[for a quick primer on the rules and regs of DTTB, see this post]
Emma and Patrick may have the names of two people in a forgotten ‘aughts rom-com, and their story may have some of the tropes thereof and therein, but let’s be honest, a pair of 25-year-olds who’ve been together for ten years and have a six-year-old and a two-year-old ain’t the stuff of Hollywood dreams. Patrick’s great ambition, to save money to buy a house, is as honorable as they come. It just means that they haven’t found the time or nominal fee required to get married.
Which, let’s take a moment on that: Don’t you think at some point they would have just run down to the courthouse and done it? For legal protection? For tax breaks? For all the benefits that gay people are fighting for worldwide? I don’t know exactly what those benefits are in England, but there are benefits! What kind of frugal-minded person wouldn’t just DO IT? These brainiacs.
Emma’s first three statements about Patrick:
1) “I always knew he was the one. Since we were fifteen.”
2) “Patrick’s scared of being married.” OH SO THAT’S IT.
3) “Patrick’s not very romantic at all.”
So what’s going to get Patrick married? A wedding with “a Patrick feel,” in which everything is done his way. Emma wants a traditional, “Disney princess wedding.” Patrick? “If I could go there in shorts and a t-shirt, that would be the perfect thing.”
Emma: “From the bottom of my heart, I believe I DO deserve a nice wedding.” Emma, duh. Everybody deserves a nice wedding that reflects what you want to say about yourselves and each other and embraces your families and friends for supporting you throughout your relationship! Will you be HAPPY with a wedding that doesn’t do that, in your eyes? Answer now, as that is 100% where this is going.
Patrick drafts his brother Sean and his friend Anthony, a man who wears a necklace, as best men. Anthony is responsible for Patrick’s occasional multi-day disappearances in the past (seriously), so Emma hates him. But Anthony, despite his necklace, believes that he has grown up and changed—he wants to prove himself to Emma. The boys make a quick list of all the things they will do in their three weeks to make this wedding happen, and Patrick is ready to tic some boxes. Sean stops him, to ask him to reflect for a moment on his and Emma’s relationship, what is important to them, etc., because HEY WAIT A TIC, this wedding should in some way reflect them. Roight?
This. Shuts. Patrick. Down. This level of acknowledgement of their bond, their life together, their life ahead, what they have shared, etc. is all too much for his Britishness (though he was born in South Africa—does that make it better or worse?). Face-rubbing. Hair-tossing. Mumbles. “Let’s just get started.” Great.
So, as in every episode of DTTB, Emma and her mom go look at some castles with pumpkin patches (“like Cinderella!”), and they ooh and ahh, and Emma’s mom says things like, “I can’t imagine Patrick picking anything other than something like this!” From your mouth to his ears, says Emma, who lives with him and has borne his children.
Patrick goes to an actual functioning castle, where Fancy Brits live, where the lady of the house pronounces his name without combining the R and T. Pat-Rick. It’s very posh, and the price is right at £4,000 after some negotiations (all he cares about), but he goes to see another venue that he likes better! Some British-famous person got married there recently, and this second venue, where there’d be a pool party and a barbeque (yes, all of Emma’s worst nightmares), is quoted to him at over £9,000 + tax. Straight-faced, he asks if they can do it (venue, booze, and buffet) for £3,400. He gets laughed at. By me and by the people at the venue. Then he gets them down to £5,000 with tax. What the fuck, television.
And he books it over the castle, because he is a selfish child, and children love pool parties. The invitation, we later learn, says “bring swimwear.”
Dresses: in separate stores, Patrick pulls pleated/ruched-bodice dresses with applique, as Emma calls those “granny dresses,” and pulls Cinderella dresses—beaded top, fluffiest princess skirts. Patrick sees one of those and says, “That is exactly what she wants, that fairy tale dress—but that belongs in fairy tales, not on our real wedding day," because I guess he hates Emma for stealing his youth, when he is the one who wouldn’t wear a condom. Cross-cut to Emma wearing something that looks like a Barbie Doll cake dress and crying about how it’s perfect. Patrick buys a size 14 "granny dress" for size 6 Emma, can’t tell the shop how tall she is, and negotiates it down to half the price.
At this point, DTTB just makes fun of him. They clock how much time it takes him to get each discount (£150 off the wedding bands took over an hour, and he’s getting hers engraved “Property of Patrick McWhatever.”) £420 off the £1,000 floral estimate took 20 minutes. £130 off the £450 car for the bride. He’s wearing a suit he owns to the wedding. The best men’s suits are the ONLY THING HE PAYS FULL PRICE FOR.
Oh, and obviously every establishment he visits gets their storefront and logo on television. The guy who rents out the old-timey car is wearing a tshirt with his business information on it. TELEVISION!
Patrick’s Stag Do: Throwing axes, shooting guns.
Emma’s Hen Do: Massages, followed by an uncomfortable lunch with her Mum who (like her father, we learn) feels very left out of all things wedding and isn’t shy about it. Then maybe y’all should have coughed up the £12,000 and planned it all together, because have you seen this show? You knew this was coming. Fortunately, Emma’s friends take her out to a club on their own. We are reminded that Emma is 25.
The day before the wedding and OH AND WHAT DO YOU KNOW, SHE LOVES THE DRESS. Except that she’s swimming in it. Patrick agrees to pay for the alterations without negotiating, what a gentleman. And Emma says “I’m actually glad that he stayed clear away from the princess dresses,” because she’s brainwashed. The whole family loves it, because they’re brainwashed.
And she loves the brown bridesmaids dresses despite, “I hate earthy colors.” She loves the car. She makes no comments on the venue upon arrival, but she seems happy just to be there and looking decent. She does not seem to notice that Patrick is wearing an old suit, because she is blinded by his lime-green tie (or maybe that was me). She cannot stop fucking with her veil or her totally busted looking hair extensions, which appear to have been installed by her six-year-old. Turns out his ring says “Property of Emma McWhatever,” so I’m marginally less offended.
But then at the lunch after the ceremony, Patrick has forgotten to print the table assignments, and he won’t just let people sit down. So that takes half an hour. Then everybody has to get up and queue for the BBQ, which is being prepared outside, where it is 60 degrees and very windy. Emma… abides it.
There are speeches, and then some bros put on bathing suits and jump in the pool. Emma refuses, despite her generous groom providing her with a bikini. There’s dancing. Emma’s mom tells Patrick he did well. There are some South African gumboot dancers. And that’s when my DVR cut off.
There doesn’t seem to be much joy at this event, and Emma can sort of not keep her eyes open with her false eyelashes and the wind and the mediocrity and disappointment. But later, with a beer in one hand and bouquet in the other, she apologizes for being such a bitch to Anthony for so long, so something good has come of it.
And for the sake of the children, I am going to give more credit than is due and assume that Patrick pulled this whole thing off for £8,000 or so and found a loophole in the contract that allowed him to keep the rest for what I can assume is either a major drug habit or a robust savings account. BUY YOUR FAMILY A DAMN HOUSE ALREADY. If I had to live with someone as unendingly cheap as this bugger, I’d need room to get away every now and then, too.