The Big Night (part 2)

Written By: anonymous - Jul• 30•12

The wedding ceremony over, we flood out of the church into the sunshine for photos. Liz seems blissfully happy, smiling and waving at everyone and Dan is grinning like a Cheshire cat.

“It won’t last,” Jane declares, as we watch from afar. “Two weeks in Thailand and they’ll be back home arguing about the remote control.”

But then she produces some confetti from her handbag. Is there romance in her soul after all?

“Lynnette gave it to me,” she says, seeing our astonished look. “She said we had to throw it for luck.”

She hands us a lump of dried rose petals and orders us to get into line. In fact, to get the right shot we throw it four times, as the photographer strains to get the perfect “impromptu” shot.

Meanwhile, the Partners are milling around, looking out of place. Jane takes the opportunity to ask The Boss what he thought of the service.

“It was nice, if you like that sort of thing,” he admits. “But I don’t believe in all that claptrap myself.”

“Didn’t you and Mrs Boss get married in a church?”

He shakes his head. “Chelsea Registry Office. I was in the middle of a trial.”

“How romantic.”

He lets out an involuntary snort. “There are more important things in life, than fancy flowers and Champagne, Jane.”

Like billable hours and monthly drawings.

“If you want my advice,” he tells her, “There is no point to getting married any more. The tax advantages are not what they used to be.”

“And the divorce fees are very high!” Miranda appears and adds, with a titter.

And, since she has probably been responsible for a few, she should know.

Suddenly, we’re being called to the Reception. We bundle into cars and head down the road to country pile where waiters greet us with flutes of Champagne and a string quartet plays quietly on the lawn. We take up a position by a rhododendrons and observe. Alex gives a fashion commentary whilst Jane does a sociological survey of the guests. At some point we are summoned for the “friends’ photo” which involves jumping up and down and generally making ourselves look like fools.

“Why does everything have to be so falsely ‘spontaneous’ these days,” Jane huffs. “What’s wrong with us all standing in a line and looking miserable? In years to come she’ll look at these and think her friends were a bunch of hyperactive loons.”

As opposed to grumpy bores.

Finally, we are allowed into the hall for some food. Jane makes a bee-line for the table plan.

“Oh thank god for that!” she exclaims. “She hasn’t forced those pompous joy-killers on us.”

The Partners are, in fact, seated on the opposite side of the room. We seem to have found ourselves on a table of oddballs and singletons.

“The Naughty Table,” Liz tells us, when we pass her in the line.

And so it proves. Not only do we run out of wine within half an hour, but we manage to spill chocolate sauce all over the table cloth. We make more noise than the other (refined) tables put together and, when the speeches start, we’re all too squiffy to care.

Liz’s Dad gets up and gives a lovely talk about Liz being a scruffy urchin who never liked boys.

“I still don’t!” she declares (causing much raucous laughter on our table.)

Then it’s Dan’s turn; he uses the opportunity to thank Jane for being an awful room mate.

“Had it not been for her,” he tells us, “I might not be standing here today. Sharing a room with Jane was the thing which finally made Liz feel sorry for me and allow me to take her out.”

Everyone turns to look at Jane. She smiles and gives a regal wave. “He was a terrible room mate,” she shouts. “I even had to teach him how to make a decent cup of tea.”

“I am grateful!” Liz shouts back and everyone laughs.

Then it’s Natasha’s turn. She gets gingerly to her feet and clears her throat. “Good evening Ladies and Gentleman. I know it isn’t traditional for the Chief Bridesmaid to make a speech, we are supposed to sit quietly and look demure, but Liz has never had friends who are good at that.”

“That’s because I’m not very good at that,” Liz adds.

“No,” Natasha agrees. ”I have known Liz since she was eight years old. She turned up at my showed one morning looking like Orphan Annie – red hair, gingham dress and freckles. I was asked to look after her. We bonded over a mutual love of horror stories. Not the kind of thing most little girls were into at the time. We progressed to Senior School and continued our love of the absurd. Instead of ponies and boys, we were into Indie music and Greenpeace. Whilst our friends were trying on lipsticks and going to nightclubs, we were organising protests and writing to our MPs. Liz has never cared about being popular, she has never been worried about being disliked, and so, I guess the legal profession was a natural choice of career!”

Everyone chuckles at this.  Except The Boss, who scowls over the top of his Champagne.

“When Liz first announced her intention to be a lawyer, our careers advisor sat her down and poured her a drink.”

More laughter.

“Are you sure about this?” he asked her. “It will be incredibly hard to get there, and then, if you make it, you will be shunned and despised for the rest of your life. Wouldn’t you rather be a nurse?” She pauses for more laughter.  “He didn’t know Liz very well. For good of the National Health she became a lawyer. And now, she has made a further sacrifice and married one as well.”

“So no one else has to!” Liz laughs.

“Indeed! And we are grateful!”

More laughter.

The speech goes on in the same vein. Ending with an hilarious review of the Hen Do.

“Windsor Castle has sent a letter.”

She pulls out a piece of paper and pretends to read it. “Dear Madam. Thank you for your letter, which has clarified some of the rumours circulating at Court regarding Her Majesty’s alleged conduct following the Jubilee Water Pageant on 3rd June. Although Her Majesty is rather partial to eighties music (and, in particular, a fan of the great Adam Ant) she was busy dealing with HRH Prince Philip’s inconvenient bladder infection on the night in question and could not have been responsible for the alleged assault at the Relax nightclub. She was a little perplexed by the newspaper stories and is grateful for your apology both to herself and to the local Police force. She understands that the “spearing” of a fellow party-goer was a moment of madness caused by pre-wedding nerves. She sympathises with this (having been married to Philip for as long as she has, the urge to spear him with her sceptre has, apparently, often, been overwhelming). Her Majesty’s advice to you is to buy several homes and keep Corgis. If your husband gets a little excited a little known fact about them is that they are excellent attack dogs. She also finds Dubonnet and gin can be rather helpful.  She thanks you again and wishes you all the best in your forthcoming union and hopes you will accept these small gifts, which should, also, come in handy. Yours sincerely etc”

She puts down the paper and presents Liz with a package containing horsewhip and a pair of ear phones, which makes everyone laugh. She sits down and soaks up the applause for (our: Jane and my’) speech. Everyone agrees it was the best of all.

“I hear you two had a hand in the Chief Bridesmaid’s speech,” Malcolm whispers.

We feign innocence but he isn’t fooled; smiling indulgently he pats my shoulder. “As an employer I shouldn’t really say this,” He says, “But you two are wasted at CWS.”

And don’t we know it.

















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