Of course some ceremonies are small, intimate, beautiful and the stuff of cherished memories but so many couples these days render me speechless with either one or more of the following:
Extortionate Hen & Stag Weekends:
Whilst I could wax lyrical about modern weddings and the ever spiralling cost, I still consider them to be a lesser evil than what proceeds.
Every time an email arrives from a chief bridesmaid/best man announcing that they have found a tacky, over-priced and cliched way for me/my husband to spend our hard-earned cash I am inclined to announce on facebook that we have in fact died. Nothing short of that will stop dear friends insisting that I join them on their last hurrah, purely because I've agreed to attend their forthcoming shackling.
Let's be honest. If the ratio of attendance and enjoyment was anywhere near acceptable, they wouldn't have to hide behind someone else issuing the invite. They already know that it is a cheek to issue a stiffy with country house hotel in Scotland as the venue, a wedding list lodged at Harrods and the added caveat that we need a helicopter to get to the island where they are holding a midnight blessing. Yet these avaricious, aspirational twats also want us to fork out for a spa weekend in Barcelona as well and just to make us feel well and truly shafted they throw in the little matter of us all paying for the hen. My other half doesn't get off any more lightly as he has to find excuses not to attend a gigantic piss-up in Eastern Europe which always involves a budget airline, backpacker-style hotels and steins of beer delivered by surly-faced locals (who are rightfully fucked off with their historic town being ruined by UK pleasure-seekers).
It’s meant to be a final drink with close friends before saying ‘I do’. Hold it where you live, invite who is nearby or can make it and be done with it. And if you insist on dressing like a dick in wings/Ali G style thong then you can be sure I won’t be in attendance. Over the age of 30 and such groups either resemble Loose Women on the lash or Stuart Baggs and his mates out on the town. Nice.
Mixing The Tables:
Aaaaaaaaaaggggggggggghhhhhh! This literally makes me want to punch the seating plan off its easel and sod off home before the reception even begins. Who decided to start doing this? Someone who hated their friends and family so much that they wanted to disguise whose was whose in the melee? It’s the most painful and annoying bit of planning that couples seem determined to get wrong. It’s a joke. Why would I want to attend a wedding which includes a personality lottery? Will I or won’t I get some crashing bore from the groom’s side on my left and his half-deaf Great Aunt Sheila on the right. Ooooh, the excitement is killing me. I’d obviously much rather my day was spent fending off the advances of a lecherous old man and wincing every time Sheila calls her neighbours ‘darkies’ than I would laughing and catching up with friends and relatives that I love dearly.
I suspect some halfwit started the trend by proposing it as a way of making people mingle. Enforced mingling should be a crime. How can making people move around to get to know people they don’t enhance your big day? You won’t notice as you’ll be that busy fussing over all the other shit, so people hanging out in their own family and friends groups will make precisely zero difference to the event. If I was taken by the look of someone in my single days, I knew full well that post-dinner there would be dancing. That’s the point at which I would introduce myself to anyone on the other side. I didn’t need to make stilted small talk over a Berni Inn style dinner before that and I could almost guarantee that the bride and groom’s choice of ‘surprise new friend’ (when I had no plus one) was always just that’; a surprise as to how little they actually knew me.
My favourite ever wedding was in Ireland. There was no mingling there, I can assure you. It was mostly due to the fact that the groom’s father was there with his boyfriend and the bride’s brothers didn’t much approve of him swinging between Arthur and Martha. Everyone had a good time (in their respective corners) the only near punch up didn’t happen until 3am and from my point of view that’s a bloody successful wedding.
Enforced mingling should be a crime. How can making people move around to get to know people they don’t enhance your big day?
What are these? Why do I want a miniature silver cup from Morocco containing a piece of organza filled with sweets? Have you mistaken me for the childcatcher, offering me something I could use to lure them into following me? No-one likes sugared almonds. Fact. The French love them which is enough to make me want to put them straight in the bin. They also pose a major health hazard and whilst I am no lover of the ankle-biters, I don’t want one choking to death in the crèche (which is now de rigeur so mummy and daddy can relax and enjoy themselves). Just think about how few people keep them (because they are invariably shit) and then compare that to how much you spent. Even if you have 40 guests, spending approx. a fiver on the gift and the fancy pants wrapping, that’s £200. Are you mental?
Having A Night Do:
If there is one thing more depressing than a wedding invite turning up in my inbox or on the front door mat, it’s the ‘semi-invite’. The one that says ‘I sort of know you and maybe tolerate you and am probably forced to work next to you’ so I’m asking you to come to our evening do. If you are lucky they’ll let you bring a friend. Then at least you can both sit in the corner sniggering at drunken antics, given that the majority of guests will be well-oiled by then. If you have to come alone though, which sentient human being thought the reply might be yes? OK, sounds good to me, I’ll get a taxi 20 miles to a country house on Saturday night at about 9.30 for two hours of watching everyone swaying drunkenly to classic love songs, a snack of dried up old pork on a stale bap and a bar where prices match a top London Hotel. Bring it on.
Photo booths, magicians, professional and uber-expensive musicians who play for 30minutes before Dave’s disco gets them properly dancing, fireworks. Whatever the latest peccadillo is, stop. Stop trying to turn this into something it’s not. It’s a ‘celebration of two people coming together to declare their love for one another’. If Uncle Seamus wants to pose with the bridesmaids wearing fedoras and feather boas (so he can grope their boobs unnoticed) show him the way to the nearest titty bar. If I am trying to eat my dinner and make polite conversation with whichever social misfit I’ve been placed next to, then I don’t need some bargain basement Paul Daniels-alike telling me he has a trick to show me.
If there is one thing more depressing than a wedding invite turning up in my inbox or on the front door mat, it’s the ‘semi-invite’.
Wedding Lists, Money & Contribution To Holiday Funds:
So enclosed with every invite these days is the obligatory list – John Lewis, Marks & Spencer and other purveyors of bland, domestic paraphernalia. I remember when the Eternal Beau crockery range was the height of wedding list chic back in the ‘80’s, but at least that was actually something a new, young couple setting up home for the first time needed. That’s how the tradition of gift-giving suitable items started. Since then it has mutated into a demand for goods and money in a blatant, naked advert for consumerism. It’s crass. The little poems that say ‘Your presence is your present’ are vomit-inducing, not least because they are accompanied 90% of the time by a list in case ‘you really feel the need’. Yeah, we’re pretending we don’t want gifts but know you will feel compromised if you don’t so here’s an idea of what we do want…starting with this little selection from an upmarket retailer.
The ones who ask for contributions for their honeymoon are the biggest arseholes. Let’s face it, if you can’t afford a honeymoon why are you going on one? It’s not obligatory for you to be properly ‘married’. It’s also perfectly acceptable to have a week in Cornwall if that’s all your budget allows and the 5-star Maldivian fiesta can wait until you can finance it yourselves. I am most aggrieved when couples have a lavish wedding and then say ‘we have all we need so how about some cash for a honeymoon instead’; no, no and no again. That is vulgar. How about you cut all the unnecessary crap (mentioned above) spend the money saved on the honeymoon and call it quits, you greedy, insincere tossers.
If the argument held true that folk are only doing it to ensure they don’t get five toasters, I’d have sympathy, but seriously who thinks a trip to Argos is present-buying? If someone is inclined to give you such utilitarian and boring goods, rather than steering them towards a more expensive place to shop, drop them. If my friends told me that when they went out looking for a present for me the first thing they thought of was a Panini-maker I’d either go on a diet or throw it at them. You won’t get more than one of anything if you keep your opinions to yourself. Everyone these days is living together beforehand so only the most unintelligent and moronic creature will pitch up with a hoover. If these are your relatives there is eBay and freecycle so take your General Trading Company selection and stick it in your hired opera-singer’s gob.
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