Belfast Telegraph

From archbishops to zebras, all life's at the Royal nuptials

By Lindy McDowell

In the week that brings us the Wedding of the Year it won't have escaped your notice that 2011 has become the Year of the Wedding.

From the Big Fat Gypsy version to the Royal one. All the Kates (Middleton and Moss), Lily Allen, Zara Phillips, Ed Miliband ...

There's no end to the confetti in store. An A-Z then, charting current trends in this year's nuptial must-haves.

A: Archbishop. In terms of one-up-ministership it's hard to trump a man in a mitre.

B: Black Sheep. Every family has one. Some have an entire flock. With the Middletons it's a tattooed uncle who lives in Ibiza. With the Royals - where to start?

C: Cake. Suddenly a status symbol. From clusters of cupcakes to designer sponge costing thousands. William wants a tray bake. But the official cake will have more tiers than the Aviva stadium.

D: The Dress. Long. White. Very expensive. No change there, then. In any sense.

E: Eugenie and Beatrice. Every wedding has that couple of guests who do look different - but oddly you still can't tell them apart. Like Ant and Dec.

F: Fascinator. This season's compulsory wedding headgear. Circular and secured at an odd angle. Much favoured by Eugenie and Beatrice (see above) who often look like they've head-butted small satellite dishes.

G: Guy. As in famous guy. The Royals have asked Guy Ritchie. If William had been American, half of Hollywood would be in the pews.

H: Hair. Not just the bride's is under scrutiny. All that kneeling, all that camera flash ... spotlight, big time, on the bridegroom's bald spot.

I: Invitations. The Royals have a guest list of thousands. But the only known refusals so far have been the King of Cambodia and the Crown Prince of Bahrain. And Iris Robinson.

J: Jester. Tells the same joke over and over. Talks through service. Heckles speeches. Downs shots at bar. Falls into trifle. Life and soul.

K: Kids. How cute! Scream erratically during service. Moan constantly during speeches. Take sly slurps of Jester's beer. Pelt each other with trifle. Hide under table wrenching tablecloth to floor ...

L: Little touches. Favours for your guests. Whiskey miniatures. Lottery cards. Love Hearts with your names on the pack. Who started this nonsense?

M: Meal. Or Wedding Breakfast if you're posh. Not a fry, however.

N: New Nose. Tara Palmer Tomkinson has just got one. Beats a wedding diet or spray tan for displaying guest commitment to aesthetics.

O: Orange. Colour of choice for female guests (and the uncle from Ibiza?) flaunting legs, arms or cleavage.

P: Presents. Royals don't have a wedding list. But with the Sultan of Brunei invited, who needs one? A list may look grasping. But the alternative is 14 toasters and enough glassware to stock Wetherspoons.

Q: Queen. Suddenly we're on a par with Royalty. We all know a queen we could invite.

R: Ring. William won't be wearing one. But for everyone else, going without one looks at worst, commitment-phobic; at best, cheapskate.

S: Step-relations. Common in this age of extended families. Camilla will be at William's wedding. Of course, she was also there at his parents' ...

T: Transport. From Big Fat Gypsy to Royal, horse-based seems to be a recurring theme this season. The pink limo no longer hacks it.

U: Uncle Andy. Every wedding has one. Fresh from his latest scandal, Old Uncle Air Miles has been invited. Unlike poor Aunt Fergie...

V: Vows. Some people - bravely - now write their own. No matter how personal you're trying to make it, "Mr Huggy Wuggy loves his iddle Snugglekins" is still not a patch on the standard "With my body, I thee worship" stuff.

W: Wedding dance. That's 'dance' as in a choreographed spectacular to stun your guests. Unless you're marrying Anton du Beke, a tricky one to pull off.

X: X Factor. Further proof of the omnipresence of Simon Cowell. Diccon Ramsay, stage manager of the reality TV show, will be 'directing' the Royal Wedding. It's been an emotional roller-coaster, an unforgettable journey ...

Y: Yacht. If (like Charles) you want to push the boat out for the honeymoon, it's the only way to go.

Z: Zebra print. Favoured by female guests who didn't read the bit in the style guide about not trying to upstage the bride.

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