Last weekend, my friend got married in a dreamy ceremony under a ﬂoral gazebo on the beach at the Ritz-Carlton, JBR. Because she is a legend, she quoted Whitney Houston in her vows. Her hair looked like a mermaid’s, but bigger. I’m pretty sure she even arranged two camels to slowly plod into the distant backdrop as they exchanged rings. She and her husband, not the camels. It was, by all accounts, stunning. I cried, but then, I am a weeper. “You cry at Narcos,” my boyfriend told me, accusingly, afterwards.
Now, if we’re to adhere to the questionable, antiquated beliefs of, say, the Bridget Jones era, then I – an unmarried woman on the slippery side of 32 – should view an upcoming wedding with sheer dread, seeing it as nothing but a ﬂagrant parade of everything I have thus far failed to achieve. Either that, or an opportunity to shark for eligible bachelors who have the decency to dance with surplus grandmas/look doe-eyed at my signiﬁcant other while sending him subliminal messages of the joys of long-term commitment.
Luckily, Toto, we’re not in 1976 anymore. I don’t know about you, but you’re far more likely to ﬁnd me sharking the buffet, and failing to navigate that most precarious of nuptial mineﬁelds – appropriate dance moves that you can get away with in a bridesmaid’s dress. I ﬂatly refuse to be told that life is a race, won the day you become someone’s wife, and as such – single or not – enjoy nothing more than a good old knees-up, shoes in one hand, slice of carrot cake in the other. Minus the uninvited bit, I live by the party-hard philosophy from Wedding Crashers, so succinctly put by Vince Vaughn’s character, Jeremy: “Rule #76: No excuses. Play like a champion!”
In short, I love a wedding. I love them so much, that even during one last summer, when I was asked if I was married and my mother barked, “No, Olivia wanted a career,” I laughed so much I had to spit the aforementioned cake into my dad’s nearby serviette, lest I choked and carked it before the speeches. It was at that point the more realistic reason behind my martial status was perhaps unveiled. My parents have never been prouder.
So yes, regardless of how some people think I’m supposed to feel about these things, and even when I’m unceremoniously plonked on the singles table with all the weird cousins, they still ﬁll my little spinster heart with joy. There’s comfort in the clichés – that you know you’ll have to make awkward chit-chat about the trafﬁc, that you’ll be starving for four hours because it started too late for lunch but too early for dinner, and that there will be at least three women in the same objectionable fascinator from the occasionwear section at Debenhams. To quote my old pal Jeremy again, “It’s a great band, it’s a bad band; it’s like pizza, baby! It’s good no matter what, there’s music in the air!” You know what you’re getting. It’s nice.
That’s not to say I’m against a quirkier wedding. Far from it. In fact, the best one I’ve ever been to had a Jason Statham piñata in the garden, and a pizza truck arrived at 1am with a giant picture of the groom’s head on it. I gained untold respect for Margot Robbie when I read that she’d served bowls of Coco Pops instead of cake, and I always dreamed that I’d arrive at mine in either the Ecto-1 Cadillac from Ghostbusters or the DeLorean from Back to the Future. What can I say? The only thing I love more than a wedding is an ’80s comedy.
Bells and whistles aside, though, when you boil it all down, it’s just one ruddy great big celebration. Less a reminder of your personal romantic trajectory, and more a general beacon of all of the most wonderful things about life. Hope. Faith. Promise. Friendship. An afﬁrmation of what most of us, fundamentally, believe this mortal coil is really all about. And I certainly won’t let the fact that I’m supposed to get all riled up dancing to Single Ladies before rugby tackling other women to the ﬂoor for the bouquet, distract me from it. Rugby tackling is for wimps, anyway. I prefer to body-slam them.