It’s wedding season in the UK and thousands of couples up and down the land are at this very moment agonising over whether to include the sugared almonds as their table treats or potted cacti.
Brides from Dundee to Dorset are deciding on fruit cake or croquembouche, carnations (eew) or callas, updo’s or downdo’s, spray or self tan.
And at least several hundred brides are making sacrifices to the weather gods, for an elusive sunny day come this Saturday.
Of course wedding fever doesn’t just strike young women of a certain age, it harangues groomsmen, bestmen, bridesmaids, and mil’s to be. But there is one group of long-suffering wedding-goers who get skant attention.
The wedding guest.
In the spirit of the season, three times bridesmaid and as a semi-professional wedding guest, I have collated a helpful how-to survive your friend’s wedding. So when they start playing ‘here comes the bride, big fat and wide…’ you’ll be forwarned (and forearmed) for the the wedding reception/wedding dance.
Here are ten people you’ll always find at weddings. If you see them…. AVOID!
1/ The ambitious amateur photographer
No one can blame the bride and groom, professional photographers charge an arm and a leg, and typically ask for a kidney as a deposit, so it’s no surprise they called in ‘Steve’ the ‘really-good’ amateur photographer. You’ll typically notice Steve right from the get-go. He’s the one standing in front of the vicar at the altar so he can get a good shot of the couple. Later he’ll request some really awesome quirky shots – like lines of the bridemaid’s shoes, the groomsmen’s socks or even the reflected beauty of the stressed bride (in the fat-mirror) as she is hauling her ass into her wedding gown (and praying it still fits).
Some of Steve’s moments of glory have included catching the groom smiling lasciviously at the Maid of Honour (that’s one for the wedding album), snapping the bride as she fell out of her bridal boddice (and bustier) without alerting her that the baps are on the loose, and taking a deeply unflattering shot of the groom who has appeared to squired a family of chins whilst waiting to get wed.
2/ The rampant groomsman
I’m certain that it’s written on the wall in the men’s loo, that if you can’t have the bride you can have a crack at the bridesmaids. They’re a free pass. I have not yet been to a wedding where this has not happened. No, even when the bridesmaids were married. It’s a universal truth – for the women of the wedding party, the day is a celebration of love. For the boys, it’s a lust-fest.
Always a sad picture, the OTS bridesmaid spends the entire day biting a hole inside her cheek. The OTS bridesmaid (three times a bridesmaid never a bride) is determined to keep happy happy for her friend, but secretly all she wants is for the day to be over so she can go home and stick pins in the voodoo doll dressed in white she’s hidden in her bedside cabinet next to the stuffed dead cat. Sometimes OTS because she’s divorced, sometimes because she’s incurably needy, her very presence at the wedding is a reminder that good women outnumber good men, ten to one.
4/The embarrassing relative
Made famous for their appearance in Four Weddings and Funeral as the kumbya singing guitar playing couple, the embarrassing relative can take many forms. There’s the relative with halitosis so bad you keen as he steps forward to hug you. Death by cyanide injection would be kinder, frankly. Then there’s the elderly aunt who’s had a deoderant malfunction, the neice whose colony of nits have just welcomed new life en masse, and the drunken uncle who keeps reminding all and sundry of the bride’s chubby thighs when she was six.
“Oh but you were a chubby bubby!”
5/The carefree cherub
Who cheerfully farts in the blessing, and picks his nose throughout is a salient reminder to the happy couple to check, and double check their contraception. Later in the day the carefree cherub will roll down the grassy bank in her white princess dress, whilst her male counterpart will attempt to plant your brother in law’s ipad in the rose garden. Ah bless!
6/The crazy vicar
Oh so many examples to choose from. The vicar who refused to be convinced that the second time around couple were not going to spawn womb fruit and wouldn’t take out the bit about marriage being only for making children, out of the vows. The pentecostal pastor who decided to use the wedding as an opportunity to convert all your distant (Catholic!) relatives to the right church…but of course the one closest to my heart is the one who told the couple to stop f*cking around at the altar, within earshot of the entire front row.
7/ The warring couple
You hear them before you see them. That whining noise you noticed when you first stepped into the church? Yeah, that was the sound of her self-esteem bubble bursting as he tongue-lashed her good and proper. She’ll never wear that dress again (nor the underwear he claims you can see through that dress!) She’ll spend most of the service tearfully sighing and he’ll spend it grimacing to the sound of the football match commentary in his illicit ear-piece, or snorting at the ‘mushy bits’. You won’t hear much from him, he’ll just glower all day and you won’t see much of her – she’ll spend most of her time sniffling her way through a loo roll in the ladies.
8/The frustrated caterer
Whilst most wedding guests would happily eat snake by the time they get to eat anything, the food is one of the most expensive ingredients in the budget blowout that is the modern wedding. One way to help minimise the cost is to let your friend who makes ‘delicious muffins’ do the food. Cue, meals served late, cold and inedible and delivered to the table accompanied by the shrill squeal of the fire alarm. Never mind, at least no one skimped on the wine! Did they?
9/The single white female
The SWF typically dreads weddings, for she knows that she will spend the entire day fending off the rampant groomsmen, or an embarrassing relative. Or worse still, fending off NO ONE AT ALL! The day will appear to get longer as each member of the party says precisely two things to her before abandoning her to her lonesomeness – a)Don’t you have a boyfriend yet? and b)Oh well, next time dear, it will be your turn.
If you are the single white female and you’ve been invited to a wedding my advice is to taste test the caterer’s food pre-wedding, that should provide you with a credible sick-note!
10/MIL most meritorious
This is her hour, and whatever you do, do not forget it! If she is the mother of the bride, she will spend most of the day lamenting that Sally-Anne could not keep off the pasties last month (“I told her but would she listen!”) and her constant tally of how much everyone is drinking (and how much it is costing!) If she’s the mother of the groom she will spend the majority of the day cloaked in a funereal expression, as no one is good enough for her baby boy!
Taking all of these people into account my advice for the betrothed is simple.
Grab your man (and your gun) and RUN away to the nearest sunniest beach. And don’t come back until you have spent the entire month luxuriating in each other’s company.
And as for the wedding guest? Drink lots. Eat little. And as you thank God it’s not your day, try to remember why you married your better half.
Image: Flickr CC Silent Mode -http://www.flickr.com/photos/drewmaughan/