W is for Weddings

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Wis for weddings. Aw. Everyone loves a wedding, don’t they? Certainly, in the romance genre, books quite often reach their happy endings with a wedding, or at least the promise of one. Many films and books are based around the mishaps and misadventures that occur on a wedding day; others are based around the industries that have sprung up to cater for weddings – the wedding planner, wedding dresses, wedding cakes, wedding favours, and, of course, the all-important honeymoon.

I love weddings, too. I must do. I’ve had three of them myself. Yes, three of them. And, believe it or not, they’ve all featured the same groom. Third time lucky, they say, and fingers crossed they’re right. I wouldn’t care but neither of us even likes wedding cake.

First wedding day!

First time round we were incredibly young and naive and had no idea what we were getting into. Still teenagers and thinking that the Beatles were quite right. All we needed was love. So we had no money, nowhere decent to live – so what? Sonny and Cher sang our theme tune. I Got You, Babe. A few years down the line and I was tempted to change it to Bang, Bang. (My Baby Shot Me Down). I won’t bore you with the details of all that followed. Suffice it to say, we married for the third (and most definitely final) time in 2004. This time we were older, wiser, a bit battered around the edges and, having been through some pretty harrowing times, we felt stronger and surer of each other than ever. We headed off to our beloved Cornwall and were married in Truro. Our closest family and some friends came with us. We all stayed in Cornwall at a holiday park on the Lizard and had a fantastic time. The sun shone every single day and after two weeks I was actually brown! Me! I usually go from pale and freckly to lobster red and then my skin peels and I’m back to pale and freckly again. This time I had a proper suntan, in spite of using lotion. It was the best holiday we’ve ever had and I’m glad to say it proved to be lucky for us. Eleven years on and we’re still married. A record! 🙂

The First One - Friends
The First One – Friends

Weddings are fascinating things. In spite of the soaring divorce statistics and the general cynicism about marriage, people still want to do it. And the rest of us still turn up to the church or registry office or hotel or wherever, and throw confetti at the happy couple, and hope and believe that it will last forever. Weddings are a time for optimism. People are happy at weddings. Well, that’s always supposing the bride doesn’t do a Rachael and run out on the groom, as happened in Friends. (Thank goodness she did. Look what we’d have missed if she hadn’t!)

I love people watching at wedding receptions. You see all the fabulous outfits, the hats, the shoes. People are nodding and smiling at each other, greeting relatives they haven’t seen for years and telling them how wonderful they look. Then you hear the mutterings start. ‘Doesn’t Myrtle look a sight in that dress? Who on earth invited Auntie Elsie? You know she’ll only get drunk and start singing wartime songs again! If I catch Jim flirting with Molly today I’m filing for divorce.’

Kids are devouring the buffet before it’s even officially open. The bride is smiling bravely even though her shoes are absolutely killing her. The groom is mortified that the best man has gone too far in his speech and completely embarrassed him. The mother of the bride is gritting her teeth as she poses with the mother of the groom who she absolutely cannot stand. The best man is completely sozzled and telling everybody how much he loves the groom and how things will never be the same again. The family lech is leering at every pretty girl who passes. The usher is feeling like a spare part and starts sobbing into his beer about the “girl that got away”.The newly-divorced sister is sitting in a corner assuring everyone that the whole thing is a waste of money because everyone knows marriage doesn’t work. The bridesmaid is snogging outside with someone’s drunken husband. And the father of the bride is telling everyone how much everything cost and that he got no help from the groom’s good-for-nothing family towards paying it. Honestly, I wonder if that’s the sort of thing that went on at William and Kate’s wedding? 🙂

Love the grumpy bridesmaid!
Love the grumpy bridesmaid!

I love soap weddings. They’re always such a disaster! I was watching Gail and Michael’s wedding in Coronation Street the other night, and wondering what  could possibly go wrong. After all, they’re the perfect couple. Even if Gail is hiding the fact that Michael’s son isn’t really his son because his real son is actually dead, and Gail’s own son was hiding a multitude of injuries caused by his estranged wife’s drug-dealing ex in retaliation for the fact that Gail’s son had blackmailed Michael’s son who isn’t his son into planting drugs in said drug dealer’s car. Meanwhile, Gail’s other son is still recovering from brain injuries caused by formerly mentioned son, in revenge for the fact that he had slept with the formerly mentioned son’s wife who is now missing having been thrown out by formerly mentioned son for taking drugs from drug-dealing ex who, as an aside, has recently been sleeping with Gail’s daughter just to taunt formerly mentioned son even though formerly mentioned son doesn’t know for sure that this has been going on. And after all that, the wedding cake was completely destroyed by drunken granddaughter of Gail, daughter of the daughter who has been sleeping with the drug-dealing ex, who, although only fourteen, has been helping herself to the champagne and seems intent on destroying her mother’s life, although the mother, who is only thirteen years older than her own daughter after all, was too busy bonking the drug-dealing ex to notice.

Either this is some weird party game or....
Either this is some weird party game or….

This is all very tame compared with the weddings that take place in other soaps, such as Eastenders, Hollyoaks and Emmerdale, where weddings invariably end in someone being carted off to prison, run over by a car, or shot. And remember that wedding massacre in Dynasty all those years ago? Phew! Marriage can be tricky, there’s no doubt about it, but you’d think the scriptwriters would let them at least get the honeymoon over and done with first!

One of my favourite films is Four Weddings and a Funeral, but I do have an issue with the ending of that film. If I’d been writing it, Hugh Grant’s Charles would have told Andy McDowell’s Carrie to stick her flying saucer hat where the sun don’t shine, and gone off with the best friend who had loved and adored him for years. All right, so she was a bit brittle, but that’s the English upper classes for you. With a bit of love I’m sure she’d have softened up a bit. At least she wasn’t a user like that awful Carrie! Sleeping with him even though she was engaged, playing with his feelings when she knew he loved her, and then turning up just in time to destroy his own wedding by telling him that, after all that, she was now divorced and so she was willing to put up with him after all. Jeez. Big deal. Thanks very much. Such a disappointment that he ended up with her…I’ll give it five years, max.

The hat will need a room of its own!
The hat will need a room of its own!

I loved the wedding in Love, Actually. Keira Knightley walking back down the aisle with her new husband and suddenly the church erupts in a chorus of All You Need Is Love. I have no idea how all those singers and musicians managed to hide their instruments so successfully in the church. Have you seen how little leg room there is between pews? Still, it was a lovely moment.

One of my absolute favourite films is Confetti. If you haven’t seen it, it’s about three couples who are competing to win a house in a competition held by a bridal magazine. They have to come up with original concepts for their weddings, with the help of two gay wedding planners, who are absolutely wonderful. One couple wants a huge, Busby Berkley type musical extravaganza, another wants a tennis-themed wedding and the third – unfortunately for the magazine – wants a naturist wedding. There is a fantastic cast, including Martin Freeman, Jessica Stevenson, Olivia Colman, Jimmy Carr, Robert Webb and Alison Steadman, and it’s so funny, but also quite poignant.

The Confetti couples
The Confetti couples

The very first scene in A Kiss From A Rose takes place at a wedding, and it finds our heroine having an embarrassing moment or two of her own. There was quite a bit about weddings in this novel, and I really enjoyed writing it. Weddings are enormous fun to write about, and easy to plan – at least on the page. Unfortunately, they’re not so easy to plan in real life! I don’t think I have any weddings to attend this year – although you never know – but luckily, Rose will be published in September and I can enjoy re-reading her wedding mishaps instead!

Have a great day xx

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