One beautiful Saturday morning – the 8th of April in 2017 – the occasion of my nephew’s wedding to Rachel in South Wales, I was conscious of a slight air of unexpected panic from the groom.
The suit didn’t fit.
I knew that he’d more than likely sort it out without too much ado and he was already on the way to dashing down to the local M & S to find a replica, the suppliers not being able to provide a replacement until 12.30, but I decided to say a short prayer for a successful outcome, all the same.
Sure enough, within the hour Ben returned with a very dapper suit from ‘Next’ and one really couldn’t see any great difference from the suits of the groomsmen. So far so good….
We experienced the most beautiful ceremony with, no less, a Welsh male voice choir ( thanks to Rachel’s musical input) who, by the way, looked as magical as you would expect – as did her Mum!
Welsh being in both sides of the family, the hymn ‘Guide Me O Though Great Redeemer’ was mandatory ( family services wouldn’t be the same without it ) and, the beautiful ‘All Things Bright And Beautiful’. I was already in Heaven with all this wonderful music, when we were treated to readings by Ben’s Dad from Romans ( Love in Action ) and Sonnet 116 by William Shakespeare, which was beautifully read by two of Rachel’s friends ( one in Italian, representative of her days as a teacher in Rome).
The Vicar had a sense of humour and had managed to somehow incorporate the word ‘Soberly’ into the service – this was not lost on the attending congregants who were well aware of Ben ( and Rachel’s, I think ) good and keen taste in real ales. Ben was perfectly clear in speaking the words of the service and Rachel elucidated them beautifully.
After a most moving ceremony, we flocked outside into the glorious Welsh sunshine where we experienced the warmth of new family and friends. The day just kept getting better and better. A few people took photos and made general chit chat whilst we took it in turns to speak with the bride and groom before we would move onto the impressive ‘Hensol Castle’ for the wedding breakfast.
Whereupon the party was disturbed by a frantic courier planting a large cardboard parcel, at the feet of my nephew, asking him to sign for receipt of said box.
Mild confusion spread among the polite faces when somebody suddenly exclaimed,
‘Oh my goodness, it’s the suit!’
So, having signed the marriage register, the groom now had to sign for said suit.
Personally, I thought it was far more entertaining than the usual stag night stories that abound and have no doubt that it will go down in family folklore for many years to come. At this point, I said my prayer of thanks because it quickly became apparent that this was one of the many wonderful things for which people were gong to remember the day.
On our arrival at the castle, we were treated to aperitifs and some Bubbly (some of us might have been consuming a little more than others at this point) whist enjoying the sound of a quartet as the photographs were done on those stunning grounds. I really was beginning to feel like a queen, so well to which we were tended.
One of the poignant moments, of course, was the announcement at the start of the wedding breakfast to be upstanding for the newly weds, Mr & Mrs Hughes. Upon the arrival of whom, the most almighty roar and applause broke out. Rugby crowds had nothing on this lot, believe me! A moment I wish I’d been recording the sound, if not the scene.
You can’t have a Welsh wedding without leeks in the soup and Welsh lamb, of course , and this was followed by a delightful chocolate tart with accompaniment, not forgetting the flowing wine and Bubbly for the toasts. The best man got his own back on the groom with an excellent speech that sported an array of photographs. Not having heard the speech at the previous wedding, I have no idea who made the better one. I also enjoyed the bride’s father’s speech and the groom’s, mainly because neither of them takes themselves in the least bit seriously.
A rather nice touch was the showing of the Grand National and a slip for each of us with a nominal bet- fortuitous, as I had completely forgotten to place one in all the excitement. This immediately gave rise to somebody going round with a jar to collect a pound bet off everyone for a sweep to guess how long the speeches would last.
We danced to a ‘Swing Band’ and Disco in the evening (though it’s probably not called a disco these days) and I think everyone got up to dance at some point – it was a great do! Though my dancing is about as bad as my golf game, I loved it and was more than happy to make a fool of myself on the dance floor. My confidence was increased from taking the expert advice on what to wear, given by Ben, Rachel and a small handful of friends a week or so before at a sort of ‘Clothes Showcase’. Even some of the bride and groom’s friends got me up to dance with them at one point which was jolly sporting of them, I thought. Then the bride’s mum joined in saying that she hardly ever danced, then set about following the youngsters in their expert moves perfectly well.
One particularly poignant moment was over the wedding breakfast when I caught a glimpse of the ring on Ben’s finger. I suddenly realised that he wasn’t the same person who’d got up that morning, but someone who had changed over the course of the day into another being. Indeed, some people say you become one when you marry. It might have been that it was such a wonderful day all round. Anyway, it was such a wonderful day and weekend so I’d like to thank everyone who made it possible.
Not forgetting the one to whom I made that little prayer, of course.