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The two-wedding wedding isn’t just for celebs – it’s becoming the norm

There are pros and cons. In the pros column, it’s double the celebration, which, in certain cases, means double the joy. Lils and Woody have been together for eight years and they’re a couple that everyone truly believes in, so both their wedding ceremonies overflowed with happiness. (I don’t mean to be a Cynical Sally, but there are some weddings you go to and think, “These two are only doing it because they feel like they should.” Come on, that’s true, isn’t it?) Having two weddings also gives family and friends who go to both the chance to catch up properly, instead of having a five-second chat about the weather and how lovely the bride looks.

As for the cons, well, there is more expense obviously, when some weddings are already the sort of affair that would make Marie Antoinette blush. For the guests, two weddings will mean two outfits and probably two hangovers. It means two rounds of speeches, too – which might be a good or bad thing depending on who is giving them.

It also encourages the trend for weddings to become more of a carnival. For years, they have been getting bigger, becoming more extravagant and more of a spectacle. Social media has a lot to answer for here, encouraging people to throw increasingly outlandish ceremonies to outdo the one that everyone went to last weekend. Some weddings now have their own websites, their own hashtags, and everyone scrabbles to upload a picture of the couple emerging from church, confetti in their mouths, to prove that they were there. Perhaps throwing two weddings is the natural progression, because if you do it twice, then everyone gets to show off about it twice online, too.

My mother often tuts and sighs and says she remembers the days when a wedding reception meant a glass of champagne and a piece of cake before everyone went home. No four-hour canapé marathon, no choreographed dancing, no photo booth and certainly no doughnut wall. (This is quite literally, a wall made from doughnuts from which guests can help themselves, mostly designed for Instagram purposes. Ask Hubert and Persephone if they are having one and they will be doubly impressed.)

At a time when we’re collectively less religious than ever, how ironic that weddings need to be such a statement.

Although not all of them. I’m unsure if the same can be said for J-Lo’s knees-up in America, but there was a beautiful simplicity to the ceremony in the barn last weekend. 

As I sat on a bench listening to one of the guests read out Leonard Cohen’s Dance Me To The End of Love (“Dance me to the children who are asking to be born/ Dance me through the curtains that our kisses have outworn”), I forgot the storm clouds elsewhere in the world and remembered that whether someone has one wedding, or two weddings, or nine weddings, there is magic in the moment that two people face one another and say those vows. As Nancy Mitford wrote in The Pursuit of Love: “Life is sometimes sad and often dull, but there are currants in the cake, and here is one of them.”

Still, that’s me done for this year; my wedding season is over and I can hang up my pillbox hat. Until next summer, at least. “We’re thinking the first or second weekend in June,” one friend said recently. Or both, perhaps, given the way weddings are going.


Read last week’s column: The British are losing the knack of queueing

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