I do: Glamor and protocol at a modern Irish wedding


I haven’t done the Siege of Ennis for a while.

It’s a set you don’t have to worry about forgetting (or learning); designed for the young, old, alien or inebriated.

In a nutshell:
• Stamp towards the opposite four people
• Stamp back
• Gallop to the right
• Gallop to the left
• Twizzle around
• More stamping
• Line up and pass under the arches of the arms in front to change partners.

And if you try to do something wrong you will quickly be diverted to the correct traffic flow. It mixes up the crowd and is guaranteed to put a smile on your face.

We have an old friend who never had a girlfriend. He got married on Saturday (to a woman!). It was a nice surprise for the 200 guests.

I was watching the legs pass to communion and 99% of them had a fake tan. No one does style like the Cailín. Any one of them was match fit for Sarah Jessica Parker.

An Irish wedding is a full day operation. The service is normally around 1pm. Therefore everyone is rushing to get ready and doesn’t have lunch. While the photos are being taken people normally hang around the hotel catching up with friends and have a ‘few’ drinks. The meal starts at 5 or 6pm, at which point you are fainting with hunger and totally intoxicated.

The bridal party sit at the top table on display to the guests, looking rather worried and exposed until the speeches are over. The cake is cut, tables are cleared away and the band comes on with a disco afterwards until 3 or 4 am. There are rock songs, ballads and waltzes – something for everyone. It has always been acceptable for two women to waltz if they can’t get a man to go up with them, or a crowd of young guys to mess around on the floor together, but what was new, and would have been unusual to see even five years ago, were two girls hooking up, and two guys getting cosy. Civil partnership is in and things are filtering down to ground level. There is a healthy new level of acceptance about a lot of stuff.

Some friends were telling us about a wedding they went to in New York back in 2003. They were done up to the nines for the service and were amazed to find everyone in shorts and tshirts in the church. So they thought ‘we have got this all wrong’ and went back to the hotel to change into something casual. When they got to the reception everyone was in Armani suits, you can imagine how uncomfortable they felt. There was a huge buffet and they thought ‘this must be the meal’ and, as they were starving, they piled up there plates. They were then ushered through to the six course banquet. The next day was the famous power cut and they had to give a cab driver $100 to get them out of the city…all very confusing!

So if any of you haven’t been to an Irish wedding you now know what to expect; have a big breakfast, cancel everything for two days (you wont be fit for anything the day after) and don’t spare the false eyelashes!


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