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Elli gets spliced

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It’s been a long time coming. In fact, scrap that. Who am I fooling, it’s been an undercurrent in my group of friends for a while. I’m talking marriage. George and Ala’a did it unfeasibly early back in 1999, and Milly did it in style with my colleague-turned-friend Alex back in 2004.
We’re all getting to the creaky late-twenties, and it’s probably about time to settle down, hitch up and get with the family life. For a good few years, my good friend Elli was destined to be waiting in vain for the perfect man. She was hankering for the handsome knight in shining armour and now – as always with the nicest people – her knight has already turned up and rode away with her into the sunset. Yes, ladies and gentlefolks, Elli is now married to her longtime boyfriend Ed Russell. That’s another one to strike off the list then…
Elli’s parties were always debaunched and ultimately brilliant, and so we knew we were in for a good time when the wedding invitation popped through our letterbox a few months ago. The day arrived, and Michelle and I dolled ourselves up for the occasion. Michelle had bought a whole new dress, top and shoes. I had bought a new tie – no expense spared. Still, I cut a dash. We arrived at the church in Shottermill, near Haslemere, with minutes to spare thanks to the unhurried taxi driver and the infamous Hindhead crossroads, and dashed to our places in the pews. It was a hot day – perfect to be sitting in a church in full wedding gear. St Stephens Church – surprisingly from its traditional exterior, a modern, open-plan building, with one big main room, several large windows and doors, and two large screens on the main wall – which I later found a great help in following the less than familiar hymns. There were large hats everywhere, and as we sat down, I saw Ed looking a tad white and very nervous. Last chance, I thought as we sat down for the ceremony.
It all went without a hitch, and after the event we all bundled into cars and drove to a large former school near Hindhead. It was an enormous place, and turned out to be the old school of several of the guests. As they reminisced about the good educational times, I started to wonder how much hotter the day could become. I was aching to strip off and dive into a pool of cold water, if only I could find one. Elli had opted for a free bar – a large mistake, I surmised, as I saw the guests waiting three-deep at the bar. Still, better make the most of it, I thought as I waded in…
After a hearty meal, we heard speeches full of anecdotes and laughter, and then there was nothing for it but to get down to business. The tie came off, the music came on, and we all jigged around into the early hours to a live band that managed to be utterly brilliant. David H turned up half way through to show us all up on the dancefloor, and even managed to drive us back to our house without throwing me out the car for stupid drunken conversations.
So, that’s Elli married. Congratulations to them both. But i’m a little worried. Who’s next, I wonder?!