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Saturday, October 02, 2010

Obviously the key to a successful wedding is in the planning. You don't want to rush things and end up doing it all at the last minute. So we gave ourselves three weeks. God can do three planets in that time. Although he doesn't have to find an outfit and shoes.

It all started on Monday 6th September. We'd always said we'd get married once both us and Lisa's teeth were straight in our new flat. So having done a bit of DIY on the Sunday, we looked up the council website to find out how to get married. It said we had to phone up for an appointment, where we could give notice of our intention to marry within the next twelve months. So we agreed that Lisa would make a speculative phone call on the Monday morning.

I left for work at 8:45am. And at 10:51am I received this message. Apparently they'd asked Lisa when we were hoping to get married, she'd said "As soon as possible", and they'd told her they had a cancellation on the 30th. I immediately checked my work rota, found that I had no clinics on that day, and promptly booked the day off.

By law, there have to be at least fifteen clear days between the appointment where you announce your intention to marry, and the wedding day itself. Fortunately they had an appointment at 3pm on the 14th. Two hours before the deadline. So I booked that afternoon off too. Forty-five minutes later, at 11:35am, it was all arranged...

The plan was to offend as many people as possible by inviting virtually no one. I even questioned whether Amelie should be there. But in the end we settled on close family only: parents, brothers and sisters. Plus the children they can't get babysitters for. It amounted to a guest list of thirteen, but fortunately I'm not superstitious, so - touch wood - it won't bring bad luck to our marriage.

Our trip into town on Sunday the 12th wasn't just to buy purple boots for Amelie. It was to buy wedding shoes for us all. We followed that up with our appointment at the Town Hall on the 14th, where we were questioned separately like something out of 'Green Card', before being shown a folder of poems and asked to choose any we'd like read out at our wedding. I flicked through them all, threw up in a bucket, and said we'd do without.

Having confirmed that I wasn't just marrying Lisa so that she could stay in the country, we then headed to the nearest jewellers to buy the wedding rings. The lady there asked when we were getting married. We said the 30th. She said "Which month?". I'll never forget the look on her face when we told her.

As it transpired, there was a bit of a problem. Apparently I have the dainty, arthritic fingers of an old woman, and to get a man's wedding ring in my size, you generally have to wait three weeks. Presumably for it to be shipped from the warehouse in Lilliput. Fortunately the manager of the shop came up with an ingenious solution. Ordering the right size may take twenty-one days, but resizing a bigger ring takes only ten. And she agreed to do it for free.

So on Saturday the 25th, five days before I-Do-Day, we picked up our rings. Lisa's is 18ct white gold, while I went with palladium. Mainly because it was such a performance to get it. In the meantime, Lisa had managed to source a dress from Coast and pick up a pretty little number for Amelie.

So having practised walking in our shoes for a few days, the only thing left to do was to choose our music. For our entrance, we went with 'The Blower's Daughter' by Damien Rice; for the signing of the register we had 'The Girl I Adore' by The Senators; and for our exit it was '12 Reasons Why I Love Her' by My Life Story. Apparently a couple once chose to exit to the Benny Hill music, so it could have been worse.

By Thursday, Lisa looked more like she was heading for the electric chair than the altar, but despite some last minute nerves, she managed to hold it together, and by the time I'd zipped her into her dress, there was no turning back. Mainly because she still couldn't walk in her shoes. We considered hiring a stretch limo to the Town Hall, but in the end we went with a mini-cab with a broken rear seatbelt. It added an extra frisson of excitement to the journey.

Once there, we met the registrar, confirmed our details, handed over our music, and were told that when we hear it start to play, we can make our entrance at any time. Her exact words were "Take your time - there's no rush - wait until you're ready", so we took our time, didn't rush and were almost ready... when the registrar came running out with a panicked expression on her face to find out where we were. So much for taking our time. It's no wonder we got flustered and sat in the wrong seats.

Anyhoo, the ceremony was actually very nice. By which I mean it was short and we didn't fluff our lines. Lisa struggled to sign her name on the register with a fountain pen (she's more used to crayons), but that aside, it couldn't have gone any better. And we were so wrapped up in our love that we didn't notice Amelie heckling us from the back row.

Having tied the knot and shaken hands with our guests (that didn't take long), we headed outside for the photos. Fortunately we managed to snap a couple of my Dad before he realised he'd left his mobile phone in the car, and left. But the rest of us took our time, and successfully proved that if you take enough pictures, you'll end up with a few you can use.

From there we led the wedding party through the Lanes to the Ha Ha Bar for our Wedding Breakfast. So called because you're too nervous to eat one beforehand. Almost five years ago to the day, we went to the Ha Ha Bar with our good friend Marie. Which made me feel better about not inviting her this time. She can have too much of a good thing.

So we settled down for an enjoyable meal...

... punctuated by occasional screaming from the younger members of our party. I've never seen Amelie so excited. Or so covered in chocolate.

We eventually departed at about 6:30pm, and returned home for the most significant ritual of the day: the changing of Lisa's name on Facebook. I wanted to change my relationship status to 'It's Complicated', but my wife wouldn't let me. So it simply says 'Phil is married to Lisa Gardner'. And it only took six and a half years.


Linda's owner said...

That's SO lovely!!  CONGRATULATIONS to you both!!!  The photos are great and the weather couldn't have been better.
With LOTS of love, Andrew, Stefan and Linda

Dave said...

This is the most romantic thing I've read all week.  I've almost got over not being invited.

A passer-by said...

Many congratulations to you both!  And what a superb photo of Amelie to start this blog.

But I thought palladium was a piece of music by Karl Jenkins!  And who is the little old man picking up dog-ends in the 3rd photo?

Phil's Mum said...

Amelie certainly proved she enjoys weddings.  Hopefully, she won't be as nervous as her Mum when it comes to hers!

Phil said...

Thank you! And I promise that if I ever get married again, you're ALL invited!  :)  

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