Hey, Bridezilla: fuss about the marriage, not the wedding

Ban Bridezillas, says Sharon Griffiths

Ban Bridezillas, says Sharon Griffiths - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Sharon Griffiths says she got married in a Portcabin and it didn't do their marriage any harm

If you want to be a princess for a day, then go to Disneyworld. Just please don't confuse it with a wedding – and certainly not with marriage…

The Budget last week promised a review of wedding venues. Currently in England and Wales you're not allowed to get married at home or outside or in a temporary structure such as a marquee.(Yes, Sinead and Daniel got married in Coronation Street's community garden. But that wasn't real and it wasn't legal, OK?) The idea is to make weddings cheaper. The 'average' wedding now costs over £30,000, which is seriously scary.

There's no need for that at all. If you want a cheaper wedding, you can do it easily.

But so many weddings have turned into theatre, with the bride as the star of the show and the guests as an admiring audience with a walk-on part in the video. Bridezilla is not a joke… So much money, so much planning, so much wasted agonising and energy.

Both my sons had wonderful weddings that cost very little. Neither daughter-in-law wanted to be princesses either. One because she was eight months pregnant on her wedding day – a tricky look, even for a princess – and the other because after a few weeks of ringing around prospective venues, she lost patience with the whole affair.

'Do I really want to have a serious grown up conversation about the colours of bows on 120 chairs? No.'

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So they opted for small and spectacular – 25 guests at a local restaurant and it was brilliant, even with naked chairs.

Don't let's even start on hen weekends, stag dos, evening parties, next-day barbecues and make-up and photography rehearsals. (Yes really.)

It's easy to get sucked in.

Not that long ago weddings were pretty much family affairs with the reception often at home, at the village hall or local pub or hotel.

Bride and groom managed without owls, string quartets, medieval musicians and glass coaches or wedding thrones.

If a wedding is a year or more in the planning, with all the fancy extras and exotic honeymoon, then surely the everyday life of work and laundry and whose turn it is to cook is never going to live up to the fairy tale.

Disillusion is immediate.

Anyway, husband and I were married in a Portakabin in a car park with a dead cactus on the desk.

There were just two witnesses and afterwards a load of newspaper colleagues piled into the pub where it all got a bit riotous.

No princess. No fairy tale. Not even any proper photos. We were married and that's all that mattered.

That was 40 years ago this week. We're still married. Still arguing. Still laughing. Of course we're having a party. Two, in fact.

After all these years, we think we deserve it. It's not the wedding that matters – it's the marriage.


Looking for something to while away those long winter evenings? You could always sort out your photographs.

To celebrate the aforementioned ruby wedding I had this bright idea to make a PhotoBox album with pictures from every year of our marriage. Ha!

Our wedding photos were just a few blurred snaps outside the pub. By the time younger son was about three, the novelty of sticking pictures in albums wore off. Instead carrier bags of random pics lurked in wardrobes, drawers and a box under the bed, slowly fading and awaiting the day when I was going to sort them out. Was that Cornwall in 1992? Or Pembrokeshire in '93? Brussels or Dublin? Paris or Florence? Not a clue.

Digital wasn't much better. Cameras got lost, computers were hacked, memory sticks vanished. Only since the dawn of the Cloud are our pictures relatively safe. But now there are so many I don't know where to begin in sorting them. And no-one else will ever bother.

I still have a box of photos inherited from my mother, and don't know who half the people are. So my task this winter is to sort out an album of family photos for each of the boys. Just as soon as I've recovered from the ruby wedding celebrations…

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