In which everyone gets married and has babies


Marriage and babies! Marriage and babies! When they started billing 2012 as a summer to remember, nobody warned me that the chief sporting activity I'd be forced to sit through would be everyone in the country immediately getting wed and squeezing out an infant.

While the athletes limbered up and the Queen polished her handbag and I awaited the opening of Muswell Hill's new Waitrose with all the zeal of a bloodhound, everyone else has been sprinting towards the finish line of adulthood in white satin slingbacks with a nappy bag over their shoulder.

I'm not making this declaration based on firsthand experience, exactly, but on two nearly-as-stable sources: Facebook, and people I've seen on the tube. I know it's officially wedding season because every weekend morning for the past couple of months, I've shared station platforms with at least three agitated couples in a scratchy-looking array of formalwear. She's pashmina-clad with her fascinator in a shopping bag, he's wearing shoes his mum bought him for a job interview; they've already had three arguments and it's only 11am. Both wear the haunted look of people who are about to see their own future, and pay £70 in train tickets plus a Le Creuset casserole dish for the privilege.

But aside from the passenger-watching, all this nuptial action has left me pondering the really important question: how many of someone’s Facebook wedding photos is it appropriate to look at before you become properly creepy?

I’ve settled on the following scale. Thirty photos is just healthy curiosity, 70 is 'intellectual interest for future dress/table favours/photography business that I may one day start', over 100 is undeniable fascination, over 200 is reaching for popcorn and calling off the day's appointments. And before you know it you sheepishly realise you've flicked through 431 photos of the wedding of two people you've never met, attended by someone you barely know who you met once at a house party in 2007.

So far, you see, it's all been vicarious wedding attendance from the comfort of my laptop - because the tidal wave of wedding and baby action has managed to stop just short of my immediate circle, meaning I haven't been invited to any of it. But that hasn’t stopped me developing a strong set of purely hypothetical wedding opinions (patterned carpet, for example. WHY, when you’ve spent months working to a delicately regimented pastel colour scheme, would you choose a venue with a swirly red carpet? Why do venues even have swirly red carpet? Why does anyone?) and an increasing feeling of hen-party dread in the pit of my stomach.

“We will NEVER do that to each other,” my friends and I announce solemnly, as yet another album of pink tiara-ed pole dancing lessons and erotic pass-the-parcel roll into our news feeds. ‘When our turn comes, we’ll have a nice lunch somewhere. In the countryside. With no body glitter.” But who can really make that promise? Once the starting pistol is fired and my own lot start pegging it towards the gold medal podium of marital bliss, I’m pretty sure the hurdles of reason, taste and ‘but will they really eat a thousand pounds’ worth of cheese?’ are swiftly leapt over without a second thought.

Still. I’d rather the wedding Olympics than real sport, I suppose.