There's a warmth in the air and it can only mean one thing - wedding season is upon us

There is an arc to best man speeches: they go from bad, to awful, to excruciating until they become anecdotes to be related again and again

Share

Football has given way to cricket, the Chelsea Flower Show is about to open its gates, and at last there is a warmth in the air that might inspire feelings of fellowship and harmony. In other words, we are into the wedding season. Up and down the country this weekend, the marriage vows were being recited in their hundreds, and vol-au-vents were being consumed in their thousands.

Only Olympic gold medallist Jessica Ennis made it on to the front pages with her nuptials, but many families will now have similar pictures of daughters, sons, nieces and nephews emoting the same state of wedded bliss.

I went to a wedding party myself at the weekend. It wasn't what you might call a small affair: several hundred people were treated to a dinner of steak and chips in a marquee so big it may have spanned two postal districts.

I found it difficult to remember the last time I'd been to a wedding. In fact, I seem to have jumped somehow from first attending weddings, then 40th birthday parties, and now it's mainly funerals, a sad progression which keeps me in touch with my mortality. So it was a treat, made even more rare by the fact that the happy couple (who would both be roughly in my age bracket) were first-timers.

As the groom pointed out in his speech, he and his wife had 97 years of singledom between them (cue the guests silently working out how this total was apportioned between them). There were many references in the speeches to the fact that a long wait had come to an end - even the father of the bride opened his address by remarking that he never thought he would see the day.

The sense that a wedding was the final destination of a natural human quest was palpable. And as we can see from the fact that marriage - between or among the sexes - remains a highly divisive political issue, this is an institution that still carries a lot of potency and significance.

The cocktails, too, were potent, but despite that the speeches passed off without incident, which is always rather disappointing. I have witnessed best man's speeches that are brilliant, and ones that are terrible, and, truthfully, both are thrilling. Actually, for all the great jokes and clever stunts, I shall never, ever forget the best man who stood up to address the reception in the great room at the British Museum and was so overcome by the occasion that he totally froze. And I mean totally.

As my friend Johnny pointed out on Saturday night, there is an arc that some speeches follow: they go from bad, to awful, to excruciating until they become anecdotes to be related again and again. I have been a best man four times in my life, and it is truly a nerve-wracking experience, having to find jokes and stories that will appeal to two or three diverse groups of people. Nevertheless, I have a pretty unblemished record. Apart from the time, at a reception in a Lakeland hotel, I inadvertently proposed my toast not to the bridesmaids, but to the barmaids. No one seemed to mind...

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: On behalf of a successful academy i...

Investigo: Finance Business Partner

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Investigo: My client, a global leader in providing ...

Austen Lloyd: Commercial Property Solicitor - West London

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: WEST LONDON - An excellent new opportunity wit...

Recruitment Genius: Florist Shop Manager

£8 - £10 per hour: Recruitment Genius: A Florist Shop Manager is required to m...

Day In a Page

Read Next
A solar energy farm in France  

Nature Studies: For all the attractions of solar power, it shouldn’t blight the countryside

Michael McCarthy
Supporters of New Democracy wave Greek flags during Antonis Samaras pre-election speech.  

Greece elections: Where does power lie? This is the question that ties the UK to Athens

Steve Richards
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project