My Sister's Wedding

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A bride and groom climbing a three-tiered wedding cake

The Wedding of Yvonne and Perry

The weather forecast for Saturday 5 September wasn't good: gale force winds and lashings of rain. I prayed for a respite around 1.45pm-3pm, but no, for once the prediction was spot on. I (and Andrew) collected my mother and we set off for the tiny village where my sister lives, and arrived with 15 minutes to spare. Unfortunately everyone except the bridal party had arrived before us, so I had to park my car at the far end of a narrow lane a good long way from the church. I had to change my shoes from flattie-driving pumps to diva blingy heels at the side of the road (which had no path, so I had to lean on someone's garden wall, sorry!) and then retrieve my spectacular new hat from the boot of my car, which almost took off the moment I opened it (the door, not my hat, which I hung onto for dear life). I didn't attempt to put it on, instead teetered to the church in siling-down-sideways rain and against 50MPH winds. Once up the seemingly-agonising steps, found daughter #2 who fixed my hair, attached my corsage and planted my hat in place so I looked pretty damned good, and not like the half-drowned bedraggled rat I had felt like. I got lots of compliments on my sparkly long dress — I'd gone for the diva-look as four weeks prior I had been Mother of the Groom at my son's wedding, and had worn a smart jacket with co-ordinated dress and shoes — very nice but certainly my generation-type gear.

The church, St John the Baptist, was lovely. The stained glass window above the altar, in the Saxon tower, was spectacular. Do take time to look at my photos as there are shots of it. My Mum was already seated on the front pew (alone) so I went and sat with her, giving my children and partners their orders to move up to the one behind which had been reserved for them, they'd all crammed into one of the pews at the back! The groom Perry looked very smart, he and his Best Man and the ushers (my nephews, the brides' sons) were all in identical outfits, as was my younger brother Robert, who was giving the bride away. Yvonne was five minutes late, as is tradition, but wow, was she worth it! She looked stunning, again there's lots of pictures of her and the gorgeous bridesmaids, Lauren and Charlotte (the daughters of the groom and bride).

The ceremony itself was quite simple (it was the second marriage for both) and everything went according to plan. The Vicar had spiced up his monologue with jokes and asides which were quite funny, and he encouraged us to clap when the happy couple were pronounced man and wife, and allowed us to take photos inside his lovely church as soon as the ceremony was completed. He even kept checking the weather outside, and he made a decision to allow us to stay inside and take all our photos in comfort rather than brave the horrendous elements outside as is the usual plan. While the register was being signed, a female soloist stood at the Vicar's podium and sang 'Songbird' a cappella. The legal requirements took a little longer than the song lasted so she sang a few more verses; the acoustics in the church were perfect and the woman's voice was strong and the song well-chosen for the occasion. All the Vicar asked when everything was concluded was that we didn't throw confetti inside the church, a reasonable enough request! As it happens I'd forgotten mine, so had Mum, and I didn't see anyone else throwing confetti after we left the church and ran (haha) for the cars. Of course, my car was furthest away, and by the time I'd turned around (no mean feat in the narrow lane, plus I was still wearing my high heels), everyone had gone. Oops, I had no idea where the reception was being held. A quick call to my son on his mobile and we were on our way (whatever did we do in the days before mobile phones? I was glad I remembered mine, as Mum didn't bring hers!)

We were at the reception venue by 3pm. The room was stunning, I really couldn't describe how beautiful it had been decorated, you'll have to take a look at my photos, which have preserved it for posterity and your delectation, dear readers. The meal was scheduled for 4.30pm — a bit of a misunderstanding there, Yvonne had booked it for 3.30pm, and we were all starving as most had had no lunch. So they offered us all a free drink from the bar and we entertained ourselves while we waited for the meal. It was a sit-down, three course dinner which had already been agreed with each guest, in case of specific dietary requirements. As Mum and my younger brother were on the "Top Table" with the bridal party, my brother's wife Rachel was seated with me, Andrew, the two ushers Gavin and Liam, and my older brother Keith and his wife Maureen, whose assigned task had been to take the official photographs. I was delighted to be seated with Rachel, as I learned a lot about my little brother and I couldn't recall ever having the pleasure of her solo company before. Later on I took a smashing picture of Rachel with Robert which I'll always treasure.

Finally the first course arrived, and boy, was it worth the wait. It was home-made carrot and coriander soup, with a fresh bread roll and butter. Yumyumyum! I'm sure Yvonne chose that because she knew it was my favourite soup! Next course was chicken breast stuffed with cheese, wrapped in bacon, served in a red wine sauce. There was a side plate of an onion/potato mix and a fresh vegetable platter. The 3rd course was a strawberry gateaux, well, it looked like it had been prepared for a Masterchef judge! Everyone was remarking how gorgeous it looked, almost too good to eat! Well, not quite. You could soon hear the sound of spoons scraping plates. It literally tasted as good as it looked! When the waitress came to retrieve the plates, Liam, who had polished off his brother's strawberries, asked the waitress if there was any gateaux left and she said she'd go see. We all gasped when she came back with another slice, and put it in front of him. He beamed, and got stuck in! I thought my older brother's eyes were going to pop out of his head, so far did they bulge, and I could almost hear him thinking he wished he'd asked for more as well. When everything had been cleared away, the staff brought us all a glass of champagne each, for toasting.

First my little brother made a speech and as usual made us all laugh. He then surprised Mum (again) as it had been her 90th birthday two days previously, and he encouraged us all to sing 'Happy Birthday' to her. While this was going on, the staff brought out a candle-lit birthday cake and a bouquet of flowers for her. Rob then toasted the bride and groom, and handed over to the Best Man. After that speech, Perry got up to say a few words and as soon as he said his daughter Charlotte had once asked him, when she was about ten, for a brother or sister, and now she had both, she burst into tears and I don't think there was a dry eye in the room. After Perry sat down, the Best Man got up again and said he had a gift for the newlyweds from everyone at work, which was brought out and he insisted they open it there and then. It was a karaoke machine, which is their passion (up till then they'd always hired one for parties). Now they have their own! As soon as the speeches were over we all joshed for position to take a photo of the cake-cutting ceremony (I managed three, including one of my sister and new brother-in-law from behind, as I had spotted what she was doing with her hand...). Then we all trooped into another room for tea and cake, while the staff cleared the room ready for the evening disco, as more guests were arriving for the night do.

No sooner had the disco started than Mum mentioned how late it was getting and how noisy it was and how tired she was feeling, so I asked if she wanted to go home and she said what a good idea that was. Luckily Allan and Jenny, who had left baby Harrison with Jenny's sister, had just decided to set off home to Sheffield, so that meant Andrew was also ready to go home. The only one unhappy at having to leave was my #2 daughter Helen, whom Allan had brought part way (she lives in Manchester) and was taking her home from theirs the following day. The disco diva would have been happy to party all night, otherwise. We weren't the first to leave by any means, and we struggled to find Yvonne, to say goodbye. The place had filled up with evening guests who had all arrived with gifts and cards, no doubt looking forward to their hog roast supper at 10pm. We never got a sniff of it, but I doubt we'd have had room anyway, I was still stuffed from the three-course meal and wedding cake!!

The 18-mile journey home was uneventful except I hate night driving and the roads aren't lit (except for cats' eyes) until you reach the Laceby bypass. I took Mum home and settled her in and then went home with Andrew, who talked non-stop all the way, after being quiet the whole time until we dropped Mum off! Yvonne rang me next day during their balloon ceremony — they were dedicating them to their respective fathers who have both passed away, and releasing the balloons from their back garden with Perry's Mum Hazel in attendance. We also discussed the particularly stunning full moon which I noticed when driving home, it had a halo around it.

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