Today we attended a delightfully warm and loving wedding ceremony.
Jen, the bride of Jackie’s nephew Dave, designed this invitation which has been carefully guarded for some months now.
Setting off early for Sandbanks Hotel overlooking Poole harbour, we arrived in good time. This was just as well, because we had some difficulty in parking. First we had to work out the cost of leaving our car in the municipal car park until 8 p.m. when it was free. This was not easy to calculate, but seemed to be £14. The machine did not take notes and we didn’t have enough coins. But you could pay by card. After several fruitless minutes trying to do this with my as yet unfamiliar Samsung Galaxy, I emitted a strangled cry of ‘I can’t do this’, and gave up. Between us, we mustered £8 in coin, but the robot rejected £1. £7 would see us through to 4.30 p.m. Maybe the unwanted pound was a forgery. Never mind, later I put it in the pot for the sweepstake on how long the Best Man’s speech would last, and Jackie won the competition so we got it back anyway.
As Jackie climbed up the slope to place the ticket in the car, a group of Essex girls, of a certain age, approached and good-humouredly reproached me for letting her do this. They were of the opinion that I should do the manly thing and look after her rather better. I protested that it was her car. This prompted laughter and the statement that that didn’t make any difference. When I replied: ‘But I’m a real man, innit?’, they really fell about laughing and tottered off on their high heels repeating the phrase.
It was not until 2.30 p.m. that we learned that the wedding guests could avail themselves of the hotel’s parking facilities. We walked outside and found just one available spot on which I stood guard while Jackie collected the car. By the time she returned, I had got off pat my speech on why I’d rather other drivers didn’t park there. No-one demurred.
It was good to see all the members of the families of the bride and groom as we gathered in the bar before the ceremony itself. Bill’s brother Bob and his wife Patsy shared the opinion that we may meet again at the next wedding. Becky and Ian joined us some time before we all entered the registrar’s room. It was most moving to see tears flowing down the cheeks of both Jen and Dave, and I am fairly sure that the registrar herself dabbed the corners of her eyes with her handkerchief.
Through the open window behind the main attraction there was the occasional distraction of activity on the sands and in the sea beyond, but the event itself held our attention.
The dinner was excellent. A vegetable terrine was followed by roast chicken. Dessert was a mousse and strawberry jelly sandwiched into shortbread biscuits. Wine was plentiful, with champagne for the toasts that accompanied fulsome and entertaining speeches.
We had been asked to leave the photography to the professionals, so, as we were entertained by a keyboard and saxophonist duo, I focussed my lens on the idyllic setting. It was a perfect day for a wedding, or anything else, by the seaside.
As is our wont, after the first dance led by Dave and Jen, when everything became too energetic and, we couldn’t hear ourselves think, we oldies slid off home.