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Making a scene

From the speeches to the cutting of the cake, we’re here to guide you through even the trickiest elements of wedding etiquette.

Scenes from a summer wedding. Sounds like a WH Auden poem. Or a Netflix special. What definitely is a bit special – and on Netflix as it turns out – is Peaky Blinders, one of the standout British television dramas of the past decade. The show’s costumes, and those caps in particular, are almost as famous as the smouldering Shelbys. And because Thomas Pink shirts are rather special too, we invited Peaky star Harry Kirton, who played Finn Shelby, to model some of our finest examples.

And whether you’re tying the knot yourself or cheering on a friend, there are several key moments on the big day where you’ll need to look your best. Allow Thomas Pink to be your guide.

The Photographs

Not so long ago, wedding photos were historical curios. You’d look at them once, put the album away, then wait for them to turn up on an episode of Who Do You Think You Are?. Nowadays, you won’t even make it to the reception before the early rushes are posted on Instagram. So, dress as snappily as possible, both for your own self-respect and to garner credits for the bride, who’s live-streaming the whole thing. While the advent of smartphones has made life trickier for official wedding snappers, certain conventions still apply. Such as when the photographer says, ‘Just the bride’s family’. That creaking sound you can hear is the groom’s mother’s nose being put out of joint. And when the final edit is handed over, the same old chancers pop up in shots they’re not supposed to be in. Or the pics show people you’ve never seen before and yet who will almost certainly, in years to come, shake you by the hand and tell you how much they enjoyed the day.

The Speeches

Remember what your mother told you. If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. If you’ve ever made a wedding speech, then doubtless you were told to just relax: how it was the best audience you’d ever have; that everyone was willing you to succeed; and they were all there because they love you. All of which is true but it’s still a good idea to proceed with caution. As with the photographs, the chances of your wacky anecdotes going viral (and quickly) are pretty high. So a joke about Aunt Violet’s silly hat is fine but revealing the bride’s or groom’s decade-old affair will go down like a lead balloon. You could even end up doing a Hugh. Grant that is, who recalls his speech, in Four Weddings and a Funeral, after which the bride and groom were still talking to him many years later – just not to each other. Worse still, you might end up like those poor saps who decide to commit their speeches to song. What seemed quite original when you first had the idea proves, with a quick online search, not so much. Keep it simple, keep it clean and, if you can’t resist the urge to be funny, think light-hearted chortle rather than ripsnorting belly-laugh.

The First Dance

Some have secret salsa lessons, others conduct covert ballroom ops. The basic idea is the same, to help turn four left feet into a few moments of matrimonial magic. The song choice is important as this will convey both your crazy, offbeat relationship and eclectic tastes. Frankly, anything that isn’t Barry White is a bonus. According to experts, the UK’s most popular first-dance songs are, in first spot to third, Can’t Help Falling In Love by Elvis Presley, Bryan Adams’ (Everything I Do) I Do It For You and Wonderful Tonight by Eric Clapton. Cue eye-roll. As for that moment when the other guests hit the dance floor, once you leave the safety of the carpet and venture onto those sticky, sprung-laminate boards, you’re on your own. This tends to be one of the more illuminating parts of the evening, particularly at English weddings, where inhibitions reduce in direct correlation to the increasing amount of alcohol consumed.

Cutting The Cake

It’ll all end in tiers. Previously the wedding-cake industry’s go-to oneliner, this was a gag highjacked by pandemic lockdowns. Fortunately, there is hope anew for the cake trade, for if any wedding scene has enjoyed such a dramatic change of, well, scene, it’s the moment the cake is cut. Turbo-charged by our extraordinary appetite for outlandish cakes, not to mention the talent of their creators, the general vibe is to create a cake that looks anything but. With literally no subject off limits (favourite dog, horse, scale model of the Taj Mahal), credit is due, in small part, to a certain Mr Hollywood and Mrs Leith. By far the largest slice, however, is deserved by Is it Cake?, the so-barmy-it-seems-perfectly-sensible Netflix show.

Flowers (Throwing/Catching of)

Once a ladies-only affair, in these modern enlightened times the old gender rules no longer apply. That said, any chap sharpening his elbows ahead of the bride’s traditional overhead throwing of the bouquet might draw strange looks. In rom-com land, this is the part of the day reserved for those singletons not asked to fulfil any of the ceremonial roles; and for those too shy to ask someone to dance and who no amount of cold prosecco will warm up.

What To Wear

Formal dressing and black tie events are back on the cards for 2024, so make sure your wardrobe is in tip-top shape. Thomas Pink’s White Classic Fit Formal Double Cuff Textured Dobby Shirt makes an elevated choice that is both classic and contemporary. The refined finish is thanks to the rich dobby weave fabric. Combine with our Silk Satin bow tie and cummerbund – both made in England – for a sartorial match made in heaven. Like the best of best men, Thomas Pink can steer you clear of any fashion faux pas; try something like our Pale Blue & White Tailored Fit Formal Stretch Diamond Dobby Shirt. A striking and versatile colour, the fabric appears plain but on closer inspection reveals a subtle diamond-shaped motif, creating a visually appealing texture and design. Round out the look with Thomas Pink’s Navy Blue Four Dot Floral Motif Silk Tie, which is hand-finished by specialist artisans and made from luxurious 100% silk.