Saturday, April 12, 2008

Marital Marvels

I went to a wedding in Oxford the other day. I didn't realise quite how many colleges let you get married in their grounds, but the more I thought about it, the more I realised what a great idea it is. Most have their own chapels with more history than Simon Schama can shake a timeline at, beautiful gardens with historic buildings bursting with romance, culture and an atmosphere of development and tradition working side by side. An Oxford college is in fact the epitome of a wedding. The students naively think the waiting and restaurant staff are there to provide meals before a night in with the books or a night out in a cheesy night club; the conference guests think they're top priority in the dining hall, whereas in actual fact, the staff are merely polishing their talents for wedding canapes, sumptious reception banquets and wedding breakfasts, free-flowing champagne towers and tipsy topples in silly hats. And what better way to top it off than a night in the Randolph?

If this all sounds rather rah and not quite like the weddings you end up going to, don't be put off. It doesn't all have to be Brideshead Revisited; lots of the less-known colleges are still stunning and some are a bit more lenient with allowing people on the grass in the summer (great for a good wedding photo) and allowing noisy music late into the night (ceilidh anyone?). College JCRs are a handy alternative for the non-religious who still fancy tradition and beauty - Mansfield JCR is registered for legal marriages, as I'm sure are many others. Post-wedding celebrations needn't involve expensive parties that don't quite do it for anyone; a picnic in a park is great in summer, or a walk round the Oxford countryside.

Unfortunately I didn't catch the bouquet, but I'm still looking forward to a summer of wedding fun!

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