By Rachel Jackson


The strangest thing has just happened.  I was going to start writing this precise article, the subject of which I had already decided upon some days ago, when a friend emailed me.  Not just any friend. One of my absolute best friends, an impossibly gorgeous girl who I had phoned not long after Edward (as I shall call my beloved, for all you Bronte fans) had proposed to me.  She was calling to make sure I could meet her in our favourite bar of all time, as she wanted to congratulate me over Champagne.


I didn’t need asking twice and was soon on my way.  Then – quite incredibly – along with a beautiful bottle of Champagne to take home with me, she gave me a large box.  The exact details shall remain in part our wonderful secret, but the idea was that I could use it to keep some memories of my wedding-to-come in.  Unbelievable.  I had once wistfully imagined keeping scraps of this and that, but here was an opportunity to capture it all, quite miraculously.


Well.  I could hardly speak I was so moved and excited.  All my girlie Christmases had come at once (doubly exciting for me as my birthday is on Christmas day too).  Just when I thought I could not be any happier!  More remarkably, it was exactly I was planning to write about, which we hadn’t discussed at all.  One of life’s strange coincidences when everything really does feel like it’s coming together.


So, that’s all very lovely for me, but how can we translate that into a special addition to your own wedding plans?  It’s really quite simple – make sure that as you relish each and every experience that the whole wedding journey is sure to bring, you capture each moment.  You may not think you want reminders of all the details, but just think of your happily married friends and how warmly they cherish memories of their day – you want something to look back on.


You may not want to start until the bachelorette party, but that is as good a time as any.  One thing that my oldest friend was so pleased that I organised for her a few years ago was a book of memories, each with a page from her friends.  Every page had been decorated with old photos and doodles and had thoughtful words inscribed.   It was to be presented at the party and topped up afterwards with photos of the night itself.  It was a communal gift of the sort that only getting married (or possibly retiring) ever gives rise too.  So – if you are attending a bachelorette party, you might like to suggest it to the organiser, or if you are the bride herself mention it to a close friend.


In fact, listen up guests - if the bride loves visual mementos, you can take it a step further and hire a photo booth as part of the evening.  If you are hosting the party in a venue where you can have a cabana to use, it will become a huge feature of the bachelorette event.  They are incredibly good fun and give all the girlfriends the chance to snap themselves toasting the bride, laughing and generally having a ball. Perhaps make up a mini-album of crazy, party shots to present when the morning after has faded a little.


That’s just the start of it. Back to the bride - when you look for the dress, keep swatches of satin and lace, take photos even – especially - of the hilarious ‘wrong’ dresses. Menu cards from the rehearsal dinner, ticket stubs from the honeymoon flights.  Even if you are only half as sentimental as me you will want it all.


For the more modern, sharing sort of bride, particularly those with ridiculous numbers of Facebook friends, or loved ones spread all across the globe, you might like to consider keeping a video blog of the run up to the wedding, all the funny, stressy, sweet moments that go into creating the big day.  No one may ever see it apart from you and your eventual husband, but it remains an honest record of your thoughts.


You may also want to set up a website where you can keep guests posted about all the final arrangements and invite them to leave messages of good luck.  Not everyone would be inclined to go digital, but it is a great idea for couples who have a huge number or guests, particularly amongst younger sets of friends.


Another favourite idea goes back to good old pen and paper. At the wedding reception itself, leave small message books on each guest’s table.  This may not suit the brides who are big on correctness as there are bound to be naughty, odd and illegible messages in there somewhere, but it is great for capturing the real spirit of your guests (even more ‘real’ after a few glasses of bubbly).


So there you have it.  Just some ideas of how to capture the most important aspects of the greatest time of your life.  I know that thanks to one amazing friend I will be doing exactly that – and, just as with the marriage itself, I simply cannot wait to get started.


Rachel Jackson, a British-born writer is currently enjoying a lively rural life with her fiancé Pete and his 15 year-old twins. Having bid farewell to London following the completion of a French and English degree at King’s College, she has been living out her childhood dream of being a writer pretty much ever since. Her first break into fiction came about in 2001 when she was engaged to write short stories for her Editrice, the wonderful Rowan Pelling. Rowan flatteringly described her in The Independent on Sunday as “an ebony Monroe, [a name] attached to beautifully written prose”.

Since this time she has gone on to write a wide range of articles for Marie Claire and other women’s magazines, whilst continuing to pursue a career in fiction. She has written over 1000 articles on a wide variety of subjects including fashion, travel, relationships, lifestyle, literature, restaurants and more, both in magazines and online. She has won an award from the Royal Literary Fund and The Arts Council and is signed to the London literary agency Curtis Brown. Recently engaged, her current favourite subject, happily, is weddings.