I like a wedding as much as the next man or woman – and I should: I’m a civil celebrant. But there are certain ingredients that can contribute to making a wedding very forgettable (or, sometimes, for the wrong reasons, unforgettable!).
I have been to some stunning settings for weddings, and the atmosphere has often been brilliant.
But I write as an Englishman. It is not so fun – especially in our winter – attending a wedding at a mill in a remote spot. The Satnav can’t find it, and it has rained so much in the preceding days that the muddy access lane is only navigable for a 4 x 4. And I don’t possess one.
Quite frequently, you know very few people, and find yourself thrown together at the service or during the reception with people you would not normally choose to get to know. The conversation often dries up after each person has answered the inevitable “How do you know the bride/groom?” question.
Or maybe you end up with the person who won’t stop talking for a moment.
On the other hand, the seating arrangements may throw you up next to somebody you already know and whose company is embarrassing – an old flame, perhaps?
I’ve had complete strangers whip out their phones and show me pictures of relatives I have no desire to meet. People have expressed right-wing sentiments that Gengis Khan would have hesitated to utter, and I have had to nod politely. I’ve come across some awful bores. And, of course, talking to me might have been the last thing my dinner neighbours would have chosen.
Dancing and music
I can’t be the only person in the world who cringes when it comes to the dancing, can I?
It’s bad enough watching the mother and groom (say) dance, but when it’s the public’s turn, I confess that I really don’t want to. It’s probably hot in the hall, so that might do as an excuse, but, in truth, my sense of rhythm is not impressive, and if I do dance, I spend my time assuming everybody is sniggering about me. Probably paranoia, but that’s how I feel.
And then, if I have found somebody interesting to talk to, I can’t do it because the music is too loud.
When I think about it, I’m not sure if I should be encouraging people to have weddings!