"Marriage is an institution. But who wants to live in an institution, eh? Ho ho!"
Not my words, the words of Liverpudlian, gap-toothed, eighties TV unfunnyman Jimmy Tarbuck. Well, it might be all well and good for an ageing, golf-obsessed comedian to disparage the holy state of wedlock, but the other week one of my pals was scheduled to appear before the registrar and plight his troth.
And what a plight it was.
The day begun with a slightly overdressed crowd of wellwishers hanging around at a bus stop, waiting for the charabanc that would whisk us off to Ponteland for the social event of the season.
A little fashion tip if you are attending a wedding in the near future. Do not wear a black suit, black shirt, black tie combination unless you relish the prospect of enduring every would-be funny man in the tri-county area asking you in a ribald way if you have attended a funeral earlier in the day. Man alive, that doesn't take long to become tiresome, no sirree.
Yet, mark the sequel. As the day draws on, champagne is quaffed and the company sits down to a beef dinner, who looks foolish when they spill gravy on themselves? Is it the man in the sober black attire? Or is it Johnny Wiseacres in his light-coloured shirt and loud tie? I think you know the answer.
I won't bore you with the full details of the ceremony, the decor, the vows, what the bridesmaids wore, that type of caper. This, after all, is not OK magazine. I will confine myself to a couple of minor observations.
This was the second wedding I have attended in a matter of months where the disc jockey at the night time "do" did not officially ratify the union by playing out "Hi Ho Silver Lining" by Jeff Beck. It has always been my understanding that a marriage has no legal standing unless this particular seventies floor-filler has received an airing. Sort it out Jimmy Savilles.
The wedding evening fistfight is an ancient and glorious tradition. Surely a gathering of Irish relations, Northumbrians and Geordies, on the pop all day should throw up one or two outbreaks of fisticuffs, some say chin music, others say pagger. This new generation of binge-drinking, iPod toting, Playstation and polyphonic ringtone junkies are clearly nothing more than a bunch of lily-livered, pantywaist, cheese-paring sissies.
Finally, just because you have found a life partner and a helpmeet to spend eternity with, it doesn't mean everyone else has. Invite a bit of spare to your wedding. What is the earthly use of having a collection of tidy boilers in posh frocks, no doubt with the full kit on underneath, stockings, sussies, posh knickers, aal kinds, if they are all with their husbands or boyfriends? Eh? Eh?
Unworthy quibbling aside, a splendid, drunken time was had by all, and indeed, sundry. Lots of cold drinks, some dancefloor action (a mixture of Motown, Madchester, Studio 54 disco and Ceilidh jigging) and then ho for home in the charabancs.
Hats off to the happy couple, may their marriage be a thing of beauty and a joy forever.
If anybody wishes to point out that the quotation at the start of this entry is in fact from American humorist Henry Mencken, please don't. In my mind it will always be Tarby.