Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Congratulations James & Kelly

Following on from my last blog, we all headed over to England for the wedding of my brother James and his fiancée Kelly.

The bride and groom
 It was a fantastic day that everyone seemed to really enjoy. The ceremony at Sopwell House in St. Albans was both beautiful and humorous, and even the reading I did ("Blessing for a marriage") went off without a hitch.

The aperitif after the ceremony was great, with delicious amuse bouches and champagne (or Pimms for the more traditional English-types). It was interesting to go from the ceremony room to the conservatory and veranda where the aperitif was held as the corridor between the two is lined with signed football shirts in frames.

It turns out the Sopwell House has been used to host various international football teams over the years (including a number of England squads), with the players relaxing in the luxury rooms and making full use of the spa treatments.

Fortunately, the weather held out for the whole day, as it was cloudy with some sunny patches but absolutely no rain (amazingly for an English wedding!). It meant the happy couple were able to take the wedding photos outside in the lovely gardens of the house.

The meal (or "wedding breakfast", if you want to use it's official name) was very tasty indeed, starting with a tomato soup followed by a nice beef main course and rounded off with a tart tatin and a selection of cheese. Very nice indeed.

The speeches were funny and emotional, particularly James' speech during which he paid tribute to those who were no longer with us, such as our grandparents and one of his best friends, Peter Bissell, who tragically passed away a couple of years ago. James managed to get through this part of his speech undeterred, for which he should be very proud as I know it was not an easy thing to do. He raised a lot of laughs and made us all proud. Apparently he is working on writing a fiction book at the moment, and based on the writing style evident in his speech, his book will certainly be on my reading list (which currently consists of 0 books).

After they cut the cake and we all enjoyed a few drinks at the bar, it came time for the first dance. It was absolutely brilliant, as they did a mixture of nice slow dancing, some samba and finally the old 80s classic, "The TimeWarp", during which they were joined by Kelly's sister Hayley Marie, Kelly' best friend (and bridesmaid) Michelle, and yours truly. I managed to bust a move without busting any ligaments, and I think we helped round off their dance nicely.

Once their dance was over, it was followed by some slightly dodgy alcohol-influenced dancing from most of the evening's guests. Mum and dad dancing to a Status Quo song with James and his friend Luke probably summed up the atmosphere nicely.

It was a cracking day that went off without a hitch (well, apart from the "big hitch", that is). The happy couple seemed to have a really good time as well, with the bride looking resplendent in her gorgeous dress and the groom looking fairly respectable in his suit.

Lydia was mainly quiet during the ceremony, although Chris did have to spend the whole time showing her different sparkly objects (like necklaces) to keep her interested and stop her from crying. She was then pampered by her great-great aunt Ruby during the photos, before getting a little bit whingy during the meal. Later in the evening she was as good as gold and fell fast asleep despite the loud music. Overall, I think she behaved pretty well, although we were lucky that so many people were willing to hold her for a bit as that kept Lydia busy and allowed us to socialise.

A heartfelt thank you goes out to both James and my new sister-in-law Kelly for a wonderful day, which we all thoroughly enjoyed. Here are a few photos from the big day:

My brother and his new wife

Christelle and me enjoying some champagne

Lydia with the headband her
auntie Steph knitted for her

Me and mum

Me being a bit of an idiot
(I blame the champagne)

I'll end this blog by saying once again, congratulations to the happy couple! May the rest of your married days be as happy as the first one.

To the happy couple!

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