Small weddings can happen in July? Finally, the bridechilla has an out

A lockdown nuptials could be perfect for all of us with no taste for big-day ostentation

Big day out: I’m  determined to divine a balance between a special occasion and ostentatious wedding nonsense. Photograph: iStockphoto/Getty

Big day out: I’m determined to divine a balance between a special occasion and ostentatious wedding nonsense. Photograph: iStockphoto/Getty

 

I’ve been deriding the ostentatious, look-at-me-everyone wedding for decades, both in print and to anyone unfortunate enough to have to listen. Don’t get me wrong; I love love. I adore the idea of people standing up in a room and celebrating their relationship in front of the people most important to them. I just don’t get why I, as a wedding guest, have to pay an average of €445 to be there.

I’ve had even less interest in hosting a big wedding for my own nuptials. I’m not wearing an engagement ring (long story). My partner proposed to me using a handmade teapot, with Peig Sayers and a chicken drawn on its side (longer story). It was low key and weird but very, very us.

There are at least 100 other things I can think of to spend €30,000 on (for that is the amount the average Irish couple spends on a wedding). None of these 100 things involves place settings, co-ordinated florals and cufflinks for pageboys. It’s a day you’ll never forget – not with that kind of financial hangover, you won’t – but that’s the point. It’s a day. A big day, but an ephemeral one nonetheless.

By all means, godspeed with busting out the wallet if this has been your long-held dream, but it’s not for me.

Before the bride can say ‘Beef or salmon?’ an intimate event has swollen into a sizeable theatrical shindig. There are chair covers. There are chips in baskets at midnight

I recently caught wind of the term “bridechilla”. Presumably a counterpoint to the much-maligned Bridezilla, the bridechilla is relaxed and calm about her wedding. She’s not likely to say things like “It’s my day/week/month” or “This needs to be perfect”. Where the bridezilla is roundly derided, her polar opposite doesn’t, in theory at least, buy into the pomp and ceremony.

Most newly engaged women seem to start out this way, with every intention of not letting a wedding become a fantastical, overblown event. “I just want something low key and special,” she is very likely to say, right before family members meddle and friends offer a bit of bridal inspo on Instagram. Before the bride can say “Beef or salmon?” their intimate event has swollen into a sizeable theatrical shindig. There are chair covers. There are chips in baskets at midnight. The lollipop lady from primary school is on table 35. Whether by accident or design, there are bells, whistles and more bells.

But now the bridechilla who proclaims that she wants a small and no-frills wedding has a proper out. It means that couples who swear they don’t want any fuss, like us, can come good on their word.

This week it was revealed by Minister for Health Simon Harris that very small weddings may be able to go ahead as early as July. According to the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown, small weddings would be permitted by phase four, due to begin on July 20th.

“Small is going to be small – 100 is not small, 80 or 90 is not small. We are talking about a very small gathering with very close family and friends,” Harris said.

No worrying about extended family politics. No nerve-racking speeches in front of hundreds. No post-wedding barbecue. You might even get to talk to your new husband or wife on the day

I truly feel for any couple whose plans for a bigger wedding have hit the coronavirus skids, but there are definitely advantages in this option. No worrying about extended family politics. No nerve-racking speeches in front of hundreds. No keeping on top of dozens of variables to ensure the day goes smoothly. No event management. No post-wedding barbecue. Imagine, you might even get to talk to your new husband or wife on the day.

The more the register-office/dozen-family-and-friends option is mooted, the more appealing it becomes. But if the Covid-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it’s to grab the celebratory, joyous moments in life when we can. Maybe after an austere few months I should be running full pelt towards a big celebration.

I’m still determined to divine a balance between a special occasion and ostentatious wedding nonsense. My wedding won’t be a chance to become Beyoncé for the day. But it just might be a chance to celebrate that my partner and I got through self-isolation without splitting up first.

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