The Archers' Simon Williams on modern weddings: 'In the good old frugal 1960s, granny made the cake'

Simon Williams
Simon Williams - Andy Lo Po

We all love weddings, don’t we? All that frippery and goodwill and Laurent-Perrier… Or do we? If we’ve somehow not made it on to Harry and Meghan’s guest list, how unhappy are we feeling? The old adage is: ‘Those who matter don’t mind – those who mind don’t matter.’ So let’s remember all the downsides of going to a wedding.

As you set out round the M25 to some dinky village the other side of a humongous traffic jam your heart may well be elsewhere – Lord’s, Wembley, Ascot, a school sports day, the hammock at home.

You had to accept the invitation because they sent a ‘save the date’ e-mail before you had the nous to invent an alibi. Your morning suit still has a whiff of baby sick from a recent christening and has clearly shrunk. You forgot to book a hotel and you’ve lost the toss about driving home. 

The couple opted for honeymoon contributions rather than an actual present, so there can be no recycling of an old vase and no disguising the exact sum you have divvied up. The amount itself will have caused a row: ‘Two hundred pounds! We hardly know them.’

As you arrive at the church, Ben Stokes will be on 99 at Trent Bridge

En route you will debate the whole overblown shenanigans of ‘the wedding industry’. You will remember the good old frugal nuptials of the ’60s: shepherd’s pie and Pomagne; your godmother gave you a toaster and granny made the cake.

You will have read that a wedding costs at least £40,000, so you’ll discuss all the better things you could do with the money – like buy a speedboat or have a facelift. You will both harrumph about the insanity of hen and stag parties, ‘For heaven’s sake, we never went to Stringfellows dressed as nuns.’

As you arrive at the church, a fourthset tiebreak at Wimbledon will be starting or Ben Stokes will be on 99 at Trent Bridge. One of you will have forgotten something that the other says is not important – like lipstick or a sense of humour.

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In the church you will find lots of people you hoped never to see again, including the head of house who beat you for smoking and someone you’re not sure if you slept with.

The pew will be narrow and hard. A long list of people will waddle up to the pulpit and read an Indian poem about twilight. At the party you’ll be sitting between two finalists for the Crasher of the Year contest and at the other end of the table your partner will be flirting their head off with someone much younger.

My advice is, stay at home in your favourite armchair and channel hop between Wembley and Windsor.

God bless the happy couple and may the best team win.

Simon plays Justin Elliott in The Archers