Claire’s Dad Is Getting Married

Claire and I are off to Norfolk this evening, for her dad’s wedding tomorrow. He and his lady have finally decided that “living in sin” wasn’t for them, and they’re tying the knot.

Traditionally, wedding gifts were household goods, appliances, etc., but both John (Claire’s dad) and Pat both own their own houses, fully stocked, and so – contrarily – we might find that for this couple, who already own two toasters, two food mixers, two washing machines, etc., the best gift they could possibly receive would be an eBay account from which to sell all of the duplicated homewares when they formally move in together, soon.

It’s interesting to see how the traditions of marriage are having to grow to fit the times: with fewer and fewer couples for whom getting married is synomymous with “leaving home and starting a family of your own” – and particularly in this case, which two retirees exchanging rings – the conventional symbols of marriage (what does “their wedding night” honestly mean any more?) and weddings (what do you buy for a couple who’ve already started their lives in the bigger wider world?) are dying out.

For a moment there, there was a risk that I’d be perceived as a traditionalist, or, worse yet, as a fundamentalist: to the contrary – I think that the ideas behind marriage are well overdue for an overhaul, and, as many of you know, I have personal objections to marriage which mean that you’re not ever likely to hear wedding bells from anywhere near where I’m standing.

Nonetheless, weddings are a fun excuse for a party. Like funerals, they bring families together in a rare bonding moment, but unlike funerals you don’t feel so guilty for getting pissed and hitting on your cousin. And in the end, isn’t that what life is all about?