Eventually we had everyone settled in their seats, the cars parked and the registrar, Liz, had turned up to bring some much needed experience to the whole occasion. What we didn't realise at the time was that due to a slight mistake the registry hadn't traveled with the registrar - without this the wedding simply does not happen. In the background Liz had phoned her husband David who was organising a last minute lift to rectify the situation. With the facade a poker player would be proud of Liz didn't let any of this slip out and ignorance is truly bliss. All came good as the vital book arrived and we didn't even think to question why there was some very last minute paper to be done.
Finally we get to the moment at last. Word arrived that Eleanor had arrived, early of course, and the crowd settled down. I tried to untie the knot in my stomach, which probably would have involved surgery to achieve and waited. The quartet started playing our chosen music - a quartet version of a Coldplay song - and I heard the back door open. Inconveniently the crowd were all standing and so blocked my view until Eleanor came to the end of the aisle hand in hand with Hannah our flower girl (only three but doing a good job of keeping Eleanor calm!). Obviously I hadn't seen the dress before and despite the fact that I may be a bit biased I'll tell you that she looked fabulous and I couldn't stop smiling as she joined me at the front - and not just because I was no longer the sole focus of the crowds attention. The proceedings were started with the normal 'does anyone know any reason why this shouldn't go ahead' at which point with splendid timing the flower girls brother, Thomas, wanted his turn in the limelight and started shouting out which got a tension easing chuckle from the audience.
What might not have been obvious during the ceremony was that there had been no run through or discussion of order so we were as in the dark as to which section came next as everyone else. I remember stuttering a little when I first had to perform the seemingly simple task of 'repeat after me'. We had two readings from Pete Woodroffe and my sister Angie.
The Art Of A Good Marriage: Wilferd Arlan Peterson
Happiness in marriage is not something that just happens.
A good marriage must be created.
In marriage the little things are the big things.
It is never being too old to hold hands.
It is remembering to say "I love you" at least once a day.
It is never going to sleep angry.
It is at no time taking the other for granted; the courtship should not end with the honeymoon, it should continue through all the years.
It is having a mutual sense of values and common objectives.
It is standing together facing the world.
It is forming a circle of love that gathers in the whole family.
It is doing things for each other, not in the attitude of duty or sacrifice, but in the spirit of joy.
It is speaking words of appreciation and demonstrating gratitude in thoughtful ways.
It is not looking for perfection in each other.
It is cultivating flexibility, patience, understanding and a sense of humour.
It is having the capacity to forgive and forget.
It is giving each other an atmosphere in which each can grow.
It is a common search for the good and the beautiful.
It is establishing a relationship in which the independence is equal, dependence is mutual and the obligation is reciprocal.
It is not only marrying the right partner, it is being the right partner.
Marriage is the beginning of an enterprise...
Marriage is the beginning of an enterprise. In theory, two
people have decided that they love and trust and respect each other
well enough to want to spend the rest of their lives together. They
will build something that appears to outsiders something infinitely
simple, but which in fact, is infinitely complex - an ark to
survive all weathers.
In reality, of course, people blunder into marriage for a dozen reasons - and often spend the rest of their lives on a disintegrating raft, held together with pieces of string. But any craft will stay afloat as long as its builders are happier to share its limitations than risk sharks. A boat can be merely a means of survival - or a means to a great discovery. Its course may be erratic, the repairs to its structure constant and haphazard - but if it is still afloat it has, with all its eccentricities , a jaunty air, a lived-in look, an air of comfortable companionship.
At the appropriate point the rings appeared on cue (see 'safe hands' after all) and I was immensely excited to be becoming married at last, hoping that my father would now actually believe it. The promises seemed to go by in a flash and before I knew it it was time to kiss the bride which presented the photographer with the ideal time to take my favorite photo of the wedding. We led everyone outside, where luckily the sun was doing it's very best to keep a smile on everyone's faces. My wife and I went for a drive in the wedding car which was a nice pause in the day to unwind a little but did mean that we missed all the canapes that Eleanor had so carefully chosen. The afternoon was spent having photos taken, talking to people and generally wondering where my wife had gone.