Sunday, 19 June 2011

Toaster and towel bale please...

In this post, I ask my esteemed readers to re-assure me that getting married is a deeply personal,  unique, intimate experience. Indeed, I also ask for proof that getting married is worthwhile, and  recommended. We have 3 surnames between the five of us, I don't like that. My parents have been happily married for over 40 years, but aren't in the least bit bothered about my brother and I marrying our partners.  I have no reason to be cynical about marriage, but here is my sarcastic and exaggerated take on 'weddings' . No offence is intended, I just happen to have a house full of crap which I'd love to have replaced with new (or thrifted) items which remind me of special people every time I use them. I think the days of the cutlery service and bone china tea set wedding gift are long gone, and feel a bit sad about that.
Most of the weddings my family and I have attended in the past few years have included a poem with the invite. The bride (always the bride) will have Googled the poem, there are a few different versions, but they translate as " DO NOT BUY US A GIFT, GIVE US MONEY". This is fair enough, if it's a first marriage for a well organised comfortably-off duo, the chances are the wedding comes in the middle of their five year plan, which begins with 'buy a house and fill it with stuff' and culminates with 'have a baby'. If it's the second or third marriage, you can pretty much guarantee the couple have enough wine glasses and picture frames to set up a shop.
I'm sure most guests find this easier, and it beats having to choose something from a gift-list and go to collect it. Stuff some money or a cheque into a card, a lovely card which costs upwards of £3.50, stick a fascinator and some lippy on, your OH can pour himself into the shirt and suit he wore to every wedding, funeral, job interview and Christening  since you met, and off you go. Sit through a 'touching' ceremony, 'aw, look at his face', sit and wait hours for a lukewarm meal, listen to some 'hilarious' speeches. Discover that the groom was wild, had no direction and was fond of getting drunk all the time 'til he met his miracle-weaving bride. The bride will look beautiful, even if deep down you're thinking "hmm, that back-fat oozing out of the dress...not a good look', she will still look radiant and erm... beautiful. After the meal has been swallowed in large unchewed lumps, it's time to knock back large quantities of mid to low range wine. Hopefully, the DJ (who is undoubtedly a veteran) has fired up the lights and speakers by 7 pm. After stumbling uncomfortably to Snow Patrol's 'Cars' or any other vomit-inducing smoochie record,  it's time for the suitably 'refreshed' guests to throw polygamous shapes to Abba, Kylie, and Take That. All of this frivolity will be caught on camera, and boy will you be the talk of the day if you get too drunk (talking crap for hours before lying under a table Lucy, remember?).
The bride and groom will say it was the happiest day of their lives, and add that they wish they could do it all again it was so much fun (good news, chances are you will be lucky enough to do it all again if the statistics are anything to go by). Next day, you'll be having a really bad hair day, a really bad hangover as a souvenir, and be laughing out loud as you scroll through the digital camera footage. During the next week or so, unless you're on Facebook, you'll miss out on hundreds of snapshots of the day.
The bride and groom will return from honeymoon eager to click their way through  endless amateur photographs until the official book arrives with all the stiff looking forced-pose high-gloss pictures.
Their home will be void of any physical, practical gift items which bring the guest to mind, the mugs they sip from will be part of a set bought from Argos/John Lewis/Ikea ages ago. The 'official' photograph displayed will be just of the bride and groom. The groom may be gurning, but it will be the most flattering shot of the bride. The inappropriate antics of the well-oiled guest will soon be forgotten. There is another invite on the mat for a wedding, the poem reads "having you there means more to us than anything". And where will the evidence of this be, exactly?
I like the idea of being married, the wedding - less so. Please share your story, and I LOVE long comments, so don't worry if it turns into an essay, I have opened a debate...


  1. Weddings, they bore me to tears. I actually dumped a bloke once after he had the audacity to propose as I was so insulted that after 18 months with me he obviously knew nothing about me.
    No matter how "different" the bride promises the day is going to be I'm sorry but in my opinion it never is (soory to any of my married friends reading this). The pressure to dress up (I know I always do but I hate the expectation, makes me wanna wear Crocs and a tracksuit), the expense involved in getting there, buying drinks, accomodation and buying a present and the resentment resonating from my partner who loathes formal dressing with a passion.
    To me a commitment is buying a home, staying faithful, having kids and enjoying one another's company besides I look crap in white. xxx

  2. These days they are a huge drain on the finances just to please other people. They seem to have to outdo each other with add-ons like wedding favours etc. Not content with a reception there has to be an evening disco as well. Personally I couldn’t wait to get away from it all, but that was back in the seventies! I’ve been to a couple of really OTT weddings and I’ve asked my daughter to elope rather than put us all through that, should she ever decide to 'tie the knot’ - and that’s a silly expression too (Grump! Harrumph!!)

  3. Weddings are actually wonderful things. You have a lovely day, dress up, everyone is meant to say you look beautiful, you are really happy and then the sad thing about them all? The day is over and reality sets in!

  4. Y'know, I love being married. I was 26 and none of my friends were anywhere near doing it. But he asked, and I said yes. Sure, they can be a palaver, and some people can bridezilla over it all, and I do kind of object to giving people money instead of a gift, and the poems you mentioned are dreadful...but, for a good friend, they can be wonderful. Especially if all your mates are there. start. The wedding of your mum's old school friend's daughter whom you don't know - less so.

    I don't pretend my wedding was that 'out there' or 'different', but I can assure you we didn't have a first dance, or a disco. The weather was amazing - luck rather than design, obviously) and all my friends and family were there. Loads of people stayed over, and we had breakfast together and hung out by the outdoor pool the next day (this was in Croydon!). I only stropped about my uncle's attempts to film it (I don't really do cameras, as you know. Ok, there's some official ones, but they were fairly low key. None of me getting ready for a start).

    All my married friends genuinely have looked beautiful, but then they always do. I genuinely don't care whether people marry or not, have kids or not - whatever works for you. I do seriously object to being told my marriage is "just a piece of paper" by people who don't seem to understand that it's offensive. It isn't. That's as hackneyed a cliche as any about weddings themselves.

  5. weddings can be relatively cliche free and intimate. I was keen on a hand-fasting type ceremony but couldnt find anything suitable here in NZ, so we eloped as such and didnt invite a soul to our wedding. It was great, we could say our very personal vows and cry (yes, I did!) without embarassement and we spent all our dosh on a round the world honeymoon instead of feeding the 5 thousand. My parents never married so it wasnt an issue for them, and my husband is ancient so he was a bit past the cliched wedding bit too. It meant the world to us, but we are celebrating stuff kind of people x

  6. I love being married and after being with hubby (who was then just boyfriend status) for 7 years I was itching to get that ring on my finger. He took so long to propose as he thought i would want a big old white church wedding for mega bucks and was worried about affording it. When he found out that I wanted to get married just for us in Las Vegas he got that ring on my finger and we were married just over a year later.

    Out of my friends and family my 1940s wedding in Las Vegas was very off the wall to them but after we came back and everyone saw the pictures and heard how much fun we had they all thought it was a great idea. For a fraction of the price of a wedding here we got our whole wedding, flights, honeymoon, outfits etc etc. And we didnt start out married life in debt like many of my friends have done.

    I have a couple of weddings to go to in the next few months and am expecting to see what you described, although i do tend to grab some attention from the relations for wearing full on 50s gear - the grandads love it haha!

    But each to their own on the wedding front, just got to make sure you live the life you want to. Scarlett x

  7. 16 years ago my girlfriend and I, who'd lived together for nine years, were at Boston airport and made the mistake of walking through the area of passport control marked for families. We were told to go into separate queues. "But we live together - we're partners" I protested. The passport official glared at me: "If you're not married, you're not family."

    At that point we decided to get married. That might not sound very romantic, but we just felt that our relationship should get the legal recognition it deserved and were appalled that there were countries where we wouldn't have any rights to be treated as a couple.

    We both agreed that we couldn't face a traditional wedding, so we got married in a registry office in Dorset with a couple of friends as witnesses. Our families were a little disappointed until they realised how much money they'd saved.

    A couple of days after the wedding we went off for a 'honeymoon' in the Canaries, then when we got back, we had a meal in a hotel for our closest friends and relatives. The whole wedding business (excluding the holiday) cost a three-figure sum, which compares well with the usual sum of thousands.

    We didn't have a wedding list and weren't particularly bothered about getting presents, so were weren't inundated with useless gifts. I didn't feel able to ask for money, but I think that word got around and we received a few cheques.

    Anyway, the short answer is that we have a lovely time - far better than we ever imagined - and I now think that it was one of the best things that we ever did. We were quite selfish going it alone, but as far as we were concerned it was our day, not anyone elses. I think weddings become a nightmare when they're arranged for other people's benefit - "Oh we must invite Auntie Flo and if your cousin comes, we'll have to invite so-and-so..." etc.

    So my advice is do it, but remember that it's your day and ignore pressure from anyone else.

  8. Our was not very romantic at all. Big Man was in the Navy and if you didn't live 'on board' (ie in barracks on the base) but travelled elsewhere to your home, you only got mileage allowance paid to you if you were travelling home every day to your wife or husband. We were losing about £100 a month mileage allowance by not being married so we got married. We each told our parents the day before (none of our families attended - too far away, too short notice); had two friends as witnesses at the registry office; and a little party at our house afterwards that I'd catered for. We've been married a Very Long Time! That is compared to friends who married within a couple of years of us, who had all the bells and whistles you can imagine....and divorced within a couple years. Our folks were a bit upset but since none of us could've afforded to pay £000s for a big white lash-up they soon got over it.
    Having said that though I don't know how I'd feel if Red, my oldest and only girl wanted to do that. Gutted, I suspect....I was a snivelling heap when I saw her in her First Holy Communion dress ;)

    K xx

  9. A massive wedding would be nightmarish to me. From the age of 15 I waitressed at a different wedding every weekend at my local golf club. Seeing weddings from this outsider perspective truly makes you witness them for what they are: a total charade that seems to be an excuse for a piss-up and an indulgence in all all things tacky.

    I'm trying my best to get invited to a Korean wedding. I'll report back to you about it if I go to one!


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