Friday, September 12, 2008

The Happiest Day Of My Life

And so the long awaited day finally arrived.

I didn't get a huge amount of sleep the night before but the adrenaline kicked in for the whole day and kept me going. The suits had been delivered to the hotel two days before, we had picked up the cake the day before and taken it to the hotel (and realised that the colours being used for the flower arrangements on the tables were wrong, which were duly changed, no questions asked, which we were very impressed with) and so it was just a case of getting myself to the hotel to get changed and then into the cabs that the hotel had booked to get me to the church on time.

But that almost didn't happen. Someone decided to end it all under a train at Chancery Lane and after sitting on a train outside White City for thirty minutes, I started to get a bit worried. So I wasn't taking any chances when the train pulled into White City and I rushed off the train, up the stairs and out to the local mini cab office before anyone else had the chance to queue up in front of me.

Twenty minutes later I was at the hotel, a bit more flustered than I would have liked and glad that I'd taken some money on my journey. Oh, but not before a minor make sure I didn't bump into the other half incident (she'd just arrived back from getting her hair done moments before I got there) which my best men managed to resolve.

The fun didn't stop there unfortunately. The suit fit well but the trousers were about 4 inches too large around the waist! *sigh* I had to fasten my belt around my waist (with no loops) just to keep my trousers up! It worked amazingly well so long as I walked around carefully.

But then that was the worst of it. The ceremony went perfectly. I and the best men got to the church on time. I greeted friends and family, some of whom I had not seen for a long time and before I knew it I was being told to go to the front as Lorraine had arrived.

I stood nervously and snuck a quick look back. I could only see her silhouette against the brightness of the open church doors, but that silhouette looked stunning. And then the bridal march kicked in and goosebumps duly followed.

When she arrived by my side and her dad passed her hand over to mine, I looked across at her and she just looked so beautiful. Thinking back to that moment I don't think I stopped smiling for the rest of the the day.

She had a stunning dress (which the priest even commented on) with quite a train and so we walked carefully up the steps to the altar for the main service to begin.

And everything went perfectly. Well, okay, I got a bit nervous during the vows and had to repeat slowly after the priest but that didn't matter. It all felt so right and we couldn't stop smiling at each other.

Afterwards we walked down the aisle to the the chimes of Handel and we were now man and wife! We waited at the doors and talked to people as they headed out to the double-decker Routemaster bus we'd ordered to take everyone to the hotel. The happiness in my heart was just unlike anything I'd ever felt before.

We took a Bentley back to the hotel and sat in the gardens awaiting our guests. It was nice to have a few quiet moments together. As it turned out, the bus driver had taken a scenic route back to the hotel, so we were back twenty minutes before our guests arrived.

Champagne and canapes followed along with lots of official photos in the gardens. It was a dodgy day weather forecast-wise but, somehow, we had been very lucky. The sun even peeped out a while for us. Later on when we had gone in for the reception dinner, it absolutely chucked it down outside!

The dinner went well. I could see my best man getting nervous about his speech. He'd told me that it was only three minutes long just a few days before and I'd had to tell him that ideally it should be a little bit longer. Just my list of thank yous would take longer than that.

Anyway, the father of the bride came out with a stormer of a speech. Some good jokes and a finish that would make it a hard act for me to follow. I'd never actually written my speech down and has only worked on it in my head. My speech did work out okay apart from one rather embarrassing hiccup.

I'd thanked the father-of-the-bride, asked us all to remember departed family members, thanked everyone who'd come and even thanked the hotel staff for doing an excellent job.

I then sat down and my best man stood up to deliver his speech. At which point a niggling voice in the back of my head started bothering me...

I'd forgotten to thank my lovely bride! ARGH!

With my best man a few words into his speech I had to stand up, apologise, ask him to sit down and then deliver a heartfelt speech to my lovely bride.

Luckily it worked on so many levels. I spoke from my heart and Lorraine almost started crying with joy along with a number of other guests.

Afterwards, talking to my best man, it turns out that having made him sit down and start to deliver his speech a second time had actually made him a lot less nervous. And he didn't let me down. His speech was excellent and my "accident" gave us all something to laugh about later.

The food was good, the service excellent, we cut the cake which tasted delicious and then had a first dance as a married couple to Andy Williams - "Can't Take My Eyes Off You."

We'd only practised dancing together twice in the week before the wedding as we'd only selected the song two weeks previously and it was a miracle that I didn't step on Lorraine's dress or shoes and that we even managed a few twirls but boy did it feel like a long four minutes with everyone staring at us! And yes, my trousers did stay up!

And then we had a lovely retro disco and everyone seemed to have a great time.

As we sat in our candlelit, rose petal strewn suite afterwards looking through all the cards, we thought about how amazing it was that we all the hassles we'd had with the dress, the flowers, the orders of service (which I ended up getting at half price due to the numbers of reprinting errors) everything had turned into one perfect day.

The happiest day of our lives...