Thursday, May 04, 2006

Wedding Day - Brought To Account

"It's all gone a bit Challenge Anneka"
Up at sparrow-fart, on the grounds a/ that there's still lots to do and b/ if I fall asleep again I might not wake up in time. A cake to ice, a bouquet to tie, a reception hall to set up and decorate... Anyway, the last minute ivy headdress seems to work well, with the bits I couldn't work into the posy.

Get to the hall to discover a note on the door, to me, saying "I waited until 09:20, call me at home when you arrive." Well, that's very commendable, but I'd booked it from 10:00, and had the letter to prove it! Not a terribly good start, especially with only 2 hours before I was being picked up, but hey, there won't be many there that would be terribly surprised to see me get married in combat trousers. Possibly some surprised that I don't...

So the caretaker arrives and lets us in (I've acquired a James by this point), and we start shifting tables ("how do you want them?" Oh, you, know, casual but, er, structured"). Run back up to the house to collect some stuff (like tablecloths), cursing the fact that I'd completely failed to bring anything down on the first trip.

Back to the hall (this is quite a steep hill I'll running up and down with this lot, and not particularly close) and Chris(tine) arrives with the helium balloons. We put out jam jars of daffodils and with the purple, white and green tablecloths and napkins it's all starting to come together and look well impressive. A final trip to the house with Chris' car to load up the beer and cake, and the hall's ready. It's sometime after 11:00 and by this point I'm desperate for coffee.

There then follows what is possibly the swiftest bridal change in the history of bridal changes, I don dress, boots, earrings and ivy twist, and bonza: one bride, no waiting, coffee hasn't even perked yet.

There then follows half an hour of me pacing about and downing black coffee (ok going to the pub the night before probably wasn't advisable. Or maybe it was just the sixth pint that wasn't) and James ("official wedding henchman") smoking furiously on my behalf.

"You'll like this. Not a lot."
Emma and Alec arrive to drive me to the Registry Office, which for current purposes is situated in the Falmouth Hotel. Although this is at the side away from the car park, so you have to park on the seafront and walk up the road in full regalia, feeling like a prize tit. We meet Matt outside, so I'm able to walk in surrounded by circle of cohorts. This makes me feel somewhat less edgy.

We'd encountered the Registrar (looks like Paul Daniels) and Assistant Registrar (looks like Pauline from the League of Gentlemen. BIG glasses, and big on pens) before, so were somewhat prepared for them, and I THINK their antics were designed to put me at ease, but I could really have done without it. Plus, Paul (I will never be able to remember his actual name, and was in fact faintly surprised during the ceremony when he said it) was getting crosser and crosser with guests wandering in through the french windows of the ante-room where I was waiting - the fact that there is no parking near the entrance and it is not remotely well signed didn't seem to impinge. He did his best to convince me to go for the longer option with regards to phrasing, despite the fact that having previously agreed this, it would have confused matters somewhat - and despite this being an option they offered in the first place. He also kept wandering in and asking me if all our guests were there yet - how should I know? I'm not in the room you irritating little man. Why don't you ask Chris, who, presumably, is in there somewhere, and will be able to tell you if anyone is missing? Which I finally suggested to him, after the third time he asked me.

Eventually it was time to go in, which gave our Mr Daniels a second chance to have a crack at me, about the speed at which I was walking. Is there a law against punching Registrars?

The ceremony then proceeded, as these things do, and finally it was official, we'd done the ring thing, the register was signed, and we could venture out for photographs round the water feature. And I think Mr.D had only managed to irritate me three more times in the preceding ten minutes.

"Bind and twine"
From the hotel, we all convoyed our way to the hall, where it was fizz all round, take delivery of the fragrant tray of 50 pasties from the Choak's man and round up the guests that space had meant we could only invite to the handfasting.

Lead by Lawrence drumming and a Celtic piper (Jenny? I didn't catch her name, but she'd been press ganged to great effect by Steve, who was officiating) we headed a procession out into the sunshine and across the field by the hall, to where Steve had set up an altar and was waiting for us under the may blossom of the hedge. It struck me then, what a completely different feel this had to the earlier part of the day. All the tension and nerves had gone, meaning I could really enjoy this, whether it was knowing the person carrying out the ceremony or more than that, but it was fantastic. Feedback from everyone afterwards was very positive too, especially as the majority had had no idea what to expect!

The guests followed us in a procession up the field, and then stood behind us in a semi-circle, while we knelt, facing each other, across a broomstick. Steve, officiating, then declared the purpose of the ceremony, called on the local spirits of the place and the Old Ones to be welcome and to witness, and then bound our wrists together as we repeated after him the handfasting charm. Finally, we jumped over the broomstick together, symbolic of the leap into a new life. After that the mead cup was passed round, between us and along the line of guests before to the accompaniment of pipe and drum we made our way back to the hall.

"Let the Feasting commence!"
Pasties, beer, cakes, and all manner of titbits provided by the guests were devoured over the next few hours, as people had a chance to relax and to catch up with each other and to meet others they'd only heard about! With several people staying to help us tidy things up and away, we had the hall returned to its pristine state in time to return the key, whereupon we took ourselves up to the Boslowick Inn to continue the celebrations. We weren't that late home in the end, as we were fairly exhausted by this point - on the plus side, no need to cook dinner with all those surplus pork pies...


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