Magazine article The Spectator

Thoroughly Modern Marriages

Magazine article The Spectator

Thoroughly Modern Marriages

Article excerpt

When my friend Luke was invited to a wedding this summer, he received some rather unusual directions: 'When we leave, ' the invitation said, 'go down to the barn behind the house. Do it quietly and please don't tell anyone else!' He was flummoxed. When the big day came, after a delicious hog-roast dinner and lakes of champagne, the happy couple said their goodbyes, chucked the bouquet and sped off into conjugal bliss in a Bentley, cans rattling from the boot. Unbeknown to the rest of the guests -- the B-listers -- who quietly left for the night, the bride and groom did a few turns around the village, came back and carried on partying well into the early hours with their 30 closest friends. By all accounts, this wasn't the only such wedding this year.

Modern weddings have come a long way from the traditional affair. Not only do people now get married in Asda, some even appoint a best woman. Another departure from the norm was noted by a cousin of mine when he received an elaborate invitation to a wedding in France last year. Among other things, guests were told that they would have to pay .150 a head for dinner, and there was a section of the invitation where you could fill out your credit card details.

'The meal wasn't even very good, ' he grumbled. 'They were probably using the money to buy a new dishwasher.' Wedding lists, once used for kitting out the first home, are also different these days. Now couples are asking not only for money for the honeymoon, but for actual bricks and mortar ('thanks so much for the guttering'). As well as more traditional bath mats and silver, couples want plasma screens and PlayStations. But beware: when you 'buy' something on the list, the money will not necessarily be used to purchase pots and pans, say, or a grand piano, but may instead become part of a pool of money to be used by the happy couple on anything they fancy. One female editor who got married recently was told at a major designer department store that she could spend the money collected on whatever she liked. This season's Balenciaga bag, for example. So next time you visit your newly married pals, why not offer to carve with the Global knife you sweetly bought them?

Maia Andrews from You & Your Wedding magazine explains these developments. …

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