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Gritting your teeth through: THE FAMILY WEDDING

Each month Schmooze tackles an event/affair/shindig that we must wince our way through. Today we’re talking about the ever-dreaded family wedding. We’ve decided it snatches a lofty 9.4 on the pain scale (see ‘morose as fuck’).
As with all things family (rest assured, resulting trauma is always assumed), some things you have no choice but to grin and bear. Whether it’s that first low rent carvery with your Significant Other’s crusty extended family, the baptism of your Mum’s Tarot Reader’s Cousin’s bairn or the putting down of Nanna Dawn’s feral dog -- sometimes there’s no escaping the bloody debacles. Granted, Sambuca may soothe and Whatsapp-group-cursing may comfort, but gritting your teeth throughout is usually the only coping mechanism we can muster… when pulling a sickie isn’t an option.
Frankly, you canny get more predictable than a family wedding. It’s a step-by-step operation with the core objective of making it out alive, without calling your second cousin a wanker or screaming too loudly into an Egyptian cotton pillow at the Marriott you’ve had to fork out for. May we all cross our digits that eloping becomes cool again, for our own sanity.
You will probably begin by brushing off your vehement hatred of religion for a sweet second as you muddle through the holy part. Your arse will take a pummelling from the pews, the hymns will genuinely instil the fear of God into you and the snog the couple must offer up for nicotine-patched aunts will be an agonising watch. Inevitably, the joke will be on you when you lower yourself down upon the Vicar’s request for ye all to ‘kneel for prayers’ – get out of that hovering lunge ASAP, Christ man! The Order of Service will, of course, be printed by the Groom himself; he’ll have trawled Hobby Craft for the priciest and uppermost gsm ranked lemon card. He’ll have gone to work on Comic Sans Word-Art and as the tech savvy bastard he is, the damned pamphlet will be tri-folding. Understandable, as he was told he had ‘stellar Microsoft Publisher proficiencies’ during work experience at the County Council many moons ago.
Once the stint at church is done, opt out of hanging around to underarm confetti at the already bickering couple. Pat yourself on the back for only blaspheming 3 times, and consider yourself as honourable as they come.
As soon as you’ve parked up at the venue, have a rifle through your Boyfriend’s glove compartment. That tramadol prescribed in 2002 might take the edge off and those mortifying sunglasses from yesteryear should provide a laugh or two – a rarity on a day such as this. Once the Pimms has been downed and the bruschetta canapés inhaled, small talk becomes unavoidable. One lass will tell you how ‘ahead of the times’ she is as she’s brought along flip flops to wear on the dance floor later – a progressive shout. If you’re lucky, she’ll flash you one of the bunions that are easily irritated by heels and remark about how it is that ‘the young girls can wear 9-inch heels all day long?!’, ‘they’re troopers’ she’ll proclaim. You’ll then be blessed by tales of reminiscence – the hostel in Prague where the Groom lost all his clothes, the time the Bride photocopied her own face when she was wasted at work, oh and that outrageous visit to Amsterdam ‘that we probably shouldn’t mention on such a classy day’. Thankfully, the Bride’s gran will offer some respite in the form of tame conversation about how ‘blowy’ the weather has been all week. Don’t sweat it, mingling strengthens one’s character. Maybe.
Though tricky, avoiding too much eye rolling at this point is beneficial. Cornea-strain from it is actually a thing with tangible optical consequences. Take it from us.
Once you’ve exhausted all corners to hide in, the Wedding Breakfast will commence. We desperately warn you not to check the table plan as it’s not the worth the panic. By now, some will be hammered but decorum will be kept by those bricking it for their speeches (Google ‘original best man speech ideas’, ‘witty father of the bride speech 2017’, or ‘funny wedding speech gaffes’ for the content of said speeches). The meal won’t be shabby but the conversation, again, will. Push through yet more ‘Bride or Groom?’ grillings and drink the gratis wine like water. We Millennials seem to have a penchant for overdoing wedding favours, but to retain your dignity in the face of them, try to ignore the disposable cameras deposited on every table. Heartily pretend the hessian bags of flowers are something you’ve never seen before and cop the ‘shabby chic’ globe for your desk at work. Don’t bow to Mick’s suggestion of a ‘new mates selfie’ and avoid the deck of ‘Ice Breaker Top Trumps’ like the plague. Karma has got you good if there’s a little nipper on your table, but don’t fight this one – raise your voice as many octaves as humanly possible to chat to the kid and ask the mother where you can buy such tiny suits for littluns. She’ll retort that Mothercare is indeed always to rescue, and if really frazzled, may ask you if you want to cuddle the ‘little man’. Watch out for baby chunder, and official photos.
When the evening ‘do comes around, the tone of the day will have been significantly lowered by sozzled uncles and excessive mention of the barbarities that took place on the Stag Do – Kev was told by the Mother of the Bride not to mention what exactly was ‘rammed’ or the Barbie-like anatomy of the strippers, but the scotch pushed forewarning to the wayside. The crowd will document the first dance to an acoustic Ed Sheeran number via Facebook Live (to rake in the likes all 40 plusses thrive on) and then Fleetwood Mac will take hold until the early hours. Once you’ve got a tokenistic hobble on the dancefloor out of the way and you’ve rinsed the free Hog Roast, a taxi can be ordered with life-or-death urgency. Feel free to deploy the word ‘pronto’ as many times as you see fit, encouraging the A2B Taxis call handler to fret for his own life as well as yours.
Peel your eyelashes off and drop on the floor of the taxi, promise yourself that your own wedding will be as painless as possible for your guests and wang up an Instagram about how ‘precious’ and ‘unique’ the day has been; mandatorily hashtagging ‘#beautifulcouple’. Jobs a good’un.
Honestly? Don’t live on tenterhooks about when the next wedding invite will be dropping on your doormat, they’ve got to be done. Make the best of it, or sever ties with your family to avoid them, up to you.

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Char Srahan

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