I love weddings. They’re inherently joyful events, full of truly happy people, excitable chatter, free booze, vol-au-vents and people looking their dashing or graceful best.
My friend M invited me to his recently. More than that, he asked me to be an usher. “I’d be delighted,” I said, “as long as we don’t have to wear matching waistcoats.”
I didn’t mean this entirely seriously. It’s not for me to say how he conducts his wedding. If he wants his ushers to wear hot pants and Timmy Mallett glasses then I ought to go along with it. But why do people think that dressing ushers in matching waistcoats is a good idea?
Is it so that aged relatives don’t get confused about who to ask if they get lost? If they really can’t work out where to go (and let’s face it, they’ve probably been to several dozen weddings in their lives and ought to know that the bride stands on the left by now) then a buttonhole is surely enough.
Is it because bridesmaids traditionally wear matching outfits, and so it is assumed that the tradition should extend to the men? This modern idea is probably the brainchild of suit hire companies who offer job lots on wedding attire. Nothing says “We hired these suits for the occasion” quite like a matching waistcoat.
Is it because there is some idea that wedding photographs will look better if everyone’s outfits match? Why do they think this? What is the compulsion to make your wedding photos look like a staff meeting at a Torquay hotel?
Anyhow, M laughed and said that we would not be dressed like easyJet cabin crew. A few months later, he mentioned that actually, he did have a waistcoat for me.
There’s nothing to do here. I’ve just got to wear it, figuratively and literally. Perhaps it will be really beautiful. I had better start practising my patter all the same, though. “In the unlikely event of a water landing, the exits are here, here and through the vestry.”