General Gayety: Wedding pitfalls and pratfalls

By |2018-01-16T01:26:21-05:00October 5th, 2006|Opinions|

Take heed, Rhode Islanders. Though a Massachusetts judge has ruled same-sex couples from your state can marry in Massachusetts, you might want to pause before laying down a deposit on an Elks hall in Worcester.
Have you truly thought about what you’re getting into? You could find yourselves on national television, not for being among the first gay couples to marry, but for staging a fiasco of an event. Picture your wedding video on TV, narrated by a slick host who’s gleeful as your bridesmaid trips, rabbi faints, or you throw out your back doing the Chicken Dance.
Now that we’re joining the straight tradition of marrying, there’s no reason to assume we’re immune from wedding debacles. Just look to England for a recent and breathtaking example of what can go wrong.
Vanessa Mayo and Gail Hines, both in their 30s, decided to have a civil partnership ceremony in Totnes, Devon. According to Britain’s The Sun, Mayo is a firefighter, and her fellow firefighters formed a guard of honor with their axes for the couple.
That probably had nothing to do with the trouble that followed, but I for one would’ve become fidgety, passing beneath the axes. After all, the English did have a taste for chopping off heads with them.
Following an afternoon reception, the party moved to the town’s Creamery Social Club. Apparently this doesn’t mean the guests drank buttermilk. Soon enough they all had reason to say they went to a gay wedding and a soccer brawl broke out.
Around 9:30 p.m. a male relative made a comment. It must’ve been a humdinger, because up to 20 people jumped into a mass punch-up. Vanessa Mayo was hit in the face. Sobbing, she departed for her honeymoon in Turkey with a black eye.
The fellow who started all this left too — in the bridal car. He drove away in a cloud of white ribbons. Any locals who saw him pass by in this festooned vehicle but without another person might’ve thought, “Poor chap. That marriage didn’t last long.”
The club manager, Rose Morrison, said between family, friends and firefighters, about 80 people attended. “It was just one incident and by the time the police arrived the man who caused it had gone. Vanessa elected not to go to hospital.”
Morrison closed the party down. “It’s a shame because we had an absolutely superb day and everything had gone really well.”
Mayo’s grandmother, Constance Thomas, wielded a verbal axe: “It was a really lovely day but there is always someone to ruin everything. That is drink for you.” Possibly she’d be willing to perform an execution or two.
A family argument sparked the fracas, said Morrison. “It was nothing to do with the wedding itself,” she averred.
Methinks it could be the new game in Devon, guessing what the man said that incited 20 people in their best clothes to pound each other. Sort of a smaller version of the international speculation that blossomed this summer after Italian soccer player Marco Materazzi uttered something to French star Zinedine Zidane during the World Cup final, and Zidane headbutted him clear back to Milan.
So Rhode Islanders, if marriage is your aim, best have a serious discussion with your partner. Not about what you want out of marriage — heck, that’s easy compared to negotiating the minefield that is staging a wedding.
Discuss whether your relatives would be better guests sober or juiced to the eyeballs. Make a plan, as you would for any natural disaster. And if you’re sure you don’t want your 15 minutes of infamy, forget the whole thing. Just shack up like in the old days.

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Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.