At some point (in the nineties, I’d guess) the fashion began for two sets of invitations to go out. Tier One – family, close friends – get the whole shebang: service, wedding breakfast, drunken disco. Tier Two – less close friends, more distant relatives, the people from the office – they just get asked to the drunken disco.
I’ve been on both lists and either has its pitfalls. You’re Tier One. You’ve been sitting there all afternoon, drinking. As a natural consequence you’ve become very emotional and extremely careless. You’ve spilled trifle on your tie and Pimms on your crotch. You have perhaps lost a shoe. Then this new lot turns up. They are perfectly groomed, smell lovely, have nice hairdos and they are stone cold sober. Suddenly, you feel like Sir Les Patterson gatecrashing a Mormon convention.
It’s even worse on Tier Two. The chances are you thought you were getting dinner. You’re not. Everyone is talking about that hilarious moment in the church where the vicar sneezed over the mother of the bride. You weren’t there. All the free wine has gone and there’s a pay bar. And everyone looks as if they’ve just had a particularly jolly Roman orgy.
Couples – think! It’s great to get two lots of presents. It’s nice to see all your mates without forking out £500 a head. But you are kicking off married life with a symbol of division that may be remembered longer than the happy signs of your union. Choose the two-tier wedding and may all your crockery on your list turn out not to be dishwasher-safe.