The British Obsession with Bunting (or how the Royal Wedding improved my vocabulary)

In the weeks leading up to the Royal Wedding, I began to notice some strange expressions in newspapers.  References to getting ready for a “right royal knees-up” became clearer in the context of pubs/clubs throwing them. But what the heck was “bunting”?

“The bunting is up and the champagne on ice as neighbours prepare to celebrate the royal wedding.”

So, it’s something you put up when you drink champagne?

“Co-founder of Ladies in Beef, Minette Batters, believes the Royal Wedding offers a great chance for consumers to get behind the campaign, string up some bunting and enjoy British beef.”

Or when you eat British beef….

“London is getting into the royal wedding spirit with flags and bunting going up throughout the capital.”

Or more likely some sort of decoration associated with flags…(that you put up as you drink champagne and eat beef).

I still wasn’t quite sure, so after seeing the word in the paper for the thirty-seventh time, I finally asked a Brit.  I can’t remember precisely what he said, something along the lines of “those strings of colored (he probably said coloured) triangular pieces of plastic you hang up.”   Oh.  I immediately knew what he was talking about – having seen it at various festivals or events, but I didn’t know there was a word for it, nor do I think Americans are particularly fond of it.

But the British definitely are.  Not only did newspaper articles imply that it was necessary for any celebration of the Royal Wedding, but it was described as a “crisis” when stocks ran low.  And this led to “disruption as shoppers pulled bunting off supermarket displays, with consumers fighting with each other over the product….A Tesco [grocery store chain] spokesman said: “Bunting is in very short supply and is running extremely low in some areas. There is a reasonable amount left in London – a key area for street parties…”

Uh, what are we talking about – supplies of water and food after a natural disaster?  Calm down people.  I’m as excited about the wedding as the next (American) girl in slight awe of all things royal, especially if they involve a Prince/becoming a Princess, but this just seems a bit silly.  Unless, of course, we’re talking about bunting of the Union Jack with Will and Kate pictured in the middle.  Then you’d best get out of my way…

BUNTING! Thanks to R. Chesney

Actually, I have not (yet) purchased any Will and Kate memorabilia.  This is because I haven’t decided if I want the magnet, mug, tea towel, t-shirt, or toilet seat cover.  (Any suggestions for what I should buy to commemorate the fact that I was there for the wedding?)

And by “there” I mean London, not the streets near Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, or even watching the screens in Hyde Park.  I went to a friend’s house for a brunch party/viewing, after which we went to the street party in front of her house.  I would have gone to Hyde Park, but my friends seemed slightly less enthused about sharing the Park (and its Port-a-potties) with 300,000 strangers (not to mention the Tube with 1 million).  And I was excited about going to a street party (apparently they’re as traditional as bunting for such occasions) with locals. Maybe when Harry gets married I’ll come back and go to Hyde Park.  (Unless, of course, I’m joining him at the altar.)

Speaking of which, Ladies – if you’re sad it wasn’t you at the altar, these guys clearly want to be your Prince.

Thanks to R. Chesney

 And he looks a little sad he’s not marrying Kate:

Thanks to R. Chesney

 So you could just pretend to be Kate and Wills yourself:

Thanks to R. Chesney

Although they were nice enough to make an appearance at our party:

Thanks to R. Chesney

 And it was a good day.

Thanks to R. Chesney

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5 Responses to The British Obsession with Bunting (or how the Royal Wedding improved my vocabulary)

  1. Rebecca says:

    Love the post! :)

  2. kierstens says:

    WHAT!? There’s a royal wedding toilet seat cover and you didn’t purchase it? I’m disappointed…

  3. jenbarnes207 says:

    I was looking for proof of the british obsession with bunting when I found your post. Love it.

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