Over at Ambush Predator, JuliaM draws attention to a punch-up which happened at a wedding.
AntiCitizenOne wonders if it has something to do with the benefits culture as both Punch and Judy were unemployed. Mr Punch was drinking, his girlfriend Ms Judy took issue, and when the bar staff intervened, Judy decided to give them a right slappin' an all. The coolly-logical AC1 misses the important thing: this was at a wedding. That means there was a fair chance that Mr Punch was drinking his way through the kitty behind the bar and didn't spend his benefits money on it at all. An aggravating factor is that it was in Essex.
The other problem is: too many people are running EastEnders scripts in their heads.
The wedding becomes a setting for an episode in which these people play the lead role, utterly unable to grasp that a wedding is a pre-set show in which the starring role - the bride - has already been cast. The scene-stealing culprits are usually drawn from the top table.
Note that it was the bride's sister, Ms Judy, who ended up dominating the drama in the Marks Tey example. She dramatized the situation when she decided to abuse the waitress, moving it from "My bloke has had a few sherbets too many" through "Potential domestic" and all the way to "Call the police, she's threatened to murder a waitress". That is exactly what you'd expect in sibling rivalry; your sister will only get married one day in her life (well, you know what I mean) so if you are going to upstage her, that's when it will have to be.
Like any soap drama, the events will be foreshadowed to build up the tension. This usually starts in the wedding shop where any of the groom, the best man, the groom's brother or the groom's father will suddenly take it in their heads to refuse to wear the ill-matched tail coats or embroidered waistcoats, claiming they look soppy.
Of course they look soppy. What has that to do with the price of fish? For reasons I cannot fathom, some men in the modern fashion have got the idea that it is up to them what they will wear. They are confirmed in this erroneous belief by Moss Bross, who offer a four-page groom's checklist which includes:
"3 months to go. By now you should be ready to choose your wedding outfit. Make a day of it with all your ushers and male relatives".The art of the wedding shop assistant lies in preserving their commission on the sale whilst not getting blood on the stock. There may be forceful exchange of views; one of the ushers suggests Darren looks gay in that weskit. Darren, the groom's youngest brother and pumped with the most testosterone and adrenalin, will offer him a wet punch, which won't do much harm but is just enough to start a brawl.
Meanwhile the staff will endure endless re-runs of ancient Are You Being Served jokes which they never heard before.
"Ere, Darren, ee's free, ee'll measure yer inside leg fer yer."
"Ere, Darren, you wanna behave yerself or Mrs Slocombe will set her pussy on yer."
The groom's father, easily the most miserable of the party, will remember his own wedding day(s) and swear that nobody is going to get him in one of those suits, not until he's in his own box. The staff will go out the back and wonder if they can arrange it.
Eventually the Best Man and Groom will go out in morning coats, probably Ascot greys, and everybody else will have lounge suits (satin shawl collar, one button) and think they look like something out of MadMen. Darren will sulk because having refused to wear a morning coat, he's been allowed to have his way and now doesn't feel as important as the Best Man. Because he isn't.
Meanwhile the bride and her entourage will be trying to pour themselves in to dresses which are triumphs of engineering in satin and steel. There is nothing - and I promise you this is true as I've worked on a bridal show - so determined as a woman who spies a chance to wear a laced bustier. The most punky perforated popsie you can imagine will stomp in wearing DMs and a bad attitude and make straight for the embroidered Elizabethan corsets. She's relatively easy to please; the Goths tend to be a little thinner so they fit in the dresses.
The difficulty starts with the more generously proportioned brides, particularly if they intend to be eight months pregnant at the wedding. There are a couple of designs, known as "covers a multitude of sins" which will cope with this but they don't involve bodices and modom knows what she wants.
She will make for the designs based on the Emmanuel Classic Diana, which was itself ripped-off from Disney's Cinderella. Only, this version has added encrusted Swarovski crystals so it weighs a ton and would cut your hands to ribbons if you brushed them over the embellishment.
This dress only works if you are 19, thin as a whisper, a virgin, and girlishly winsome. It was touch-and-go on the Late Princess, and she was anorexic. Anybody else is going to look like a galleon encrusted with frozen barnacles. Less Snow Queen, more Snow Plough.
While this is going on the bridesmaids will be itching to try on all the bridal gowns for themselves, which is dangerous if any of them are obviously prettier than the bride. She will storm out to reclaim her place as Queen of the Fairies and will instruct them all to be loaded in to sherbet-green or lilac satin.
After a little horse-trading and discussion of how it looks on the photos, this will be sensibly revised to gold sheath dresses, which are surprisingly flattering on nearly everyone if the larger sizes are made as a bodice and skirt.
The mother of the bride will remember her own wedding day(s) and be found in a compromising position with the father of the groom. They have been swigging out of a hip-flask he has concealed about his person. The mother of the groom will be frosty but will save the smack in the gob - for that tramp, you know, her - for the reception, or better yet, the church.
Next out will be the seating plan for the wedding, if there is a formal banquet. This calls for diplomacy, but it shouldn't. The guests are badly infected with the "It's my party" virus, which gives everyone the illusion that this is about them. Consequently you can't rely for one single afternoon on them behaving like mature adults, capable of sticking to discussions of the weather and politely ignoring the tomato soup if they don't like it.
Instead, there will be juggling with name cards so that racists aren't inadvertently set with one's duskier friends. Ancient animosities will be hauled out and polished up to make them as inconvenient as possible. Vegetarians will loudly complain that they are fed up with vegetable lasagne, and anyway, is the cheese rennet-free or is it compromised? When I'm in charge of the world, we'll barbecue vegetarians and then the carnivores can eat them instead of the hog roast. The next florist who has conniptions because their creation has not been placed precisely where they instructed is going to be joining them on the spit and served with a garni of their own rudbeckias and sea holly, I gives yer due warning.
When the family and friends aren't behaving like idiots the support staff will be. Drivers insist they don't know where churches and receptions are, which is a diabolical liberty considering the prices they charge, do what, yer 'avin' a laugh, incha?
No, I didn't believe it either, but I've known weddings where inappropriate sexual advances have been made by pissed blokes towards the bride - or the groom if it is a Lib Dem do - a hotel was trashed, strongly racist sentiments were expressed towards the newly acquired relatives, their morals and parenthood questioned (blimey, hark who's talking) and the police have been called.
The proper etiquette for fights at weddings is: NONE. There aren't supposed to be any fights. If there has been one, somebody should have left earlier or not attended in the first place. Especially if it is either of the happy er, couple.
This leads to the serious consideration: can mere stories about weddings deprave and corrupt? It looks like they can, if they are repeated often enough and if they normalize outrageous behaviour. That means we should not be worrying about obscene publications but about EastEnders.
I want to see the episode where all the guests turn up on time instead of wasting the meal by running off to some other wedding, nobody loses anything, as few women as possible are pregnant in anything other than the most conventional of arrangements, nobody decks their muvver/farvver/bruvver, nobody jumps off a roof and the police, fire and ambulance services are not in attendance. They are called so regularly to Albert Square that they ought to be on the checklist as a guard of honour.
I want to see just one EastEnders wedding video which won't later turn up on Police Camera Action! or the stills grabbed for "Do you recognize this person?" on Crimewatch.
The writer wishes to declare a pair of white stilettos and a white Ford Escort to be taken in to account.