress fittings, was honest in her opinion of how they looked and drove me to all the places I needed to go to get wedding bits, she was brilliant and did everything without question. 

    Bride and Bridesmaids

     How did I choose the remaining one?  Well, I am very lucky to be blessed with lots of friends and two sisters who I am very close to.  However, as much as I wanted to have my sisters, I couldn’t stretch to four bridesmaids, so I gave them both other roles, one was a witness and the other did a reading, so they still had significant roles on my big day and they were both happy with that.  I decided I wanted a friend that would be reliable, that I knew could help me with the planning and would be honest with me and tell me if I was being a Bridezilla, and one name stood out and she did an amazing job. She spent hours finding venues and whittling them down, booking viewings for us, finding suppliers. She really went above and beyond and that’s why she got promoted to Maid of Honour.  However, in all honesty this is what you should expect from your bridesmaids, they are there to help you, so make use of them!


     Get your bridesmaids involved in the early stages of the planning and make it clear at the start what you expect from them.  If they don’t feel that they can fulfil that role then get them to tell you early rather than spending a lot of money on dress, shoes, and accessories only to be let down at the last minute.

     Now I am not a man, but I am sure I can shed some light on choosing the right groomsmen! Most men will have chosen their best man when they were about five and probably won’t have changed their mind much over the years.  Good Groomsmen will basically run the wedding, so getting the right people is essential.  If you are not having a Toastmaster then put your Best Man to good use.  He can be used to get everyone together for photographs, make sure everyone is on the right transport, people are seated for the wedding breakfast, make the announcements etc.  If you are having Ushers, make sure that they are OK with talking to the guests, getting them to their seats and generally keeping an eye on the guests throughout the day.

    Groom and Groomsmen

     My husband’s best man was a friend of his of 20 or so years. However, I didn’t really know him so it was a big issue for me having someone I didn’t know being in charge of my big day.  However, he did do a great job and everything ran like clockwork and to time.  He was there doing his job right up to getting the last person on the bus back to the hotel.  My ushers got everyone seated quickly in the church so that we could start on time and they helped group people for photos etc.  I know that if we had gone with my choice of a best man instead of my husbands it would have been a different story.

    Groom and Best Man 

    Make sure you and your partner talk through who you would like to have for all roles and make sure you both comfortable with those decisions.  You don’t want any feuding or uncomfortable situations on the day.  If people you’ve chosen don’t know each other, try to get them all together a few times prior to the wedding so that they’ve got the chance to get to know each other and understand what’s expected of them as a whole.

    Groom and Best Man

    I leave you with this last piece of advice – Don’t ever have someone just because you’ve been told to, it should be your decision and no one else’s, it’s your day!

  2. Good morning YOs, yet another Friday is upon us. I hope you’ve had a good week so far.  This week I bring you a blog about dating.  My sister and I were recently reminiscing about our dating disasters and we discovered that I really did have quite a few.  Before the time of Tinder, Plenty of Fish and other dating sites you had to physically get out there and meet people and it was a veritable mine field as this blog will tell you.



    When I was 15 I was working on the tills at a local supermarket on a weekend. Every Saturday just before closing time a good-looking boy would come to my till with his purchases, it was always something like a packet of biscuits or crisps.

    He would smile nicely at me on his way out.  After a few weeks he plucked up the courage to say ‘hello’ after a few more weeks we were having little conversations.  One Saturday he asked if he could walk me to my bus stop, such a romantic gesture.  At the bus stop we had our first kiss.  The following week when he came in he handed me a wrapped package, he’d made me a mixed tape (remember those!) of his favourite songs and his telephone number. 

    When I got home, I was so excited I told my dad about the gift.  Jokingly he said, “Let me see that phone number.”  I showed him and immediately the smile left his face and he looked at me and said, “Is this a joke?” “No daddy, I met him at the shop.”  He said, “This is my work telephone number, tell me his name.”   I told my dad his name to which he replied, “Right that’s it.” 

    At the time, my dad was working at a youth detention centre in town.  The boy in question was an inmate there, who thought he was Rambo and occasionally went on the rampage.  He was allowed out on a Saturday for day release, but needless to say, I never saw him again after that.

    Fred Foster

    Soap Star

    I used to drink at the local bar with everyone else on a Friday night. The pub was always packed, and we always had a good night.  One night, I remember there being a bit of a commotion and in walked Ross Kemp (he lived locally in the area at the time). 

    My cousin who was also drinking in the pub was chatting with him and introduced him to my and my friends.  I got chatting to Ross and he seemed nice.  At the end of the night, his body guard asked for my number, so Ross could call me.

    A few days later the phone rang, my dad answered it (there’s a recurring theme here).  Ross Kemp’s body guard had called asking me out on a date, not for Ross but for himself.  My dad was horrified and put the phone down on him. 

     Fred Foster

    The Penguin

    When I used to work in the public sector, my department put me in charge of organising all the events. One year I was organising the Christmas party and I was on the phone to the event organiser for the venue a lot, confirming numbers, menus, drinks etc.  We had good banter on the phone and he seemed to be a nice guy.  He asked me if I’d like to go for a drink with him and I thought why not.  He asked when I was free and said he was free that night.  Although put on the spot, I thought, why not, you’ve got to be in it to win it.  The department head had overhead my conversation and came bounding over like a little puppy.  Oh, you’re going on a blind date, how exciting! She then proceeded to tell most of the department about my blind date.  No pressure then.

    When we were discussing on the phone where to meet, he asked me what I look like.  I said, short, with dark hair and olive skin.  He described himself as 6ft, slim and Mediterranean looking. One of my friends in the department said he would be my get out clause if the date wasn’t going well and would go out nearby to make sure I was safe and there if I needed him.

    I went to Leicester Square to meet the man of the hour and my phone rang. “I’m here,” he said, “where are you?”  I told him where I was waiting, and he said he’s stay on the phone to make sure we met up.  I scanned the area looking for a tall, Mediterranean looking man.  I looked and looked, I saw a man coming towards me on a phone, but he was too short. He then said, “I think I can see you, yes, I’m right in front of you.” I looked up and saw a man on the phone.  The only way I can describe him was that he looked exactly like Danny DeVito playing the Penguin in Batman.  He was short, around 5ft 4inches, very pasty and not quite as slender and he had suggested.

    Anyway, I couldn’t flee as he had spotted me.  I did the right thing and went to the pub with him.  He didn’t ask me any questions about myself.  He said I didn’t look like I had described myself.  I held my tongue.  He then proceeded to tell me about his recent divorce and asked me if I found him attractive.  I was diplomatic and said, “I’ve only just met you so it’s too early to tell.” He excused himself and went to the toilet.  I quickly called my friend and told him I needed rescuing, He asked me when, but I couldn’t reply because my date had returned, I mouthed a sorry for being on the phone but carried on with the call.  My friend said he would say some times and I should say yes when I wanted him to come.  It was 6.30pm, he said "7.30pm", "no", "7.00pm", "no", "6.45pm", "no", "now?" "Yes!!"

    He came to the pub to rescue me, stating that he had tickets for a show and wanted me to go with him.  I made my excuses and left.  It turned out my friend did have tickets to see Eddie Izzard, we went and saw the show, and I missed the last train home, so I had to stay at his place in central London.  The next morning, I had to do the walk of shame into work, wearing the same clothes as yesterday.  My department head clocked this straight away and said, “You must have had a good night”.  I was ribbed by a few of the guys in the office, but not as much a I was when I told them the full story. 


    Dating really isn’t an easy game!  

    Fred Foster