Wedding Bells

Over the weekend I went to the wedding of a very good friend of mine – they are a very deserving couple and it was so lovely to see them grinning and laughing the whole way through.

But weddings invariably spark debate – what constitutes a ‘good’ wedding? Is one style better than another? What should one wear depending on the type of wedding?

My sister got married over the summer, and her wedding was anything but conventional. On the grounds of a private school, it took on a festival feel with a marquee, hay bales, field games, picnic blankets, and bridesmaids in wellies. It was an event, not a ceremony, and people were relaxed and could enjoy the day without a sense of formality. The dress code was “casual summer attire” so outfits ranged from long flowing dresses, to shirt and jeans, to chinos and jackets. People wore what they felt comfortable in without the threat of looking out of place. There was no separation between wedding vows and reception – once the ‘legal’ bit was over, the hog was roasted and people ate as and when they felt. It was a unique and special day that suited the couple entirely. People look at the photos and comment on how amazing the day looked and what a different but fun idea it was. And I agree – I had a great time, it was an easy, fairly stress-free day without any real structure, giving guests the freedom to dance, play, or chat whenever they wanted.

The more recent wedding was much more traditional. A church ceremony, men in tails, very much an occassion that would be considered a ‘normal’ English wedding. After the church, the couple and a close circle of friends and family disappeared for a sit-down meal and a chance to take a moment to reflect, allowing the guests time to have a late lunch, and relax before the reception that evening. The reception was held in a Victorian manor house with wood-panelled walls and beautiful architecture. A light supper (incidentally also a hog-roast) was served half way through the festivities, and a dance floor was crowded as people danced to a very enthusiastic band. Personally, I loved the tradition of it all, the requirement of “lounge suits” for the evening entertainment, and chance to dress up. This may be because I am not the most outgoing of people, and so I was able to sit back and watch the dancing, or admire the beautiful rooms. Similarly, I am drawn to past eras such as the 1940s and 50s, so donning a knee-length dress and watching men in cravats definitely appeals to me – the elegance and quiet sophistication is something I relate with.

So, can one really say that a certain style of wedding is better than the other? Does the fact that this second wedding had a five hour gap between ceremony and reception really matter? And should all guests be invited to every part of the wedding all the time? Surely, the thing that matters is whether the day suited the couple, not the convenience of the guests.


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