Then you need to take a look at my wedding guide.
Quirky. It isn’t just the nickname of that guy from school who ended up in jail in New Zealand. (That crazy Quirky.) It’s also the adjective du jour when it comes to choosing a wedding venue.
The dictionary definition of quirky is ‘characterised by peculiar or unexpected traits’. A better one would read, ‘Where you try to be different, but end up doing the same as everyone else, a bit like the way you thought you had discovered Ed Sheeran.’ So, just to be clear. There is nothing avant-garde about getting married in a deconsecrated church, a crannog, Semple Stadium, an old-man’s pub or your local library. Everyone is at it, including that dull couple who met at Scottish Country Dancing.
If you really want to be different, get married in a Catholic Church. Cajole the bride’s father to shout, “She’s yours now” when he hands her over, after the walk up the aisle. Maybe pay the priest to say, “Remember this now, before ye head off for yeer bottles of sparkling wine – abortion is murder, plain and simple.” Now that’s quirky. As any artist will tell you, it’s not easy being an outsider. (Even with the cnuas from Aosdana.)
The Hipster Style bibles in the States are clear on this one – the Food Truck at your wedding is more over than a Chocolate Fountain. (It’s that over.)
However, going by the Five Year Irish Hipster Trend Delay rule, the Food Truck should be good for another four years over here. You will need to put on two trucks. (Never call them vans. Never.) The first truck is for guests under 30, who think there is something cool about queuing for a burrito in the car-park of a four-star hotel. (That would be everybody under 30.)
The second truck is for Auntie Eileen. She is already on the verge of tears because there is no cream of mushroom soup. (Her husband, Noel, wants to knock 50 quid off the present.) The least you can do is put on a truck, where a middle-aged lady spoons up two scoops of mash and says, “Now.”
One word of caution. The hipsters in attendance are bound to spot a middle-aged lady, dishing up scoops of mash out the back of a truck. They are also bound to think this is the most ironic-in-a-good-way thing they have seen, since Love Island took over their summer. So be careful you don’t run out of mash.
NO RING NO BRING
Pippa Middleton famously enforced this policy, where only married people are given a plus-one invitation to your wedding. You don’t want to copy her, and not just because Pippa is all kinds of dull.
Here is what will happen, if you do. You’ll end with two tables of older married relations, along with the obligatory table of your mother’s friends. You know the ones she invited at the last minute and there was nothing you could do about it. Next to them is the table of your married friends, looking slightly pissed off because they are missing out on all the fun. The fun would be at the other eight tables, where a load of unmarried horn-dogs are free from their partners for one night only, in an out-of-town hotel. It’s fair to say that some of them are dressed too sexy. Add four rounds of Mojitos to these tables and it will be like a swingers’ convention in there. And what happens in the Royal Plaza Arms, stays in the Royal Plaza Arms. (Unless it’s contagious.)
Let’s put it another way – when asked to pick one word to describe your ‘no ring, no bring’ wedding, 20 pc of your guests will choose chlamydia.
You’re probably wondering what’s the difference between an aesthetic and ‘a look’. About €1,500, apparently. Still, you can always get one on the cheap by searching for Wedding Aesthetic on Pinterest. Actually, I’ll save you the bother. It’s all about rustic these days, so all you need is a ball of twine and four blackboards.
It is traditional for the bride to put cute, romantic messages on these blackboards, to pay the groom back for being next to useless in the run up to the big day. Anything that includes the term soul-mate should be enough to make him die a little inside. (Welcome to marriage, guys.)
Another thing that’s hot on Pinterest is a jar, so guests can leave a ‘message-in-a-bottle’ that the couple can open on their first anniversary. That’s fine for Americans, who have two light beers at a wedding, before heading back to work, where they in fact live.
Not so good in Ireland, where people have two bottles of Prosecco before heading into dinner. That jar is just a temptation. So remove it before 8pm. No husband wants to open a posh jar on their first anniversary and read a scrawled note saying, “I slept with your wife in college. And so did Quirky.”
A TIME OF WONDER
Joining with your soulmate on life’s journey is a time of wonder. Mainly wondering how much you can recoup in cash presents, to offset against the cost of your shindig.
The average spend on an Irish wedding is €24,427, according to a 2017 survey on Weddingsonline.ie. That’s up 8% pc on last year. Don’t tell the Germans. (We’re so boomy right now.)
The average number of guests is 159. Do the maths and you need about €150 per guest to break even. This won’t happen. A third of your guests will pompously declare they find cash too impersonal, and re-gift one of the seven slow-cookers they got at their wedding. (Bastards.)
Don’t worry, the survey reveals that 21 pc of couples get help from their parent. This is as it should be. After all, what is point in having money if you can’t force it on your 43-year-old to son to make sure he finally moves out of your house.
Finally, 17 pc of couples take out a loan to pay for this one-off piss-up. Again, the less said to our friends in Berlin, the better on that front.
A surprisingly low 6 pc of Irish people go ahead and do the deed out foreign. That means 94 pc of couples willingly sign up for a game called Oh Me Nerves, where you pop a Xanax and look at the long-term weather forecast in the run up to your wedding.
The survey reveals that 43 pc of respondents did consider getting married overseas, but eventually decided to tie the knot in Ireland. That’s shorthand for Daddy’s ankles expand something fierce in the heat and, in fairness, he’s paying for the honeymoon.
Another factor that stops people going abroad is grumbling. Not that anyone will complain to your face about taking their summer holidays during April, in an Italian ski resort pitched at billionaires. No, they’ll say it your mother, who will then relay the message to you in a passive-aggressive manner. (“Your Aunt Monica wants to know if she’ll meet any oligarchs.”) You have been warned. Stay at home.
If you still feel the need to head away, remember your choice destination will be used to judge you. Italy is classy, Spain indicates you’re a bit TK Maxx, Portugal effectively says, “I’m on the waiting list to get on Big Brother.”
THE WAITING IS THE HARDEST PART
The average engagement length now? 19 months. This means different things to different people. For the bride-to-be, it’s an opportunity to buy, and return, 47 pairs of shoes on the internet. For her fiancée, it’s 18 months of ignoring the whole thing, culminating in a trip to Prague with his friends.
Let’s face it, an elongated engagement period is like the seventh circle of hell for your average Irish man. It’s certainly a very long time to feign interest in something that, as far as you’re concerned, has virtually nothing to do with you. If you are planning to propose, we strongly recommend 30 minutes a day in front of the mirror, practising nodding and using essential phrases such as, “I have nothing against profiteroles” and “Fair enough so, I’ll tell the lads no cocaine.”
The only upside here is that 19 months allows plenty time for an engagement party. Having such a party is 100 pc proof that you are running out of reasons to go on the piss. In case you are wondering, an engagement present can cost up to €100. So, prepare for a room above a pub full of livid millennials muttering, “No wonder we can’t afford to buy a f**king house.”
It is, as they say, actually a thing now to ban mobile phones and social media at your wedding. And not just because you are selling the photos to OK! There are ordinary couples out there, banning their guests from sharing a few shots. Sorry if you have been at one of these weddings. It must be awful, being friends with a pair of twats.
We can only assume these couples are doing Media Studies, and want to ‘control the message.’ Which is to say, force everyone to watch their stream of the event on Facebook Live. This live-streaming is also a thing, which begs the obvious question – who do you think is watching? The girl you didn’t invite, sitting at home saying, “She could have done with another three weeks of spinning.” Or maybe your ex, checking if she dodged a bullet.
Here’s what you really need to know about a no-photo policy. If you stop anyone under 50 from accessing their mobile phone for eight hours, they will go mad and shoot everyone.
And here’s a bonus tip. You don’t hire a photographer to take photos; you hire her because it takes a stranger to lure the groomsmen away from the bar for a group shot. So hire her.
The average spend on a band is close to two thousand euro. That’s money well spent. A pair of charisma-free muck-savages, with a weird gift for murdering Abba songs, is still better than a Spotify playlist that cost you nothing.
First of all, it doesn’t cost you nothing. You’ll need Premium Spotify, otherwise people will never stop talking about that time they had to stand through ads on the dancefloor.
But the real cost is far more than €9.99 a month. Here’s an experiment. Make up the 20-song playlist you’d like at your wedding. Drink three glasses of prosecco. Start the playlist. Count how long before you thought of a song you left off the playlist. It was 20 seconds, wasn’t it? (And the song was Happy by Pharrell Williams. That song would be nothing without prosecco.)
Now multiply this by 40. That 40 guests, as against 40 glasses of prosecco (unless it’s always wine o’clock around at yours). Because that’s the number of people who will be trying to get their icy flippers on your phone, to put on their favourite. So, pay for a band. Unless you want your wedding to be remembered for a fist fight over The Black Eyed Peas.
“Are you saving yourself for the honeymoon?” “No, I’m getting a loan from the credit union.” (Sorry.)
You’ll need it — the average spend on a honeymoon is just over five grand. Judging by the chat on wedding forums online, a lot of people choose multi-destination holidays for their honeymoon. Great choice. What better way to test the resilience of your three-day old marriage, than four airports in two days. The only thing keeping you together is that guests would probably want their presents back.
Far better to join the over 50% of newlyweds who go for a mini-moon in Ireland after the big day. That way, you get to avoid the Airport Shuffle, the anxiety dance we do every ten minutes checking for passport, wallet, keys and boarding cards.
Just head for a nice hotel on the Wild Atlantic Way. There’s usually a foreigner on reception, so it will be a lot like going abroad. You can pull the door behind you in a Junior Suite and crawl into bed, to enjoy something together for the first time as a married couple. Shaking off some low-level DTs, because you’ve been drinking non-stop since the night before the wedding. It has to be done, apparently.