It is almost two years since my youngest son Yousef (Jo) married our gorgeous Julia. A perfect day in a perfect setting, Julia and Jo chose the “Five Arrows Hotel” part of the fabulous Waddesdon Estate for their wedding venue.
Waddesdon Manor was built for Baron Ferdinand Rothschild to display his many collections and entertain the then fashionable world. Formerly a Victorian Coaching Inn, the building is a delightful Victorian mix of authentic English style, half timber with elaborate elizabethan chimneys, much wrought ironwork and built in the late 1870’s, now an elegant boutique hotel.
I left early on the Tuesday morning from my home in the Linconshire Wolds prior to the wedding to book into the hotel early, a mother has to do these things. I wanted a ‘feel of the place’, to ‘drink-in’ everything I could about this fabulous venue. In fact the entire hotel was booked to us for three days in preparation for this special day, making all the rooms available to guests attending. I was given a choice of rooms and selected a lovely large airy room in the new wing, as light is helpful for aging eyes – I would need to get my hat on straight at the very least! – and the ensuites would be new and efficient. I am sure they are in the original part of the hotel too but it would be at least a shade dimmer in those stunning Victorian rooms. My room was gorgeous overlooking the courtyard below, Mama was very happy. The weather that week was particularly good so the ornate and verdant gardens were at their best and May in England is the most perfect month for a Wedding and pretty flowers always enhance the photographs in my humble opinion. I enjoyed my pre-stay very much, the food at the Five Arrows is particularly good, a gourmet menu for sure. They have a fantastic selection of Rothschild wines from vineyards around the world and a list of hand-picked guest wines have been chosen by their wine expert for their quality. The attention to detail is very special, a some-what old fashion approach to fine dining and something I truly love.
The bachelor dinner the night before the wedding was held in a private dining room, plush dark wood furnishings for table and walls casting lovely candlelight and a burnished glow across the table and the guests. Special friends, the brides father, the best man, and relations from Egypt attended. It was incredibly special and I am at a loss for words here. The food was mouth-wateringly delicious, the wines clearly chosen to complement this fabulous meal and marked well the occasion. I was and am extremely proud of my Son Jo, who arranged everything with such care and such meticulous attention to detail and I am proud of the amazing man he has become and the choices he has made. Of course my thoughts throughout this evening and the Wedding Day were often of my late husband Hamada, who would have been delighted with everything, I know how pleased he would have been at the elegance of this chosen location.
The morning dawned a perfect May day and after breakfast a short visit to Waddesdon Manor with our Egyptian family was a must, they were thrilled with the magical turrets and declared we should all live there and occupy a turret each! After returning to the hotel I walked slowly round the gardens and marvelled at the perfection of the day, the dining room was entirely perfect, the table flowers stunning and the sky a cornflower blue! So with a very happy heart I went to get ready for this oh so special occasion. Guests started to arrive in their finery, such beautiful young people, dear family members, how I would have loved my parents to have been there, seeing and congratulating this lovely couple and one of their very dear Grandsons on this special day. Jo was resplendent in a navy and grey dress suit as were his best men, even the wedding Mercedes had our family name as number plates, a lovely touch. It was enchanting to see this pretty venue, terrace and gardens filling-up with laughter and happiness and as the wedding ceremony was to be held in the old dairy it was only a step away…
As our stunning Julia,Jo’s very gorgeous bride arrived there were audible gasps from those present at the beauty of this young woman. My heart was full to bursting with love for this young couple and filled with hope for their life together. Beautiful singing accompanied the wedding service, the opera voice, clear and lilting, rose in praise of their love, the service was just perfect. We emerged into the brilliant sunlight as friends and family gathered round to congratulate and to the many cameras all trying to capture this fabulous occasion. Champagne was served, orange juice and beers – it was warm – and delicious canapés arrived on the terrace, official photos were taken, we gathered, chatted and greeted and then later into the hotel for a most sumptuous wedding breakfast, the usual speeches and to view and later eat the most perfectly beautiful cake.
An evening of musical entertainment followed. Fusion music from around the world drifted across the courtyard with many happy faces relaxed and enjoying the warm evening but no faces were more ecstatic than those of the beautiful bride and handsome groom, no smiles bigger or brighter!
Of course it’s difficult to put into words the magic of this special day but two years on, my mind is still filled with so many visions of this enchanting wedding, I pray I shall never lose these memories or the joy that was encountered that late May day…