Rock the boat… 20 things that happen at every Irish wedding

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If you’ve been to an Irish wedding you’ll know that there’s a few things you can bank on happening

1. A child of Prague will be outside the wedding house the night before.

2. Tears, oceans of tears. At the ceremony, during the speeches, during the first dance, during the cutting of the cake and mostly at the end of the night when everyone has had a bit too much free wine.

3. If you’re single you’ll be told at least ten time, “you’re next.”

4. The mother of the bride will be wearing a hat that is wider than one of the rings of Saturn and looks like a UFO. But she will carry it off in style like only an Irish mam can.

5. You will have a moment of sheer panic when the waitress or waiter asks, “beef or salmon?” Which to pick?The chances are that you’ll just want whatever you didn’t order once it comes to the table.

6. Granny will head off to bed at 6pm and everyone will have to say goodbye. It’s usually after this that the wheels really come off.

7. There is always a really good Irish dancer who knows all the ceili set dances and will make you feel like an elephant trying to follow the steps while the caller roars at you that, “you’re going the wrong way!”

8. A seasoned wedding pro at the table will make sure that you’re table is taking bets on the length of the speeches, how many, “thank yous” there’ll be and whether there will be tears. There will always be tears.

9. Dad dancing. So much dad dancing…

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10. The time between the mass and the dinner feels like an eternity, you will never have experienced hunger like it. A canapé on arrival at the hotel just seems like a cruel joke. You would literally kill for a sandwich.

11.There’s a big match on the day of the wedding? It’s perfectly acceptable for all the men at the wedding to stand in the hotel bar watching until it’s over.

12. If Sweet Caroline doesn’t play there will be ructions. Whoa ho ho… good times never seemed so good.

13. Cocktail sausages, sausage rolls and a slice of wedding cake will be served at 11pm. This is non-negotiable.

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14. You’ll go into the toilets to catch an elderly aunt in the act of topping up their drink with a bottle from their handbag. “These hotel prices are ridiculous,” you’ll be told. Fair enough so.

15. All the single ladies will insist they’re, “not bothered” when it comes to bouquet throwing time. Mere moments later they’ll be tacking each other to the ground like it’s the final minutes of a rugby international.

16. The conga line is not optional, it’s mandatory, expect to be grabbed from behind and wrestled into it against your will. You will also be expected to take part in Rock The Boat, even if your outfit wasn’t made for sitting on the floor.

17. A young cousin having his first drink will get pluthered and there will be a kerfuffle as the groomsmen try to usher him out of the ballroom before the bride’s mother sees him. She nearly always spots him anyway and will tell him off the next day, naturally.

18. Some other cousin will be running round with his tie round his head.

19. Everyone will just want to go to bed because it’s 5am but an elderly uncle, ensconced in the residents’ bar, will insist you sit through a song with 50 verses that seems to last forever.

20. “My feet are killing me,” is the phrase you’ll hear more than any other throughout the day. By midnight expect to see the dancefloor filled with barefoot ladies with neat piles of heels stacked around the room like ancient cairns.