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Hurrah! Well done House of Commons – congratulations gay and lesbian couples! Now, if I might make so bold – I have another suggestion to improve nuptial traditions.
Although admittedly not as constitutionally significant, and PERHAPS less of a priority in terms of civil rights but which would, no less enhance and improve as many, if not more lives. Ladies and Gentleman, please be upstanding for: a ban on all plus one guests at weddings.
Allow me to clarify. I don’t mean long standing couple friends of the bride/groom, where both partners have a friendship/familial tie to one or both of the betrothed. I'm talking about those occasions when, if you’re part of a couple yourself you have to spend a whole day listening to anecdotes about your loved one’s school days and awkwardly shake the hand of the bride’s father when you're not sure if you've correctly remembered the name of the bride (although you're certain you knew it before getting in the taxi from the ceremony).
Although the month of February is not one of a great number of wedding ceremonies, it’s during the spring when the greatest number of beribboned, stiff cardboard invites drop through the letterbox, each one encroaching a little further on the number of weekends available to attend summer festivals. Yes.
The proposal would have myriad beneficiaries:
Partners of guests. (e.g. me.) Instead of getting up really early on a Saturday, trying to remember where we keep the iron, travelling round the UK in formal attire, making small talk of varying degrees of awkwardness for seven hours and, most of all, drinking such vat-like quantities of white wine and Prosecco in my attempts to relax that I either a) have to be put to bed early in a puddle of sick or b) otherwise cause some kind of scene or offence, we could go shopping or attend an outdoor pop concert with our friends, or simply have a day at home. How lovely that would be.
Financially overstretched engaged people. It’s not just prospective guests far from enthusiastic at the prospect of the ‘big day’ but brides and grooms to be, fretting that they might come across as stingy if they don’t extend the invites to all and sundry’s boyfriends, spouses and partners of their guests even if they don't know/like them much. Just don’t invite them then! That new boyfriend of your cousin might not get to see you in your dress, but he will thank you remotely for giving them their freedom.
Single people. Of course, if you are going to one of those traditional weddings where everyone brings their partner, it goes without saying that if you don’t have a partner, you don’t get to bring your best mate, person you are sleeping with at the time or work colleague to keep you company. You come by yourself. This does seem a bit mean in comparison. Discrimination against singletons some might say.
The overall ambience of the celebrations. If I were to have a wedding, I would like the atmosphere to be that of a joyful reunion/matey piss up. I would hate the thought of people feeling left out, or resorting to idle chatter about what they do for a living and how many other weddings they have been to so far that year. "And how do you know the bride?" is surely the dreariest sentence in the English language.
I would want to know everyone there, and, as far as possible, everyone to know as many of everyone else. Plus, less of those moments where people inadvertently offend each other or even start drunken fights in car parks would ever be necessary under the proposed new rules.
See? I am right, aren’t I? I make perfect sense.
Also, on a related, but tangential note: some people have adverse feelings about people bringing their kids to weddings, who then proceed to scream and wail through the vows and run amok at the reception, hyperactively spilling wine on people’s nice, dry-clean only frocks.
I myself don’t feel strongly either way, (I quite like crazy little kids) BUT – if not everyone had to attend weddings in pairs, there would be a good few more childcare options for those with broods of kids, wouldn’t there?
No further questions, your honour.