Nicola Vincent-Abnett

Nicola Vincent-Abnett
"Savant" for Solaris, Wild's End, Further Associates of Sherlock Holms, more Wild's End

Saturday 27 July 2013

Romance Really Is Dead

I was thrilled to hear that a young friend of mine is getting married. Her boyfriend proposed to her while they were away on holiday. She was beginning to wonder whether it was ever going to happen, but, as it turned out, he planned it beautifully, chose the ring himself and picked the perfect moment. Bravo Rupert!

Wedding plans are afoot, and I have my suspicions that the two of them are going to be very happy.

I don’t always feel like that about people getting married, and, apparently, more and more young people are doing it.

We were all sitting around sharing a drink with Katie and discussing her plans, such as they are, since the engagement is brand new, and I was introduced to a brand new concept, one that proves, once and for all, that real romance, that a belief in something that might actually endure, is finally dead.

We’ve all had our share of heartache, and some of us have been married more than once. Let’s face it, we’re not all perfect, and to err is human. My own life has been a rich tapestry of mayhem and madness, happiness and misery, love and anger, and... well... you name it. There are some things, though, that I have come to know and trust, and that, while I hope I don’t take them for granted, I have some faith in, even through the tough times.

I’m a great believer in being two people, two individuals, first, who each stand on their own two feet, who can then form one strong relationship. If two people believe in that and commit to a future together, I think it’s only natural to believe that love can and will endure.

The first great blow to romance was delivered by the Americans, of course, when they developed the prenuptial agreement. What the hell is that thing about?

Who goes into a marriage preparing for its failure?

I suppose there are those who would say that the answer to that question is pragmatists. It’s nonsense, though, isn’t it? What about love? What about passion and romance? I hope that by the time two people marry they have spent enough time together to know each other’s quirks and foibles, and possibly each other’s weaknesses and maddening little habits, and I hope they’ve spent enough time together to know that those things aren’t going to turn out to be deal breakers. I also hope that the day any two people walk down the aisle there is still room for butterflies in their stomachs at the sight of each other.

There shouldn’t, in my opinion, be room for the sort of doubt that allows for a prenuptial agreement between two people who claim to be in love. If a man ever said to me, “If you really loved me, you’d sign a pre-nup," I’d know he didn’t love me enough to marry me. Likewise, if I ever found myself consulting a lawyer about a pre-nup, I’d know I didn’t love the man enough to marry him.

If that wasn’t bad enough, the final death knell was finally sounded on romance over a nice glass of wine at Katie’s engagement celebration when the words, Wedding Insurance were spoken in front of me for the first time.

It had to be explained to me. 

I’m middle-aged. I might not feel it, and once in a while I’m even told that I don’t look it, but apparently, strictly speaking, I do qualify, so I’ve been to quite a lot of weddings, and, over the years, I’ve seen a fiasco or two. I’ve seen bridesmaids’ dresses that puckered in the rain, a venue that burned down two days before the wedding was due to happen, a best man that missed a flight, another best man whose suit was three sizes too big, a bride who was so nervous she lost ten pounds in the last week before she was married, a groom who vomited in church, and a wedding cake that fell off the show table at the reception.

All of those problems were solved, or became great stories to tell the grandkids, or couldn’t have been helped by insurance. The wedding venue was moved to one of the guest’s very large, very grand houses, and local guests all brought something to eat. The day was really special. There’s no way a new venue could have been found with a day to spare for a Saturday in the middle of June, no matter how much insurance money was involved.

I had it explained to me that the real reason for wedding insurance is so that everyone gets his money back if either the bride or groom cancels the wedding.
John and Ann Betar from Connecticut, married 80 years
I bet they didn't have a pre-nup or wedding insurance!


People are now planning weddings they might not even turn up for, let alone planning marriages that might not last. How bloody cynical is that?

Katie doesn’t plan to take out wedding insurance, but I wonder how many people do, and I wonder if they give it a moment’s thought, and, if they don’t, I wonder if they realise what that sort of cynical attitude might mean for them and their relationships and their lives and their futures.

We don’t believe in Gods anymore, and we haven’t for a while, but I, for one, didn’t realise how little we believed in love, and I think it’s a crying shame.


  1. My husband and I (I sound like the Queen) didn't take out wedding insurance. Our evening DJ, arranged by the hotel as part of the reception package, didn't bother to show up. Our reaction was to get a knackered old CD player from the kitchen and get all our friends to fetch their favourite CDs from their cars. We made our own entertainment!

    Also, the hotel were so apologetic and completely confused that I didn't throw a diva-style fit. In fact, all I said was 'shit happens' and suggested that they would be buying everyone a round of drinks. Which they did. And still refunded me the DJ costs.

    1. You see... All sorted, a great story to tell the grandkids, and insurance wouldn't have made any difference... My point exactly! Smiles.

  2. Although things going wrong are not terrible in hindsight, on the day at least one marriers sense of humour will be less robust than usual. So it is a little glib to dismiss any protection against disaster as a sign of weakness.

    Wedding insurance makes some sense if you are not holding all the wedding close to the bride and groom's usual home. That way if anything gets in the way of either of them getting to or from all or part of it their support team can just spend the obstacle away in the knowledge they can claim it back later.

    It would also protect against last minute costs if, say, the caterers went out of business just before so could not be sued to recover replacement costs.