Sunday, August 13, 2006

Evenin' all

Odd being an evening-only invite to a wedding. The official history will not record your appearance unless the bride and groom have paid a little extra for a bit of reportage evening photography. Your existence is largely inconsequential; the important people are the ones who have been there all day. This is not a bad thing; not everyone can be special, and anyone who expects an all-day pass really has too high an opinion of themselves, unless you're the parents who've paid for the thing, of course. 

An evening-only guest has their own issues to deal with. What to wear? A suit may suggest that you expected an invite to the real deal, jeans are too casual. Maybe the more experienced fifty-something men at the bar (wives on the dancefloor, barefooted, swaying out of time in a sequin dress) have got it right by playing it down the middle in a pair of comfy slacks and a nice polo shirt (St Christopher chain optional).

Ingratiating yourself into the party is hard. Drink-wise, you're miles behind everyone else; meaning ascendance to the dance floor for a bit of Dexy's is somewhat slower than the more oiled all-dayers. What's more, a well-oiled all-dayer is more likely to sling a friendly, but wholly offensive; "you fucking boring bastard" at you for not sidling dancefloor-wise with appropriate gusto. When the wedding DJ says "let's take a walk down to Itchycoo Park with the Small Faces and a song they call [pause] Itchycoo Park" you want to heckle, or at least laugh until snot comes out of your nose, but you instead find yourself agreeing with some random uncle that the DJ is really good. You then pray he doesn't put his arm around you to encourage you to join in with a bit of "It's all too beautiful" whilst Uncles pint sloshes over your head. The DJ on Saturday announced that the buffet was open and then cut into the next record to tell us that he was enjoying his bacon sandwich from it. He also air guitar-ed to McFly.

Being more sober than pretty much everyone; your graces remain largely intact, social mores suggest you should pick out the happy couple to congratulate them, but by this point they're not together (in parallel with the aforementioned slacks-and-polo-shirt couple; bride, on dancefloor beaming, groom, resting pint on his belly near the bar or avoiding eye-contact with Mum's Best Friend who wants to slow dance with him to Careless Whisper). Anyway, you know they have more important things to do, so keeping your distance is probably more appropriate. Even if you do talk to them the conversation is flighty, superficial and half finished; of course it is, they've got hundreds of people to get through. If the bride beams at you and wraps her arms around you in a wave of unbridled euphoria; you can't then start saying that you've got a bit of a cold and are feeling under the weather. Tell her she looks beautiful and ask her whether she's had a great day, and then leave it at that.

Still, you don't have any lines to remember and you're don't contribute to the plot (unless your way of congratulating the bride is by squeezing her bum and trying to stick your tongue down her throat). And at least you're not the Philippino second wife/twenty something toy-boy of octogenarian great aunt/drunk in a trilby at the reception who nobody knows.


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