Trevor Laffan: How ‘Match of the Day’ ruined my own match of the day...

When his wife sat down to play their wedding video she got a bit of a surprise... Trevor Laffan recalls in his weekly column
Trevor Laffan: How ‘Match of the Day’ ruined my own match of the day...

OWN GOAL: Trevor Laffan’s wedding video was accidentally taped over — by an episode of BBC soccer show Match Of The Day

WEDDINGS have been put on the long finger for the time being and many couples are currently dealing with that disappointment.

They won’t find it easy to get a date in 2021 either because, apart from the normal number of annual marriage ceremonies due to take place next year, there will also be the spill-over from 2020 to contend with. Wedding planners will be busy.

There wasn’t much call for wedding planners when I got married in 1984 but things have moved on a lot since then. In those days, weddings were simple affairs. You just needed a priest for the ceremony, a hotel for the reception, and an apartment in Majorca for the honeymoon. Everything else fell into place.

For my parents and that generation, weddings were even more basic. They had a church ceremony followed by a breakfast, which was literally a breakfast, then a train ride down to Youghal for the day.

The photographs of their special occasion were limited to a few black and white snaps of the happy couple standing in front of the church.

When the day-long honeymoon was over, life returned to normal and it was back to work with the lot of them.

Not much need for a wedding planner there either, but now you can’t get married without one. So, what do they do exactly?

Apparently, they help with your budget, the wedding plan, get the best locations to match your wedding size, find top florists, photographers, caterers, bands, DJs in your price range and handle the invitations. Sounds good.

It’s a responsible job and I imagine they are the first people to get it in the neck if anything goes wrong on the day, but I can’t help wondering if it’s really necessary?

Things always go wrong and it’s those mishaps that give us the laughs in later years.

We organised our own wedding and it was going to be hi-tech because we were having it recorded for posterity. My brother-in-law, Pat O’Rourke, had a video camera. He was a marine engineer and travelled the world in the course of his work and came across a new type of camera on his travels.

Calling it a camera doesn’t do it justice. It was a large machine that you carried on your shoulder like an anti-tank weapon.

The battery alone was the same weight as an average baby and the tape cassette that went into it was the size of a regular book.

If you produced it in the modern world and pointed it at people, they would probably run for cover fearing a terrorist attack, but it was state of the art in those days.

Anyone under 40 years old probably won’t know what I’m talking about, but these cameras recorded on tape cassettes, which were then played on video cassette recording machines (VCRs) that were hooked up to the TV. It took all that machinery to do what can be done with a little mobile phone now.

VCRs were also used to record programmes on the TV so you could watch them back later. You could set the machine to tape a programme while you were out, which was new and exciting.

It wasn’t straightforward though, so it wasn’t unusual to come home and find that you recorded the wrong programme, or maybe recorded nothing at all because you hit the wrong button or messed up the timer.

Anyway, Pat was familiar with this stuff and he wanted to record the wedding day for us. I seem to remember that he had a spotlight hooked up to a large pole or stick to throw extra light on the proceedings in the church.

In fairness to him, he worked hard, and the pressure was on. It wasn’t easy walking around all day with that camera hoisted on his shoulder, but he stuck with it.

We didn’t get to see the result of his efforts until we arrived home from our honeymoon. We were delighted with it and the quality was really good. He captured everything and it was nice to think it would be there for the kids and grandkids to look at in years to come.

The relatives naturally wanted to see this video too, but not everyone had a video recorder so someone with a machine would host a viewing where a few people would gather around to watch it. Not everyone was keen though and I always felt sorry for the poor souls that were forced to sit through it.

I enjoyed seeing it too, but a couple of viewings was sufficient. Women, on the other hand, can watch these things over and over and never get enough.

So, it was for one of these gatherings that my sister-in-law borrowed the tape. She held on to it for a while and we thought no more about it.

Some months later, my wife retrieved the tape to host one of her own cinematic gatherings.

When everyone was seated around the TV, she hit the play button and that was when she got a surprise.

The video should have started with the bride getting ready to leave the house for the church, but that was replaced with the famous theme tune for Match of the Day.

Then Jimmy Hill appeared on the screen, which was strange because we were fairly certain that Jimmy wasn’t at the wedding.

She frantically searched the rest of the tape but sadly, there was no wedding footage, only football. Another brother-in-law, Billy Brophy, had recorded over the wedding.

Maybe if there was such a thing as a wedding planner back in the day, they might have suggested making a copy of the tape and that alone would have been worth the fee.

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