The life of a Yorkshire widow: An unusual wedding invitation

03 Jul 2024 | Written by Marina O'Shea

In her latest instalment of ‘The life of a Yorkshire widow’, Jan Dunbar’s protagonist shares news of a recent wedding invitation…

I received a rather surprising wedding invitation in the post yesterday. It was surprising because it came from someone I had always assumed was a confirmed bachelor, for which read someone who is so boring, any lady friend seems to disappear faster than a rat up a drainpipe. It was the usual sort of wedding invitation, professionally done on a fine linen card edged in silver and it was correct in everything except my name. How can anyone not know how to spell Molly? They’d spelt it with an ‘ie’ instead of a ‘y’. I’d bet a pound to a pinch of cow dung that was the prospective groom’s doing.

In case you haven’t guessed, I’m talking about my one time brother-in-law David, Jack’s younger brother. Now David and I haven’t always seen eye to eye, mostly because we can’t stand the sight of each other. Personally, I think he’s a jumped up little squirt (he’s 5 feet 5 inches tall and wears cowboy heels) and he thinks I’m a snob. I’m also taller than he is which doesn’t help.  So, it really was a surprise to be invited to the wedding of “David and Wendy at The Historic Ripley Castle in Harrogate” in a little over a month. Ripley Castle is described – admittedly on its own website – as “the quintessential essence of a Yorkshire romance.” And he thinks I’m a snob!  Still, a month is plenty of time to either accept or think of a plausible excuse for not attending but that seems a little mean so I think I will go.

The invitation is for me and a guest, a plus one as they say, so perhaps I’ll ask my friend George as I’m sure our Margaret won’t want to go. I doubt she’d be allowed in anyway, after the almighty row the two of them had last Christmas, and all over who makes the best Christmas cakes. (I sided with our Margaret and chose Mary Berry over Nigella Lawson.) You wouldn’t believe the slanging match over that one. I don’t think they’ve spoken since. Yes, I think George would be a suitable – and safer – “plus one”.

I’ll have to think carefully about what to wear. The invitation says the wedding is at 5 pm, followed by an early evening buffet supper accompanied by light orchestral music from a string quartet. (A string quartet, no less! My word, just who is this Wendy he’s marrying?). One can’t outdo the bride in one’s wedding ensemble of course, but I absolutely must outdo Angela, Jack’s younger sister; she who now has husband number 4 trotting hot on her 6” stilettos. She’ll be the next one down the aisle, I’ve no doubt. I think I’ll talk to my niece Abigail. I’m sure she’ll keep me informed of her mother’s wedding outfit arrangements, perhaps with the occasional innocent picture on the side, particularly of Angela’s hat. She likes big ones, does Angela.

It would make sense to book accommodation for the night so George and I can both have a glass or two and not have to worry about driving back. I’d like to book accommodation at the venue but I know that would be very expensive and I also know that George would insist on paying for us both. Perhaps a nice four star somewhere nearby would suffice. I’ve never been a Premier Inn sort of person.

I suppose one is also expected to offer a wedding gift on such an auspicious occasion although these days I don’t think a toaster or a set of Ravenscroft wine glasses would suffice. I believe some couples even ask for money instead of a gift. Hopefully, I can plead pensioner poverty and provide something small but beautifully formed, from Amazon of course. I’ll need to give that some thought.

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