There’s no doubt about the Norwegians – they have a zest for life that permeates even the most formal of occasions. I’ve been to a fair few weddings in my time and have seen some classic gift requests. Saturday however, was the first time I’ve ever witnessed a couple consummating their marriage with a sky dive. Forget sealing one’s love with a kiss; the ‘adrenaline rush’ seems to be the latest proclamation on the block.
I guess this needs explaining. You see, ‘the morning after’ tradition in Norway is to present your other half with a gift. Something small but dripping with “I love you honey and I’m going to damn well show it”. Call me boring, but if my groom surprised me with a parachute jump, I’d re-apply the gift-wrap, slap him directly between the eyes and send him directly ‘back to sender’. Our dear friend however, squealed in Norwegian delight, donned her butt hugging body suit and practically ran towards the awaiting aeroplane.
Sorry, but – no! As she fell from the sky, I couldn’t help but reflect on the trust that she and her hubby had in the scruffy daredevil instructors. What a way to begin a lifetime of unity – strapped to the sweaty body of another man. All for the bargain price of three hundred quid. Despite a crippling fear of heights, I looked up at her ‘floating’ above the Norwegian landscape and felt more than my fair share of jealousy.
Just how does a girl get that brave? My recommended dose of adrenaline is fulfilled when trying to board the tube without being squashed between the doors of death. That’ll do me thank you very much.
It made me wonder about my own thoughts on marriage. When the big day finally arrives I’m all for breaking tradition. No church for me troops. It’ll be outside, on a sunny Australian beach or in a grassy hideaway (no one wants sand in their garter). Or, I’ll just do it the way the Norwegians did on the weekend. Formal yet fuss free; loads of food, close friends and family, fine wine and a picturesque setting. There was enough Irish coffee to render me sleepless for days and a Norwegian folk band with a soft spot for soppy English ballads. 2,000 unshelled prawns and a coronary’s worth of cream cakes didn’t go astray either.
By all accounts, the wedding seems to be the easy bit. The grey hairs sprout when planning a hen’s night. Now, I don’t plan to tie the knot anytime this decade but, by the looks of things, I’ll need at least ten years to organise a stress free night out with the girls.
A friend of mine wants to travel overseas for her night of debauchery. Fine, if you plan to spend it relaxing on a beach – but why drag all and sundry half way across the globe, merely to don a pair of horns and get smashed? The night will inevitably spiral into a Shania Twain rendition in a dodgy club you won’t remember the next day anyway. Laugh all you like kids but you’ve all been there, and if you haven’t – you will.
The other extreme is an expensive weekend of suds and spas in the English countryside. If you have a Madonna sized bank account or a deal with OK Magazine, this may be the one for you.
As far as I can tell, the lads have it easy. The English equivalent of a successful buck’s night involves an alcohol soaked stripper, soft porn and dirty jokes. Serve the induced testosterone attack in Amsterdam, Ibiza or Turkey and ‘bucks your uncle’.
That parachute jump is looking better by the minute.