So, I have personally been invited to my first British wedding! Actually, that is not entirely correct – I attented one last year, but it was a distant friend of my boyfriend and we only were asked to the evening portion, so I was the “…and guest” and didn’t know anybody. So I don’t really count that one, except that it was at a Scottish castle and included a traditional pipe band, so that was definitely nifty.
Anyway, this time my name is on the invite, and my presence has been requested for the full-day shebang, so this is my first official British wedding, and it’s another Scottish one at that. I am excited, because it is a big to-do with folk I know, but I also have some anxieties.
PRO: There will be lots of booze.
CON: My boss will be there.
I haven’t actually been to a wedding in about ten years, when a high school friend got married at a local Indian restaurant. Since then, I have been blissfully ceremony-free, as my friends are apparently not the marrying types, or at least haven’t felt the need to invite me. So, while I believe I can behave myself in public and don’t scrub up too badly, I have some basic wedding etiquette questions I need to get some answers to.
Some things are a little different here, is the thing. When this invite came in the mail, there was no RSVP slip. It seems to be customary over here to go out and buy a card to respond. The boyfriend and I went out this weekend to buy a card, but couldn’t find any “wedding acceptance” cards, which you’re supposed to use, so he was dispatched on his lunch break today to another store. He scanned the card and emailed it to me for approval because I kept saying “Nothing tacky! Nothing sentimental! Nothing cheesy! No mentions of ‘on your special day’!”
We agreed on “Tailfeather and Boy Person of Tailfeather are delighted to attend your wedding on Said Date.” The card is mailed, and we are now committed to the next problem, which is wedding gift. I only just found out that there’s a registry (nothing on the invite about it), and it looks like everything decent is taken except things that are Exhorbitantly Expensive. Since I am shelling out a fair bit of cash for travel, my wedding funds are a bit shrunken. The Boy Person and I were wondering if it would be permissable to give a DVD boxset of “Battlestar Galactica” yes or no? I know the groom would be happy, but I am unsure about the bride. I used to be friendly with her but haven’t seen her properly for a while, and she is a bit more traditional. But they live together! They do not need a toaster or a useless vase! What to do?
PRO: DVD boxset is forever; it is actually useful, fun and couple-oriented, and I know they don’t have it already.
CON: Possible social embarrassment if this is a major faux pas; one girl I used to work with clutched my arm and shrieked, “You never go off-registry!”
The biggest problem, of course, is dress. Boy Person will be hiring a kilt, to my endless excitement (principal reason we are attending, as celebrating the love of friends secondary to Men in Kilts). I have a perfect, lovely dress to wear – but it is black. I know one is not to wear white to a wedding, but I am thinking black will not be acceptable either, as this is a daytime, summer wedding. Right? Which means I have to go dress-hunting, which will inevitably require new shoes, which is a pain in the ass.
Especially when I think of my many lovely, appropriate dresses hanging in my closet at my parents’ 4,000 miles away. Sigh. So, off to the shops, but not the affordable high street shops like Oasis, TopShop, and H&M, because then everyone will be able to tell I am wearing that bubble-skirt dress from H&M. No, I will need to get creative and find something more unique, which usually means pricier. The bigger challenge will be finding something not strapless. Why? Because this time, I want to dance a Ceilidh without my nipple popping out:
The dancing is the best part, and I am not missing another round of Gay Gordons because I don’t know how to wrangle tit tape (which reminds me, I also need to study up on the steps – add it to the list). A final costuming consideration is hats. I am dying to wear a feathery church hat with a cheeky lace overlay, because you can here! It’s encouraged! I have discovered that I can look at pictures of wedding, derby, and ascot hats for hours on end.
My God, they are magnificent, and when else will I have the chance? Sadly, it all seems like more trouble than it’s worth. I’d have to match it to the dress, presumably (matching shoes, jewelry, and handbag will be trouble enough), and then locate a cheap milliner. I would have to travel with The Hat on the airplane, and then I would have to figure out what to do with my hair. The Hat would inevitably be crushed by a drunken reveler by dinner (you have to take it off after the ceremony itself), or forgotten under the chair when I leave.
It’s all getting too complicated. One girl actually told me I could wear a different dress to the dinner. What? I am not taking a garment bag. I’m not even certain what to do with the gift – I am just assuming we take it with us and stash it under the church pew during the ceremony? We’re taking a taxi there, and if the gift makes it out of the house, out of the taxi, out of the church, and all the way to the gift table without getting lost, I will consider it a triumph. I’m not adding a costume change to the mix. Oh, Jesus, I’ll have to find a wrap too.
I would worry about etiquette, but at the other Scottish wedding I attended, two gents became involved in a be-kilted handstand competition, so if it’s possible to get away with playing Free Willy in the middle of the dance floor, I’m probably okay. God, if attending a wedding requires this much planning, I cannot even imagine trying to plan one. Advice, suggestions, whatever are welcome.