Monday, March 18, 2013
Now in our defence, Your Honour, we got married at the end of the 80's. This was the decade of meringue dresses, peach bridesmaids, white stilettos and double-breasted suits (rarely together). So the emotion we felt watching this was more a collective sense of shame, rather than an individual culpability. We were all implicated. We had, however, also managed to tear down the Berlin Wall that year and were busy digging the Channel Tunnel (I'm talking collectively again; The Man and I had very little to do with either event, personally), so no wonder that our eye was off the style ball.
However, I must admit that there were other atrocities we inflicted upon our poor witless guests, and ultimately on each other. So in a spirit of contrition allow me to confess our Wedding Day Crimes.
1. Double-breasted suit: check. Peach bridesmaids: check. White stilettos: check - completely understandable for the bride, but did I have to wear them when leaving for honeymoon - and was it really necessary for the bridesmaids and the bride's mother to wear them, too? At least the dress was fairly un-meringuey.
2. The length of the service. The thing was interminable. And there didn't seem to be any signs for the toilet.
3. The worship - which was a major cause of point 2, above. We started innocuously, luring people into a false sense of security with 'Crown Him with many Crowns'. Then we let rip. Song after song, each sung over and over until people were fainting in despair. The bride shuffled awkwardly; the groom did a half-leg stomp with hearty clapping; the best man went for the full Nazi salute; and the lead vocalist pogo-ed up and down the platform. People dressed in wedding finery should probably not do these things. Even funnier on fast forward, as the kids discovered yesterday.
4. The sermon - the second reason for point 2 - was given by a man in a leather jacket with a red tie. Nuff said.
5. My favourite bit was the two singers during the signing of the register. When, ironically, the bridal party was out of the room.
6. The photographs. Every conceivable angle of every contrivable grouping. The bride, looking up / down / sideways. The bride and groom, likeways plus kissing. The b&g plus bridesmaids. The b&g plus parents, hers then his then both, with and without bridesmaids. Looking at the ring. Looking at each other. Looking at a small child holding (inexplicably) a doormat. The b&g plus wider families, church friends, other friends, everyone together...and so on and so on. And what did we do to keep the guests happy whilst this went on, and on, and on? Did we provide champagne? Beanbags? A travelling circus? Valium, to numb the pain? Oh, no...we served cake. And non alcoholic fizz. The colour of which was, of course, peach.
7. Talking of alcohol...it was a dry wedding. Which caused some members of the groom's family to make their own entertanment during the photographs by shuffling off to the pub next door. Fair enough.
8. The reception packed 120 guests back into the same room where the ceremony had taken place, now transformed into a catering venue (ah...so that's why the photos had to take so long...). I make no apologies for that. But the seating plan was carefully engineered to place people with similar interests near each other. Needless to say everyone only talked about how long the blooming service was and had anybody found the toilets yet.
9. The speeches. The bride's father played the timeless role of embarrassing his daughter. The best man read out cards, a practice which must surely now give way to projecting text messages. And the groom delivered a nailbiting rollercoaster of a speech, that he had only just written during the meal on any paper he could find - actually the name cards on the table - during which he managed to suggest that he had lived with half the females in the room.
10. The lack of any chance to let one's hair down afterwards. No disco. No ceilidh. Instead, a string quartet played hits from the Baroque period.
As we approach our 25th anniversary, I would guess that anyone getting married at around the same time as us would find their videos a little embarrassing, though perhaps not for the same reasons. However, watching it again reminded me of a few things. The incredible effort made on our behalf at a time when we had no money but wanted to share our special day with as many as could come. So despite my whingeing for comedic purposes above, thanks are due to those who led the ceremony and the worship, who decorated the church, took the photos, served the drinks, cooked the food, made the Herculean effort to turn a church into a restaurant, and then waited at tables. To all those who took the trouble to travel often long distances to be there. To my parents, who masterminded so much of the behind the scenes stuff that seemed to go like clockwork but involved - I am sure - many sleepless nights, especially for my mother who was still pulling all the strings on the day but yet managing to look serene and beautiful.
Oh, and to Debbie: thanks for wearing the peach, even though every fibre of your being must have been screaming No. You wore it well.