Sunday 21 January 2018

€3,000 to attend an Irish wedding? Ro' my auld mate, I've some bad news...

I'm living in fear these days.

I dread the soft thud on the mat of yet another austerity envelope. Not one devised by evil banks or the Department. What keeps me awake at night is the prospect of a wedding invitation to the nuptials of Ronan and Storm.

I began worrying when Storm announced that she'd be happy to change her name to Keating if the boyband star proposed. Given that Storm's family name is Uechtritz and knowing how Irish people can't even pronounce the word "vehicle" properly, the name change seemed a bit of a no-brainer.

But it isn't embarrassment with pronunciation that has me worried. I'm sure I'll get the hang of it eventually, like I did with the band who sang Freebird, a song that became an improbable wedding favourite in the 1970s, Lynyrd Skynyrd (pronounced 'léh-'nérd 'skin-'nérd).


What has me on edge, and this might sound trivial to the international jet-setters reading this column, is the bloody cost of being a guest at a wedding these days. It's bad enough for the father of the bride to have to dig deep for the helicopter, spray tans and a bouncy castle .. oh, sorry, that's just a First Communion.

Research released this week by the wedding industry suggest I'd have to fork out more than a grand, before confetti, if I was to rock up at the Ro's knot-tying ceremony.

And that'd increase to almost three grand if I had a plus one. Expenditure would be sure to escalate if I had to go on a stag party with Keating's superstar mates.

How would I be expected to keep up with Kanye West for heaven's sake? Or Donald Trump? I can't see those dudes being happy with cider from Aldi.

Years ago it would have been a few bevvies in a boozer with my old muckers Ozzy, Lemmy and Philo. But those days are long gone. Nowadays stag parties have to be held in exotic locations. The most popular for modern stags and hens, according to recent research, is Carrick-on-Shannon.

I've admitted to having sleepless nights. What I haven't revealed are the panic attacks.

Carrick-on-bleedin-Shannon? A grand spot for a sandwich on the road to Sligo, maybe, and a bit of fishing. But since when did the place become the new Amsterdam or Prague? Maybe I need to get out more.

You can't imagine the stress I'm feeling. This survey also points out a hidden problem in buying a new suit for the big do. "Facebook is now a real nightmare," I'm warned. "You don't want to be seen wearing the same outfit over and over."

Is there no end to the madness? Ronan, have you not considered living in sin? Don't fret. It's not really sin. Will a book token or pop-up toaster be alright?

One of the coolest, most relaxed weddings I ever attended was that of Aine Lawlor and Ian Wilson. It wasn't flash and certainly not pretentious but it was great fun and augured well for a relationship that's still thriving.

Aine popped up on the RTE News At One during the week asking Sinn Fein deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald (inset) if, in the light of an Oireachtas committee ruling that deputy had abused Dail privilege when making allegations about individuals who were not members of the House, she was going to apologise?

"What is now clear is that the facts, as you stated that day, were not complete and thereby you impugned these people's good names and you owe them an apology. Do you accept that?" the journalist asked.

Deputy McDonald protested, "Aine, I am not endeavouring to create any kind of political football...The allegations must be investigated."

Admirably, Aine didn't mention the widely-held suspicion that the revelations were a "spectacular" timed to alleviate the discomfort of Sinn Fein members being quizzed about child sexual abuse allegations made against IRA members.

"Do you intend to say sorry to anybody over this?" asked Aine. "No," replied Mary Lou. "I exercised a right responsibly, thoughtfully and with the sole goal of having these matters investigated..."

As one of those 70s rock legends might put it: sorry seems to be the hardest word.

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