A FROCK THAT COULD ECLIPSE THE SUN ANDEVERYTHING’S ER, PINK WELCOME TO THEPRINCESS WEDDING. CHRIS BELL REVEALS HOWTO SPOT AND SURVIVE THE 7 ‘I DO TRIBES

The Wannabe Princess Wedding

THE ONE WHERE THEY SIT ON THRONES

From the moment that you untied the pink satin bow on the invite – and a pile of perfumed glitter fell out – it was obvious: the bride has been planning this fairytale for a long time. Ever since, in fact, she was about eight years old and watching a lot of Disney flms. Hence why she will arrive on a white stagecoach pulled by six stallions; the reception venue will put Downton Abbey to shame; the fowers will be immaculately white and plentiful, and the dress will, quite possibly, be visible from space. Hell: ifit were actually possible to train tiny blue birds to lif her lace veil while chirping A Whole New World, then by God she would have arranged it. From her notebook bulging with tips from Diana/ the Duchess of Cambridge/ Cinderella, every detail’s been meticulously planned to imbue a sense of child-like wonder.

A FROCK THAT COULD ECLIPSE THE SUN ANDEVERYTHING’S ER, PINK WELCOME TO THEPRINCESS WEDDING. CHRIS BELL REVEALS HOWTO SPOT AND SURVIVE THE 7 ‘I DO TRIBES Photo Gallery



Look at the pastel-coordinated bridesmaids and groomsmen! Te spotlight following her around the room at all times! Te fact the less-attractive guests have been seated somewhere near the back… Nothing, indeed, has been lef to chance. Even the Prince – sorry, groom – has the good sense to stand politely out of the way of his bride. For this is her moment, herroyal pageant – and it will be perfect. Or God help you all: prepare for a bout of very un-Princess-like tears. The Hipster Wedding.

THE ONE THAT’S TOO-COOL-FOR-SCHOOL

Te invite (that’s been posted ironically on YouTube) may have said ‘dress casual’, but make no mistake – this is all about making every efort to look like they haven’t made any efort at all. Tink ‘soup kitchen chic’: checked shirts, expensively stressed jeans and neckbeards aplenty. For the bride, a vintage ivory lace gown and, curiously, big unsightly glasses. Te groom, meanwhile, has spent weeks growing a Victorian moustache, and is now struggling down the aisle in skinny-ft corduroys that cost more than your car. Like traditional weddings, everyone will be wearing a hat. But caution: it’s either a pork-pie trilby, trucker cap or hand-knitted beanie. Remember: the buzzword here is ‘alternative’. Hence why they’ve written their own poetry vows, the vicar has ceremonially tattooed their fngers with matching rings, and there’s nothing so bourgeois as champagne or beer at the reception. Although if you like a rare Kentucky bourbon infused with duck egg white and a homemade port evaporation, then you’re in luck.from their favourite Lebanese restaurant, and a bafingly obscure set from their DJ mate (tip: don’t ask for Abba). Ten the couple will ride of into the sunset aboard a fxed-gear tandem while the congregation stands around smoking roll-ups.The Extroverts’ Wedding.

THE ONE WHERE YOU HAVE TO DO STUFF

Everyone wants their own wedding to be diferent and memorable. But only a few couples go that extra yard to make it truly excruciating. At the reasonable end of the scale, it might mean a theme, or cheeky fancy dress (beware if it’s Vicars and Tarts; that can end with a lawsuit). It might also involve manhandling their guests into a loosely coordinated ceilidh, or forcing the congregation to serenade the top table.But the sliding scale of ‘audience participation’ goes all the way up to ‘terrifying’. So beware the danger signs.

If the speeches go on longer than a German opera and every family member, including the bride, has a novelty turn – get ready for ‘fun and games’, anything from karaoke to team Sumo wrestling to water fghts.All great fun, of course, if you’re up for it and/or well-lubricated. But sadly for the introverts, they’ll realise their predicament all too late – i.e. when they’re stood in front of 150 guests, desperately trying to tie a balloon poodle before the trapdoor opens.The Eco Wedding.

THE ONE THAT SMELLS FAINTLY OF HEMP

You might not think (or necessarily care) about the carbon footprint of your big day. But when this invite lands on your doormat – with dried geraniums lovingly pressed on to recycled cardboard – it seems someone does. For the Eco Wedding is all about that old travelling maxim: leave only footprints, take only pictures. To save on heating – and show disgust for the wasteful hospitality industry – the wedding’s being held in a homemade tipi in the couple’s garden and the ceremony’s taking place at a corrugated iron altar, presided over by a local white witch. Te bride has been reading all about the plight of silkworms, so hers is a hessian dress – while the reception feast is nuts, berries and some sort of twig foraged from local woods. Either way, afer dancing the night away to lute music, you can leave safe in the knowledge that you’ve helped save the planet a little – something to think about on the six-hour drive home in your 4×4.The Anti Wedding.

THE ‘ER-ARE-WE-ACTUALLY-AT-A-WEDDING?’ ONE

For the couple who simply don’t believe in tradition – or even the institute of marriage – the unorthodox celebration can be perfect. For there’s no big meringue frock here. No reception at a country hotel, or vast bouquet. No typical visual signifers of a wedding at all, in fact, other than a shiny ring and happy couple. Which can be intriguing and confusing for the guests. In fact, if you didn’t get invited to the register ofce, it could well feel more like a day out with friends – except that everyone is mysteriously wearing their best clothes. Instead, the couple have chosen to celebrate their love in an unconventional, personal way. Maybe it’s a picnic in the park.

Or a live gig. Or at its absolute simplest? It’s the room above their favourite pub, with a sausage roll bufet prepared by the mums and the briefest of heartfelt speeches. Before the guests dance the night away, then wake up the next morning – their buttonhole fower the only proof that they were ever there at all.The Rah! WeddingTHE UPPER CLASS ONE It’s time to scrub up: not only was this do announced in Te Times, but it’s set for a double-page spread in Tatler, too (maybe Hello, if – fngers crossed – Zara turns up). So it’s important you dress in regulation fashion labels (Philip Treacy, Mulberry etc), don’t reveal too much fesh, and remember to curtsey.

Afer all, chances are the person sat next to you at supper owns the county. Te vicar will be an old family friend, the ring will be a heirloom, and there will be dozens of people in line to the throne. Of course, in economically uncertain times, there’s no guarantee that a posh wedding will be lavish. More likely it’ll take place in a big marquee on a friend’s polo feld, with a hog roast. But even down-at-heel upper-class types let down their chignon for a wedding – and Daddy will have opened up the family’s century-old wine cellar for the best vintage champagne. Make no mistake: the key signifer here is everyone will get sloshed. The ‘It’s A Rush Job’ Wedding.

THE ONE THAT THE GROOM ARRANGED

Maybe the couple were just indecisive. Or it’s a visa thing. Or perhaps there’s a more pressing biological reason… Whatever’s behind it, the day feels a little unfnished. Maybe it’s the invite – a text sent four days beforehand. Or the sight of the bride cutting the price tags of her dress in the taxi. Or the ceremony, crammed between a funeral and a double christening. But there’s a clear choice for guests here. You can sneer at the disarray… or embrace the spontaneity of it all. And with slightly warm Tesco wine and DJ Wizard’s Mobile Love Discotheque as the entertainment, we know which option we’d rather choose.

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