At the start of this year, my wife and I had somewhere in the region of eight weddings to go to and we’ve now got two left; as far as we know.
And with each one, we’re slowly perfecting the art of going to a wedding and understanding more what makes it a good one too.
There are four basic tenets for a “great craic” wedding in my view.
Good wine, good food, great band and a smart table plan.
The wine is essential, and while everyone may not drink it, it’s free and it’s important.
Choose wisely and even if people aren’t wine drinkers but you’ve chosen a “drinkable” white and red wine, you might have people who hate wine drinking it by the end of the main course once word filters around the table.
Also, try not to get a red wine that stains teeth as you don’t want guests running up and down to their rooms to brush their fiacla.
Good wine gets people nice and merry early in the evening and sets up the whole wedding for “good craic”.
The last thing you want is for your big day to be a dry affair. That’s probably the worst thing anyone could say about your wedding, don’t let it happen!
Food is also very important and not just starter, mains and dessert. The food on arrival also sets the tone for what’s to come as do the beers, gin and tonics or hot ports, go with whatever the weather dictates on this one.
On the food, don’t be afraid to go with what you love. It is your day. Have some guts on the food, and generally, you’ll give someone something different, something they may not normally eat and nine times out of ten, they’ll love it.
Unless they’re proper fussy eaters and oddballs. We went with fillet steak and sea bass but threw in a sorbet before the main course.
One of my family members had gone to the toilet and came back to find the sorbet on the table and thought they missed the main course.
They’d never had sorbet before. Great memory for them and a great story too that is only getting funnier every time it is told.
We were at a wedding recently with bacon and cabbage on the menu.
That takes courage and fair play to the couple, they got it right and it went down a treat.
Have fun choosing the food, generally you’ll get a night in the venue to taste lots of different starters, mains and desserts and of course, to pick your wine. Enjoy those moments.
A great band is important and make sure they’ll play some waltzing music as well. Older people at weddings love a waltz so don’t just have the band playing bangers.
Think of the age profile of people at your wedding. Make sure you have a nice balance with the music - your wedding will be better for it.
The art of a good wedding is being a good middleman...which means getting the table plan correct.
It’s always a good idea to keep people together; I think.
Keep the village/childhood group of friends at one table, the college friends at another, the groom’s cousins at one, the bride’s at another and so on.
It’s important to know too where your tables will be in relation to your dining hall. For example, don’t have the sisters, brothers etc. at table one and then realise on the day that table one is the back left corner of the banquet hall.
And make sure you have a mad table in the middle of the room to keep things lively and loud...but not too loud. Also, have names on the table too, it just saves that awkward moment of people deciding who is sitting where, make that decision for people, have their names on the table in front of their seats.
You also get to put people beside each other who you think will get on.
Hopefully that’s a handy beginner’s guide on what makes a good wedding. As for going to a wedding, here’s a few things I’ve learned this year:
Try on your shirt, jacket, waistcoat etc. days before the wedding as it might not fit anymore. Check that there are no rips or tears to the pants or anything else.
You probably pulled serious moves at the last wedding and tested the stitching. Check in particular the groin area and if it needs a stitch, get it done.
Wear a shirt that’s loose on you so you have room for expansion. A tight shirt at noon in the afternoon will be a lethal weapon at 9pm with the pressure the buttons will be under.
Get the card and €200 before the wedding day, not on the wedding day. There’s enough to be done on the day, just be organised and have it all sorted beforehand, it’ll spare you a row. Drink the table wine (red or white), and drink it into the evening.
If your table is being cleared for dancing, take a bottle away with you. It saves you money, particularly if you have a lot of weddings that year.
Don’t drink too much before 10pm or the wine headache will hit hard. Make sure and dance, a lot!
And chat to the bride and groom but don’t take up too much of their time, they have a lot of guests to get around to.
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