Friday 25 May 2018

We Got Married.

   I couldn't sleep. No surprises there. I was getting married the next morning. I didn't wake up feeling tired, though. No. I was excited. And very nervous. Certain, but nervous. It felt kind of like Christmas - I was looking forward to it so very much, and I had been for ages, but as it arrived I felt suddenly unenthused - exhausted, even. But I recognised the feeling, and I understood it. So I ignored it.
   I showered immediately and towel-dried my hair. I'd been wrestling with the curlers for weeks and was beginning to get the hang of it, but I didn't want to put my hair through any unnecessary heat until that point. So I dressed down and headed off to find breakfast.
   I had a chocolate and peanut butter Mighty Muffin - I wanted something small, knowing the cake that was waiting later that day (yep, even on my wedding day I worried about my waistline), but I wanted something delicious, too. Then I sat around for a while, calming myself down. I still had to get ready, but it doesn't take much to dress me up since I never wear make up or do anything with my hair, so I didn't have to start until 11. It felt wrong sitting around, playing World of Warcraft (because that's how cool I am) on my wedding day, but I had time to kill. Everything else was ready.

   I was so excited when 11 o'clock came. My heart was pounding, my hands were shaking, and I eagerly I did my make up (I used Barry M eyeliner pencil and LOC One & Done shadow stick in Rock Steady which I'd gotten in a Birch Box earlier this year) and got into my dress. It took all of 15 minutes. I didn't want to curl my hair too soon because I didn't want the curls to fall out, so I waited around watching Friends until it struck 12, when I immediately got the curlers out. That only took 20 minutes. And Lucy wasn't due to get here until 1. So again I sat around, waiting, nervously waiting, drinking a shaky cup of tea.
   My dad, looking very smart, then gifted me a lovely bunch of flowers, told me I looked wonderful, and then Lucy arrived and told me the same. She, too, looked wonderful. We had agreed, because it was so small, that it was going to be smart casual; formally informal. She wore a lovely mint green dress with silhouetted trees. Seeg had opted for smart trousers and a navy shirt - he always did look good in shirts - and while he closed the top button, he also rolled up his sleeves. That, right there, is the definition of smart casual. It doesn't matter what anyone else thinks - I think he looked wonderful.

   We left at 1:20 for a 2:30 wedding, expecting it to take 30 minutes to arrive. We knew the roads, the traffic, we knew what was usual, and we were confident that we would have 30-40 minutes to spare. So we hopped in the car, and off we went.
   But when we approached the M32, the glitter began to fade.
   The traffic across the bridge in front of us was at a standstill. An accident had happened minutes before we arrived - the people involved were not all right, either. It had happened too recently for the radio to announce it, and the police were just moving into position to close the roads as we reached the junction. We'd already decided to take another route, however, and texted a warning to everyone else, as we'd left ahead of them. Then we trundled along on our way. And, naturally, got caught in all the diverted traffic.

   Lucy felt awful. I felt awful for her. It wasn't her fault, but as she was the one driving, she carried the blame (all of which she imagined). But she was a star. She did all she could, took all these clever routes and turns and loaned me her phone to call the House to tell them we were going to be late. Seeg, meanwhile, was in touch with everyone else. They had all arrived. And though only by 10 minutes, we ended up late to our own wedding. I was laughing in the car because, truly, you couldn't make it up, and there was nothing at all that any of us could do about it. Seeg was unruffled.
   We were supposed to be there at least 10 minutes before the ceremony for legal arrangement, and instead we arrived 10 minutes late. But when we finally got there, the staff were so friendly, so helpful, and their relaxed attitude really, really calmed me down. They'd assured our families that it would be fine, too, and that things could be juggled around if it got to that point - whatever happened, we would be married that day.
   So we arrived, glossed over greetings and gratitued for coming, and got straight down to business. And then, with a change of shoes and much-needed glass of water, the glitter returned.

   Nero began. 22 seconds later, we stepped, together, into the 125 year old room, bathed in afternoon sun, adorned with flowers, 18th Century paintings and gorgeous reds and deep walnut, while our families watched and smiled after us. It was all so small, so simple, and it was perfect. It was then, as we walked slowly along, that I almost cried. Somehow, I managed not to. As did my dad. And Seeg's dad. No one else felt the compulsion.
   The ceremony passed in a blur. I recall only that I remembered my ring words perfectly, that my mouth was dry and didn't say Seeg's full name properly, and that the faux registry book they put in front of us for pictures at the end (for legal reasons they can't photograph the real book) had the marriage certificate for one Rachel Green and Ross Geller.
   Seeg's dad took the ceremony pictures, then we stepped out onto the House steps together as husband and wife. Confetti had slipped everyone's mind but Seeg's mum, who had brought several bottles of bubbles. My dad took the pictures on the steps, and we mingled for a while outside. Then we started the troublesome journey home. And this time, Lucy, myself and my new husband arrived before everyone else. After a couple of custard creams, everyone else turned up.
   Then came cake and drinks. And the cake was delicious. Two thick, dense layers of chocolate hazelnut sponge, glued together with a layer of hazelnut praline and another of chocolate almond cream, coated as a whole in chocolate hazelnut ganache with pistachio 'moss', Oreo cookie 'dirt' and Oreo cream toadstools (I'd been scraping Oreos clean at 7am the previous morning). I had made everything but the Oreos from scratch. I was, and am, so proud of it.
   Two thirds of the cake served everyone, including two slices for my grandparents who couldn't be there, which I posted the next day. We made a toast, then received a few gifts, including a lovely luxury picnic basket complete with blanket, plates and lots of yummy goodies. I'd always wanted one, but could never justify it.
   Then, after a few hours, everyone left, and we had a small, delicious dinner of duck and wild boar cassoulet with Chantenay carrots and rosemary cavolo nero.

   Despite the traffic, it was the most perfect day. The only thing I would change is that my sister could have stayed longer. Truly, I can't believe how well it went. But it was all so small and so simple that there was little room for things to go wrong, and the traffic was truly out of our hands. And it had been so smooth up until that point that I hadn't suffered any Bridezilla stress. So I was due a little bit of panic. And this, at least, was for good reason.

   I am so happy. A week on, I still can't stop smiling.

Here are a few more pictures
A glimpse of the very small and private affair ♥


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