Here's something I've never said before and quite probably never will again, but I recently went looking for an episode of RTE's 'Don't Tell The Bride' - and I really enjoyed it.
I found it on RTE Player online after it was recommended by a couple of sources who promised entertainment and a laugh or two, and it certainly didn't disappoint. It was an unusual episode in that it featured two women about to enter a civil partnership, rather than your typical bride and groom preparing for a traditional wedding - and in light of a certain upcoming referendum, it made you realise that gay marriage may be one thing, but gay weddings can be another thing entirely. Particularly when it's two women involved.
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The two in this particular programme were from Cork, and while obviously happy together, they were cut from entirely different cloth. One was pretty much 'salt of the earth', whose usual garb was soccer jerseys and tracksuit pants and runners - the other was more of a 'girly girl', far more interested in fashion and lace and frills and sugar and spice and all things nice. That's all well and good, as opposites often attact, and all that - but it made for great entertainment as 'Sporty' did the organising and 'Stylish' could only wait to see what transpired.
Now, as any fella who's ever been through a wedding will tell you, women tend to have fairly particular and precise ideas of what they'd like to have on the big day. And the fella is normally happy enough to take a back seat and let her do the organising while he just gets measured for a suit and maybe buys a pair of new shoes and a few odd jobs. Even when he ends up doing the organising himself - as in other episodes of 'Don't Tell The Bride' - he tends to second-guess everything with 'I think this is what she'd like'. But put two women together - each with ideas of what they want for 'my' big day (not 'ours') - and that's where the fun starts.
Sporty, for example, wanted to have the ceremony and reception in the casino where she plays poker. Stylish, on the other hand, dreamed of having in in the luxury five-star Castlemartyr resort ('If it's good enough for Kim Kardashian, it's good enough for me,' she said). Sporty later changed plans slightly and arranged ceremony only for the casino, with the reception to follow on the top floor of the Cork County Council building (not as bad as it might sound, as it's several storeys tall and there are great panoramic views of the city and surrounding countryside). There would still be a casino theme though, with roulette and other games for guests to play. She acknowledged that it mightn't be exactly what Stylish had in mind, but the attitude was 'it's my day and it's what I'd like, so she should like it too'.
Similarly when it came to buying the dress. Sporty had the job of picking out the dress for Stylish. She chose probably the plainest one in the shop, whereas Stylish would have gone for something much more ornate and decorative altogether. The view here was 'it's what I'd like to see on her, so she should be happy with it'. But Stylish wasn't a bit impressed at all when she got to try it on the day before the ceremony, and there were even tears over it. As her sister rang Sporty to tell her this, the real fun started.
'She'd better cop on to herself and just get to like it!' was the jist of the response from Sporty. It also had a few four-letter words involved - and it had yours truly in fits of laughter. 'Show some respect,' she added, as she continued to rant. Now, can you imagine a fella saying this to his beloved in the run-up to a traditional wedding? Not likely. But two women together, each with their own definite but different ideas, is obviously a different situation altogether.
They got over that obstacle however as Stylish was able to dress up the dress (as it were) with a few frills and other accessories, and then the big day itself went off fine apart from another shock for Stylish when the limo that brought her to the ceremony was replaced by a pedal rickshaw yoke for the trip to the reception. They were all smiles at the end, and we're sure they're still happy together too - and we wish them the same continued happiness as we would to any other couple.
Still though, it all went to show how a wedding is different to a marriage. A wedding is just a day - a marriage, hopefully, is for life. The referendum in May will decide whether or not everybody gets the chance at that, no matter what their orientation. For what it's worth, I predict a 'yes' vote but a low turn-out - and maybe, just maybe, more entertaining episodes of 'Don't Tell The Bride' as a result. I have to find something new to watch now that 'Top Gear' is gone.
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