There can be very few people in the UK, and indeed in much of the rest of the world, who were unaware of the Royal Wedding last week.
The speculation about the details in the lead up to the event, the blanket coverage last Friday and the minute dissection in the days that have followed have meant there isn't an aspect of the nuptials that has gone unexamined.
And, the nation seems pretty much unanimous in its praise, from the dress, to the boost it's given to morale and the sense of national pride. Certainly the retailers DIY Week spoke to had nothing but good things to say about the bumper Bank Holiday period, helped, as always, by the unseasonably warm weather.
However, this week brings news of a different marriage. A union that has been no less scrutinised than the Royal Wedding in some circles - the proposed merger between BHETA and the BJGF.
Theirs has been a bumpier and perhaps less traditional engagement. Having planned the wedding (and sent out the invitations) the union was halted over what amounted to a wrangle over the pre-nup, when a second member vote at the extraordinary general meeting failed to give a clear mandate to proceed.
The two associations then chose to move in together, 'living in sin' while details of the marriage were re-negotiated. The result, some three years later, is that the initial proposal has been rejected in favour of a thoroughly modern 'open' relationship.
BHETA has agreed to pay a one-off dowry to cover the costs of the wedding, but retains its financial independence and its own name. In return, it can make no claim on its partner's funds or assets should the relationship ever be dissolved.
And, the way is paved for other 'partners' to join the family using a similar model, thus growing the association, it's membership and, ultimately, its influence.
The benefits of this new arrangement seem clear - all the benefits (co-habitation, sharing the cost burden, increased benefits and added security going forward) without any of the risks (dilution of assets, loss of autonomy, change in identity).
All in all a very civil partnership.
6 May 2011 | 10:10 |