So then, last Saturday (16th August), I got married. It was a day my now-wife Jules and I had been planning for over a year, and I’m pleased to report it went well, but of course, as one who uses seventy words when ten will do, I can’t leave it at that. So this is the first of three posts about the day – what I laughingly call ‘normal’ service will be resumed next week, but please indulge me as I regale / bore you with tales of the wedding; posts will be less blatantly self-absorbed soon, I promise.
First things first – we got married at Burton Court in Herefordshire. As you can see if you browse their website, Burton Court is a building with a history, and this is abundantly clear from the stuffed animals and archaeological treasures which litter the house, as well as – of course – its architecture and grounds. Many guests said to me how beautiful and / or interesting they thought the venue was, and I can only praise the tireless assistance of Edward Simpson, Burton Court’s Functions Co-Ordinator, who was friendly and accommodating, and without whom the day wouldn’t have been half the fun it was. If you’re looking for a venue for a wedding (or other event), you could do far worse than consider Burton Court.
Anyway, the civil ceremony was set for 3pm, and my Best Man Danny and I arrived at about 1.30pm. I chatted to him and the ushers a bit, and we finalised some details, until he eventually, and quite rightly, told me to stop faffing about and to go and get changed.
I’d decided that if there was one day in my life which merited lashing out on a made-to-measure suit, then surely it was my wedding day, and so my suit was made for me by Richard Thompson of Exclusive Tailoring (and indeed a testimonial by me appears on this page ). I wanted a suit which looked something like the one on the cover of this book, and Richard did a bang-up job taking this idea and making something which would fit me, and given my hair’s tendency to go wavy, not to look too much like The Eighth Doctor (though many might say that would have been a hell of an improvement).
Anyway, I donned my wedding outfit and went to mingle a bit before the wedding ceremony; in theory, this is the time when a groom’s supposed to get all nervous and unsure and wonder if the bride might not show up, but in all honesty I had no doubts at all about wanting to marry Jules, and she had made it pretty clear that she was intending to show up, so I used the time to swan around like the man of the hour (which I guess I kind of was) and to say hi to the folks who’d been kind enough to come – many of them from places quite a long way from Herefordshire.
The time came, though, for us to enter the Regency Room of Burton Court, where the ceremony was taking place, and after a brief chat with the Registrar, we sat down and waited for the Bride, accompanied by her father, to come in.
A couple of weeks ago, my friend Stuart, who’s been married for some years, told me that turning round and seeing your bride come into the room is one of those moments in your life you never forget. When I heard the music and looked and saw her, I knew what he meant – in that real and biting and actual way that you know something, which is very different in practice than in some abstract theoretical way. It was a terrifically exciting moment, one which made my stomach free-fall in the best possible way, and Stu’s right, it’s something that I won’t forget as long as I live.
So she made her way to the front of the room, and the ceremony started, and instead of even the vaguest flicker of doubt, I had an overwhelming feeling of certainty, that I was doing the right thing, that I was marrying the right person, and as I looked at her and she smiled, I thought of the line from the Steve Martin film Roxanne (itself an update of my favourite play ever, Cyrano de Bergerac):
“This is my whole life right now. Standing here talking to you like this.”
To be continued…