If I had to be anyone at a wedding, Adelaide thought, I’d always be the sister-in-law.

She walked towards the ball she had accidentally-on-purpose hit just a bit too hard so it flew over the heads of the boys, left their circle of grass, travelled along the path and landed not too far from the fountain where the wedding had just begun.

At weddings, Adelaide thought, sisters-in-law are unencumbered by expectation. They can wear a sensible frock (in autumn even brides should wear sleeves). Sisters-in-law are not forced into shades of green which make them feel dizzy or shades of red which make them look sickly pale. They do their own make-up and no one pushes their hair into shapes that immobilise the head.

There is nothing important that a sister-in-law can forget.

Sisters-in-law stand to the side with a child on their hip and a flute of champagne in their hand. They can taste the champagne and it does not rush straight to their knees in a dangerous way.

In photographs – including the one that’s just her and her husband and their child all of them looking relaxed and well-dressed – sisters-in-law wear glorious smiles.

Adelaide picked up the ball, pulled her jacket closer around herself. Someone really should have thought to bring jumpers for the boys.