AT LARGE: The bells are ringing

AT LARGE: The bells are ringing

Congratulate me, folks, I'm getting married.

Perhaps you'll call me naive for saying this, but I hadn't realised how complicated a wedding could be until I tried to organise one. I thought all that was required was one bride, one groom, two witnesses and a celebrant. It sounds like the start of a joke (wherein all of the above walk into a bar and hilarity ensues), and in some ways it is.

For a start, we need a venue. As a Catholic sort of person (you're finding out all manner of things about me now), I have to get married in a church -- out in a field, under a tree or skydiving won't do.

The only church with a significant amount of information about wedding plans on the Web was St Mary's Cathedral. I'm not getting married in St Mary's Cathedral. (St Mary's has strict rules about what music can be used in the ceremony -- so if, for example, I wanted to have the Throne Room fanfare from Star Wars played as my beloved walked down the aisle, I'd be out of luck).

So I found a church by, of all things, phoning around. I thought we were supposed to be able to do anything on the Web.

Reception venues ought to be online, right? They're more commercial than churches. Again, I'm disappointed -- very few reception venues have Web sites, only the most expensive ones.

So I looked at the Web site of a prominent wedding magazine. The site hasn't been updated in 18 months. Now this kind of thing might be acceptable in IT, which is steeped in tradition and changes at a glacial pace; but in the fast-paced whirlygig of wedding planning, it's just not right.

I did find that there are places that hire out "chair covers". They're made of cloth with big tissue paper bows on the back, and you put them over the top of the chairs at your reception venue to pretty it all up. Wacky -- or so I thought.

After some more phoning around, I went out to look at a possible reception venue. Lovely place, beautiful setting -- ugly chairs. All of a sudden I'm thinking about hiring out covers for chairs. I think this is what we call a "third-party opportunity" -- like selling a printer with no cable. There are numerous chair-cover hire places on the Web.

What isn't available is the basic roof over your head so you don't get wet or sunburnt whilst plighting your troth. I've become too accustomed to the Web for doing modern things like buying DVDs. Now I'm doing something that dates back millennia -- and there is no modern way.

Matthew JC. Powell hates long engagements. Marriage-related double-entendres should be addressed to

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