Claire Black: Brangelina wedding free of spectacle

THE dress? It was white. Apparently. And there was a veil. Allegedly. And him? A suit, I think. Yes, a dark suit with a tie. And shoes, yes, they definitely both wore shoes.

Angelina Jolie And Brad Pitt. Picture: Getty

I cannot tell you how delighted it makes me that this is pretty much all we know about the wedding of the year – the betrothal of Brangelina. No 900-page spread in Hello! magazine for those two. Nope. Not even a grainy snap taken from so far away – outer space far – that anyone can claim was her. Or him. Or the Jolie-Pitt family dog wearing a bow tie. Nothing.

And that is how a wedding should be done. I am all for discretion to the point of total secrecy when it comes to tying the knot. Why? Well, not because I’ve been burned by my own experience of being hunted down by a pack of paps, my meringue dress ruined from dreeping down a wall as I made my escape from Leith Registry Office. No, at mine, there was no meringue – black tux for me, vintage dress for her – no paps. In fact, no guests. Just two sisters – one from either side – to vouch that we were who we said we were. Not that we actually said anything. We just signed on the line, went for a meal and then flew to the Maldives. Simples.

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I understand that not everyone shares my love of a stealth wedding. Some people are into spectacle. And sharing. And that’s lovely. As long as they’re sharing the right stuff – their love for each other and all that gubbins, rather than just the hideously exorbitant costs. There is pretty much nothing I loathe more than a wedding as a tax-free method of augmenting the happy couple’s newly joint income. It is a kind of 21st century madness along the lines of, “listen, do you realise how much we’re spending on this shebang? Everyone has got to contribute.”

How else do you explain insisting that your closest pals have to book a week off work to attend your four-day hen/stag do which costs £300? And don’t get me started on the abomination that is a wedding list. Or worse, the we’ve been together for a decade so we don’t need anything from John Lewis, but you could make a donation to our honeymoon. I’m not making that up. It happened recently. Not to me. No one invites me to weddings because they’ve heard me say a version of this column loudly and angrily too many times. But it happened recently to my spouse. I blame Anthea Turner. It may have been nearly 15 years ago and they may now be divorced, but it was she and Grant Bovey who first plumbed the depths of turning getting hitched into a revenue and profile raising opportunity. Cadbury’s Snowflake with your lifelong commitment? Yes, that would be splendid. Bring on national derision and (eventually) divorce.

There has been speculation as to how Brad and Angie did it, but without so much as a misplaced tweet all we know is that they did it as they wanted to. There were 22 guests. There was no sponsorship deal, no magazine spread and no one will benefit in any way other than they got to share in what I’m guessing was a splendid occasion. Here’s to Brad and Angie.

Painful price of airline squeeze

AS I am the grand height of five feet three-and-a-half inches, you are perhaps not inclined to listen to my opinion on the importance of adequate leg room while travelling. But someone has got to have a word and it might as well be little old me. Two flights in the last week have had to be diverted because of stooshies over seats being reclined. Or not, as it transpires. The first incident was on a flight from Newark to Denver which got a little turbulent when a male passenger used a “knee defender” device to stop the woman in front of him from putting her seat back. She duly chucked some water on him, cue diverted flights and two arrests. The second incident was on a flight from Miami to Paris, when a 61-year-old man lost it because the passenger in front of him also wanted to recline. Cue diversion to Boston and another arrest. Fellow humans, get a grip. There is an enemy here and it’s not the person who wants a kip without a crick in their neck. And progress will not be everyone having to sit bolt upright on long hauls. There are too many seats, too close together, on planes. If you want to take a pop at anything, try that.

Heaven is a new library

I JOINED a new library last week. Nothing pleases me more than joining a library. Even one which has a collection largely made up of large print Martina Cole books. It doesn’t matter, because in that place you just know you’re going to find amazing, wonderful, unexpected things. And I did. It was a graphic novel called The Property by Rutu Modan. A story of loss and love and a family secret. I would never have bought it. I might never have found it. But there it was on the “just returned” shelf so I took it out and I read it and I loved it. Treasure, you see. And that’s why I love libraries. «