How to get it right

Why an af­ter­noon beats an en­tire week­end

Country Life Every Week - - Burning Issues -

The op­ti­mum wed­ding for­mula is one stu­pen­dous day and night

WITH a fa­mil­iar thud, a fat en­ve­lope lands on the mat—the higher the gsm, the louder the thud. I love wed­dings—all those pop­ping waist­coats, church bel­ters, wild dancers, weird rel­a­tives and won­der­ful hats—but my heart fills with dread when I tear open an en­ve­lope and a whole deck of cards tum­bles out.

The wed­ding, yes, the break­fast, yes. The night be­fore the wed­ding—hmm… Brunch, lunch and/or tea the day af­ter the wed­ding—for good­ness’ sake! All three and I curse ro­mance in all its forms.

I like peo­ple very much, both friends and strangers, talk­ing to them, eat­ing with them, danc­ing with them, pinch­ing ci­garettes off them—all the usual wed­ding be­hav­iours—but I’m no slave to love. The 12 labours of Her­cules were a dod­dle com­pared to a sum­mer full of three­day wed­dings.

When my par­ents were mar­ried, the form was a morn­ing cer­e­mony fol­lowed by Cham­pagne and cake (a buf­fet lunch if you were lucky), then every­body scur­ried home early. Now, they go on into the evening, end­ing at mid­night or shortly af­ter in the civilised world, but have been known to last all night long—this, to me, is the op­ti­mum wed­ding for­mula, one stu­pen­dous day and night.

By all means, would-be­weds should ar­range a get­to­gether with fam­ily and close friends—it’s rare to have every­body in the same place—but don’t in­vite the whole blasted wed­ding party. My mother thinks I’m de­light­ful, but even she doesn’t want to talk to me for 72 hours straight and what you may find charm­ing and novel in my repartee one evening is sure to be repet­i­tive the next.

Fur­ther­more, what’s to pre­vent the em­bar­rass­ment of not recog­nis­ing one’s best bud of the night be­fore, who has, con­fus­ingly, changed his/her clothes. The sim­ple act of brush­ing one’s hair and tak­ing off a cardie can con­fuse some men. The hor­ror of hor­rors is the do the day af­ter. I have at­tended these events. To my shame, I’m en­ticed by the free food. The Sun­day party is a ca­sual af­fair, a bar­be­cue or buf­fet. Those who at­tend are too tired to talk much. It usu­ally rains. There isn’t enough seat­ing. Peo­ple hang around with friends be­cause it’s less ef­fort; they’d all rather be sleep­ing than scin­til­lat­ing.

Dur­ing one such day-af­ter-the-wed­ding lunch, I was found curled up in a bun­dle with two girl­friends, near the coats. That’s where all sen­si­ble peo­ple should be af­ter a day­long shindig—in slum­ber or trav­el­ling some­where where this will be pos­si­ble, to re­cover bright and bushy-tailed for the next joy­ful cel­e­bra­tion of love.

An­nun­ci­ata Wal­ton

All dressed up and some­where to go

IWAS raised by my grand­mother to be­lieve that there are ap­pro­pri­ate clothes for each part of the day and for ev­ery type of event. If one wore the wrong clothes, it was a sign of ig­no­rance, men­tal ill­ness or re­bel­lion and, in so­cial sit­u­a­tions, also an in­sult to one’s guests or hosts.

To of­fer a sin­gle ex­am­ple, if one was in­vited to a tra­di­tional Himba wed­ding cer­e­mony in Namibia, where, as part of the prepa­ra­tions, the women strip more or less naked and per­form ond­jongo—set­tle down, it’s a spe­cial dance—and the day­time tem­per­a­ture is of­ten 40˚C, one would still wear one’s morn­ing dress, com­plete with gloves and top hat.

The won­der­ful thing about morn­ing dress is that, whether you’re tall or short, thin or stout, it’s in­cred­i­bly flat­ter­ing. This is largely thanks to the unique shape of the morn­ing or dress coat, which is waist-length in the front and sides, but curves away grad­u­ally to form a knee-length, or be­low-the knee-length, tail with a sin­gle vent (al­though there are many variations, in­clud­ing the de­light­fully named weasel­belly).

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