Cheer and loathing

At least bad behaviour at weddings makes the day memorable.

ALTHOUGH REGISTRY records show that weddings in Britain are 20 per cent down this year, the rash of celebrity knot-tying, which climaxed in the long-awaited nuptials of Posh and David yesterday, might make you think otherwise.

Although there will no doubt be a lot of raking over of the dress, the suit and the bridesmaids' outfits after the Beckham/Adams production, what won't be found in the pages of Hello! or OK is any hint of the way in which weddings stir people up to behave in the strangest ways.

For every person who wishes the couple well and who manages to enjoy themselves with a genuine feeling of goodwill in their hearts, there will be another whose emotions are rather less generous.

My second wedding was a case in point. It was wonderful, nerve-wracking, emotional and hilarious. It is the one day in your life when hundreds of people tell you how nice you look (even though you probably have never looked less like yourself) because they don't know what else to say. This awkwardness is to do with the temporary star status which forbids you from just hanging out and getting drunk with your best friends until the evening disco, and is part of the reason why some people cannot help wanting to lob the canapes at you as soon as they see you beaming happily in your fancy clothes.

A wedding is, after all, a display of unashamedly ostentatious happiness that is bound to bring out the bitter and twisted cynics.

When the 12-hour celebration was over and we lay in the business suite of the Meridian hotel five minutes from our house, it struck us how strangely some of our guests had behaved. It wasn't just that some people got so paralytic that they burst into tears and vomited. I bear no ill- will towards one guest who went round hugging people so enthusiastically that he managed to fell two women carrying plates of food. I was also fine with what seemed like dozens of people going off to have sex in the garden of the strange run-down mansion we hired for the day.

Much more irritating was Dan's ex-girlfriend who came in a pale cream silk bridal dress with no underwear on. And the other ex-girlfriend who had decided that this was a good time to tell my husband that she forgave him for everything and tried to snog him. Then there was the flame-haired actress who came in a white mini-dress ("Sorry love, I came dressed as the bride!"), took my stepfather's place at the table and leant over to ask me what I had taken to keep me going - in full hearing of my grandmother.

All this pales into insignificance when I recall the person who gatecrashed our sit-down do for 250 and thought it would be funny to phone my first husband during the speeches and say "Guess where I am, darling! I'm at your ex-wife's wedding."

Longer and more costly weddings offer the greatest opportunity for people to behave badly. Like the tired and emotional cousin of a friend of mine whose speech dissolved into a rant of barely concealed dislike of the groom. To everyone's amazement and embarrassment he could not help telling everyone how the groom was a "spoilt brat" and a "jammy bastard". As the laughter got thinner and a couple of hecklers told him to sit down, he was gently led out of the back of the marquee into the dark night.

At another country wedding I went to, a friend of the bride was so clearly having trouble letting her old pal have all the limelight that she kept reappearing in different and more glamorous outfits as the day went on. By the time everyone left in the wee hours she was wearing an outfit that would have made Danny La Rue proud.

There are the whisperers too, who don't do anything noticeably dramatic to spoil things but start a mood of negativity about the way the wedding has been organised. There are those who cast aspersions on the durability of the marriage with little hints about "troubles" last year and how "worried" they've been that the big occasion would be called off.

After we had got over the initial irritation at our guests' bad behaviour, we started to realise that wildly dotty guest behaviour is the mark of a particularly successful wedding and is one that is likely to stay in the collective memory much longer than a trouble-free occasion. And we forgive you all - apart from the gatecrasher with the mobile-phone - with all the smug blissfulness of a happily married couple.

Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey in the first-look Fifty Shades of Grey movie still

film
Arts and Entertainment
Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc, centre, are up for Best Female TV Comic for their presenting quips on The Great British Bake Off

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Martin Freeman as Lester Nygaard in the TV adaptation of 'Fargo'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Shakespeare in Love at the Noel Coward Theatre
theatreReview: Shakespeare in Love has moments of sheer stage poetry mixed with effervescent fun
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
<p><strong>2008</strong></p>
<p>Troubled actor Robert Downey Jr cements his comeback from drug problems by bagging the lead role in Iron Man. Two further films follow</p>

film
Arts and Entertainment

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Tycoons' text: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates both cite John Brookes' 'Business Adventures' as their favourite book

books
Arts and Entertainment
Panic! In The Disco's Brendon Urie performs on stage

music
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch star in the Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game

film
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Radio 4's Today programme host Evan Davis has been announced as the new face of Newsnight

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams performing on the Main Stage at the Wireless Festival in Finsbury Park, north London

music
Arts and Entertainment
Carrie Mathison returns to the field in the fourth season of Showtime's Homeland

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Crowds soak up the atmosphere at Latitude Festival

music
Arts and Entertainment
Meyne Wyatt and Caren Pistorus arrive for the AACTA Aawrds in Sydney, Australia

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Rick Astley's original music video for 'Never Gonna Give You Up' has been removed from YouTube

music
Arts and Entertainment
Quentin Blake's 'Artists on the beach'

Artists unveils new exhibition inspired by Hastings beach

art
Arts and Entertainment
MusicFans were left disappointed after technical issues
Arts and Entertainment
'Girl with a Pearl Earring' by Johannes Vermeer, c. 1665
artWhat is it about the period that so enthrals novelists?
Arts and Entertainment
Into the woods: The Merry Wives of Windsor at Petersfield
theatreOpen-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
Arts and Entertainment
James singer Tim Booth
latitude 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Lee says: 'I never, ever set out to offend, but it can be an accidental by-product'
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
tvThe judges were wowed by the actress' individual cooking style
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

    Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

    The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

    Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

    Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
    Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

    Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

    Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
    10 best reed diffusers

    Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

    Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
    Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

    Screwing your way to the top?

    Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
    Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

    Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

    Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
    Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

    Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

    The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
    The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

    The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

    Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
    US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

    Meet the US Army's shooting star

    Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
    Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

    Take a good look while you can

    How climate change could wipe out this seal
    Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

    Farewell, my lovely

    Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
    Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

    Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

    Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
    Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

    Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

    John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
    Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

    Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

    A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
    Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

    Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

    The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning