Posted by: Andrea | August 4, 2008

Weddings and wine

This past weekend I went to a wedding of a co-worker of mine, accompanied by seven of my other co-workers.  The bride was beautiful and it was wonderful to be able to be there at her wedding after sitting through several months of wedding planning at lunch.  I also got to play the little game that I play every time I go to a wedding: Things I Will Under No Circumstances Allow To Happen At My Wedding (If Or When That Happens, No Guarantees, Mom That Means You).

Number one on that list?  ‘YMCA.’  Followed closely by ‘Celebration.’

Also freshly added to the list following the wedding on Saturday: A smarmy DJ who doesn’t just sit his ass behind the booth like he’s supposed to but instead dances in an overly-friendly and slightly disturbing manner with all of the wedding guests while mouthing along the words to all of the songs.

Also on the list: the chicken dance and a conga line, though thankfully neither of those things happened at this wedding, I just thought they should be mentioned as things that NO SANE PERSON should ever include at their wedding.

Seriously though, the wedding was really fun.  It was in this tiny little village about a half hour south of Glasgow.  I think the only things in the village were houses, a church, a community hall and a pub.  The church was adorable and we were within walking distance to the community hall.  I’ve been to a wedding or two during my time here in Glasgow but this was my first tiny-village wedding.  It was interesting to see how things compare between here and home, and mostly it appeared that it was pretty much the same.  Except the bride came in first, trailed by her bridesmaids, which seemed a bit backwards to me.  Also the groom was standing at the front but kept his back to the door the whole time the bride was walking in, until she arrived at the front, at which point I guess he felt he could turn around.  This also seemed a bit strange, isn’t the whole point of the bride walking in is so that the groom can see her enter?  Or watch her or something?  I didn’t really get it.

The best part?  They had a bagpiper!  But not only that, he was the real deal, with the huge big hat and the kilt and the big shawl-type thing thrown over his shoulder and white spats and I just about died when I saw him I was so excited.  I do love me a cute bagpiper.  So I did what every normal wedding guest does at such an event: I got my picture taken with him so I could send it to my mom.  Yes, I am THAT GIRL.  My co-workers totally laughed at me and called me a tourist but I didn’t even care because I got my picture taken with the bagpiper!  Right after that he gathered us all together and then piped us down to the wedding reception, which I found totally adorable.  Sort of like a cute, kilt-wearing pied piper of Hamlin, except with much older followers.  That’s going on my list of Things To Do For My Wedding Even If They’re Sort Of Weird Or Make No Sense.  How can you go wrong with a piper?  Especially one that precedes you everywhere you go to announce your presence?  It’d be like being the queen.  That’s something a wedding needs.

The other great (and highly entertaining) thing about weddings in Scotland is that everyone gets totally drunk, even though they’re all hanging out with co-workers.  This is one of the aspects of living here that I find the most diametrically opposed to life in the U.S.  At home, except for small portions of the population, most people give up on getting drunk on the weekends after they leave college.  Especially getting extremely drunk in a bar, in public.  Or is this just me?  I know maybe that’s just the people I hang out with at home, but I tend to think that the whole expectation that when you go out with friends you’ll get completely drunk is more a Scottish thing.  I’ve actually had people tell me I’m ‘not drunk enough yet’ when I’m out at the pub.  Drinks are always done by rounds (it’s a cultural thing and no, you can’t bow out or they think you’re weird or anti-social) so everyone drinks as much as the fastest drinker.  Yes you can probably skip a round or get a soft-drink, but basically you’re getting a drink when everyone else gets a drink whether you like it or not.  This can be both expensive and regret-inducing the next day.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve woken up and thought to myself, ‘oh my god, I’m never drinking AGAIN.’  Not because I’ve ever done anything particularly weird or embarrassing when I’m drunk, but more because I always assume that nobody else is drunk and I’m the only one babbling on about nothing.  Though that happens when I’m sober too.

The drinking thing extends to…well, pretty much any social event, ever.  When I first moved here I was on placement as a student and the very first Friday there was a work night out.  As soon as the clock hit 4pm (closing time on Fridays) everyone pulled bottles of vodka out of their desk drawers and started drinking in the break room.  We actually had people saying ‘make sure all the service users are out of the building!’  Yes, wouldn’t do for them to see their social workers getting drunk approximately five minutes after clocking out.  I wasn’t a stupid enough student to get drunk at work, but nobody else seemed to have a problem.  You can never really look at a co-worker the same again when you’ve seen them fall off a chair.

The same thing has happened here at my current office, though thankfully the drinking began after we’d left the office for the night.  This time the night out involved my senior getting extremely drunk and dragging us all to the local LGBT karaoke bar.  It was hosted by a six foot tall drag queen in a bright red sequined dress who said I looked like Kate Winslet (I have long curly hair like she had in Titanic).  I pretty much loved that drag queen.  And yes, once again, you can’t really look at your boss the same way when you’ve seen her sing very bad drunken karaoke with a drag queen.

Anyway, luckily I couldn’t really drink at all due to an upset stomach from eating too much cake, but the entertainment value of hanging out with co-workers socially was definitely worth it.  I love all of the people I work with so it was a great night.  I went for a ride on a teeny-tiny bike with Margaret, who’s my mom’s age and completely mothers me at work (she calls me ‘little one’).  I walked outside to get some air and saw Margaret taking off on one of the bikes of the neighbour boys.  I couldn’t let her have all the fun!  So for 50p I got the loan of a very small bike for a ride around the block in heels and my cocktail dress.  Plus the bike was so small I couldn’t actually sit down to ride it.  As my friend Rose would say (she’s Irish and painfully funny) I may have flashed my ‘breakfast’ but thankfully I was wearing underwear.

It was all thoroughly enjoyable but I had to hightail it out of there to catch the last train to Glasgow to attend another party, to which I didn’t even arrive until midnight.  The first thing my friend (whose birthday it was) said to me after she said hello was, ‘where’s your wine?’  See what I mean about the drinking?  Nobody wants to be the drunkest one, so they force everyone else to drink so we can all be incomprehensible together.  I ended up discussing my friend’s marriage in rather frank detail (married at 21 to a man she acknowledges loves her more than she loves him, they have four children together so she’s decided to stick with it, for better or for worse style), eating lots of salami and speaking to my friend’s boyfriend who also happens to be our ex-lecturer from our masters course, after having had far too much to drink in a very short amount of time.  I think the guy must think I’m an alcoholic or something because I can never manage to speak to him sober.  Welcome to house parties in Glasgow!  This is actually a totally normal and regular occurrence and I spent most of today talking to people who were apologizing for being very drunk.  Um…welcome to the party my friend.  It’s just part of being a Glaswegian.



  1. Oh don’t you worry… although I don’t drink, I’m pretty sure all my former co-workers are alcoholics. They drink at the drop of a hat. We’ve even had one chick (whom we’ve nicknamed ‘clown beast’) be rushed to the ER two or three times to get her stomach pumped due to alcohol poisoning. She’s made out with members (I worked for an association) and by the time I quit, was sleeping with a VP.

    I think I’d be in love with that drag queen, too. AND… you can’t go wrong with bagpipes.

  2. Your life is just so incredibly interesting. I realize it might not often feel like that when you’re living it…but trust me, very very interesting.

    And bagpipes rock.

  3. You know, it’s funny, when I started this blog I kept thinking, I’ll have SO much to write about because I live in a foreign country! But so much of it is just normal to me, so I forget that it is pretty cool to live here. I’m trying to write more about Scotland and what it’s like. But you’re right, it all just seems very ordinary to me because it’s just my day to day life. Thanks though, it’s nice to know it’s entertaining someone!

    Pammy, I can’t believe that girl went to the hospital three times! You’d think once would be enough to learn THAT lesson.

  4. Fun story. Very well written and I got a giggle.

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