1. Cute children
Children at weddings fit into the age old adage, of anything being adorable if it is small, yet looks important. Duck in a general’s outfit? Cute. Amoeba with a prefect’s badge? Meh. Even the most obnoxious sprogs are neatly suited out and in on the action = CUTE.
2. Drunken antics
The Great British Public barely need an excuse to come together and get sozzled, but a wedding counts amongst the most prestigious of them all. The wedding is a time that everyone gets to have a few scoops, so for once our incipient alcoholism isn’t “an issue”.
3. Old people doing a ‘good job’
As they approach their twilight years, it often takes an event such as a wedding to bring the elderly guests “on form”, with dances, timely advice and unexpected filthy jokes.
4. Finger buffet
The finger buffet is a timeless catering roulette. It’s not up everyone’s street, but few aspects of catering are quite as adventurous. Is there egg on that sandwich? Are those crisps mixed? If the crisps are mixed by the way, you’re unforgivable.
5. Free booze
Everyone is seemingly entitled to some degree of free booze during the course of a wedding. Drinks owed from years ago are suddenly brought to the fore, there’s the champagne, and if you’re very lucky, a free bar across the board.
Murmurs of anticipation surround the speeches. It’s always interesting to see how the speeches will be delivered/await crashing and burning. Fortunately, they’re almost always reassuringly rubbish but sweet, no one really cares.
Nobody leaves a wedding empty handed! The bride and groom fare nicely in terms of the wedding gifts, but as a guest, you’ll often encounter bags of party favours, plus at the end of the day, there’s always cake to grab. Failing that, candles? Coats?
Few opportunities are offered nowadays to wear a Great British hat, nowadays a much-maligned accessory limited to teenage goths and Sunday drivers. Fortunately, a wedding allows for plenty of hat madness, as approved by Cilla Black.
9. Shoe shopping
Perhaps more advantageous for the female attendees, but there’s no more credible excuse to grab a new pair of shoes than a formal wedding.
10. Avuncular uncles
Points of anticipated discussion with any Uncle: the traffic on the way to the Church, what time the flight is for the honeymoon, his desire that there isn’t any weird kind of mustards on the reception dinner.
11. Attractive Family Friends
At some point one of the dads or an uncle will admiringly say: “She’s really developed into a lovely young woman, hasn’t she?” You will tut and condone his rampant sexism while wondering how on earth you can buy her a drink without immediate ribbing from everyone.
12. Pitiful Drunken Shags
Whilst weddings stand as the ultimate love in for the happy couple, you’re sure to clock a variety of other less comfortable ‘impromptu’ couples on your radar, each “nipping out for a chat.”
13. Bawdy Speeches
We’re only generally in favour of brilliant, heartening and hilarious speeches here at Staggered, but if our advice isn’t read, sure, we’ll take the face in palms ‘Carry On’ style option. The one where the best man starts off with a joke about chlamydia and it gets worse from there.
14. Pets getting involved
Cats and dogs, the latter especially, are now often weirdly ubiquitous in their presence at the wedding. Assuming the clergy approve it, why wouldn’t your other life partner not want to witness your signing off, and even perhaps carry the ring.
15. Old fashioned cars
Classic cars add a touch of very British fantasy to an average wedding, and it’s easy to understand their popularity. The most beautiful dress in the world wouldn’t look right emerging from a Punto.
16. Extravagant cakes
Whilst they’re unlikely to ever get truly, fully eaten and remain in a tin for Christmas, wedding cakes are so increasingly extravagant, the appearance of the fake wax couple at the top are starting to resemble Greek Gods.
17. Inept DJs
“Let the music do the talking” is an approach rarely heard of by most top weddings DJs, each keen to take to the mic and call out any particularly dodgy shapeshifting, and of course, keep us informed of which cars outside have some parked in front of an ambulance.
18. Signing the registry book
The registry book represents one of the few challenges for the lucky, free-loading guest. We would simply advise to speak with heart and sincerity, but that’s still intimidating, knowing ink is there like you know, forever.
19. ‘The Escape Car’
The odd act of letting the driving public know they’re in the presence of a recently hitched couple, with a spot of classic car vandalism.
There are not enough opportunities for organists to play their frankly, often terrifying, music nowadays. So at least until Dizzee Rascal samples one through to the mainstream, weddings remain one of the few opportunities for organists to pipe up. Well, except funerals of course.
21. Pew Cushions
Pew cushions are solely intended to cushion the bottom of the young and the elderly, but if you find yourself somewhere in between, and in the vicinity of a spare one, Staggered at least, will forgive you. The Lord has not made his benches comfortable.
22. Underage Boozing
Interestingly, it seems from our memory that as long as it’s an enthusiastic uncle buying the rounds, the usual legalities of booze tend to vanish within the confines of a wedding reception. Perhaps he’s above the law? A wedding wouldn’t be a wedding without at least a few first-time hangovers – welcome to the club kids!
23. Conga Line
The true showing of family unity, the inevitable reception conga line always follows the same order. Drunken aunts and enthusiastic children leading the way at the front, hesitant Dads and other golfing enthusiasts bringing up the rear.
24. First Dances
We love the choreographed special effort wedding first dances, but we also have a special place in our hearts for the grab hold and shuffle efforts as well.
25. The Timewarp
Nobody has an excuse not to participate in the time warp. All the complex rules and instructions of the timewarp are clearly laid out on the record, hence it remains one of the most endearing and annoying party hits ever created. It’s just a jump to the left…
26. Throwing the Bouquet
The bride’s traditional backward bouquet slinging will apparently decide who will next be in the Bride’s position. In these important few seconds, both women and men pray they can subconsciously alter the laws of aerodynamics with their minds, but generally for completely different reasons. The funniest bit is always watching the assembled singletons and vampirically feeding off the desperation in their faces. Delicious.
This happy couple were never seen again in the storm.
Please choose environmentally-friendly decomposing confetti, and do not throw rice. And if you do, boil it and add peas.
28. Other people’s awkward seating arrangements
Time to play extended family battleships, as the ghosts of Christmas and barbecues past arrives to sprinkle some unwanted awkwardness all over your guest’s good spirits. Six of one, half a dozen of the other, we say.
29. Drinking at otherwise inappropriate times
Few modern social events make hard drinking at 11 AM acceptable, but for the guests at least, this sort of indulgence is basically ritualistic.
30. Kids skidding on knees
Probably only encouraged by that oft-repeated Peter Kay routine, children are guaranteed to ruin any ‘occasion trousers’ by sliding across the dancefloor before 9 PM. Hopefully, they’ll fall asleep under some coats.
31. Exuberant photographers
As soon as the ceremony is over, don’t relax and get too jubilant, as you’ll fall out of line in the photographer’s drill, as the hired photographer lines you all up with such vigour and variety, you’d think it was himself that had just gotten married.
32. Bells ringing
There’s genuinely fewer more triumphant, happier sounds than the echo of Church bells. No sarcasm here, it’s just lovely.
33. Awkward vicar
As the Church of England is slowly drained of its inherent stuffiness, you’re more likely than ever to encounter a ‘funny’ vicar. The church dealing with legions of guests who wouldn’t usually attend anything Christian is a relatively new phenomenon in the awkward social history of England.
34. Old fashionedness
Despite becoming less traditional and more imaginative in some quarters, the English wedding is really one of the few remaining opportunities for gentlemanliness and gentility in our complicated modern age. Pip pip.
35. Being really smart
Shiny shoes, bow ties, hats, veils, dresses worn once, smart suits. A wedding allows you to indulge in the sort of wear that would get you sniggered at in any branch of Nandos.
36. Self-penned vows
The opportunity to express your love and for us all to marvel at what goes on inside the mushy bit of your brain.
37. Old school misogyny
Allowing the liberals in the pews to comment and snigger about how relatively backwards the whole ‘giving away’ ceremony is in this day and age, but still not missing the excuse to get drunk.
38. Ties on head
Grown men alleviating the dancefloor sweat by attaching a tie around their forehead and acting like a lunatic. Preferably only at the reception, mind.
39. Ridiculous chat up lines…
… used on near strangers who you’ll hopefully never see again.
40…. Only to find out you ‘will’ see them again.
Because they’re your distant third cousin. Removed enough to make it OK? Surely?
41. A punch-up.
High emotions + booze + venue car park = flailing fists of relative’s fury. Then the gossip begins.
42. Guilty pleasure dancing
We don’t care how early on in their career you went to see The XX, you love the Abba Megamix Medley, and you should be grateful you finally have an excuse to party to it.
43. The mass Facebook tagging
A very new wedding tradition, it’s always interesting to see which forward-thinking family member manages to upload and tag every embarrassing photo to the world as soon as possible.
44. Blokes obtaining the football scores
The perils of a Saturday afternoon wedding are, of course, the inevitable football clash. Brides, be wary of passing around phones, trips to fetch stuff from the car and inappropriate whisperings and mood swings.
45. Old Faces
New boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands, wives and children, you’re bound to meet a whole new selection of people to buy Christmas gifts for, and gossip about scandalously in the days afterwards, naturally.
46. The food
A wedding is a sheer thrill in terms of culinary delight. The food is likely to be very good, and even if it isn’t, it’ll almost certainly be in abundance. Bring a bin bag! (Don’t.)
47. The Church
Regardless of your religious views, and assuming you’re not marrying in a hotel or at the circus, Britain has an amazing range of churches, and most of them are at least a bit beautiful.
48. The dress
So far removed is a wedding dress from everyday fashion, there’s still something beautiful and alien about it almost. Don’t, however, use ‘alien’ as a compliment to either the bride or her mother. Unless she’s an alien.
49. The day after
Often more enjoyable than the day itself. This is a chance to drink through the hangover and have a BBQ, whatever the weather.
And booze. No, really, love. (And booze).