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29/01/2015

It rained on my wedding day – and I wouldn’t have spent £100,000 to stop it Peter Ormerod

Phew. Everything’s sorted. All lists ticked off. Done. So you follow the advice and you have an early night and just before you go to bed you check the weather forecast, and you sigh and then you scream as you realise all the planning has been for nought. Because it’s going to rain. Of course it’s going to rain. And the rain will ruin everything. But then your parents call with good news: they have remortgaged their house and spent £100,000 to stop it raining. Everything’s fine. Better than that: everything’s perfect.

There’s no doubt that Oliver’s Travels, the company boasting of an Ariel-like ability to control the weather, is offering a product that some will want. The problem is it’s also reinforcing the idea of the “perfect wedding”. And I of all people should know such an idea is nonsense: my wedding was great, even though my bride’s wedding dress caught fire (didn’t think of that, did you, Alanis?).

Bride and groom figures on wedding cake
picture: bridesmaid dresses online

Actually, it was great precisely because my bride’s wedding dress caught fire. And because the church hall that housed our reception was a little shabby (albeit lovingly decorated by terrific friends) and because I exposed the price tag on the sole of my new pair of shoes as I knelt before the priest, and because my face was still bleeding from the almost literally cut-throat shave I’d had that morning. And because, yes, it rained.

Of all the things we do, getting married is among the most real. The wording of the Anglican service is unsparing: for every better there’s a worse, for every richer there’s a poorer, for every health there’s a sickness; joy is soon followed by sorrow, love by death. It’s not the stuff of soapy romance. And yet, your wedding day is invariably sold as flawless, bright, shiny and perfect. Utterly unreal and unlike the life on which you’re about to embark. Yes, there will be fun and excitement, but your boiler will break down, your chimney will need repointing, your cavity wall insulation will need replacing. No wonder divorce rates are risingif marriage is marketed as a fairytale.

Besides, there’s enough scope for nuptial control-freakery as it is without bringing the weather into it. It might be preferable if couples actually had fewer options, fewer details, less to customise, less to get tone-perfect. Then they’d be able to focus on the only things that matter, which are a) that they both turn up, b) that someone turns up to officiate, and c) that some people turn up to watch. (If you have £100,000 to spare, don’t spend it on meteorological manipulation like you think you’re Jesus. Spend it on food and drink for everyone. That’s pretty much all your guests will want, and frankly, they deserve it.)

If you’re lucky, your wedding won’t go according to plan. If you’re lucky, it won’t be the day you’ve always dreamed of. If you’re lucky, it’ll look nothing like it does in the brochures, nothing like it does in any film you’ve seen or any book you’ve read, nothing like any fairytale (although a wedding that looked like Rumpelstiltskin would be quite something). Flawed masterpieces are the best sort: give me the Beatles’ White Album over the Beatles’ blue album any day.

My wife’s wedding dress, once pristine and brilliant, hangs singed and sooted (blame the cake). It was beautiful, and it’s now even more beautiful, but it’s only a dress. All that really mattered was that my wife was unharmed: the swift actions of a friend saved us from having to spend our wedding night in our local burns unit. So may your wedding day be gloriously imperfect. May the sun shine, yes. But may it rain, too.

read more: simple wedding dresses

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