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We awoke to a grey rainy morning the skies the colour of old gun metal. My heart felt heavy although I knew nothing of course would spoil this special day but how lovely would it be if the sun shone down on this little village of ours, warming the colours of the pasture land and sending the dapple rays we know so well across the lanes and up to the path of our little church.

Much preparation had been done in the days and weeks before when the weather had been unusually warm for May and in all our minds the sun just had to be shining at least for the most important time of our beautiful bride arriving and the departure from the church to the perfect green carpet walkway winding its way through the grounds of this beautiful garden to the Marquee…

I had fed my house-guests well – a large breakfast to set them-up for the day and after clearing away the dishes I took myself off to my room to prepare for the wedding of dear Ellie and Stuart. The rain continued to pour, running off the gutters and down the drive so forcibly that even Noah would have been proud. Perhaps a prayer might help an imploring to the heavens, maybe if I begged earnestly the almighty would listen? So placing a disc of favourite music and something appropriate for the occasion I selected Al Giochi – Romeo & Juliet sung by the powerful Luciano Pavarotti, this strong robust tenor at a suitably high volume would certainly do the trick and a quiet prayer to my Hamada-who loved this song -to have a  word with the Almighty to change his designs on the weather for today, just this once please but the rain continued to pour…

At about mid-day I thought a nice Bucks-Fizz would go down well. I prepared these and then continued with my intonations when a lovely voice came from the front of the house  “I can see a small patch of blue over towards the west!” We dared not to hope but slowly the rain eased and the watery sun appeared. And so this perfect day unfolded like a beautiful wished for flower forming from a bud into perfection.

I have a job not to cry at weddings being the eternal optimist in all things romantic and this wedding was no exception. Ellie my much loved niece, had found her perfect man in Stuart. Tall and handsome, kind and compassionate they were entirely perfect for each other in every way. Her natural beauty and the gasps of admiration for this stunning bride in her exquisite lace wedding gown could be heard in the intake of breath from all assembled. The service was quite perfect the Rev Avril in her amazingly charming and confident manner guiding the way. More tears from me when I saw my fourteen year old Grandson Manu resplendent in tuxedo, looking so mature and handsome bearing the rings. How very smart and stylish the best men, the brides father/bridegroom’s father looked in their tux.  How very beautiful the Matrons of Honour in their delicate pale green dresses, serenely matching the foliage in their bouquets of cream roses and blending with the sweet smelling newly mown, rain fresh grass and the beautiful trees surrounding this now sunlit churchyard. We sang with gusto, we sang with praise and thanked the lord for giving us the sunlit rays now coming through the old mauve leaded lights of the arched windows that were filled with wide masses of cream roses We sang to bless this beautiful couple. We sang in praise of how lucky we are to be together to rejoice in their love and joy.

I had tears in my eyes as I watch my dear sister lift  back Ellie’s veil and then again when her father Ian laid his hands gently over the hands of this lovely couple as prayers were said. And lastly the beautiful singing and guitar playing of my youngest son Jo, his voice lifted and soared to new heights echoing his rich tones over our heads so even the Almighty could hear the praising of the day and the love that filled this church of ours. Thank goodness for the white linen handkerchief my dear friend passed to me, which was damp with joyous emotion.

The assembled guests, family and many friends stopped for photographs outside the little church and in the courtyard of the nearby country house, as the sun came out to greet us, delicious perfectly chilled champagne and canapés were served by the many waiters and waitress’s weaving cleverly and skilfully amongst the guests.. Ellie and Stuart left for a quiet moment together and for private special photos and arrived to joined us all in the garden in a fabulous 30’s Beauford Bentley-Styled beauty of a car, entering slowly through the main gates of this stunning house and gardens.

The trees hung with white wicker hearts and the rails of the churchyard were festooned with handmade celebration flag bunting, perfectly made by Ellies mum Jenny and lining the length of the gardens. Beautiful young woman in an array of pretty summery frocks walked arm in arm with their handsome partners along the pale green carpet that laid across the grass. Close family all dressed in their finest attire with loving smiles on their faces so happy to greet relatives not seen for a while.  Jenny and Ian, Ellie parents, looking resplendent  in their superb wedding clothes beaming with pride at their gorgeous Ellie and her charming Prince. A storybook affair of magical visionary arrangements and just as a country wedding should be and something conjured-up only in the dreams of young girls.

The large Marquee continued the pale green theme, sharp white tablecloths with pale green fine linen napkins, silver cutlery, sparkling silver candelabras on each of the five long tables, holding long white candles, the crystal chandeliers shone enchantingly.  The whole marquee twinkling in its simplicity and design. The long tables reaching from end to end of the Marquee given the names of chateaus in honour of Ellie and Stuarts engagement in France. Perfectly written name places and a menu better than the finest restaurant. Superb French wines and champagne continued this theme. There was a cocktail bar to one-side and a chill-out area comprising of curved backed wicker sofas and again the matching colour of the pale green cushions set the scene. A wooden dance floor with a DJ ready for action. A pianist greeted us as he played gentle music while we took our seats for a very special ‘wedding breakfast’ How difficult to describe how enchanting it all was, perhaps my photos may help in some way.

The speeches were wonderful!! Totally entertaining and amusing too. Stuart recalling how they met and fell in love, with some amusing tales of the early days of their romance, spoken clearly and with great confidence and such a pleasing way he played with his words of love! The father of the bride making us laugh with tales of Ellie’s younger years  – especially her girlfriends who’s chuckles could be heard around the marquee as they listen to the recalling of fun girly days of the past and remembered their teenage years, all friends growing-up together. Then my eldest son Matt stood, an important role as Ellie’s Godfather, consummate in delivery of an amusing and in places poignant gathering of clever phrases and words that made us smile as he recalled many special family moments. But the speech that stole the show entirely was from my Grandson Manu who spoke of his love for Ellie and Stuart and for the fun they enjoy together and a perfectly funny tale about Stuart, when he was staying over at their home – we laugh and laughed at the funny  antics of this time, delivered so confidently and with such great aplomb and even ad-libbing that brought much laughter and the ‘house down’ with clapping and cheering at the end. Manu is just fourteen years of age!

We ate wonderful culinary delights, we dance with gay abandon well into the early hours. We drank cocktails, raspberry mojitos! We chatted with family and friends enjoying every single moment. I looked and listened and drank-in the atmosphere of this perfect day – for this was my beloved family who had planned and worked hard to achieve perfection and  if only I could convey to you my readers, just how very special it all was.

The love of this gorgeous couple will last the test of time of that I’m sure. For when love is found it is seen in the depths of the eyes and faces of those that truly love. The effort of romance starts with small seeds of devotion to each other that grow and cultivate into the years of all our tomorrows.

Celebrate your loved one in creating memories of kindness and of respect. In nurture of each other, praise and thank them daily for the joy they bring to you, for this will create a life of harmony and a love that will grow into longevity. Life brings ups and downs to us all but bonds made strong in the early days and in the new flush of romance build the strength to carry you through the tough times. Be kind to each other daily, taking time to listen to each others needs and most of all rejoice in your love.

Dreams are made of perfect days like this, love brings so much, for it is the greatest of all life’s gifts…

 

Specially Remembered Things:  Bowls of Love-Heart  Sweets- Soft Pashmina’s for the ladies just in case they needed to get cosy.  REAL bathrooms in a Marquee!- with every imaginable cosmetic you just might need.  A long Mirror, Special hangers for your precious hats. Oh and so much more…

More Photos of this lovely day can be found at https://www.flickr.com/photos/susiehemingway/