Saturday 19 October 2019

Katie Byrne: 'The six wedding dilemmas that every couple encounters'

Giddy on Champagne and goodwill, the newly-engaged build five-star castles in the sky. Stock image
Giddy on Champagne and goodwill, the newly-engaged build five-star castles in the sky. Stock image
Katie Byrne

Katie Byrne

TV presenter Gráinne Seoige voiced an all-too-common dilemma when she admitted that she and fiancé Leon Jordaan agonised over the location for their upcoming wedding.

The couple, who live in Pretoria, South Africa, couldn't decide between the "weather and stunning beauty" of Leon's homeland, or the "craic" and "quality of musicianship" that Ireland has to offer.

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The lovebirds eventually settled on Gráinne's homeland, but not before they had to negotiate one of the many dilemmas that soon-to-be-weds encounter ahead of their big day.

Getting married soon? Here are just some of the nuptial quandaries that you'll have to wrangle with.

Home or away?

The wedding that a couple imagines in the first few weeks after a proposal is usually very different from the wedding that actually takes place. Giddy on Champagne and goodwill, the newly-engaged build five-star castles in the sky as they fantasise about white-sand beach ceremonies in far-flung destinations.

For the most part, this is just a temporary lapse of sanity and the question of whether to marry at home or abroad is answered just as soon as a couple sobers up and/or tots up the cost of flights to Bali.

Yet, for other couples, the destination wedding becomes a pre-nuptial idée fixe that involves visions of mariachi bands and an almost pathological obliviousness to the cost involved for guests.

Budget or blow-out?

After deciding whether or not to drive your friends and family into debt and danger, the next question is whether you're going to do the very same thing to yourself. Weddings are by their very nature expensive - and very few couples emerge debt-free from a big day out.

But the question remains: Are you going to look for a local DJ who does mates' rates, or are you going to send a speculative email enquiry to the booking agent for Ladysmith Black Mambazo? (Sure you can only ask... ) To put it even more bluntly, are you going to spend what you can afford, or thereabouts? Or are you going to utilise every form of personal credit known to man and obliterate your financial future in one confetti-strewn blow-out?

Big or small?

The next consideration is the guest list. Do you keep it small and intimate, with only close family and friends, or do you exceed Dunbar's number, and invite your GP, your Pilates teacher, the local butcher, the woman who lives across the road and the new colleague you got chatting to in the canteen last week (she seems lovely).

Traditional or modern?

This one shouldn't really be a dilemma. After all, a couple should know how they feel about traditional vows and religious ceremonies. The trouble, however, is that they then have to explain these choices to older relatives with antiquated attitudes. The great-aunt who gives you brown scapulars and blessed holy water from the Marian Shrine thinks a humanist ceremony involves some sort of pagan blood sacrifice.

Things reach fever pitch when you tell them that you're thinking of eloping instead.

Child-friendly or adult-only?

And now to the trickiest dilemma of all - do you invite children along or do you politely ask parents to leave them at home? Option one could lead to pandemonium as a raggle-taggle crew of little ones get high on Shirley Temples and turn your reception into an ad-hoc obstacle course. Option two will invariably lead to tension, as a group of angry mums form a WhatsApp splinter group to bitch about the cost of babysitters, the "notions" around your big day and the fact that your man-child husband-to-be usually ends up topless, with his necktie around his head, at every wedding they've been to.

Just one or plus-one?

The final consideration involves single guests - do you give them a plus one, or do you keep costs down and ask them to attend alone? The latter option can be troublesome - especially if it involves the ignominy of the 'singles' table'. By the same token, plus ones can bring their fair share of trouble too.

Think of it this way: there are single people who wouldn't dream of inviting somebody to a wedding just for the sake of it. And then there are single people who think a plus-one is just like the Debs. They have to ask someone. Anyone. Something to bear in mind when the weirdo your friend met on Tinder is in nearly all of your wedding photos.

Irish Independent

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