Doors to manual

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.”

3 Responses to “Doors to manual”

  1. pouletnoir Says:

    UPDATE: Another friend, also called M, suggested that the reason people go for matching waistcoats is because they want to impose a minimum standard, in case the groom’s friends lack the sartorial grace necessary for the wedding. It is, he said, an unfortunate side effect that it also sets a maximum standard.
    Let’s face it, most people don’t own a morning coat, and quite a lot of people don’t own a waistcoat. Unless all the ushers turn up to a fitting and choose their own waistcoats then the groom must either second guess their taste or take the safe option of going for a single colour scheme.
    I must also confess that, having looked at the Moss Bross website, the plain waistcoats look quite nice, and there is every chance that we won’t look like the twits in the photo above.
    However, let’s not get carried away. Men ought to own a waistcoat, even if only for occasions like weddings.

  2. M who got married Says:

    Am delighted to report that Jack already had a waistcoat in exactly the same colour, so Moss Bros-related embarrassement was avoided. And he looked very dashing as an usher.

  3. M who got married Says:

    Apologies – married life apparently means I’m now unable to spell.

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