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Weddings galore

Weddings used to be The End. Now, with the help of "Hello" and "OK!" they are only the end of act one

By Kathryn Hughes   February 2001

time was when you knew where you were with weddings. They marked the close of the story. Nineteenth-century novels used weddings as full stops, as did pantomimes and the fairytales from which they derived. The final scenes in Shakespeare’s comedies saw the rightful lovers restored to one another, never again to be parted.

These traditional narratives, the ones with which we grew up, have little interest in the details of the wedding itself. When Prince Charming and Cinderella trip down the stairs together and wave to the audience, it’s never clear if this is their big day, or whether that…

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