My new job: wedding chaperone

I do love weddings, and this year seems to have had a particularly plentiful supply.

This weekend’s specimen was a little unusual, since I had never met the bride or the groom. A recently single friend asked me to accompany her in her ex boyfriend’s place. She spent the entire time saying “This is Freya, she’s my other half for the evening”, and then later deciding maybe that sounded wrong, but “standing in for my boyfriend” was also somewhat odd. People looked at me and smiled vaguely, thinking they should probably know me. Crashing weddings would indeed be easy. I wasn’t quite sure whether I should feel guilty about turfing up with no present; of course I felt guilty regardless, eating food they had paid for and listening to speeches about people I didn’t know at all. The bride’s father was a builder, and gave a good enough speech. The groom was a graphic designer, and the bride worked in Marketing at Cineworld. The “wedding favours” were lottery tickets stuck to the back of the place cards, which was a nice touch.

I had accepted the offer on the off chance that I might meet someone new, but of course most people were engaged or married themselves. There were more older couples than usual, and I enjoyed watching them dancing, throwing their arms and legs around at random angles that bore no relation to the music, but having a great time.  They were mostly in their 50s, 60s or older. They looked so happy in each others’ company, messing around and laughing. For all I know, they could in fact have been newlyweds, in the week that Paul McCartney announced his third engagement. I love that lack of cynicism – just because it didn’t work out the last time is no reason not to try again.

All in all, I don’t think I minded the awkwardness of not knowing anyone. I ate some rather better food than one gets at most weddings (salmon tartare, chicken, panna cotta), and deliberately avoided the bizarreness of being drunk with complete strangers by driving there. So I got back at a nice reasonable time, no desperate thoughts about having turned into the Kristin Scott Thomas character of Four Weddings and a Funeral (which is pretty much who I am at all my friends’ weddings, only not as elegant by far), and no hangover. Result.

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