Alan Dee: Marry at midnight if the mood takes you
One of the consolations of getting on a bit is that weddings no longer clutter the calendar. The few splicings that I get invited to these days tend to be second or even third time around affairs, and fairly sedate ones at that.
But I well remember those frantic years when it seemed every other weekend was blocked out to go and watch someone else walk down the aisle, and later avoid the dance floor until Cliff’s Congratulations had been given its obligatory spin.
So I feel for today’s wedding generation – whether they’re planning their own big day or expected to turn up to see someone else make with the vows – now that the whole process has gone 24 hours like everything else in the world.
Up until this month, you couldn’t get married outside the hours of 8am and 6pm.
Sounds perfectly reasonable to me, but after 176 years that restriction has been scrapped, and all in the name of increased choice.
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That’s a familiar cop-out from those who reckon they can make a quid or two from regulations being ripped up, and it’s nonsense.
One of the first venues to grasp the opportunity is that sacred temple of eternal human fidelity, Blackpool Tower.
If you want to get hitched at our shabby take on Las Vegas, you can now make a reservation for sunrise, sunset or even midnight.
But for pity’s sake, have they thought this through?
Up until now it’s always been the case that friends and relatives could be expected to travel half way across the country in their best bib and tucker to be part of the celebration, and if on the rare occasion that you got invitations for the same day everyone accepted that you couldn’t be in two places at once.
Not any more. What’s to stop your cousin in Cornwall arranging a dawn ceremony on the beach and your nephew in Newcastle going for a late-night ceremony in the shadow of the Angel of the North on the very same day?
Of course you can make it to both, you’ll just have to drive around the clock so that you don’t let either of them down.
And spare a thought to all those poor people who depend on weddings for a living, from balloon modellers and cake makers to flower arrangers, DJs, and the sundry staff who make sure the reception goes with a swing.
They could be expected to work around the clock at peak season, and I don’t think anyone should be forced to endure more than one wedding a day.
It seems that weddings are following in the path set by supermarkets, and now that the hours are de-regulated who’s to say that the next step will not be the ‘order online and we’ll deliver it’ wedding – you will be able to pick out the cake, the dress, the assorted accessories and everything else on a website, and they’ll all be stuck in a van and brought round to your door by a driver who also just happens to be licensed to sort out the service. You’ll be able to get married at the time of your choice, without bothering to leave home.
And if you then find that it doesn’t really suit, or you could have got it cheaper elsewhere, you can just send it all back....