Much of life follows a script, from proscribed polite responses to more subtle unspoken rules about what should and shouldn’t be said. Every so often, I get an irresistible urge to deviate from the expected response, particularly when in interviews or a work situation. I describe this as ‘being original’; bosses unfortunately tend to describe it as ‘being inappropriate’.
Yet when it comes to my wedding, my behaviour is right on cue. I find myself shouting at my Intended in typical ‘Bridezilla’ fashion:
‘You are showing NO INTEREST in the wedding, and it was YOUR IDEA in the first place!’
This argument was so clichéd it could have been following a special wedding script. Imagine my dismay on picking up one of the wedding magazines that I have been flicking through, to find the subheading
‘Is your fiance showing no interest in the wedding, even thought it was his idea in the first place?’
I was following a wedding script, and not even a good one; I had picked the most banal line from the whole wedding magazine! Am I really so suggestible, I wondered? What is it about a Wedding that gives rise to so many stereotypes, and why is it so hard to avoid conforming to them?
As we found when looking around wedding venues, wedding coordinators (or sales advisors, as they never call themselves) refer often to wedding tropes, explaining to the groom that the wedding is ‘all about the bride’. They talk about weddings as highly orchestrated, almost choreographed events, each separate constituent referred to in capital letters and prefaced with The: (The Guests, The Toast, The Flowers), which makes it sound somehow scary as in my head they were our friends and family, some booze and some flowers. Too much formality could bring on an embarassing attack of original behaviour from me.
As we were struggling to picture our wedding in the hotel we had chosen, we widened our search to include the local golf club. Red patterned carpet shrieked at red patterned sofas as we mounted the stairs, past the stair lift, into the bar room with its well stocked bar and faint aroma of leather, cigars and manly sweat. We opened the doors out onto the balcony which looked out over the golf course, now colourful with autumn leaves.
‘The golf course is out of bounds,’ said our guide ‘we are not insured for people getting hit on the head by golf balls.’
‘You can put the cover on the pool table and put your buffet on there,’ he explained.
On the way out, we stopped to look at the stair lift.
‘Kids are not to play on this, they keep breaking it. We did cover it over with a black bin bag for the last wedding, but it didn’t look too clever. We’ve ordered a proper cover now.’
We had never heard any of these lines before. As we left the building, golden leaves swirled around us like confetti. We laughed, turned to one another and said, in (unrehearsed) unison
‘I like it.’
When we got home, we began to discuss how we could decorate the golf club so that it would look like the scene of a wedding. My Intended actually began to search for other local venues and caterers on the internet, with an enthusiasm he had not shown earlier. I felt relief that these onerous tasks were no longer to be left to me alone.
It seems that the chance to write our own wedding script was what we had needed all along.