Nice surroundings, plenty of Prosecco , tasty nibbles, a meal fit for a king and a band that play the hokey pokey at the end of the night, what more could you ask for at a family wedding. It is the one opportunity during the year to get together with all the relatives and I was pleased that “The Wedding” happened to coincide nicely (by luck rather than design) with my arrival home from the Middle East.
Being out of the wedding circuit for four years but well and truly dug into the marriage end of things I always enjoyed a wedding and always looked forward to witnessing yet another happy single-status couple make the daunting walk down the plank, sorry down the aisle. What could be better viewing than seeing the faces of the couple, bright with hope and promise, as they take their vows, oblivious to the two thick nylon nooses being dropped from the ceiling of the church as they pledge their love, honor and respect to each for the rest of their lives. No biggie as eternity isn’t that long and the noose only tugs a bit if you try to stray outside of your allocated patch. So it was with great pleasure that I accepted the invitation to share in their special day.
Not having been at a wedding since the country took a downturn four years ago, I didn’t quite know what to expect. I imagined there would be cutbacks but wasn’t sure where or the extent. Perhaps the bride would have to compromise on her Gina shoes and settle for a high street pair. Maybe the meal would consist of sausages and beans as part of the money saving measures or maybe the band would be replaced by an iPod standing lonely on a dock in the middle of the stage, maybe the bride herself would have get up and dish out a few dinners, to save on the wait staff. Maybe the honeymoon would be a week around Kerry staying between relatives and cosy B&B’s .
Alas, mine eyes were well and truly opened when from the very onset as soon as the string quartet played the entrance music in the church there was no evidence of saving measures or cutbacks. Outside the church, as the couple smiled happily after having received God’s blessing, a pair of white dove were released into the air, this to signify peace and love and an abundance of disposable cash. The jazz band that played in the foyer of the stately home style hotel could barely be heard over the clink of glasses as the MOET was the free flowing arrival drink. Smoothing down the skirt of my three-year-old, good dress, I walked past the foyer and nothing, not even the five fast free glasses of champagne could have braced me for the sight within. There, just between the champagne reception and the red carpet banquet stood their very own Pick n’ Mix sweet station. Free to all the guests, just grab a bag and fill to the brim with your sweets of choice. Where was the cost saving, the corner cutting, the penny pinching?
The budget continued to be blown when later in the evening the fireworks display acted as the perfect backdrop for midnight cocktails on the lawn. Each firework creating an exquisite burst of colour and light which lasted just as a long a fifty euro note it had cost. It seems the wedding industry remains buoyant even in current choppy times.
It was obvious from the point when the ice-sculpture began to melt and was replaced with a sculpture in the image of the couple, that the honeymoon wasn’t going to be enjoyed in B&B’s around Kenmare. “We’re going to Singapore and Hong Kong for the Honeymoon and stopping off in Dubai on the way back”, “Oh lovely”, I cooed, secretly wishing I was “stopping off in Dubai” and not forced to live in Arabian suburbia year on year to be able to afford to attend her bash. “It’s three and a half weeks in total but works out grand”, she said, “I’m off for the summer and Declan hasn’t found anything since he was laid off six months ago”. “Perfect” says I, “let’s have another cocktail before the fireworks end”.