Saturday, 9th October 2004.

Eleventh Hour

8:05 a.m.

When it comes to weddings, there are two types of nerves. There's the jittery sense of finality, of total commitment, the daunting prospect that you really are going to be spending the rest of your life with this person - the pangs that make you wonder quietly, in those odd introspective moments you get between the million and one organisational details, whether you're doing the right thing. Thought bubble: what if it doesn't work out? What if we're miserable after we're married? What if...and so on.

I've actually not experienced any of this. Em and I are so totally and utterly right for each other - I've known this, one way or the other, since July last year - that *not* to marry her would have been an act of insanity. There was never any question, and so I never experienced the what-ifs of hesitation. We just knew - and so I didn't worry about it. It seemed like the most natural in the world, an art lawful as breathing.

This morning, of course, I'm terrified - it feels like there's a Romanian gymnast inside my stomach doing back flips. But it's another kind of nerves: a logistic, organisational thing. We planned this day to the last detail, even going so far as to arrange for the distribution of walkie-talkies to the ushers to minimise waiting time between photographs. And of course, the more you organise, the more there is to go wrong - the flowers, the hired car, the absence of key people, the open mic session - just the question of timing in general is giving me enough panic to cause a small aneurysm if Dave and Jon don't calm me down. If you could bottle nerves, we'd be millionaires.

Part of this is because I've been so busy over the past few weeks that I've rarely had time to get nervous. Work has been a nightmare (at this time of year it's a military operation to plan for a day off in my office, let alone two weeks). And outside the office, Emily and I have been too busy preparing to think much about the enormity of what we're doing - although we've had plenty of discussions about it. But this morning, it's more or less done, which is why I'm nervous. I worry about the weather, about the speech, about the song we'll be doing, about families getting on (particularly following the ugly scene over the phone last night, the details of which I will spare you). I worry about the things I can't control - weather, people getting lost - and if it turns out that the object of worry is something I *can* control, I just try and find things that can go wrong with it so that I have a good reason to worry.

I'm a natural pessimist. Jon will tell you that half an hour before any major concert - one in which I play a key role or have assisted in organising - I am unreachable. I have no idea what to do. I pace the floor, I make phone calls, I take lingering moments outside the venue just to be with myself. Which is more or less what I'm doing this morning, but I have to stop now. I need to be with people. I am convinced that this will be mostly fine - the things that will go wrong will be miniscule and they won't spoil the day - but it's no use trying to tell me that now. But what counts is that I'm about to marry the most beautiful girl in the world, and we're going to spend the rest of our lives together. If you keep your eye on the goal, all the little things usually work themselves out.

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