Thursday, 27 June 2013

An Old Rectory Wedding: Setting the Scene

We've been planning this event since February when we decided to get married.  If you remember, we had a legal ceremony in the local Registry Office in April.  But we really wanted to have the wedding in the garden.  So we booked a British Humanist celebrant to run a quasi service and hired a marquee in which to hold it.  The front garden is not massive but the lawn is big enough to accommodate a fifty person tent.  We also booked a local caterer, leaving us 'only' to sort out the guests.  Anyone who has organised a wedding knows that this is no mean feat: who to invite, who to leave out, who to invite later, who should sit where...and so on.

Before we knew it, it was Thursday 13th June and three chaps in a large lorry (out of shot in these photos - that's the stonemason's van that you can see!) arrived to erect the marquee.  It took all morning but looked wonderful with its lime washed chairs, round tables, Georgian windows that faced the Georgian house (all very balanced and in proportion!) with ivory drapes covering the walls and coir matting underfoot.

Then our first guests began to arrive: H & C, Auntie J and Uncle J.  We ate late in the dining room overlooking the marquee.  It gazed blankly back.

The next day, we moved tables and chairs to the front of the house.  We'd inherited two pub-like benches, which I'd painted a colour prosaically named 'thyme', a subtle blue-green.

I'd also re-varnished our garden table and chairs (well, with two chairs hastily being completed by C1 on the Friday morning!) and J and V at No.6 loaned us another set, unasked - lovely, lovely neighbours.  (They came over that evening with the gang at No.5 and a wheelbarrow containing a rose called 'Wedding Day').  We'd planted up the tubs at the front of the house with more roses, the theme of the wedding, but 'Princess Anne' this time.

The clematis was blooming in a pot by the back door whilst awaiting a permanent home.  We moved it to the newly cleaned front porch.  To everyone else's eyes, the front porch probably still looked like a dilapidated wreck but to my eyes it was transformed.

Bunting was then hung around the porch and the house filled with flowers, including roses, stocks, sweet peas, snapdragons, iris, gypsophila, freesias and carnations.  Signs were made directing people to the loos, gents by the kitchen, ladies to my mum's loo and any overspill, so to speak, to the bathroom upstairs.

The caterers arrived and laid the tables with stiff white cloths, silver cutlery and white crockery.  No floral centrepieces but upturned white pots, shaped like flower pots, on which would sit the food, tiered and beautiful.  In each napkin, I slotted a tube of bubbles with a heart shaped blower, hoping that people would guess what they were and not take them to be a vodka shot or a phial of cyanide!

Inside, the dining table was moved to the back wall and seats placed strategically.  This was where the coffee would be served along with my mum's homemade cakes, which would be displayed on the Irish dresser at the side of the room.  A garland of fabric roses threaded its way through the white cups and plates on the table with jars of sugared almonds at either end.

In my head, it looked perfect, even with the building site in the background.  Sorry about the lack of photos.  There was just too much to do!

More guests arrived that evening: H and T, C and D.  Dinner was a picnic on the floor in mum's sitting room as all the other tables around the house had been commissioned for wedding use.

Just one more thing.  I got up at the crack of dawn on my wedding day and Sprocket, the dog, and I headed off to Pentylands, the fields at the bottom of town, to gather cow parsley and May blossom.  I arranged this in jugs and placed one on each table in the garden.  The scene was set.  Only the weather was letting us down.  It had already rained over night and now grey clouds were overhead and rain was threatening to disrupt my plan of beautiful blue skies and warm sunlight.

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