You may have read in last week’s Chronicle that I have started a service which helps nervous fathers of the bride to hone their wedding speeches. Not only is dad’s speech the first of the day, they probably have never had to voice their overwhelming love and pride for their daughters in public. No wonder they are bricking it.
However, a couple of hours with Auntie Ralph soon sorts them out and so far all the speeches aided and abetted by me have reportedly gone down a storm.
The performers at Natural Theatre are very used wedding nerves. We have lost count of the receptions that we have graced with our bizarre and hopefully entertaining characters over the years. From drunken vicars to unwelcome relatives from abroad, from grumpy maiden aunts to jilted brides, all have served to break the ice, launch the buffet…or at the end of the day with our janitorial brown coats and brooms, helped clear the tipsy guests from the hall.
Once, an actor impersonated an angry builder waving a wad of bills purported to have been unpaid by the groom, a chap known for dabbling in property. The reception was taking place in a very posh hotel, but rather than let the groom be embarrassed on his big day, a guest actually wrote out a cheque on his behalf. Unknown to him, Barry the Builder had been booked by the groom himself!
I’ve been a jilted bride on several occasions. Usually they arrive en mass but at one wedding the budget only stretched to one. Me. Dressed in full veil and frothy meringue dress I had to climb over several stiles and cross a field full of over-curious cows in order to make a surprise entry to the garden party via the back gate. I had a practice cry on the way, just to get my mascara running, much to the bewilderment of an elderly couple out for a quiet walk in the Cotswold countryside.
How different to a gig in Rio de Janeiro where our massed weeping brides were battered with tin trays by the formidable local market ladies. I’m not sure if this is an ancient Brazilian wedding tradition or whether they were just trying to tell us to get the hell out of there!