Time to keep it simple, you stags and hens
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Opinion: Sharon Griffiths says the pre-wedding celebrations have got out of hand.
Could this be the end of the hen party as we know it? Oh please, please…
Posh magazine Country Life is telling its readers that when it comes to weddings, less is more. Lavish weddings have turned into a sort of one-upmanship arms race, they say and are getting ridiculous.
They don't actually use the world 'tacky' but you can sense it lurking in the background as they appeal for something quieter, classier and more restrained and certainly not lasting more than a day.
Of course, couples are entitles to spend as much on their weddings they like – on doves, drones, marble thrones and enough bridesmaids for a hockey team, if they want. Their day, their choice, their bill.
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But the stag and hen dos are a different matter. They involve a lot more people, often giving up a weekend or more and paying a small fortune to dress up in matching T shirts, fairy wings - and worse. Oh joy.
To be honest, if I had to do that in public, I'd start knocking back the booze as fast as I could too.
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A couple of weddings in the same summer could easily mop up all your holiday budget and more – and you haven't even had a choice of where you're going. Pity the poor chief bridesmaid trying to organise it all, keep everyone happy and get the money in.
And it often affects the rest of us to. Ever been on a plane with raucous hens or a couple of stag parties? You'll know what I mean. Increasingly often flights are having to turn back to get rid of drunken revellers. Cheap flights are bad enough without a load of aggressive drunks on board. At least you can always get off a train at the next station, as I did once when a gang of lads starting stripping off. Not a pretty sight…
On the London underground last summer I was caught up in a stag party all dressed as huntsmen. Confusingly, the stag was a fox. They were setting out on their second day's drinking and at 10am the fox was already looking green…
At least they – apart from the groom – all looked fairly jolly. Usually when you spot hen parties, if not raucous, they often look quite miserable, as if wondering what they're doing there, desperately trying to have a good time.
Hen nights have stretched. One of the daughters in law has just turned down an invitation to a hen week in Ibiza. What planet are these brides on?
Country Life suggests that if they want their friends to go away with them, then bride and groom should pay most of the costs of their stag and hen dos. Excellent plan. If they're going to call the tune, then they should pay the piper too. That should sort it all out nicely. Much more manageable for everyone else's purses and livers.
An invitation to a wedding should be a cause for happiness and anticipation. Too often now it's spoilt by the thought of how much time, money and effort it's all going to cost the guests.
And that's even before you get to the wedding.