June 7, 2013 6:31 pm

Two weddings and a few false eyelashes

What sort of wedding dress is suitable when you’re over 50? Or would it be better to settle for some false eyelashes?
Mrs Moneypenny June 6 2013 illustration

Some weddings are more spectacular than others. Recently I attended the evening party of the wedding of two friends that I knew was going to be very special, and indeed it was. After we were served drinks, a screen behind the stage showed a moving tableau of photographs of the couple over the course of their long relationship, set to music. This was followed by clips from what must have been the speediest wedding footage edit possible, again set to music. Then the couple was announced for the first dance – it was exquisitely orchestrated and brought tears to my eyes.

I had been apprehensive about attending, because Mr M was unable to accompany me, it being a Saturday in the middle of cricket season. But the next big wedding among my friends is one neither of us will be able to attend. I had breakfast last week with my Most Glamorous Girlfriend, who is in the throes of planning her wedding later this summer. Yes, bad luck all you single men out there, someone has snapped her up and is marching her down the aisle on August 3. My show at the Edinburgh Fringe opens on August 2, which is why I won’t be attending. But I wanted all the inside information on how the preparations are coming along.

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Mrs Moneypenny

MGG has been on a pre-wedding diet and gym routine to great effect. Her size, she says, is the only number that is going backwards. Her birthday this weekend is being ignored because she doesn’t want to admit to having clocked up one more year as she heads for her wedding. Well, MGG, I am not ignoring it. Happy birthday! (The number, I can uncharitably disclose, starts with a five.)

As even the most carefully drilled wedding plans gather momentum, the Dress never fails to cause angst in any bride. MGG is the queen of shopping and you cannot leave her alone for a minute before she buys something – I once flew to the US with her and deliberately sat on the aisle side in a hopeless attempt to prevent her splashing the cash on the duty free. She merely waited until I was asleep so that when I awoke I found that her credit card had of course been pressed into action.

Being wonderfully self-aware, and realising that wedding dresses don’t come cheap, MGG took her own MGG with her to select a dress, in the hope that her friend would urge restraint. This did not go to plan, probably because their first port of call was Philippa Lepley in London, where both of them tried on dresses with abandon, without thinking to ask for the price until they had fallen in love with, well, everything. A mistake: Philippa Lepley makes couture dresses.

I said that I didn’t want to know what MGG’s dress had cost but I did ascertain that there will be six fittings. She is getting married at 50+ and having six fittings? Plus she is going the whole Sex and the City theme and having four adult bridesmaids, whose ages I will, this time charitably, not disclose. I said that if I ever had to get married again at the age of 50+ I would be more worried about my make-up artist than my dress, and urged her to consider false eyelashes. (In fact, it would take a plastic surgeon to persuade me ever to get into a wedding dress again.)

I had no make-up artist on hand to assist before I arrived at my other friends’ spectacular celebration. I had spent the afternoon at a large charity shoot in Wiltshire in aid of Sightsavers, courtesy of Tim Eliot-Cohen, an investment banker and philanthropist who staged the event on his estate. Four hundred guns had turned out to compete and our team, curated by the lovely Louise, won the prize for the best ladies team. I wasn’t there to help her lift the trophy because I was already on the way to the wedding. I really live such a glamorous life, I thought, as, in the ladies’ bathroom facilities at Sutton Scotney services on the A34, I struggled to apply the glue on my false eyelashes.

MGG, I know you will raise the bar, wedding-wise. I just wish I could be there to see it.

mrsmoneypenny@ft.com

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