Should you ban your wedding guests from watching the Champions League final?

Sachin Nakrani


Liverpool taking on Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League final on 1 June is a reason to rejoice for both sets of supporters, but a source of stress for at least one soon-to-be-married couple. Yes, that’s right, their wedding is on the same day. According to a post on the Mumsnet discussion board over the weekend, guests have been asked “to please respect that this day is about them”.

The match in Madrid will not be screened at the venue, and a poor view will be taken of anyone who leaves the wedding to watch it, or who screens it on their phones. This may prove unpopular given that most of the more than 200 invited guests are from Liverpool and the surrounding areas.

It’s hard not to feel some sympathy for the couple, who presumably settled on their wedding date well in advance. As recently as kick-off in the second legs earlier this month, it appeared neither Liverpool or Tottenham would reach the final, let alone both. But the bride and groom’s blanket ban has sparked heated debate over wedding etiquette.

As the Mumsnet poster says, they could “just shove it on a tele in the bar” – or they could stick with the plan to keep the “tele” off. Either way, the unhappy couple will struggle to stop their guests watching the final because a) it’s the biggest game in European football and b) they are silly enough to get married on the day of the biggest game in European football.

Being a Liverpool supporter, I’m very much on the side of the guests in this quandary, but this debate goes beyond football. What we have here is a case of wedding-day tyranny: the imposing of dos and don’ts by people swept up in their own self-regard, who would not be allowed to get away with it on any day that was not “about them”. But they shouldn’t be allowed to on this occasion, either.

Such is omnipresent nature of the sport these days, it’s almost impossible to plan a wedding without it clashing with some game or other – but it is possible to avoid the really big ones. “Reception-clearers”, if you like. Most of them take place at the end of May and, as with this occasion, early June. So it’s simple: check the calendar before you book the church and, if you don’t, prepare for the consequences.

In this case, those consequences should involve showing a little compassion for the Liverpool fans in attendance by letting them watch the game. If you don’t, they will find a way to do it anyway – it’s too big and too important to miss. Besides, what’s the worst that will happen?

Oh, and in case you’re wondering – I got married on 20 June 2009. There was no football that day. I checked.