I slept last night on the couch in the room of the groom. This morning I was propelled into organisational madness after a 15 quid breakfast. There are parallels between weddings and theatre. Both involve a lot of love. Both involve huge amounts of work for a fleeting unrepeatable moment. Both, it seems, involve me getting covered in wax.
Two hours before Robin and Amy tied the knot I was sitting in my jeans and a T-shirt sticking candles into Christmas Carol candleabras for the ceremony. “I want it to look like a Meatloaf video” was the art direction. Waxy candleabras. Check. I was willing to believe the whole experience was an acid flashback, but it was caught on camera so it definitely happened.
Candles stuck, I graduated to decorations and hats and pocket squares, and spoke about the order of things and was just extremely busy doing whatever for a few hours. Finally I put on a top hat and told everyone to come upstairs. I went upstairs too, sat down in a room full of candles and exhaled. Amy walked down the aisle. Rob was there. Brian was lord of the rings. A room full of adults cried pretty much constantly for 20 minutes as they made their vows. It was beautiful.
I was given a tissue by Holly. “You went before I did,” she told me. But everyone went. Apart from Cal who is a tree. And he went on the inside. I could feel him vibrating.
Their vows were beautiful. There’s love, respect and friendship there in heaps. They’re both brilliant people.
The aisle was lined with candles and plastic ivy, and nobody caught on fire – even if we did have some near misses. Just after the last guest left, a bit of ivy took light.
Now I’m in the slow time between lunch and party. I just dropped my bag at reception in case I have to ghost and hit the Airbnb. I’m sick as a dog you see, and still drinking, because you know – oh constant reader – how atrocious I am at taking care of myself. I feel like I’m wearing a space helmet. I jumped up and down and cheered for a photo and it brought on a coughing fit and a splitting headache. But I’ll be here as long as I can because I want to be in this place with these people. They’re great. And sometimes you can drink through the pain and out the other side.
I have to go downstairs in a second and do the old charming top hat ringmaster stuff to bring the guests upstairs. It’s party time.
And what a party. I’m catching an ending while I have the capacity. I think my duties ended with the first dance. Now I’m a free agent. So I’ve drunk an inordinate amount of merlot and I’m thinking I might experiment with dancing and see if wine trumps sickness.
A teenage bridesmaid had seen West Side Story and recognised me from it. She was totally swept up in it, talking to me about Maria, the music, the whole thing. She’s going to go into politics. Good luck to her I say. She has kindness. Many politicians are crayfish.
I brought the costume for the photo booth. Every time I walked past people were in it laughing while wearing my mother’s old wedding hat, her tie dye poncho, her Peruvian shawl, one of her brighter blouses or scarves… I kept many of her more outlandish clothes in a dressing up box. It was lovely to see them bringing such joy. She’d have had a big birthday this year – I’m happy to have allowed her spirit to bring joy to my friends’ wedding.