And finally… no laughing matter

Happy couples have been banned from laughing at their weddings by authorities in the south of Russia.

A new decree in the Rostov region dictates that there should be no laughter, loud conversations or exclamations during civil marriage ceremonies.

It also forbids the drinking of alcohol – ruling out a matrimonial toast – and any rearranging of furniture or floral arrangements in the registry office, The Moscow Times reports.

Olga Isaenko, head of the region’s registry office, said: “Yes, marriage is a joyful occasion, but you shouldn’t get carried away. It is permissible to smile, but there is nothing funny in the ceremony — this is a solemn, tender occasion.”

Violating the decree won’t land offenders in jail, but Mr Isaenko warned that criminal punishments still exist for certain offences such as disrupting a ceremony while intoxicated.

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