Monday, 25 November 2013

Dearly Beloved

Hello webby world!

This weekend Mark and I were lucky enough to go to our next door neighbours' wedding.  Lucky on several counts - the kids and I had been ill all week and only just recovered in time; my ace friend Cat not only agreed to have our younger 2 for the day and overnight but also took our uber-Whovian son to see Doctor Who at the cinema; lucky to be invited to a small wedding when we are only their neighbours (although we like them enormously);  lucky to experience such an amazing wedding first hand.

I'll admit now, I don't generally like weddings. Or at least I haven't in the past. Sitting at tables with people you barely know or can't remember, tepid food brought out in shifts, the inevitable lecherous uncle making inappropriate comments about the bridesmaids... I went to some humdingers in the early 90s that left me pretty fed up about them.
 And then there are the parts my feminist head rebels against - a father handing his daughter to the groom like she is his to give away. Pfft. We're not chattel, no one gets to 'give' us like a gift. At least it's husband and wife these days, not man and wife, and no one has to promise to obey anyone.
 And the money - there are always so much better things to spend the money on, aren't there? Like houses or holidays. My favourite weddings so far have been very small affairs - a party between friends as much as anything. I have been entirely untouched by wedding fever.

Ads and Lexie's wedding made a convert out of me. OK, not about the giving away the bride thing, but on the glory of a traditional wedding. It was an Event - a thing packed full of aceness and happiness on a grand scale to celebrate two lovely people committing to each other for life.

I'm sure you all know the delights of Pintrest. One of the things that makes me laugh there is the number of already married people who have Wedding Boards. Are they planning ahead for their kids or should their existing spouses be concerned?  The boards are crammed with dresses, venues, style ideas, fancy guest books, wedding favours and entertainment concepts. Weddings are almost as big a Thing on Pintrest as the tattoos.

On Saturday we saw the ultimate expression of this. It was as if Lexie looked at everything on her Pintrest board and decided, "Why choose? Let's have all of it!"  It was AMAZING. And for a large part, home made. The work and thought that went into it all was astonishing. I am in awe.

The wedding was held at Allerton Castle, a fabulous Gothic Revival building with a wonderful galleried Great Hall complete with 80 foot vaulted ceiling and beautiful stone and oak carved walls. My jaw dropped as we drove up. Those Victorians didn't go for understated in the slightest.

We were greeted by a stilt walker handing out tiny bottles of cocktail labelled Drink Me. Then one of the groomsmen held out an ink pad of gold, silver and bronze  to press our forefingers in and leave a fingerprint 'leaf' on the print of a tree that served as a guest book. It was very pretty.  I found an online photo of someone else's on her blog to give you an idea of how it looked. It was lovely.
The ceremony itself was a nice, simple affair made dramatic by the surroundings and the astonishingly beautiful dresses of the bride and bridesmaids. Lexie is tall, willowy and beautiful. On Saturday she looked like the Happily Ever After bride of my little girl daydreams. Utterly breathtaking.

As we moved on to have the wedding lunch the scale of effort Lex, her mum and her sister put in became apparent. They'd baked the cakes and cupcakes themselves, which I knew about already (I was drafted in as a last minute cupcake icer). But they'd also embroidered a small cushion for each guest with his/her name on and placed it on the chair. Lexie told me she did the embroidering by hand and was cursing her cousin Christopher for not being a Chris - at least as Jay and Mark we were on the easy end of the spectrum!

The confetti was made with a heart shaped paper punch on the pages of old books. The flowers, arranged by a close friend, were such delicate, beautiful things they looked ready to blow away in the breeze. Lots of roses, lisianthus (one of my favourites) and tiny daisies. From each came a tiny wire bird cake holding a candle. The table was scattered with other candles in jam jars trimmed with ribbon. In fact, the display be the cakes of flowers in a teapot and cups was dropped off yesterday by Sarah, Lexie's mum, for us to enjoy at home while the flowers last. 

In front of each place setting was a tiny box labelled Eat Me. It contained two hand made truffles. Yum!

The food was great, the speeches were funny and sweet. Adnan's account of their first date on a grey and blustery Grimsby beach (Hey Rach, is that Cleethorpes? where we flew kites with the boys?) made me laugh but when he told us of his feelings for Lexie he moved me to a big mascara-laden tear. Which he spotted and teased me about after.
But THEN came the best bit.
Not the live band, who were great.
Not Lexie's quick change into a dress that had her look like Grace Kelly in High Society (I love that film).
Not the DJ playing from the list of 'always makes me dance' tracks that we all had to fill in on our RSVP slips, although that was terrific fun too.
Not even going outside in the dark to watch a fire-eater juggle, swallow and generally endanger himself with flames (although his finale with a double ended staff of fireworks he spun to make himself a human Catherine wheel was pretty darned amazing). Seriously. An actual fire eater. How cool is that!
No, for me the absolute best bit was the gentleman in spats who taught the whole wedding how to Charleston. 

It was ASTONISHINGLY good fun. We laughed, gasped, sat down exhausted to catch our breath and threw ourselves into it again as soon as we could. We bumped into each other, stumbled, lost the rhythm and found it again and by the end were doing some tolerable and extremely enthusiastic dancing in the best 1920s style. I had a blast!
Many hours later, brushing my teeth at home, I couldn't resist doing a few steps in the bathroom. I've been humming the Jeeves and Wooster theme to myself ever since.

So, even though I missed going to the fabric show in Harrogate with my ace mates Julie and Liz, even though I missed my fab pal Sue's party, and even though I missed the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special in 3D at the cinema, I am utterly delighted I was lucky enough to be there celebrating Lexie and Adnan's wedding with them. 
Congratulations to the new Mr Legge and Mrs Velic!
J x

PS - Obviously the first thing we did when we got home was watch Doctor Who before going to bed!

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