Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Wedding

It would be impossible to even start to attempt to cover our wedding day in a single post, so I'm afraid you are going to be hearing about it for some time. But here's a summary.

What a fantastic day!

Thanks to everyone who came along and made our wedding day a truly wonderful event and a fantastic party.

And thanks to all those who sent their good wishes by whatever medium.

Until I get time to reflect on it all, here's a rough timeline of some of the highlights of the day.

6.30am. Lucy wakes me with her customary shouts of "Dadddddyyyyy. I want get up!"

8.00am. The weather, which has been forecast as cloud for the last few days is now looking like we may get a little sun too. My delight is tinged with guilt, as I think of all those people getting married in Wales today where it will rain.

8.30am. As I take Oliver's waistcoat out of its bag to check it, a button drops off. The button is broken. I hasten to town where the outfitters supply a spare button. Then to Somerfield for a sewing kit. Marcy and then Zoe (Hayley's hairdresser) stitch on the new button and tighten up the loose stitching on the others.

10.00am. I am kicked out of the house by Hayley as she is about to start having her hair and make-up done. I am now in such a rush I nearly leave without Oliver!

10.30am. Down at Manny and Sara's house to change, I realise I forgot my shoes and Oliver's shoes. Best Man Dave is re-directed on route to pick them up.

11.00am. I get myself and Oliver dressed, Oliver also being helped by Dave. Oliver looks absolutely stunning in his wedding clothes. Dashing and adorable. I fear Hayley might cry when she sees him.

11.35am. The groom, best man and best boy set of for the hotel. Despite the fact we've all been there before and Dave lived near the hotel, we soon realise that none of us know the right route. We head in the generally right direction and sure enough we get there in good time.

12.20pm. Checked into our room, where the double bed is flanked by a travel cot for Lucy and a mattress on the floor for Oliver. It may be our wedding night but appropriately, as it has been for 99.9% of our life together, the kids are there alongside us.

12.30pm. Our photographer arrives and we take some shots of me, Dave and Oliver. Dave and I enjoy a swift whisky (a 12 year old Glenfiddich, the best on offer in the little Gold Suite bar). More photos and more people arriving.

13.10 At a loose end, so a last swift one before the bride arrives.

13.15. No sign of the bride. I discover that one of the flower girls has not arrived. Hayley, it later transpires, drove past and saw no-one was in the main room, so drove round again, eventually sending someone in to make everyone take their places.

13.25. Hayley has arrived and been photographed and is about to enter when the final flower girl, Cara, arrives.

13.35. Still no Hayley but I can see she has arrived as part of the wedding car is visible from my position at the front. I feel, as I have all day, perfectly calm and happy. Not at all nervous. People have told me how they cried and choked and were nervous but I am confident I will keep it together.

13.36. I take my place as the curtain is pulled back to reveal Hayley looking stunning, Oliver holding her hand and the flower girls in front of them, Lucy at the front looking small and slightly vulnerable with the cutest curls you ever saw. Suddenly a massive tidal wave of love for my family nearly overwhelms me and I have to look to the front for a few seconds as my calm nearly desserts me and I think I might cry!

13.36. Recovered from my momentary wobble, as the pianist starts to play Bach's Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring, I turn round to see Lucy start to walk in on cue, taking a few beautiful smiling steps with Cara, before turning round and running back to Mummy. So the other flower girls lead in, followed by Hayley who now has Oliver on one hand and Lucy on the other.

13.37 Hayley stands beside me for the short ceremony. Lucy spends some of the time in Hayley's arms, some in mine. Oliver delivers the rings on request without hesitation, giving his Mummy a lovely unprompted hug after giving her ring to her. Becky reads "Yes I'll Marry You" by Pam Ayres and Scott reads "I rely on you" by Hovis Presley. On reaching the 'I do' part, Hayley makes it "I certainly do!" with a big smile. We exit to Mendelssohn's wedding march and a glass of champagne which we drink with arms entwined. And the formalities are over.

2.00pm. There are lots of pictures with the photographer outside where the sun is shining: possibly the most beautiful day of the summer! Then it's free time as they set up for the meal. We mingle and chat outside, playing with the kids who have lots of fun in the gardens and down by the bridge over the little River Dean where two escaped horses are grazing: the highlight of the day for the kids without a doubt. I initiate a game of pooh sticks with Oliver and the flower girls. The first I've played with him.

3.30pm. We are announced into the dining room for the wedding breakfast. The atmosphere is good and the seating plan seems to be working. Oliver is tired and a bit grouchy but manages to recover his cheeriness by the end of the meal.

5.20pm. Speeches. Nigel makes a well-rehearsed (if a little long-winded!) and eloquent speech which touches upon the absence of Hayley's Dad. He also makes several jokes based on entirely fictional scenarios involving me and Hayley. But apparently everyone could tell they were untrue from the looks on our faces! I reply with a short speech thanking the flower girls and best man and of course Hayley. I also give my Mum flowers for her help and her birthday the next day. I take the opportunity to tease Hayley in the speech with extracts from her profile. Dave then gives a perfect Best Man's speech. It is by turns respectful, generous, funny, witty and occasionally suitably risque. He is aided by having placed pictures of me aged three upwards at every table. Finally a few of Hayley's friends shout for her to speak, so she does. Un-rehearsed, she says how grateful she is to everyone for coming and how touched she is to see so many people from her past. Finally, as she start to choke up a little herself, she says that her dreams have come true. It is the most honest and perhaps for that reason the best speech of the day and several of Hayley's friends are in tears by this point.

6.30pm. The band arrive and start to set up while we mill around and relax outside in the evening sunshine.

7.45pm Hayley puts a tired Lucy to bed.

8.40pm. First dance. "This Way" by Jewel.

8.45. The band kick off with Soul Man. They sound fantastic and the dance-floor quickly fills.

9.45pm. Food. Not entirely as ordered and difficult for the veggies to identify but most seem to find something to tuck into. Hayley is caught on camera eating a chicken leg as she boogies away.

10.25. Band back on.

10.30. I go to put Oliver to bed. Lucy is woken in the process and won't settle. I miss the whole of the second set as a result and return to the reception with Lucy still not settled but with the babysitter trying to settle her! It is the only low point of the day. Thankfully, just as Hayley and I are about to desert our reception to sort it out, our babysitter appears on her way home, saying my Mum is with Lucy and she's better. Sadly by this point I have missed the chance to chat to several people before they leave. I guess it's always the way at weddings (not helped by this little interruption).

11.30pm. Much dancing and drinking and chatting and eating. Several people are leaving or have left to put kids to bed, but the party is still in full swing.

1.00am. The final song is New York, New York and everyone pushes me and Hayley to the middle and dances round us. It's a great finale to a wonderful evening that has flown by all too fast.

Several of us stay up chatting and finally head off to our rooms around 2am.

I'll be posting photos and reflecting more on this in the coming days and weeks. The journey has only just begun.


Alice said...

I'm so glad the day turned out so perfectly and you two actually enjoyed the day (instead of being stressed out). Haley looked absolutely beautiful. Simply takes your breath away. Her wedding dress was gorgeous. Oliver was dashing and Lucy and her little curls and chubby cheeks.... she could of been mistaken for Little Shirley Temple =)

Steve said...

LOL My goodness you are right Alice, Lucy is like a little Shirley Temple! I'd been trying to think who she reminded me of. Thanks for your kind comment. It was an unforgettable day for our little family.

James (SeattleDad) said...

Congratulations again! You are right, she did look stunning. And the kids are adorable. The day sounded perfect.

Happy for you all.

Steve said...

Thanks James. Someone said to us just before the wedding "when you wake up the next day you'll wish you could do it all again". They were right. But I'll settle for reliving the good memories for always.

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