I am the girl who arrives at a wedding by herself, undaunted, smiling at strangers in the knowledge that they will think we are long lost friends by the end of the night. I am the person who small children eye suspiciously whilst old ladies tilt their hats to talk about me without me noticing, unaware that my job is to notice everything.
They watch and wait and witness me witnessing them and wonder. Is she from a magazine? Is she drawing? Is she a crazy person that wandered in off the street?
I smile and smile and sometimes I say “Hello” and they look utterly frightened. And I wait. And whilst I wait I write until an orb of pulsating red pressure protrudes from the side of the third finger on my right hand, the cushion for my pen.
And then at last, after a glass of bubbles and a splash of artificial courage, it comes…
“Sorry, can I ask what you’re doing?”
I tell them I’m a spy, sometimes. Others I pretend as though there’s nothing unusual about wandering around a wedding writing everything down. But usually I just tell them I’m a wedding reporter and I’m here to document the story of their day. Their faces light up, their mouths make an ‘O’ shape and they say, “That’s a great idea, I’ve never heard of that before” and before I get lost in questions of whowhatwherehowandwhy, I ask them how they know the bride and groom. I ask them if they’ve enjoyed the day. I ask them where they got their shoes from and if they saw the ringbearer singing in church and whether they live locally and what they had for dinner.
They watch me throughout the day, sometimes wanting to know what I’m looking for, what I’m noting down, how it will sound when it’s finished. Sometimes they want me to add in funny stories about themselves. Sometimes they just want to keep me entertained with outlandish tall tales and the sort of jokes that ought to be reserved for stag nights.
Flower girls give me presents and bring me cake and show me their shoes. Bridesmaids drunkenly throw their arms around me, tell me they bought me, tell me they love me, tell me how smashed they are. Guests who only hours before were talking about me beneath their hats now talk to me as though we have known each other forever. I smile, I laugh, I joke and I hug them, because we’ve all been through this together.
I am the girl who leaves by herself, cutting through swathes of gyrating bodies to hug the bride and groom, tell them that I love them without sounding like a stalker, wish them well and slip quietly away. I get into a car with visions of epic romance and beautiful moments dancing across my brain.
I am the girl whose name they didn’t quite catch, whose job they don’t quite understand, whose face they will quickly forget.
I am a wedding curiosity. I am The Wedding Reporter.