You often hear the usual stereotypical stuff about an Irish wedding: the rock the boat, the dodgy music, the beef or salmon.
Well we’re sidestepping all that and drilling even deeper into the psyche of the wonder that is a wedding in Ireland.
The take home? We’re awkward, everything is ‘stunning’ and we are about as slick as a sod of turf – and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
1. The collective gasp
As soon as the bride walks down the aisle the congregation will make a sharp intake of breath. Whispers will echo around the room.
These will include: “Oh my God – STUNNING!” and “Ah jaysis isn’t she only garrjus?” and “Ah, the dress, the veil – model, she’s a model!” and “Fuckin’ hell”.
2. The word ‘stunning’
The next wedding you’re at, count how many time you hear – and indeed say yourself – the word ‘stunning’. It’ll hit the triple figures.
Everything is ‘stunning’ at a wedding; the cake, the flowers, the car, the whole general creative aesthetic, uncle Jamsie’s toupee.
3. The priest-rating
"What did you make of yer man?"
"Who, the priest?"
"Ah he was alright, a bit dry, I would have liked a few more jokes meself, you?"
"Yeah, I was at a weddin’ there last month, some buzz off the priest; he had the place in stitches."
"So, this fella then? Five out of ten?"
"Ah no, a solid four."
4. The awkward-until-you’ve-had-a-few-drinks chat
That awkward but well-meaning chit-chat we tentatively share with the people we’ve been sat beside is Ireland in a nutshell.
“Er, so how do you know the groom?”
“We were in hockey club together”
“Ah yeah, cool”.
Cue the energetic table-tapping and knocking back the whiskey and cokes desperately until conversation becomes miraculously easier..
5. The youngsters who are danced off the floor
I can’t count the weddings I’ve been at where the older contingent are still bopping around the floor at 2am without breaking a sweat while the younger ones are bowed and bloodied, draped over chairs or lying broken in corners.
How do they do it?
6. The speech-bitching
We’re a tough crowd and no mistake. Twenty minutes listening to speeches and suddenly we’re Simon Cowell.
Oh, it was too long, way too long! Did you see that? The groom only thanked the bride right at the very end. I’d be livid! Oh it was a very cold speech, lacked… I don’t know I can’t put my finger on it… warmth?
7. The second wind
Prior to the second wind we’re only fit for the bed.
The lucky ones who booked a room in the hotel go and have a nap after the meal, while the other plebs sit around looking at each other in misery.
Phrases like, “I’m stuffed”, “Ah it’s a long day though isn’t it?” and “I actually can’t drink another drink” are bandied around at this juncture until like butterflies they emerge from their stodgy-bellied gloom ready to drink anew.
8. The awkward first dance
I don’t know if it‘s because we’re Irish and not from say… Hollywood in da US of A that we haven’t got the hang of pulling off the first dance with aplomb.
I mean this in the fondest way possible – the state of us.
I’m getting married in three months and I just know I’m going to look like a complete eejit as I shuffle around and hope for the best – but what’s great about it is not only is it expected, it’s just a lovely part of who we are. We’re not slick, and so what?
9. The even more awkward next-day breakfast
The night before everyone was the best of friends.
Talking shite, telling our new pals how great we think they are, grinding to Mambo No 5 with ties and the tulle we robbed from the floral centrepieces tied around our sweaty brows.
In the cold, horrifying light of morning, however, those that stayed over in the hotel shuffle shamefacedly to the breakfast buffet, fling a few eggs and sausages on the plates and while studiously avoiding eye-contact shuffle back to a quiet table.