I’m not really talking about a bout of fisticuffs on the dance floor, or any other type of aggressive behaviour. This is about being inconsiderate to your host, and showing appalling bad manners.
Working at a wedding venue, means that I’m lucky enough to be involved in 3 or 4 celebrations a week, taking care of the newlyweds and guests during the wedding breakfast, which is usually a three course meal, including speeches, and toasts to the happy couple.
There are normally 8 or so, beautifully decorated round tables, full of chattering friends and relatives whilst the bride, groom and close family oversee the room from a vantage point of the traditional long ‘top’ table. In the run up to the wedding, very often for months, sometimes years, the bride plans how the room will look, who will sit next to who, and she will choose centrepieces for the tables to compliment her colour scheme.
It’s hard to imagine the amount of thought, and often stress, that goes into ensuring everything looks just perfect for guests to enjoy. So once these same guests have been welcomed into this lovely setting, and wine is poured for them, and tasty food is put in front of them, why can’t grown men and women, survive two hours, without leaving the table, to go outside and smoke a cigarette?
It honestly has to be seen to be believed. At almost every wedding, people will scurry outside 3 or 4 times in the space of a couple of hours. As soon as they have finished eating each course, they are patting at their pockets, or delving into handbags, for the familiar outline of the cigarette packet, and rush outside to draw on a cigarette like a dying man draws on oxygen.
Just before the speeches there is often almost a complete exodus, which leaves the room looking like a sad café. But last week I saw something even more indicative of today’s lack of social skills and consummate bad manners.
We had a wedding where the bride was let’s just say a bit ‘difficult’ and ‘particular’ about her wedding day. She had the air of a ‘diva’ about her, and everything had to be even more just so, than it usually is. During her wedding breakfast, the starters had been cleared away, and the smoking fraternity had made their first dash for a nicotine fix, huddled together in groups all around the gardens.
The waitresses began to serve the top table first, with their main course, of crispy beef wellington, with all the trimmings. Eight portions were placed in front of empty seats, and whilst gradually the other diners returned to enjoy their food, the eight chairs at the top table remained empty with cooling plates of food still untouched.
Yes, whilst her new husband and closest family still stood outside preferring the company and taste of their cigarettes, and despite her quest for perfection, the bride was left sitting completely alone, with her plate of food, at the top table she had decorated so beautifully, looking very forlorn and unhappy.
Manners Maketh Man……….and all that.