Doomed Date Diaries by Bethany Quinn
It was a great photograph- if I say so myself- perfectly capturing the moment when the bride's tightly clenched fist connected with her sister-in-law's chin. They had been officially related for less than an hour. In the background, slightly out of focus, you could see a surprised looking bridesmaid being thrown headlong into the cake. She was still holding a champagne flute. I had a large print hanging on the wall of my tiny office-cum-spare bedroom- to remind me that life is full of such magical, fleeting moments.
I don't get invited to many weddings- for obvious reasons- but Suzie was an ex client, who had finally decided- despite my best efforts- to get hitched to Geoff, not ditch him. I'd always found her kind of ineffectual- but she certainly knew how to start a fight.
Apparently though, it wasn't the worst wedding my stand-in date, Zak, had ever been to.
'A quick tip,' he said. 'Never try the "seared scallops with a piquant salsa verde" unless you're absolutely sure they're fresh. Especially if the reception is being held in a marquee, in a large field miles from anywhere with only one chemical toilet, few hedges and no running water.'
'Why not?' I said- already guessing the answer.
'Have you any idea how hard it is to be violently ill in a bridesmaids outfit without ruining your shoes?'
I shook my head. Thankfully I didn't.
'Or how many people it takes to get a bride into a portaloo wearing a wedding dress? Or that it takes even more to get her out again?'
I didn't expect to laugh so much- not after Matt let me down at the last minute. Zak was a great substitute. Pity he was to be magical and fleeting too.
Yup, it was a solid right hook alright. Not easy in a tight looking, silk chiffon dress with a corseted back, large organza bows and several acres of cascading tulle.
'You look beautiful darling,' Geoff had said as they posed for photos outside the church together.
I thought the bride looked like an upturned mushroom.
I think there were five arrests after the reception, including Suzie, the groom's mother- and the vicar- who rather foolishly tried to step in and calm everyone down- and got a black eye and 300 hours of community service for his troubles.
Who says weddings are boring?