Family & Education

I've left the single market

The wedding is over - and our columnist is happy, elated and relieved


A couple of weeks ago, I got married. At a beautiful ceremony in North West London, surrounded by many of our nearest and dearest, I put a ring on the finger of my bride, according to the laws of Moses, Israel and Beyoncé. As I said in my speech that evening, to a mixture of cheers and groans, unlike Britain, we had both unequivocally opted to leave the Single Market.

Now the wedding process is over, I think we both feel a sense of elation. Not just because we have married each other but because, quite frankly, it is finally over. Months of planning. Weeks of agonising. Days of teeth-grinding frustration, suddenly at an end. I could swear that I had fewer grey hairs at the beginning of this process. With the negotiations we have undertaken, the egos we have soothed, the compromises we have mapped out in order to create this wedding, we should now find it a matter of supreme ease to solve the Israel-Palestine conflict once and for all. The Sugarman Plan, coming to a Middle East near you

The term “Bridezilla” is often used but it’s frankly sexist and inaccurate. Instead, by the time of the week before my wedding, I was beginning to feel a bit like “Groomzilla”, a sort of cross between the Incredible Hulk and Eeyore. I alternated between rage and despair, as I fought back against the clutches of Big Wedding/The Marital-Industrial Complex/whatever you want to call it, attempting to find the answer to such deep and impenetrable mysteries such as “why does simply putting the word ‘wedding’ in front of an item occasion the adding of another zero to the price tag?” and “wouldn’t it just be much simpler to run off somewhere and elope?” Such questions clearly need the wisdom of the Sages to solve.

We were both so worried about the ten thousand little things which could go wrong. But in the end, the day itself was stunning. The venue, the decor, the ceremony, the people, the band - it was absolutely golden. Uncharacteristically, we found ourselves living in a haze for days afterwards, taking turns to murmur “wasn’t it all amazing?” Receiving the photographs a few days ago gave us the chance to experience it all over again, noticing the numerous details which we hadn’t managed to see at the time.

There were, of course, some missed opportunities. Quite frankly, I am still wondering whether it’s too late to have “The Story of How We Met” printed out on fetchingly illustrated cards, ready and waiting to be handed over to anyone and everyone who asks. A couple of thousand copies should suffice.

I’m still getting used to wearing a ring, something I’d never previously done. Now that I’m wearing one, I find myself looking far more at whether other men wear a wedding band too. It seems that the more Orthodox a man is, the less likely he is to wear one. This is probably because it could technically be defined as jewellery, something the Torah does not go out of its way to endorse for men.

In any event, the wedding may be over but the advice continues to stream in. I must have heard around 20 different versions of the “happy wife, happy life” leitmotif, along with all the standard warnings about occasionally choosing diplomacy when asked for your opinion on fashion choices. Fortunately, I don’t have any such problem, because my wife always looks beautiful — especially when she looks beautifully over my shoulder while I write this column.

Keats said, “Beauty is truth, truth beauty— that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.” He also never married — which is probably why Ode on a Grecian Urn doesn’t contain another verse wherein a Muse laughs at the narrator and calls him a smart-Alec.

Now that both the wedding and a party we subsequently held for friends are over, we have determined to take a break from event planning for a little while. Apart from hazy plans for a honeymoon at an undetermined date sometime next year, our calendar spreads out ahead of us like an ocean of clear blue towards a sun-kissed horizon.

One of the things I keep coming back to, however, weeks later, is just how touching it was to see how happy people were to be a part of our joy. The weather is cold, the days are short, and the political situation pretty much everywhere looks somewhat bleak — at best. And yet, here were all these people, family and friends, who had come from far and wide, looking to share in our happiness. In Judaism, of course, we have a saying, usually exchanged at sad occasions: “May we only know simchot together.” How wonderful it was to be able to have such a simchah to celebrate.

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