When I was small and cute, I was asked to be bridesmaid on five separate occasions. By the time I was in my thirties I had been to quite a few weddings as a guest, not to mention my own during that intensely hot summer of 1976. Compared to me, Kay has been devoid of any weddings. There simply hasn't been a single wedding in our circle for the last 25 years or more. At the grand old age of 25, she has NEVER been a bridesmaid and the first ever wedding she even attended was three weeks ago when we crept into the back of the church to watch a not-so-close friend of hers from primary school days marry at our local church. (We just happened to hear about it by chance and thought as it was a five-minute walk away, we would go, but we were not officially invited.) A few days ago we were invited to be guests at a family wedding in the Midlands. Kay's first ever proper wedding invitation.
I suppose it is a sign of the times that weddings are not as commonplace as they used to be. Cohabiting is far more common that it was forty or fifty years ago. Rightly so, people marry only when they really want to, but it is no longer a given and therefore the ceremony to cement the relationship becomes a rare event. Having children outside marriage is no longer taboo either (I so weep at the stories that unfold on Long Lost Family, where unmarried mothers were forced to put their babies up for adoption). Shotgun weddings are a thing of the past. In fact, the little page boy at our family wedding was the couple's two-year-old son.
I've noticed the wording of the service has changed a lot too. No more thees and thous and plighting troth. No more lawful wedded husband or wife. I was quick to abandon the obey at my service in 1976 (something I think Mr Alcoholic Daze may have later regretted), but it was still peppered with thees and thous. There's still the usual titter and nervousness when the congregation is asked if there is any just cause why those two people should not be married but on the whole there's a lot more jollity and less solemnity from the vicar.
For Kay's first proper wedding this was the best. It was perfect in every way..... perfect weather, beautiful bride, handsome groom, adorable children, lovely food, incredible venue, hilarious speeches.... the perfect day for the perfect couple.