How will my three-year-old cope with family weddings?

My lovely sister Fionnuala (pronounced: Fionnuala) got married the weekend before last. We weren’t able to attend the day itself due to Covid protocols. We saw pics and videos on WhatsApp in which she and her delightful husband Adam (pronounced: Adhanm, I think?) looked gorgeous and almost-but-not-quite-sickeningly in love, tying the knot to an audience of two.

Our family weddings are usually quite big affairs, my family being large enough to be seen from space
Our family weddings are usually quite big affairs. Besides my family being large enough to be seen from space, Irish people generally consider marriage a great opportunity to conduct a census of every person they’ve ever met. Where else might you see your Auntie Patricia deep in conversation with your ex-landlord; or find your school bus driver talking about bitcoin with that man who fixed your cousin’s boiler?

As with every wedding, it made my wife and me reflective and emotional about our own nuptials. Admittedly, the emotional reflection we usually share when we see other people getting married is delight that we are no longer planning a wedding ourselves. But now, after four years, weddings are the kind of thing we’re looking forward to getting back to.

I don’t know that they’ll be the same. I read with horror that finger food and buffets may be a permanent casualty of the coronavirus, since they could be prohibitively difficult to safeguard from transmission. As someone who likes – in fact, regards it as his premier skill in life – to skulk near wedding caterers so I can gorge myself on canapes with impunity, this is a terrifying prospect. It would deny me the right to stalk their route through the crowd, emerging in front of them like a predator on the savannah, saying: ‘Oh, my, well – of course!’ as if I’ve seen them entirely by coincidence, before pulping onion tartlets and mushroom blinis into my cavernous, ravenous mouth. Heaven, in other words.

My son is nearly three and has never been to a wedding. Pretty much his entire recorded memory has been spent in Covid times, in small groups of adults and only a few family members at one time. He’s become so used to the rubrics of the pandemic that he will press random objects at chest height and mime washing his hands as if some sanitiser has been dispensed. Maybe his not attending a fully catered, 200-person wedding is good, in that case. If he was handed a mushroom blini he’d probably mash it into his paws while singing the Mr Potato song.

For now, we’ll take joy from the fact that Fionnuala and Adam (henceforth Fionnadam) have promised us another, more grand celebration of their vows in the future, when the world is ready for large groups of mildly sozzled people to congregate in shiny hats and impractical shoes. If you’ve ever met either of them, you’ll see me there. Save me an onion tartlet.