Darren and Sian are two of the nicest things about Cardiff. And on Sunday, they got married with typically casual style.
We started with cocktails in a bar (“right, I’m hammered, let's go” announced Sian), followed by a short service in the letters of the Millennium Centre (if you’re going to get married, it may as well be inside the world’s largest poem).
As with all weddings, there was the baby who screamed throughout, patted obliviously by his smiling mother, as she swayed from side to side in her poncho and ignored her husband’s urgent whispers of “Leave! Go!”
By the time of the vows, one baby had set the others off like Furbies, and Darren and Sian promised to be together to a frog chorus of wails, shrieks, and loud toddler running.
This baffles me. Maybe it’s cos I hate babies. But come the reception, the spawn had miraculously vanished – so it obviously wasn’t an issue of babysitters. Perhaps there’s some cultural thing whereby a union can only be blessed by screaming infants, stampeding toddlers, and a small girl in a princess outfit yelling “But I’m bored, mummy. Booooooored.”
There were also two goths. They stood silently throughout the ceremony, heads bowed, listening to hard rock on their iPods.
During the wedding photos, Darren briefly, but foolishly, let his hand rest fondly on Sian’s stomach. Which meant that the rest of the afternoon was spent fending off relations with sparkling eyes and loud whispers of “So, when’s it due?”
The reception was lovely. I was quietly warned off the tall stranger with cheekbones and a vacant grin (“That’s Darren’s very straight brother. He hasn’t forgiven the gays after his stag do. He was chained up naked outside a gay club and tried to fend them off by yelling, ‘Keep back, or I’ll have you!’ which didn’t work out as expected.”)
The catering was vegetarian, so we nipped out to Tesco, and came back smuggling pepperami. There was also a journalist friend of Darren’s. He sneaked in a bottle of vodka, which was later found, empty, by his chair. The vodka in no way interfered with his consumption of wine, champagne, and, as he put it, “You’re gay. Surely you must have more pills.”
The journalist surveyed the room with a surprisingly clear gaze, and then spent the evening chatting up the wedding photographer. I don’t think it ended well, as she eventually marched off with a look of pure disgust, while the journalist just sat there, shaking his head sadly.
There was an air of genuine merriment, and much dancing - there’d been a fight between two DJs as to which of them could do the wedding. A shift system was in operation, which meant each DJ trying to keep as many people on the dance floor as possible. This turned out to be an incredibly smart move, and one I shall use at my own wedding - should I ever convince a Latvuanian that I’m worth British Citizenship.
It helped that next door was a bar full of most of the other nice people in Cardiff, which meant that I could swish neatly from pogoing across the dancefloor to sitting on squishy sofas and trying not to talk about Jade.
Of course, come closing time at the bar, we crashed the wedding. It was during the obligatory “Soul” period of the DJing. Soul is a music that can only be danced to by elderly relatives. That’s why it’s played at weddings, so that Auntie Joyce can “Get On Up”. It’s what she lives for.
In between all this, there was vague flirtation, and even a brief toilet interlude, with a nearly-shag from months ago. He remains a nearly-shag, but we did have the following conversation on a street somewhere in Cardiff:
“Why am I heading back to your flat? I have a boyfriend. He’s very thin. I’m very lucky.”
“He is very thin. You are very lucky.”
“No. I’m definitely getting a taxi. It’s about love and trust. I’m being very well-behaved these days. That’s what it’s about. Don’t you have a boyfriend?”
“Well, I’m currently being dumped.”
“So I’d be a rebound shag?”
“Right now, it’s just nice to be wanted. It’s the thought that counts.”
“So we don’t have to shag?”
“No. You just have to want to.”
“Well I do. But I’m not going to.”
“Works for me. I go home feeling desirable, and you avoid cheating on your boyfriend.”
“Do you know something else – Princess Grace’s daughter is married to the Prince of Great Britain. That’s seriously the title of her husband. There’s my taxi.”