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No toasters please – just help with the air fare

Some things stay the same.

June is the favourite month to be a bride. Ask any wedding shop and they will confirm that this is still the case. Business on white dresses goes up pre-June but the rest of the nuptials have changed beyond recognition.

The old tradition was pretty well set: Get engaged 18 months before the date; save hard ‘til you have enough to put a down payment on a sofa and a double bed; book up the local church and the church hall in quick time so that it’s not booked for a square dance; issue your wedding gift list (no toasters please); invite all the uncles and aunts and a five-day honeymoon in Paris. Simple. Then a nice new baby in nine months... Everyone knew where they were and what was expected. But from my Eye Overview at the top of Wimbledon Theatre I can see that big changes are afoot along the Broadway. The parish hall is neglected now for the reception, no more sausage rolls and warm white wine. No need to save or fix a deal on the ‘never never.’ Just get yourself a new credit card. It’s location, location now. A beach wedding in sunny Florida or a romantic island in the Pacific where for a tidy sum you can get the whole package (and as much as you can drink and eat) included in the ticket price.

The last wedding I was at was in St Paul’s Cathedral, top of the favourites, but only for those who have special access. Despite the grandeur of the setting many of the traditions had an original twist. For a start the couple had vowed in the past that wedded bliss was not for them. ‘We have been living together for nearly twenty years so we don’t see the need for marriage,’ they used to claim. But marry they did. Maybe it was the lure of the lovely white dress that finally won the day. The dress was one of the few items that followed accepted tradition. The bridegroom had two best women and the bride had two ‘bridesmen’ who walked up the isle smiling and holding hands. Because St Paul’s would not allow its bells to be rung we were all instructed to bring our own bells, so tourists saw a happy wedding party celebrating with hand bells in the spring sun on the steps of Wren’s magnificent cathedral.

Two Routemaster buses then ferried us all to the reception. One other item that kept to the approved pattern - the couple were a man and woman. Now that is still the norm these days but the concept is being challenged. Same sex marriages are not unusual, which some people still find uncomfortable.

Perhaps the last word should go to the mother of a gay man. We were chatting about same sex marriage and I asked her what her opinion was. ‘If it makes him happy then I’m for it.’ No new baby, but a sparkling career…

Tony Kane is founder of Time & Leisure Media Group