“OH now we had nothing fancy in our day. None of your chocolate fountains, or posh videographers for the likes of us. Sure I wouldn’t know what to do with a chocolate fountain!”
Mammy Dunne conveniently forgetting how she hopped off the chocolate dipped strawberries at a recent family wedding.
First name terms with the chap behind the counter, she was. “Back again?” he’d asked twinkling at her. “Indeed’n I am, sure I may as well. At my age.” she’d rapped back at him letting him know in no uncertain terms that if he didn’t serve her fast, she might die on top of him.
It’s funny how all conversations turn to weddings when you’re enfianced, isn’t it? And in the company of parents, the conversation usually reverts around to their day, how they did things and more importantly, how much the whole thing cost.
Yer Man’s parents have the receipt from their wedding which they had in the Keadeen Hotel, Newbridge, in the mid-70s. £400 it was, OLD Irish pounds, the good ones. None of your mickey mouse euro then.
“Four hundred pound?” Daddy Dunne exploded, looking at Yer Man with renewed respect “it must have been a big do, mine was 99 pound, 99 pound exactly!”
Naturally you wouldn’t get a wedding in the Keadeen now for 400 anything, you’d be lucky to feed five people for that and as for 99 pound? Ha!
“What we did,” Daddy Dunne started, like we were listening to him, “was every week I sent a pound or two down to Mrs Carter in the post, to keep for us to save for the wedding.”
He met my mother when he was 17-years-old and still, at 69, he calls his mother-in-law Mrs Carter. I never knew her, but from stories I’ve been told, she would have liked that.
“So she kept the money in her handbag for us so we couldn’t spend it. Her good handbag, the one she was going to wear to the wedding.”
At about 8pm on the evening of their wedding, after the dinner in the hotel, after the band, my parents and the wedding party set off, back to Mrs Carter’s house for the afters as was the done thing in those days.
“Before we left though,” Daddy Dunne continued “I asked her did she have the money that I had sent her, in her bag to pay for the reception. She said she did so I called over the manager.
“The Mother-in-law wants to settle up with you,” he said, remembering proudly his first use of the definitive ‘the’ “and I let her go in to the manager’s office and pay the bill. She was delighted, it made her feel like she was something, that the manager thought she was paying, that she was the one with the money.”
Mammy Dunne looked at him fondly.
“She really did love that, she felt so proud, I was glad you didn’t take it away from her. My mother never had anything in her life, she worked for food so that us kids could have a meal. She loved going into that office, it meant so much to her,” she said, remembering.
“We had a great day,” they chimed in unison.
And it was like there was nobody else in the room.