Just prior to the wedding I was acutely aware that under the guise of 'but this way you get exactly what you want' I had not taken up my fair share of administration tasks. I was determined to ensure that I caught up somewhat by being more involved with the on the day execution of the plans that had been so meticulously put in place. As is common we spent the night before apart and I left while simultaneously trying to remember the list of times and jobs that needed to be done while maintaining the appearance of having it all under control. I had lost the organizational decision of who was to sleep where and Eleanor got the house (hopefully not a sign of things to come!) so Steve kindly put me and several others up for the night. Leaving the house, such a familiar environment, and saying 'see you at the alter' - such an unfamiliar concept - was a little strange.
Installed at Steve's house we went out in Reading for what I hoped would not turn into Stag night number two. At this point I think people could see the nerves sweating out of my pores so they were kind. The presence of several other halves probably helped as well. So far I couldn't think of anything we had forgotten - ushers, check, Piggy squire arrival time, check, canapes, check, suits, check, rings, check, best man, check, bride check and so on. Of course by it's very nature the thing you have forgotten is what you are not thinking about. Back home it seems things weren't going quite so smoothly, the flower girl had come down with her parents from Nottingham. Sadly the flower girls dress hadn't made the same journey. The situation was rescued with a night time trip back home by Pete 'long lonely road' Woodroffe. Meanwhile in Reading we picked up the last arrival, Cliona, and after a last pint wondered home to get what passes for rest the day before your wedding.
So the morning of the wedding had arrived at last. What seemed like a distant date when we had picked it had finally arrived after countless choices and decisions, it was time to see if we had made the right ones. Obviously the first choice we had made was the date itself and this I was very sure was a good move. Eleanor first suggested that 10/10/10 had a certain symmetry/unforgettability about it so was a strong candidate. What finally sealed the deal was realising that 101010 is 42 in binary (0*2^0+1*2^1+0*2^2+1*2^3+0*2^4+1*2^5=2+8+32=42) which Douglas Adams will proclaim is the answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything.
On the drive back home I had two of my ushers Andy and Steve for company. Well known for their laid back attitude I had some trouble ushering them out the door and my heart almost stopped when someone suggested, while I was standing by the door with bags in hand ready to go, that we might have time for another cup of tea before the off. We had to pick up a car full of stuff from home on the way and when we arrived the living room door was firmly shut to hide the bride in mid-hair dressing state. With the car almost loaded the prospect of a brew raised was mentioned again, but unfortunately in the hearing range of Eleanor who sent out a runner to politely inform us that our departure time had arrived and there certainly was no time for frivolous cups of tea.
The drive to the venue started a little boisterously with the sound of a large ticking clock in the back of my head until Steve advised that the 30 seconds I might shave off the arrival time would not be worth the damage to the boxes of stuff bouncing around the back seat which for sure would take more than 30 seconds to repair. Arriving safe and sound and the whirlwind of tasks began. A worrying number of on the spot decisions were required, where would you like the cake table? Where do you want the present table? Those can't go here you'll need to find somewhere else. etc etc. In the midst of it all Andy 'safe hands' Hamilton arrived to join the fray. Realising that the one thing we had forgotten was lunch Steve took my car for a trip into Wantage as the chaos started to subside and things were slotting into place. Resisting the offer of something stronger we finally got our cup of tea.
The final usher, Glynn, arrived and it was time to get changed and start to receive the guests. A group of Eleanor's friends had agreed to play for us during the ceremony and had already arrived, no doubt chuckling at the slightly frenzied activity around them, and others were following. One memory of this period which will stay with me is the wise words of my father who had obviously thought long and hard about the final advice he was going to impart to his only son before he embarked on a life changing course of action 'I won't believe it until I see it'. With that vote of confidence under my belt I turned my attention to greeting everyone as they arrived and generally waiting for the big moment.