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And he used to be such a nice, quiet boy

My first Big Fat Gypsy Wedding

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I needed therapy after, months of it, and the best money can buy.

If some big guy with a strange Irish accent, talking very fast, offers you cash for a wedding reception for 200 people, you don’t take it. For why, read on.

In the real world I worked for a certain Golf Club, which is a nice, big classy place that treated me pretty well over the months. It has several function rooms upstairs that are my responsibility as Assistant Food and Beverage Manager.

We managed to get the place ready, table plan in, removed anything expensive, locked away in the vaults, double stocked the bar, fitted as many tables in the function suite as we could safely fit, and waited for the fireworks.

We had six security guys hired for the purpose, mostly big, black and bald, nice and sinister. And even they looked nervous.

I stood on the balcony waiting, and my radio crackled to life. “The first guests are arriving.. it is a white transit van.” Shit, here we go, I thought to myself.

So they turn up by the van load.. old and young, brothers and sisters, and lots of cousins.

The guys looked like… pikeys. Trousers and jumpers, to a man. A few in jeans, a lot of nasty gold.

The old ones were pretty much the same.

The kids were wearing a curious mix of old-man suits, complete with flat caps, like they were in a school play or something.

But the women… oh my God. Most were in their early twenties, wearing dresses that barely covered them. Some looked like they were going to a Moulin Rouge theme party, except the dresses were in bright lime green, and orange and electric blue. Some wore barely-mini skirts, some in hot pants with slits cut into them. One, I will never forget, was wearing a tight mermaid dress, in perfect leapard-skin print, with a frilly skirt below the knee that shot out two feet in every direction. I didn’t know you could get dresses that tasteless. They wore more fake tan than Britain had in stock, and they had more fake boobs than Miami beach, presumably paid for in cash.

And as one, they were the rudest people I have ever met. I have dealt with pikeys before in the pub trade, but that is in families of five or ten. Dealing with 150 simultaneously was horrible.

They swore and abused the waitresses, tried to start fights with the bouncers, tried every trick on the bar staff.

We took the starters out to empty tables because they didn’t want to sit down to dinner for more than ten seconds. I poured away more soup than I took out. Half the main courses went into the bin, untouched, even though other tables were still crying out for extra food.

The wedding cake must have been five feet high, just off the floor, and it looked fit to topple over at any second.

By the time we had served the food it was only 7.00 pm and the bar was open till 12.00. They had five more hours drinking! Jesus, lucky I was due to finish at 10.00 pm. Their kids ran around, uncontrolled and hyperactive on red bull. The older ones were practicing their boxing on each other, then the walls.

The madness just went on and on, stressing us all out.

By the time I finished at 22.00 they were three sheets to the wind. I found out the rest of the story the following day. After the bar closed the bouncers hustled them out of the place inside forty five minutes, because we had all just had enough of them.

Once they were outside it all kicked off, fights, glassings, one even got a face of pepper spray from one of his relatives.

At the bottom of the drive the police were waiting to breathalyze the whole lot of them, I don’t know who they caught.

Jesus, what a night. Never again.

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Written by Nick Gilmartin

January 19, 2011 at 8:48 pm

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