I used to work with Jamie and Bev and we kept in touch after I retired.
Bill and I have been to a couple of house warming parties, they've been to our Thanksgiving and now we were honoured with a wedding invitation.
They have built themselves a stunning house on part of the farm that Jamie's parents own and the farm was the setting for the reception.
I could see all the same attention to detail given to the planning of the wedding that went into the building of their incredible house.
|Homemade jam from the farm!|
The weddings I've been to in Britain are beautiful affairs but they also remind me I'm in an alien culture. I'm sure a great deal has changed since I left the US and I may be telling about more than just my age when I observe:
- There wasn't such a thing as 'hen nights' / weekends (!) back then. That's a 'stag do' for the bride. Costumes and alcohol are involved, but I've yet to hear about any strippers, thankfully.
- We had bridal showers in the US, but apparently not here.
- Those 'save the date' things are new to me. Not a bad idea, but why not just send the invitations instead? I'm obviously missing something here.
- We had wedding rehearsals and rehearsal dinners for the parents to all meet if they hadn't before. I don't think anyone practices here. We met Sarah's future in-laws at a dinner at her house back in February (I'll soon have another wedding to report).
- Protestant weddings consisted of the ceremony followed by the reception where the couple and their families lined up after loads of photos were taken. You shook hands and congratulated the groom, not the bride; she got best wishes or something, you didn't want to imply she fought a hard won campaign. This reception line was on your way to a piece of the bride's and the groom's cake, usually served (in the Bible belt) with coffee, tea, lemonade. And that was it. Only Catholics seemed to have the big sit down dinners with dancing and all. Or maybe it was only rich people, I don't know. Of course the British church of state, Episcopalian, is as close as one can get to Catholicism in its rituals short of sidling up to the Pope. Well, 'high church' anyhow.
- "In my day" a wedding held in a registry office was appropriate for second marriages and was a completely different arrangement to a church wedding. The bride wore a smart suit, there were only the witnesses present and it was all more along the lines of a dressy legal transaction than the full on 'new life' event associated with first marriages. I went to one of these once and was caught out in my choice of clothes. Lesson: never underestimate the British capacity for throwing a party at any excuse. And why not?
The ceremony was lovely and informal, the minister warm and funny. His small church was fully stuffed, which pleased him no end. I thought the service perfectly suited Jamie and Bev.
|I'd have taken a photo of the front, but frankly I couldn't walk on that field in high heels - and there was enough brown stuff around I wasn't about to go barefoot!|
Going to other people's weddings is way more fun than any of my own. It's good for married couples to have a refresher course now and then, too! I felt positively mushy during this service, being reminded how lucky I am.
I got caught out by the offering plate at the back of the church; fortunately Bill was prepared with cash in hand.
I understood that showering the couple with rice was banned because it was bad for birds, right? And confetti is just litter. Turns out now there is such a thing as bio-degradable stuff to throw, not that I had any with me. I'm not sure how many more children they intend to have, mind.
There were a few people from work I'd as soon not seen, but I managed to be polite; I just hoped I looked as relaxed and carefree as they looked stressed and hungover. (There is not a day in my life I regret being frugal.) However, I got to visit with several people I was genuinely pleased to see and to hear about how their careers and families were developing. Facebook just isn't the same as real life.
Jamie & Bev's reception was held in a tent, composed of two enormous teepees.
This was in a field on the farm, from which the food was supplied. (A very subtle advert for their farm shop.)
Every table got a wood slab with a small beef roast, a lamb roast and chicken breasts. Baskets of rolls and huge bowls of organic vegetables were served; more food than I can ever remember being placed in front of me. Each table also got an apron for the carver, complete with the couple's names.
Farming was definitely a theme: I thought the best man's speech had rather a lot of farmyard humour in it as well.
We left about the time the music started; my bedtime was approaching. My party animal days are long gone.
Bill remarked the next day that the best thing was that the death eaters never showed up. I said ??? He said "Wedding in a tent...in the middle of a field..."
See what I mean about being lucky?