Hello everyone! The Wedding was lovely. We arrived 5 minutes before the wedding was due to start, as the traffic was nose to tail all the way and we must have hit every red light en route. We managed to park near the church and took our seats in the relatives section. Cathy found her reading in the Bible and we were ready. Susan, Sarah’s mum was preoccupied but soon saw us sitting there and was really pleased to see us. A little late Sarah, the bride entered with her Dad, my brother in law Bob Hamer to the soundtrack of ‘Songbird by Eva Cassidy. She was preceded by her bridesmaids, her two sisters, Rebecca, and Ellie and Sarah’s best friend Donna. Sarah looked stunning in as simple dress; she was so happy and glad to be getting married to her soul mate Matt! The wedding was a family affair as Sarah’s sister Ellie and her boyfriend Tom led the singers. We were welcomed by their minister, Canon Tony Hurle and we sang ‘How great thou art’ as the opening hymn before the marriage ceremony. I was struck by one difference from our marriage and that was that instead of just the father being the one who gives the daughter away, the vicar asked who gave them to be married and both sets of parents replied; a new idea to me, but it seemed quite appropriate to me. The bride and groom promised to honour each other and exchanged rings. All the congregation of friends and family were asked if they would support the couple and we replied; with God’s help we will; apparently we did not say it with enough conviction and we were asked to repeat that. At the end of the celebration of marriage we were encouraged to applaud the new couple, which I enjoyed and made it seem like a celebration!
We then sang some worship songs led by Ellie and her boyfriend Tom with Bob Hamer on the piano; Faithful one which we sang through twice; Holy, Holy; God Almighty, which we sang three times including on the third occasion the chorus; All blessing, all honour, belongs to you. I found these choruses so worshipful and moving and could not stop smiling! Cathy then read 1 Corinthians 13v4-7 very clearly; I was so proud. Keith Farman, Matt’s father read a poem he had written for Matt and Sarah, which described them now as one.
Mr. Chris Birch-Evans gave the address, where he encouraged them to respect each other in their lives together. It was obvious to see how much in love Sarah and Matt are; Sarah could not stop smiling and was a radiant bride.
Ellie, Sarah’s younger sister led the prayers with Tom Bettingson her boyfriend in support of the new couple.
We then sang ‘Amazing Grace’ in the version with the chorus; my chains are gone, I’ve been set free; again I found it very moving and uplifting.
The vicar then gave the blessing and they went off to sign the registers. Rebecca, Sarah’s elder sister, then sang beautifully and movingly ‘Someone to watch over me’ accompanied by her father Bob. Rebecca has a beautiful voice and was confident enough to stop and ‘rewind’ when her father hit a wrong note and with us counting down 3-2-1 and she carried on singing; it was brilliant. She received well deserved applause after she finished. The happy couple returned to leave the church together to ‘Somewhere over the Rainbow’ sung by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole. I was very happy to share their special day.
I dropped the girls off at the reception and went to pick my beloved up. Unfortunately he was not feeling well; he had tried to rest but cars hooting disturbed his rest and he was still uncomfortable from the journey down. He decided to try and come with me to the reception, but once there he was still aching and he could not cope with the chatter all around him and after about 15 minutes Cathy rang for a taxi. I was able to be included in the family photo with the bride and groom and family, which I was pleased about, before we left for the hotel, where we rested together.
I could not stay for the reception as it was my beloved’s birthday and as he was feeling exhausted and uncomfortable he needed me to be with him. When he felt more rested we went down for an evening meal, only to discover that the restaurant was closed due to shortage of staff and a full bar watching the football. We were going back to our room, when my beloved decided to say we had not known they would not be serving in the restaurant and we had left the reception as my beloved could not cope with the number of people, we could not eat in the bar. The hotel staff was wonderful and an extra member of staff had come, so we were able to eat in the restaurant. As it was very full of football supporters in the bar the chef brought our first course and told us to ask him if we needed anything and he returned to check on how it was for us. This time we bought a full bottle of the house wine as, we had enjoyed a glass of it so much the previous day. We both had seared salmon with couscous which was delicious. My beloved chose to have the same sweet he had had before and I has a warmed double chocolate cookie with vanilla ice cream, which I enjoyed but thought I should have had the cheesecake instead!!
Cathy showed us how to use the air conditioning so we were not as hot on our second night. We met the girls at breakfast the next morning and were pleased to get a piece of wedding cake and delicious homemade fudge, apparently made by Susan for which we were very grateful. I enjoyed mine on Sunday but my beloved had his today. Our return journey was fortunately uneventful and we were home in 3 ½ hours. I was glad to be able to relax as I felt shattered. It was lovely to share Sarah and Matt’s special day.