New Year and the Christmas holiday is a time to press pause and have a re-think about everything. After all the hectic rushing around of the preceding months, it just feels right to enjoy some simple pleasures - like a walk by the sea or in the countryside - and to take the opportunity to reflect on our lives. It is a time to take stock.
During this enforced break, most of us have the luxury of not only enjoying the moment but also to make plans for the future. As well as the inevitable gym memberships and worthy resolutions, these are the most popular days to book holidays and also to make marriage proposals.
But its not all about self improvement and positive plans. This uninterrupted family time can starkly highlight problems in a flawed relationship. As the host of a radio magazine programme, I would schedule an interview with a celebrity divorce lawyer on the first show of the New Year as, unfortunately, this is the most usual time for couples to split up. It is also a busy time for therapists and counsellors as we should not forget that “the holidays” (apologies for the Americanism) can be a lonely and dark time for many.
Carefully considered divorce ceremonies - either just for close family and friends, or larger gatherings - can ease the transition after a marriage break down and are becoming increasingly popular in the US. As a family Celebrant, I have not yet been asked to officiate at such a ceremony, so I can only imagine how helpful it might be, especially if the couple is still on reasonably amicable terms.
Putting the issue of divorce to one side, I think we are all agreed: romance is not dead. Even the most cynical could not have failed to be moved by the look of adoration on Prince Harry’s face when he introduced his beautiful fiancée to the world.
So we happily look forward to a royal wedding - and Meghan’s sparkling smile - to brighten the New Year. The countdown has already begun as Meghan and Harry mugs along with other merchandising was for sale in royal gift shops even before Christmas.
As a Celebrant, I don’t mind admitting that I am more than a bit curious about the style of the ceremony at Windsor Castle on May 19th. Will it be super traditional or, perhaps a tad quirky? Might it include a nod to Meghan’s American roots ? Although, even with the furthest stretch of the imagination, I cannot envisage a broom jumping element happening in St George’s Chapel… but at the reception … who knows?
The tendency - we were told - in 2017 was for couples to choose understated ceremonies. There was a gentle casualness about getting married last year. The bride behaving badly and massive over spending of the previous years was considered - at least by the “experts” and trend spotters - to be out of fashion.
So what sort of weddings will we see in 2018? Will brides be blindly rushing out for copies of the Markle outfit whether it suits them or not ? I am sure that whatever Meghan wears, she will look stunning and undoubtedly her choices will influence other planning weddings this year.
I do sympathise with the other couples who already had May 19th 2018 in their diaries long before the royal announcement was made … undoubtedly Harry and Meghan will be a hard act to follow.