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TRISH TAKES FIVE: Blogger Trish Burgess writes for the Free Press

I do like a good wedding but it did occur to me, as I sat in the church last weekend, obscuring the view of everyone behind me with my statement hat, that there have been some interesting developments in recent years.

Hats, for starters. The bride’s mother and I were the only ones wearing one. Fascinators are all the rage now and I can see why as they can be removed effortlessly later in the day without suffering a bad case of ‘hat hair’ which requires a whole can of Elnett Firm Hold to rescue it.

‘Save The Date’ cards. A sensible idea to give guests plenty of notice of upcoming nuptials...as long as the recipient doesn’t place it in a kitchen drawer for safe-keeping and then forget where the safe place is some weeks later.

Speeches. I’ve noticed they are often given before the wedding breakfast instead of during coffee. This is great for nervous speakers who can get the whole thing over as soon as possible and then tuck into their meal with a huge sense of relief. On the other hand, guests are more likely to laugh at your jokes if they have had another hour or so of alcoholic lubrication.

Catering. There are now some innovative ideas for keeping guests fed and watered during that interminable time between the service and the meal when everyone longs for the photographer to get a move on. A friend of mine arranged for an ice cream van to turn up at the church after the ceremony so guests could wolf down a Strawberry Mivvi while the camera was snapping away.

Table gifts. In our day the most you would receive would be a chiffon bag of sugared almonds. Now there’s a whole host of knick-knacks for guests to snaffle. I loved my Geordie keyring and pocketed our fancy laser-cut place settings too.

Pick and mix for kids. If little ones weren’t already sliding on their knees on the dance floor, a blast of E numbers from too many foam shrimps will certainly have them bouncing off the walls.

Entertainment. It’s not enough just to provide a disco for the evening do. Last weekend our hosts excelled themselves with a fantastic Batak game set up in the bar for guests to test the speed of their reactions. We had to hit each light as it flashed up; the results shared on a Top Gear style leaderboard. Despite kicking off my shoes to give myself the best chance, my efforts were still woeful but at least I beat Dougie who was convinced the machine wasn’t working properly for his turn. I think perhaps that extra glass of Shiraz had dulled his reaction time.

Weddings may be changing but the magic still remains. The marriage of my niece, Jessica, to her new husband, James, was a wonderful event. Guests were looked after superbly, the photographer worked like lightning and even the sun came out. You couldn’t ask for more than that.

You can follow Trish on Twitter @mumsgoneto and read her blog at www.mumsgoneto.co.uk