I PREFER a funeral to a wedding.
By that I don’t mean I actually want people to die so I can attend one, it’s just that they are generally more interesting and the outcome has a certainty about it.
I don’t have a good record at weddings — and I don’t mean my own as I haven’t taken part in one.
A calculation, and I know I may have, for various reasons, forgotten one or two, reveals I have attended around 16 in my life, and the stats aren’t good.
Eight (at minimum) ended in divorce, one, for a reason I can’t disclose, is looking a bit rocky to say the least, and seven are still together. That’s being generous as I don’t know what happened to four of the couples.
The ceremonies themselves are dull; a rambling vicar, some prayers and hymns no-one knows, everyone, if they’re honest about it, only interested in the do afterwards at which it can be guaranteed that a small percentage of English people will — and they only do this at weddings — claim some sort of Scottish heritage and don a kilt.
Funerals, and I have only been to three, have largely become a celebration of the recently deceased’s life. A eulogy is given, with accompanying amusing and affectionate tales, songs, often pre-chosen by the subject, are played and afterwards there’s a good chance to meet up with people who played a part in various parts of your life as well as that of the person they are there on behalf of.
People have made a genuine effort to be there; travelled for miles, booked accommodation, taken time off work, and not just for the free food afterwards — although a tightfisted old couple turned up at the pub after my father’s service, ate their fill of sandwiches, packed up a couple of bags with quiche and buns etc and b******d off.
I write this because I’ve got a wedding to go to this weekend. It’s down in Devon and it’s not the first time the multi-millionaire groom has been married.
It should be a decent do afterwards mind you, though there’s the service to get through first.
It’s not really a big ask in return for a boat-load of free drink is it? But when you’re not religious and a big sceptical about the whole institution it is difficult to find the correct emotions to display.
I don’t know the couple so going full-on over the top with cheering and chanting of their names (if I was aware of them) would be inappropriate, as would crying. Booing for any reason wouldn’t be right and neither would calling for the final whistle so we could get to the pub.
I guess nodding and smiling at people, the majority of whom will be thinking “who the bloody hell is he?” will do.
The word is there might be a few decent tunes at the service and definitely some afterwards — and at least it’s not taking place during the football season (I know someone who refused to go to weddings in the cricket season!).
Better get my funeral suit out and perfect that wedding smile.