Today is our 10th marriage anniversary. We are both working but will be going out for a slap up meal this evening…
We woke at dawn to find the chaos from the barbeque all around. Seagulls had feasted long on discarded flavour of ribs and the suchlike. Quite where to start. So, bin bags were filled, washing up done and all other tasks that needed to be done.
There was just time for a shower; Julie went in as a calm woman, the same I had known for the past two years, but came out ‘with a panic head on.’
One of the jobs that needed to be done was going to the tailor to change the top hat. Somehow the wrong size one had been put in the box, and the hat sat on top of my head in a very humorous way, but not at all becoming. Julie also had to go and have her nails done; a 1st for her, and she had been growing them for weeks, making typing ever more difficult. Dropping her off in the centre of town, I headed to the main car park nearest the tailor.
Hughes is an old fashioned shop; full of suits, but served with manners from days gone by. The door would be opened, and all the other such things that are vanishing from the modern world. With minimum fuss a replacement hat was found, this one a perfect fit, and I was on my way back home.
I got a call from the planner asking about ice, and a mild form of panic formed in my head; and upon Julie’s return we checked with Jen and realised there was going to be no ice to keep the drinks cold. So, against all our plans we found ourselves having to go to Tesco’s on a Saturday morning, mixing it with families and the confused to get bags of ice. We filled the trolley with bags, checking that we could use the express checkout and have 10 items or less.
The cashier looked at us strange after looking at our purchases, ‘do you have some kind of ice fetish,’ she asked. ‘marriage; drink; no ice; panic!’ I replied. She seemed happy at this. She had been passing the time of day with an old friend as we waited to pay, and as the minutes dragged by I could see the minute hand on a clock in my hand sweep round like the blade of a fan. We then had to get to the other side of town, mixing it with traffic heading to the port as the tunnel was still closed. Thankfully, we did not get held up, and we arrived at the barn as the planner did and at least it was open.
As we stood there, the florist arrived, dropping off the table arrangements before heading to Julie’s Dads to deposit the bouquet and buttonholes. The caterer was there, already preparing our marriage breakfast, and seeing everything come together was reassuring, but also creating an even greater sense of panic as we realised it was today less than three hours to the beginning of the ceremony, and we had to get home, then Julie to her Dad’s, my best man arrive, get ready.
Thankfully there is a back way into Dover and right to our street, and so we were back home and only mildly worried within a few minutes. Julie had all her stuff in a bag, and so grabbed that and headed up to her dad’s, leaving me to shower and get ready, and wait for Mike, Julie’s brother and my best man, to arrive.
Unbeknown to me; Mike had decided to walk up from his house, and therefore be fashionably late and causing the panic level to rise still further. Causing me more worry was the discovery that there were no cufflinks in with the suits and shirts. My fault for not checking, for sure, but this meant I had to call Tony, Julie’s father to see if he had any; no dice. The only thing to do was to call Hughes and ask them; apparently the cufflinks were in the inside pocket of the jacket; I failed to see that there were two inside pockets and so checked just the one.
Another panic over, Mike arrived and it really started to come together. Thankfully the suits fitted, and somehow I had managed not to cut myself shaving, and it was time to head out to the pub down the road for some Dutch courage and to wait for the limo to take me to the barn. Whilst walking down I received a call from the limo driver, he was coming into town from a different direction and the directions to the pub did not work. I say I received a call, I had a voice mail asking me to ring him back and guide him to the Five Cups.
I did not have his mobile number; the only thing to do was to call Julie, and she call him back as she had the number. I really did not want to worry her right at that moment, but I had no other choice.
So, with that sorted there was just time to have a pint of Australia’s finest amber nectar before the Mercedes pulled up outside.
Our arrival at the barn was seen by no one, and walking into the barn itself we met just the photographer who was checking light levels and other such things. He set up a few shots of Mike and I outside, and it was during this that the registrar arrived; as did the 1st guests.
I have to admit that seeing that there was no one at all in the barn was a shock, but with 30 minutes to go before kick off I thought it a little early to worry too much. I had a short chat with the registrar, just confirming details I had given before, and then I was all ready to be wed.
More and more people started to arrive; I went round and thanked them for coming; then as two o’clock approached Julie arrived and I waited, back turned, for her appearance in the barn.
To be honest I was nervous, more than I thought I was going to be. The ceremony went by quite quickly; I slipped up on one part forgetting what I was supposed to say. It was a civil ceremony, nothing religious, no readings to be done, but instead there were passages about love and commitment; it was all rather wonderful, and I will try to post about that when I get home(I am writing this in Tuscany right today, more about that another time).
And after many nice words it was time to put the ring on her finger and for me to kiss Julie; and we were declared husband and wife. Everyone applauded, and we walked up the aisle outside to the marquee were we could meet each of our friends and welcome them as a married couple.
2nd through was Julie’s father, but he could not stop and speak as he was choking back the tears. I gave him a look and went over and hugged him; he sobbed some more and patted me on the back.
Then it was time for the photos; with my Mother and Julie’s Nan sitting on chairs we arranged ourselves in ever bigger groups, as Colin snapped away. We then moved down to the Georgian townhouse that also stands there to take up places on the steps leading to the main door for some more pictures. The late afternoon sun beat down on us; the birds sang in the trees and all was right with the world.
We went back into the marquee where elderflower pressé was being served in champagne flutes. Seeing so many friends around was a real joy, and Jools and I circulated talking to as many friends as we could.
Then it was time to eat; we were seated at four round tables; Julie and I next to each other with each family next to us. This meant I was next to Mother dearest, but this was ok. We had steak, salmon, buttered potatoes, with salads of various kinds; followed by a choice of three desserts. The hobbits amongst the guest had two or even all three.
Then there were the speeches; Mike did not really know me, so there were not the usual embarrassing stories about the groom. I spoke only really to thank both Julie’s Father and my Mother for helping towards the cost, and to thank everyone for coming and making it such a joyful occasion.
Then the free bar opened.
We both mingled more; we watched the sun go down and the trees change colour. The DJ arrived and I said to play the usual cheese that gets played at weddings as I don’t think anyone would have liked Blister in The Sun, Wave of Mutilation or Train in Vain instead of Lambada, The Birdie Song or Agadoo.
The evening guests arrived from seven, and some of the older people began to leave. From that point on events get a little sketchy. One thing I do remember is that on of my friends of the matchdoctor site was there, and I forgot all about her until Julie mentioned her. How terrible I felt, all I could do was to blame the day and my mind being all messed up. But once I went over to say ‘hello’ to her, it was so not bad to meet someone for initially that I felt had been friends for many years.
I think it would be fair to say I had had enough, but there were those who had much, much more. Glasses were dropped; people did fall around on the ground and I am sure people felt very silly in the morning.
It was left to Julie and I to get people into taxis and order plenty more, before it was time for us to climb into one of our own to get us back to the flat, and crash out for just three hours before it was time to get up, this time to get to the airport for the flight to Italy.