Despite rumours of an appearance by Elton John and the use of a herd of dancing elephants from Dublin Zoo, a newly wed couple from Benburb performed a traditional first dance at their wedding reception, slowly moving to Islands In The Stream by Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers, much to the shock and awe of a 250-strong guest list.
Peter Small and Lisa Hughes, who married after a 15-year courtship, managed to fool onlookers by having fireworks, a troop of little people, dogs and a PSNI water cannon lying around the reception, sparking rumours of a spectacular opening dance. Video footage subsequently showed guests preparing themselves for the anticipated extravaganza up to 30 minutes before the dance by standing on chairs and setting up tripods.
Videographer Patsy Killen admitted he was blown away by their performance:
“I’d heard rumours that Peter was going to fling Lisa up on top of the chandelier that was going to turn into a diamond-studded staircase which she’d walk down whilst twerking to some rap tune about muthafookers. You know, the standard stuff. Well, our jaws dropped when we saw them move slowly to the dulcet tones of Dolly and Kenny.”
Still disbelieving, guests waited patiently for the track to change mid-song, probably sparking a dance routine involving the bridal party whipping each other and the groom’s aged grandfather dabbing furiously to Snoop Doggy Dog. When nothing happened and the song ended, the hall erupted into rapturous applause with some guests reportedly crying with happiness.
“I’ve never seen anything like it. Well since 1998 anyway. They just….slow danced. It was quite remarkable.”
Mr and Mrs Small also refused to have a chocolate fountain and turned down the opportunity to be photographed peering around a tree in the middle of a lake.
‘You only had one job‘ muttered a disconsolate bride to her groom outside the church entrance in Fintona this morning after she turned up for her big day sitting in the back of a hearse with her father, with the three bridesmaids already having travelled in the same vehicle to the disbelief of the large attendance.
Pat McGinn, who asked to look after the transport arrangements as a gift to his fiancée, admitted he’d messed up after completely mistaking the wedding car for a Daimler 4 litre V8 hearse 2 bearer with covers with only 33’000 miles on the clock and climate controlled air conditioning with new alloy wheels.
“I wouldn’t be deadly into weddings or funerals. I saw the motor advertised on Gumtree and thought she looked lethal. It was only when the brides turned up looking glum and shaking their heads in the back of the hearse. If that was bad, you should have seen herself ten minutes later.”
Mary Clarke (not taking the husband’s name) admitted it was hard to smile during the sermon:
“I’ll never forget that journey. Sitting in the back of that hearse on a polished wooden mount with my da, listening to panpipes playing Nearer My God To Thee and Make Me A Channel Of Your Peace…..I was fuming. He had one job.”
Hearse driver Kenny Archer added that he felt sorry for the bridal party and has promised to do a deal for the first one to pass on to their eternal reward, when that time comes.
A 47 year old chimney cleaner from Aghyaran says he’s preparing for ‘the guts of a month’ of silent treatment after forgetting his 20th wedding anniversary.
Patsy Devine, who claims to have forgotten the date only ‘5 or 6 times’ before this one, and Mary McLoughlin were married on the 23rd July 1993 at a fairytale ceremony in the village that had balloons and all. Mary maintains this might be the final straw:
“He’s one gope. He said to me in the morning if I needed anything from the shop. I was sure he was getting some kind of memento for the occasion. He came back with some wheaten bread, cat food and the Irish News. I let it go in case it was some big plan to wind me up. He then got up during breakfast and said he had to get something from the car. I was convinced this was the big moment. He came back in with toilet roll and proceeded to sit on the toilet for 45 minutes. Things only got worse from then on in.”
The penny dropped with Patsy after Mary spilled his spaghetti bolognese over his lap.
“I knew this wasn’t an accident. I was wrecking my head and it finally dawned on me when I was talking to my Derry neighbour. I remembered they won the All Ireland a couple of months after we got married. I rushed out and bought the last bunch of flowers at the garage but they were a bit measly looking and stank of diesel. The woman says they’d been there since Mother’s Day. Well, when I handed them to Mary she just looked at them and set them alight. The diesel was fairly potent.”
Devine has enrolled in a body language course in Clady to see if he can read signals until she starts talking again. With the 20th anniversary traditionally celebrated with porcelain, Devine is considering getting Mary porcelain veneers for her ‘unsightly gnashers’.
Clonoe Parish officials are presently debating the motion to allow full cousins to marry in order to supplement the priests’ income which has dwindled in recent years. The radical step, harking back to the last days of inter-cousin marriages during the mid-80s, will have to be ratified in the Vatican before implemented at the end of the month. One of the priests, who wishes to remain anonymous, told us of his plight:
“Ah, we’re finding it tough to be honest. I’ve recently moved in to a new house that was built for me and it’s a really hard to heat what with the amount of rooms and all. My maid is always complaining about her frocks being a bit out of season so the extra dough would not go to waste. Marriages in Clonoe have been a scarce ever since the ban on the cousins a few years ago. And those who do tie the knot have been a bit stingy due to the recession. I married a couple from Derrylaughan last weekend and they gave me £20 just. I had to throw the altar boys a few Maltesers so I could keep the money. It’s tara altogether.”
Parishoners have warmly welcomed the news and predicted a much more harmonious atmosphere in the area if the motion is passed. Tommy O’Neill, a 51-year old carpenter from Dernagh, agreed with the idea:
“This would be deadly news. An awful lot of us would be related here anyway and there have been some real awkward moments since the ban came in years ago. I remember chatting this girl up down at Tessie’s and we were getting on brilliant. I was about to take her up to the Washingbay when we worked out that our fathers were brothers. That’s just one example. If the motion is passed, I can see marriages multiplying tenfold in the parish. My aunt’s 80th birthday party next month might be great craic if this goes ahead. There’ll be some courtin amongst the more desperate cousins.”
The unnamed priest says that whilst full-cousin weddings will be welcomed, it will come at a cost. Fees will range from £100-£2000 depending on how much they look like each other.
GLENELLY. Former captain Joseph McCullagh becomes the first man to leave Glenelly for pastures new. There will be a going-away do in the community hall with music supplied by the Plumbridge Brass Band and Joseph’s uncle, Mattie McCullagh, who’s singing songs from the musicals. Festivities start 8pm tomorrow. Come along and see Joseph off in style before his long trek to Bundoran.
MOY. 13th Annual Camel Wrestling Event. A little known fact is that the only two camels in Ireland kept as pets both live in the Moy. This remarkable coincidence has lent itself to a yearly wrestling competition held between both even-toed ungulates. With 6 wins apiece this year’s fight promises to be a real humdinger. Ice cream made from camel milk will be provided for children. First bell rings at 7pm tonight.
TATTYREAGH. Annual bath for brides and grooms-to-be. Come along and witness the bathing of soon-to-be newlyweds in the Ballynahatty Water. Tradition in Tattyreagh dictates that all weddings in the area take place in November. At the end of October, all couples intending to tie the knot that year bathe in the freezing waters as relatives gather and clap. No showers are to take place between then and the wedding. That’s why the women hold flowers, to disguise the odour. First dipping at 11am Sunday.
STEWARTSTOWN. 100th Gurning Competition. Famous for its natural gurners, this year’s Stewartstown gala promises to be special as the centenary gurning weekend gets underway today outside the bank at 2pm. With competitions for all age groups and genders as usual, organisers have opened to competition to pets and livestock. Dan McCann is aiming for the ‘Most Miserable Bollocks’ title for the 5th consecutive year.