I realised I had a problem when I attended one of my best friend’s weddings last year. It was ridiculously, magnificently, irredeemably perfect. I sat there very moved. But I was also, at the same time, strangely detached from events.
An American woman in Pennsylvania stabbed her groom to death. Then, when she appeared in court the next day, she went into complete denial, telling the judge that he should double check to make sure that the groom was dead. She couldn’t believe that she’d committed such a crime…
In Brazil, a groom told the assembled guests to gather round because he had an announcement to make. He promptly shot dead both his fiancée and the best man, before blowing his own face off…
And in Plymouth, England, a bride left her groom only hours after the ceremony, preferring to spend her wedding night with another man. The next morning she cried rape, so her new husband stomped round to her lover’s pad and battered him to death.
But, of course, it’s not that I’m in fear for my life whenever I go to watch two people get married, or that I’m in fear for their lives. So what is it?
I didn’t go to a wedding for years while growing up, which was probably a good thing. I was a shy little boy and the experience would have overwhelmed me. I think I’d have stood in the background, hoping nobody talked to me. Yes, I was that bad.
The first wedding I went to was my cousin’s. My friends were, to a man and woman, reluctant to go down the aisle of anything other than a supermarket. So it was left to family ties to drag me into a church. Churches – those forbidding structures of stone and dark heavy wood, with stained-glass windows that never quite make a dent in the gloom.
It was a nice wedding, my cousin’s, and I’ve been to several since. I’ve been to weddings in churches, on horse racing courses, in stately homes, country mansions, and on a beach. But no matter the weather, rain or shine, that feeling of unease usually crops up.
I’ve never been married myself. And I’ve never thought I would be. Is it a fear of commitment? I don’t think so. I’ve had long-term relationships. Now you can believe this or not, but I’ve always felt that it’s because I’d feel uneasy as the centre of attention on the day (next in line to the bride, of course). But I’m not sure if it’s true, or just something I tell myself.
And while I’m in the mood for confessions, here’s one.
I said my friend’s wedding was perfect. But that’s not entirely accurate. Something unfortunate did happen. It was held at a beautiful country mansion, on the only gloriously sunny, and unseasonably warm, day that January. After the ceremony, beyond the speeches, past the dancing into the small hours, that’s when it happened. I broke up with my girlfriend. Curious. It was a sad end to a lovely day.
‘Vows to Kill’ by Mark Capell is available from Amazon US and Amazon UK. For more details visit www.mark-capell.com/vows-to-kill