Try to imagine a very prestigous country hotel, set in several acres of beautiful gardens in almost perfect blue sky weather. With me so far? Good.
To this scene, add a dozen or so spods, a couple of dozen IFIS people (for those unfamiliar with these, they're similar to spods, but less sane), plus a multitude of friends and relatives of the bride and groom.
Doesn't sound that bad so far, does it? And I'd agree with you, except I forgot to mention one more thing.
They were (almost) all wearing full medieval dress :-)
To see such a bizarre gathering of people like this was surreal to say the least. People who hadn't seen each other for years were greeting one another dressed as if they ought to be starring in an epic production of Robin Hood!
So there we all were, walking around in the gardens, mostly comparing costumes until it was time to go into the hall for the ceremony.
You'll probably see the photos on the web, so I won't go into too much detail on what Nick was wearing, but it worked well. I feel obliged to mention the armour, which Nick wished everyone to know "weighed tonnes".
Estelle was escorted down the aisle by her father, and she was wearing a simple but stunning white wedding dress, which complemented all the medieval stuff well.
The ceremony was conducted by one of the two registrars present, the best man remembered the rings, nobody fainted, nobody messed up their lines, etc.
Probably the most controversial thing that happened was after the register was signed, when the registrar announced that her part of the ceremony was done, and introduced the chaplain as "the opposition". The chaplain did admit that he'd never been referred to in that manner before, but it didn't appear to phase him.
After the ceremony, we went outside to the gardens again, got given lots of alcohol to drink, got very tipsy and took hundreds of photos.
We went back in to eat, the best man's speech did not bring any revelations worth reporting, and then the ceilidh started, and that's when things got really interesting!
First of all, you have to remember the people we're dealing with here... spods, IFIS people, etc... remember that most of them are dressed in clothing not ideally suited to dancing. Then remember that it is an undeniable fact that these people were probably the most uncoordinated you can get, and that's when they're sober... you get the idea :-)
It was really good fun. The caller was trying to give people directions on what to do, and you could just tell by the look of exasperation and disbelief on his face that he knew he was in for a rough ride. He actualy joined in for the majority of the evening because it was the only way he could get us to do it propoerly!
Yes, even Piers joined in. Rumour has it he quite enjoyed himself too. Everyone else did.
The evening went very quickly after that, and soon it was time for Nick and Estelle to leave, in the good old fashioned way through an arch of all the guests. They're probably on a hot sandy beach in Jamaica as we read this, surrounded by palm trees and lots of alcohol... actually, I may be wrong, they're probably in bed...
I must give a mention to the best dressed person, which undeniably had to be Patrick (IFIS person) who turned out dressed in a full archer's costume, complete with bow and arrow.
Nick and Estelle, thanks for inviting us to an unforgetable wedding, see you on EH.