In Larkin’s immortal poem Whitsun Weddings (see link) the working class dads are described as “Fathers with broad belts under their suits and seamy foreheads.” Tomorrow on the day of my daughter’s wedding celebration I may not have a broad belt under my oh so new and slim line Hackett whistle but a seamy forehead may well appear at some time in the eight hour event.
Like all wedding celebrations this one has been fraught with difficulty, emotion and last minute. Vivien the driving force got the flu on Saturday and has been largely awol. Alex has had been scrurrying around seeing his disparate family. Adelaide has been busy retyping everything. I have been paying the occasional bill, staying calm and refusing to get too excited about the colour of my tie.
Long ago I realised with speeches its a win/win. If they go well, bravo. If badly, how brave you are.
One detail I did get involved with was the table plan. Do people want the comfort of those they know or the possible interest of new faces. A bit of both. Easier said than done. And if they know each other does that mean they like each other. How much does it matter. I asked a couple of pals, one said as long as there is lashings of wine, who cares? The other said its a waste of time sitting near my wife. I like meeting new people.
But something else is at stake in table plans. Status. The best and the brightest get to sit together and the others feel it.I have been on corporate events when I was put on the table with the back room staff. OK I got the message. Thanks for the invite. You are put between two extremely dull people, a two hour meal with lashings of wine can turn into a desert without water. In maths two minuses make a plus, in real life two dull people people make a dul meal.
But tomorrow I will be on a top table surrounded by those I love. Not a drop until after the speech. Some will cringe, no doubt my forehead will glisten but two lovely people will have tied the knot, family traditions will be upheld and created and the caravan will move on.