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Melanie Hick

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The Best Day of Your Life

Posted: 10/28/11 09:11 PM ET

In Caitlin Moran's brilliant new book, How To Be a Woman, she says you've got to get over the wedding day being the best of your life. I don't agree. Your wedding day really can be the best day ever. The secret is to forget what all the bridal magazines tell you, and make the day your own.

The first step is to forget everything anyone ever told you a wedding has to be. Chocolate fountain? Fluffy white dress? Stupidly expensive cars? I can't believe I'm saying this in 2011, but you just don't need any of those things to get married and have a great time doing it.

To make your wedding the best day of your life, the key is to whittle through the crap and get to the gem of why you're getting married and what makes you happiest.

What mattered to us was a not spunking all our hard-earned on one day. Close family, London (the city where we met), Australia, a bloody great knees-up, good food and gluten-free cake and of course, each other, were what mattered to us.

Sure, first we went through the whole fantasy malarchy and looked at some expensive, but ultimately inadequate, venues. Then we settled on a combination that was truly us.

Our wedding was a ceremony held in an old building I really liked in Hampstead, London, followed by a party in an east end pub and then another party at my mother's home in Australia later in the year.

I wore the dress my great-great-aunt made for my grandmother, our guest list was limited to the capacity of the room and his mum did the flowers. We chose to get married on a Friday because the venue was half price, that also meant we had the whole weekend for a mini-honeymoon.

The processional music was played by a friend, and our party was DJ'd by other friends. Our friends are awesome. We couldn't afford to cater for everyone we knew, so anyone who fancied celebrating with us was invited to the pub for champagne, cake and dancing after dinner.

One of our few extravagances was a double decker bus to transport our guests from the ceremony to the venue. It was riotous fun -- we drank champagne on board, it got stuck in a narrow London lane-- but it was also practical. Many of our guests were from out of London, and crossing the city was made much more enjoyable done together.

Another worthwhile expense was good photographers who could shoot us news-style during the events. We wanted our photos to document the day as it unfolded, not create some kind of posed fantasy that didn't reflect what actually went on.

To share our invitation and the photos after the event, we set up a website. You can do that pretty easily, just buy a domain and add a Wordpress template that you like.

The brilliant thing about modern weddings is there's so little that you actually have to do. Basically, you have to turn up in a certain place and say something particular to the law of your 'hood. Other than that, you're completely free to make your day completely original and filled with the things that make you happy.

Besides my own, the happiest weddings I have ever been to were filled with the quirks that made those people so ideal for each other in the first place. They weren't the ones jammed with expensive decorations, coordinated everything, fecking chocolate fountains and dry ice.

So when you're getting carried away planning your wedding and you're considering one more extravagance, sit back and think "is that hand-carved marzipan bride and groom sculpture really us?" If it's not, if it's even a little bit not you, step away from the tat and take one step close to the best day of your life.