IS it the done thing to expect your wedding guests to pay for your big day?

I recently read about a woman who, on returning from an overseas wedding, was berated by the bride for the ‘insufficient’ amount she contributed towards the cost of the shin-dig. In a stroppy Facebook message, the bride said the 25 euro contribution of the guest and her plus-one fell well short of what was expected when envelopes were passed around after the wedding ceremony. It seems guests were expected to contribute around 100 euros each towards the event.

While I don’t approve of the disgruntled guest shaming the bride by posting her message on social media, I do think that asking guests to contribute towards the cost of your wedding is just bad form.

Of course it’s a lovely privilege to be invited to a wedding, but surely it’s up to the happy couple, and their families, to foot the bill for the big day.

Going to a wedding is an expense in itself – there’s your outfit to buy, and the wedding present, and often it involves long distance travel and an overnight stay in a hotel. It all builds up. And if it’s an overseas wedding there’s even more to fork out for. Some weddings are stretched out over several days, so you have to take time off work and it ends up as a costly mini break or even a holiday.

Surely it’s enough to attend a wedding, especially an overseas one, without being expected to put 100 quid or so into an envelope to pay for what is essentially someone else’s big day.

I once went to seven weddings in one year. They were at various areas of the country so there was a lot of travel and hotel expense involved. There were also hen parties to attend, so more travel and hotel costs.

A hen night used to be just that - a night of fun. Dinner in a restaurant maybe followed by drinks and dancing in a club. Then hen nights became ‘hen dos’, often sprawling over a long weekend or even a week. It’s now commonplace to jet off to the Med for a week-long hen party.

Life’s milestones are now celebrated - and shared - in such an overblown, showing off kind of way, you wonder where the intimacy has gone. What used to be private moments have become public property; from marriage proposals to announcing a pregnancy, everything is posted online, with a glossy filter, for all to see.

People even pay promotions companies to help them stage elaborate proposals - in candle-lit castles, surrounded by fire-eaters, underwater with dolphins, on mountain tops strewn with rose petals - and naturally it’s all filmed, so there’s no way they’re going to keep it to themselves.

And not content with having presents once a baby is born, we now have the all-American ritual of the baby shower, which is really just an excuse for more gifts. There are even Gender Reveal parties, presumably held on the assumption that anyone else is remotely interested in finding out the sex of your unborn child.

Then there’s the ridiculous wedding vow renewal. I have never understood the concept of this. Do wedding vows wear out, like old tights or car tax? At least be honest and admit that renewing your vows is just an excuse to wear a wedding dress once again and to be the centre of attention.

When did everything become such a big deal? One of the loveliest weddings I ever went to was in a little village church, with the reception in a nearby pub that everyone walked to. No frills, just a roast dinner and a lot of laughter.

The happy couple are still together, 25 years on.

* I COULD spend hours in Undercliffe Cemetery. It's such a tranquil, peaceful and utterly fascinating place.

On a recent visit I learned about the Brontes' nanny, buried in an unmarked grave for over 130 years. A team of devoted volunteers has now cleared the waist-high undergrowth hiding the plot, and plans are underway to finally give her a headstone. There are many other folk, like Nancy, buried with their stories beneath the undergrowth in that historic cemetery. Here's to the volunteers who work so tirelessly to keep their stories alive.

* BRACE yourselves: Love Island is back next week. But I won’t be gathering around the watercooler to dissect it.

I got sucked in last year; watching it initially with my niece, who’s the right demographic for it, and it ended up being a huge commitment. Tuning in every night felt like a job!

Overall, I found it a bore, and often uncomfortable to watch. Within hours of “coupling up”, the Islanders were lined up in rows of neon-lit double beds, like some weird dystopian dating dorm.

Some “re-coupled” at an alarming rate, while others practically swore undying love. None of the couples are still together - which tells you all you need to know about this vacuous summer schedule-filler.