12 signs you’re at a modern Caribbean-British wedding

Following on from our recent comical post ‘12 signs you’re at a modern African-British wedding’ (link at the bottom of this article), here’s the hilarious Caribbean equivalent. Wedding cake that could strip wallpaper, the Aunt giving the never-ending speech – just two staples of the Caribbean-British wedding soiree…

Hats galore
The younger ladies in attendance will opt for fascinators or go without any headgear. But the elders will most definitely don their best hats. Wide-rimmed/tall/adorned with ribbons, sequins or feathers… whichever way, expect your view to be restricted if you sit behind one of these elaborate creations.

1 Corinthians 13:4-13
The church service – and if the bride and groom are from a traditional Caribbean family, it will be a church service – is bound to feature a relative delivering a Bible reading. The bride knows it’s the ‘proper’ thing to do, but not knowing her Psalms from her Songs of Solomon, she Googles ‘Bible verses about love’ and stumbles upon 1 Corinthians, Chapter 13, verses 4-13: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast…” Yep, that’s the one Aunt Myrtle will be reading!

‘Fancy’ starters
This is the opportunity for Caribbean folks to go all fancy with the foods we’d usually eat on any day of the week. The key? Shrink the portion to make it finger food (it is just a starter after all). For example, a beef patty is presented at a third of its usual size – and aptly called a mini patty – while ackee and saltfish is perched neatly on vol-au-vents (ooh-er). Oh and guests are sure to be greeted with a glass of rum punch – made with Wray & Nephew white rum – which is contained in a huge glass bowl and served with a ladle.

The uninformed English guest
You’re seated at the table and dinner is about to be served. Suddenly, the English guest seated next to you gives you a gentle tap and tells you they’re not familiar with Caribbean food. Naturally, as dish after dish is served, you dutifully explain that it’s not an odd looking scrambled egg but a food known as ackee, and smile politely when they note that the jerk chicken “is really hot isn’t it?”

Apple crumble for dessert
Modern couples will opt for desserts like cheesecakes and profiteroles. But once mum insists that Uncle Hopeton will only eat apple crumble and custard, the bride and groom dutifully add those to the dessert menu.

The long-winded speech (from an elder)
Despite the master of ceremonies announcing that “time is against us” and insisting that each speech-giver sticks to a two-minute limit, one elder will always break the rules. Having flown in from Florida, Aunt Pearl feels it is her right to spend the first two minutes giving glory to God and repeatedly ordering the crowd to ‘Praise the Lord!’ She’ll then encourage those who don’t know Jesus to give their hearts to the Lord, before raising a (long-winded) chorus to wrap up her 10-minute platitude.

Candy dance
Caribbean, African – we’re all one when it comes to this obligatory part of the wedding after party (#ItsABlackThing). By this time, ladies’ heels have been switched to the flats (which were stashed in a plastic bag and stored in the car boot in readiness for the party) and the DJ is on standby to ‘pull up’ the song (start it from the beginning) at least twice to give the novices a chance to acquaint themselves with the complex two-step-multi-direction choreography.

The dubplate
Oh, now this is a sign of real connections. For those unfamiliar, a dubplate is re-recording of a song where the artist personalises the track for a specific purpose (usually for a radio DJ to play on their show). So imagine how impressive it would be if the groom could call in a favour from his best friend’s, uncle’s, neighbour’s bredrin, “who did meet Beres Hammond’s manager the last time him did go ah Jamaica” and could get the reggae star to re-record one of his classics, including the names of the bride and groom. Woiii, dance sell-off!

The plastic cup sway
No Caribbean wedding is complete without it: that uncle/aunt (or any elder) on the dancefloor, plastic cup in hand (the cup usually contains brandy, Courvoisier or the aforementioned rum punch), taking a steady sway, while singing along to an old school reggae groove. Their feet are perched firmly on the floor and the upper body and hips sway from left to right. Meanwhile, the cup may be raised to forehead level (it’s almost like a salute) while said elder belts out “If love so nice, tell me why it hurts so bad…”

Curry goat for the evening meal
Fear not if you only got an evening invite, you’ll still be fed. Typically on the menu is curry goat, served with rice, salad and coleslaw. Try to get to the front of the queue so you can get the meaty bits of goat and not just a whole heap of bones slyly concealed in the curry gravy!

Cent, five cent, ten cent, dollar…
What Caribbean wedding doesn’t have the soca section? “Would you like to rock it with me, baby?”; “Who di hell is Kim?”; and of course – altogether now – “Cent, five cent, ten cent, dollar…”

The alcohol infused wedding cake
Typically, the wedding cake at a Caribbean soiree will be a fruit cake. The fruits – raisins, currants, etc – will be blended (a cake full of huge raisins is a no no) and soaked in rum for anywhere up to a year (seriously) to allow the rum to both mature and further break down the fruits. And guess what’s often added to the cake once it’s baked? Yep, the cake will then be doused with more rum to bring out extra flavour. Eat responsibly.

Read 12 Signs You’re At A Modern African-British wedding here: http://bit.ly/1tbDrJS

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