Monday, 3 April 2017


                                           The big day: couples have a catalogue of choice.                                 

AN IRISH couple recently exchanged their wedding vows in Dublin's Ikea.

There, in that vast cathedral of beautiful beds, colourful couches and flat-packed bookshelves, they stood in front of their closest family and friends, the store staff and a vast TV audience, and professed their love, devotion and promises, to assemble forever, together.

The venue for such a special occasion is the ultimate expression of reality TV, not to mention the result of leaving a vastly important decision entirely to the groom.

The Ikea couple were contestants on Don't Tell The Bride

And before everyone jumps up and down in indignation, at my apparent sexism, let me point out a couple of things.

1. Most men, are to my mind, fabulous, wonderful, caring, strong, problem-solving, supportive people. I am married to one.

2. In a million years, I would not have let him choose where and how we exchanged our wedding vows. It has to be a joint decision.

The Ikea couple were contestants on the popular Irish reality TV show, Don't Tell The Bride. The bride in question (I feel so bad, calling her the Ikea bride), apparently expressed a long-held wish to wed in a castle. Enough said.

I'm trying not to be too prescriptive. When I married 24 years ago (what can I say? I married VERY young ;) it was a traditional church wedding.

The kind of wedding that most couples in Ireland had at that time. Those who didn't want a church wedding, got married in a registry office.

What we don't hand over control for our big day to the groom

Now, thanks to more relaxed rules, state ceremonies don't have to be in an office. They can be in beautiful places like castles and public gardens.

We're still not at the stage where couples can marry in their own garden, or on a beach. Although admittedly, it's hard to see many opting for an Irish beach. Which are beautiful in a kind of wild and wind-swept way.  

But what we don't do - and I'm talking about women - is hand over complete control for our big day to the groom.

Apart from the fact that he has splendid speeches and mad moves on the dance floor to worry about, the Ikea wedding proves that men are not entirely clued into romantic venues.

I'm open to the possibility that the Ikea bride really likes Ikea

Probably because until most men actually decide to marry, they haven't given their wedding a single thought.

Most women, on the other hand - and certainly once they've decided to marry - give it a lot of thought.

They want it to be special. And generally not in an oh-my-God-they've-an-amazing-special-on-cushions-and-throws, as they walk up the aisle.

Let's leave the whole life-long walking-up-the-aisle-in-a-castle-dream, aside for now. I'm open to the possibility that the Ikea bride really likes Ikea. And you know, maybe the lovely Ikea people threw in those fab Swedish meatballs for their wedding feast.

Ikea is unlike most other big stores: it's a destination. When the Dublin store opened a few years ago, I paid a visit. Maybe two. I loved what they sell. What's not to love? You can furnish your whole house and buy cool Swedish food all under the one roof.

But once you're there, it's hard to leave. I was there for half a day: that's how long it took me to find my way out of the place.

Yes, I do have an appalling sense of direction. But I digress. 

If I were that gorgeous Ikea bride, I'd be planning my first wedding anniversary now: a romantic weekend away in a beautiful Irish castle.

My advice, for what it's worth: Don't tell the groom.


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