We entered a reception room full of chatter and clinking glasses. I hadn’t seen the room for a day, and it had transformed into a hive of activity, stuff bustling and guests chatting. The welcome drinks were in full flow, the tables looked fantastic (with each place having a lottery ticket that for some couples won them £70 free) and the caricature we’d commissioned was attracting a lot of attention. In the corner of the room near the bar, Sav the magician was beginning to literally work his magic. He was a great local find that, it turned out, was well-regarded, very friendly and utterly brilliant.
We slowly and separately made our way through to the large outside patio where Jac, ever attentive, was valiantly trying to get people together for photographs. The videographer was already mingling in her own unique way, making the huddles of people she focused on in turn have perhaps their most politically-correct discussions to date, in case they were broadcast on national television.
My gaze turned to the golf course directly in front, which looked amazing in the bright spring sunshine. After a few minutes of mingling, I spied a golf cart parking up – which turned out to be for the bride and groom! We boarded and drove off round the greens in front of us, no doubt annoying the golfers pitching away while Dan the photographer tried desperately to keep up. The only thing that stopped us was the enormous bunker we nearly headed straight into.
A few minutes later, smiling cheekbones aching and all photo-ed out, we returned and as our names were announced over the tannoy made our way through the 10 tables of hungry people, being cheered all the way. If you ever have self-confidence issues, I’m not sure anything could beat that. We took our seats, and the feast began.
Ninety minutes later, I had still barely eaten a thing and begun to check that everything was alright for the guests, mingling through the tables until it was finally time for the Groom’s Speech. Happily the champagne had doused any nerves I could have had, and within minutes there was laughter and presents filling the room. Glyn (the one-day-only chauffeur) seemed especially pleased with his double football shirt combo – one for him, one for his 1-year-old son, each personalised with their surname. Ushers, best man, families, friends, bridemaids – they were all thanked, and the speech ran into 15 minutes before it closed with an introduction to “someone who will lie convincingly for the next few minutes” – the best man Jac. I was in for a mauling.
In fact, it could have been worse (although I should stop saying that – everyone looks at me suspiciously and asks why…). Jac gave a truly brilliant speech, highlighting the highs and lows of our lives together with confidence and hilarity. My mum and dad learned things they never knew about me, and friends were particularly impressed with his description of me playing rugby as “Hagrid running at them down the touchline”. By the end of the speech, everyone was a winner – he even managed to fit in how brilliant the bride and groom were, although he could have expanded even more on that point… 😉
All agreed that the speeches went down a treat, and after dessert we cut the cake. There’s no instruction booklet for cutting a wedding cake – all I could do was imitate what I’d seen others do, which was to needlessly ruin an amazing cake while people took pictures and cheered. In fact, afterwards (because I’m like that), I looked up why people cut wedding cakes in front of cheering people – but I’m none the wiser (although apparently it started with kissing over a Wedding Pie – which sounds a much worse idea). Nevertheless, we took a few minutes to pretend to cut the wonderful thing, and then it was time to boogie with the evening guests.
Well, actually, it was time to get nervous about the first dance. We, we’re not ashamed to admit, are not lightening on our feet – I often mention I’ve got the rhythm of a Catholic, although no-one ever knows what I’m on about. So at 7.30pm, after many of the evening guests had arrived, DJ Tony pressed play – and the world slowed for a few minutes. We’d chosen Heaven (Candlelight Mix) by DJ Sammy, which is a nice slow number – but we hadn’t realised how slow, thereby extending our terrible waddling by at least a minute more than needed. It was a strange but great experience though – in those few minutes, it was as though there was no-one else there – a bonding, if you’ll pardon the slushiness.
At the end of the song, in the corner of my eye I noticed the enormous chocolate fountain revolving into action, and made a beeline for it as soon as the first dance finished. Paul D had very kindly donated it as a wedding present (from Original Chocolate Fountain Company), and frankly it was astounding. An enormous fountain was surrounded by marshmellows, pineapple, eclairs – the list goes on. And the whole thing revolved and lit up like a.. well, a revolving chocolate fountain.
Tony Murphy, DJ extraordinaire, pumped out the tunes until the early hours, and everyone danced, drank and had a lot of fun. I’ll gloss over this part slightly, but only because it all got a bit blurry. At the end of the night, Tony played a final song and Michelle and I danced inside a large circle of friends and family. It was a great moment to end a great day.
The only downside to the whole occasion was that so many people came (the numbers were up to 170 by 9pm) that we didn’t really have time to talk enough to everyone. So, on behalf of both of us – THANK YOU! They say that who you are is defined by the people you surround yourself with – and if that’s the case then our friends and family must be pretty awesome. You’ve all played a part in who we are, and we are very grateful to those that came.
And then we slept for four hours, woke up aching and chafing, accidentally threw some cufflinks in the hotel car park bin and got driven to Heathrow at 7am for a flight to Thailand. Not that I’m complaining – the honeymoon was amazing…
This is the second part of a three-parter about our wedding. Feel free to read the other two – Part 1 – Getting Hitched and Part 3 – Destination Thailand.
There are photos too – Official Wedding & Reception and Unofficial Wedding & Reception and Honeymoon.
Oh, and a Honeymoon Video. I spoil you.