The engagement and wedding fever
In September 2013 my partner finally gave into familial and societal pressure and after six years together he decided to put an end to my wandering ways, came out to join me at the end of a financially-insensible, three-month, unpaid internship in Cambodia and proposed.
He tells the story slightly differently, something about a romantic setting at one of the wonders of the world (Angkor Wat in Cambodia) blah-de-blah…*
We returned to the UK together: him, one box of jeweled anxiety lighter and me, one bit of bling heavier.
I thought we might be allowed a teeny amount of time to revel in our new found enfiancededyness (should totally be a word) and bask in the happiness of knowing our friends and family can relax and enjoy our betrothal.
However, it turns out that isn’t what happens once you get engaged. What happens is that all that pent-up longing to see us get engaged mutates into a monstrous level of excitement about all things weddingy. Within a week of return I must have been asked approximately 10,000 times when, where and how the wedding was going to take place and who would be invited.
Finding it a bit overwhelming I enlisted the help of some avowed wedding-unenthusiast friends who helpfully suggested a strategy to combat marriage fever. I was to come up with as many ridiculous wedding plans as possible until people got so frightened I was serious they stopped asking me about it.
Of the unsuitable wedding ideas considered, the zombie theme was undoubtedly my favourite and I put a lot of thought into the details to make it convincing.
The zombie wedding plans
There would be utilitarian themed wedding invites scraped together from the kind of bits of cardboard you’d find breezing around an apocalyptic London where no-one has time to go to Paperchase anymore.
These would include the necessary logistical information but also references to the need to band together to increase our chances of survival.
I envisaged the wedding itself as a fairly non-eventful affair except that at the part when the Priest invites anyone to declare any reason why we couldn’t get married some ‘zombies’ would bang loudly on the church door and groan.
The service would conclude and guests would be carefully chaperoned to the wedding reception venue by Shaun of the Dead inspired groomsmen armed with cricket bats and old records.
Serving staff would already be undead (I was thinking actors, students or some other bunch of reprobates) with chains to limit their movement. You can take a drink but would have to try not to let them bite you.
For our wedding breakfast we could have provided packets of Wotsits, tins of cold baked beans, mouldy cheese, beer cans and other larder items scavenged from deserted houses. Decorations could have been paperchains fashioned out of blood spattered old newspapers and stubs of candles in old wine bottles would have provided suitable Armageddon-esque romantic lighting. All in keeping with the concept, and cost-effective too.
Rather than the usual party games for tables of strangers, guests would be provided with scrappy pencils and recycled paper and asked to plan their escape from the reception to a nearby safehouse and there’d be a competition to come up with the most inventive way of killing zombies with only the contents of the room available to them.
Photos would have been in two stages. Initially guests in their nice outfits and looking their best. Then we’d have had a face painter whose job would be to gradually transform guests into zombies. Later, another round of photos and if guests happened to be drunk and covered in Wotsit dust by this time then so much the better.
By the end of the night I imagined everyone having been bitten and transformed into a zombie so that party time could be everyone dancing to Thriller on repeat, drinking brain cocktails, eating cake shaped like a decomposing body and occasionally shouting out ‘brains’ to make the zombie bride and groom try to eat each other.
My dad, reasonably confident I was joking, entered into the spirit of my zombie wedding idea and at an engagement party took great pleasure in sharing plans with aunts and uncles. He was pretty convincing and the measured looks on their faces as they tried to weigh horror at such an idea against likelihood it was a joke was highly entertaining. Except for Grandma who accepted the concept without question, laughed that she wouldn’t have to dress up and promptly settled herself into an armchair with a glass of sherry.
I got so carried away with the idea of my joke wedding that I managed to convince myself that any alternative would be a disappointment. When it became apparent it was less of a joke than it had initially seemed I received strong feedback from people, fiancé included, that an undead wedding really wasn’t a great idea.
I realized I could maturely respond to wedding excitement had two options:
1) I could find a new fiancé, friends and family that might be onboard with the wedding/judgement day of my imagination.
2) If I wasn’t allowed that wedding I’d have to engineer a situation whereby any wedding seemed wholly unfeasible.
I chose option number two, moved to Geneva and made the poor fella quit his job and follow me to one of the most expensive cities in Europe where we couldn’t afford a wedding (zombie or otherwise) even if we wanted to.**
How d’you like them (rotten) apples, eh?