Monday, 26 March 2012
Of Weddings, Suits, and Speeches.
My son-in-law, a no-frills, pragmatic Aussie, (he has given up 'tinnies' and embraced Real Ale to further his chances of British citizenship) was OK with this. Although considering marrying the same woman twice as unnecessary, he conceded the need for a 'bit of a do' for the Poms; maybe a Registry Office ceremony and a restaurant meal. After all, the Melbourne celebrations had been low key and had scarcely dented his bank balance. He is careful with his money, (in fact he is as tight as the inside of a size six bowler hat) and saw no need for extravagance second time round. Naively, he had not accounted for a bride determined to flaunt her gown on home ground, her mother desperate to wear a big hat, and the interfering instincts of the bride's younger sister.
Son-in-law fought a dogged rearguard action, but was no match for this Bridal Trinity and the restaurant meal became two laughably expensive nights at a "Luxury Rural Retreat" deep in the Worcestershire countryside, accommodating over sixty guests and a dozen visiting Aussies. He contested every item to the last penny, but although his objections were fully discussed, nearly all were rejected. I admired his perseverance, and was genuinely emotionally affected by his stricken look when the projected costs eased in to five figures. His only success, a sop to the Antipodeans special requirements, worryingly ensures an alcohol flow sufficient to keep the entire population of Worcestershire legless for a fortnight. And he is also holding firm in the matter of The Suit.
It has been agreed that his suit 'will do', if it still fits, but he stubbornly refuses to try it on. He says if it doesn't fit on the day, he will attend church in his jogging bottoms and 'World's Best Street Fighter' tee shirt, (although he would soon enough discover that he was NOT the world's best street fighter.) I, too, am excused a new suit because I lied to the bride that my suit is new, although it pre-dates the one I had for her sister's wedding five years ago. It is my funeral suit, but because my geriatric associates are now shuffling off to the crem with frightening frequency, it will need a good scrubbing to remove the vol-au-vonte and trifle stains sustained at various apres-burn festivities.
I have not been consulted on the arrangements, because the Father of the Bride, unless pitifully conned in to that quaint old custom of paying for everything, is completely superfluous to wedding arrangements. He should remain concealed until his traditional cameo appearance to give the bride away, followed by the toast to the bride and groom, his big moment, and his chance to achieve spectacular and eternal family notoriety. Regrettably, most F-O-B's bottle the opportunity and settle for a flesh-creeping, if sincere, eulogy on the bride's beauty and accomplishments, most of which is obviously hogwash.
What a waste! You have at your mercy a captive bride, her mother who dare not interrupt, and all the cringe-inducing little teen-years anecdotes that you can pack in to twelve hundred beautifully crafted words, unmercifully targeted to inflict maximum humiliation to the delight of the assembled guests. I always think that 'our' sort of weddings, that rarely include fights, need a bit of a 'livener'.
I have been advised by this bride that a repeat of my performance at her sister's wedding is a bad idea, but I know if I don't embarrass her at least as much as her sister, I will not be forgiven. I have a great deal of material with this one, who aged sixteen was a riot of uncontrolled hormones and regarded for miles around as an alien life form.
I won't let her down.