It was as warm and sunny as a Midsummer’s day – that special Saturday nine years ago today.
In lots of ways,
it was a very traditional wedding. A church service. Hymns. A Bible reading. A bride in white, a groom in smart attire. Flowers on every window-sill. But then again, perhaps not completely traditional.....
For one thing, most brides don’t walk down the aisle arm in arm with the man they are about to marry. Nor are they generally preceded by their children – a seven year old Best Man and a five year old Chief
Bridesmaid – looking for all the world like miniature copies of their parents. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house as the Baldwin Family – together, as always – arrived at the altar.
At one stage, early on in the preparations for this wedding, the Youngest of the Darling Daughters (for, yes, it is she and her fella who celebrate their wedding anniversary today) wondered whether it was all a bit over the
top, planning a wedding when you had been with your Chosen One for ever so many years and had the children, the house and the cats to show for it. But, as she said in her wedding speech: “Then I thought that perhaps every girl deserves her special day...”
Of course she does.
The wedding reception was to be relatively small and intimate – but would this mean that the congregation in the spacious church would
look rather, well, sparse? I was pretty sure that, villages being what they are, this wouldn’t be a problem and so it turned out. The Baldwin family was then, and is now, well known in their home village and it seemed as if virtually every family with
children of a similar age to Jack and Hazel turned up to see the Wedding of the Year. We were well prepared, having produced “A Child’s Guide to the Wedding Ceremony” with illustrations by Jack and Hazel, which we gave out, with pencils,
along with the hymn books. I still remember spending the night before the night before the wedding sharpening dozens of pencils in readiness. Not on most lists of wedding preparations, I imagine.
Walking his daughter down the aisle and giving her away is one of the most special and poignant moments of a father’s life. The amazing Mr B, knowing how much his youngest daughter had set her heart on walking
down the aisle as a family, willingly gave up this privilege for her sake. Not many fathers would be so generous, so big-hearted and I – and his daughter – love him for it.
I will pass swiftly over my own particular contribution to the wedding ceremony which saw me leaving the lectern after reading a passage from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, tripping over my feet and diving head-first into the congregation.
The bridegroom is still threatening to send the footage to “You’ve Been Framed!” It’s costing me a fortune in blackmail money (joke – well, hopefully...)
Jack, as Best Man, gave a virtuoso performance at the Reception, delivering a string of “Knock, knock” jokes with considerable aplomb. Joined by the Chief Bridesmaid (“Actually she is the ONLY bridesmaid”,
he informed the wedding party with quite perfect timing) he finished his speech with the following verse:
“Dear Mum, dear Dad,
We’re really glad
This is your Wedding Day.
We wish you love, we wish you laughter
We wish you Happy Ever After!”
And so say all of us.