The ceremony is quite literally, the main event of the day. The bit that most people feel the most nervous about. I can honestly say in my heart of hearts, that I did not feel remotely nervous about walking down the aisle towards Mr H.
I couldn’t have been looking forward to it more. What was strange, however, and especially so given my background in drama, is that the closer the wedding drew, the less I looked forward to having ‘all eyes on me’, so to speak. Perhaps I’m getting stage fright as I age.
When at last every hair was in place and every lip and cheek rouged, my delightful bridal party and I made our way, on foot, to the Rochester Guildhall for the ceremony. We couldn’t have been more blessed with the weather!
As with all of these wedding posts, these amazing photographs are by Hector of We Heart Pictures.
A dear friend of ours was married in our town a couple of years ago, and she mentioned that her favourite part of the day was walking along the High Street, with people congratulating her. I now know the feeling, and it truly is wonderful.
Having arrived 20 minutes late, my dear father thought it would be hilarious to tell me that we were ‘way beyond fashionably late’. Thanks Dad.
We climbed the stairs and loitered attractively in the anteroom while the registrar ran through some last minute details with me.
Mr H and his family were already in the main chamber, and I really adore these candid shots of them, and our lovely nephew R entertaining his grandparents in the corner!
My Dad is notoriously hot, and this photo of my sister cooling him down is one of my favourites from the whole day. There’s a palpable sense of anticipation, don’t you think?
We’re not allowed confetti in Rochester, and so we improvised with ribbon sticks for our guests to wave in our faces in a celebratory manner. They were a hit with the kids, and continue to be a hit with many of the cats in the Rochester area, I’m told!
Mr H made a little wedding zine, which included the order of the day, some of our family history, the story behind our wedding rings – mine is antique, his is a family heirloom sized down from Z+1 to an R – as well as our decision to use my maiden name as our family name. We wanted to share these stories with our guests on the day, and they are now a lasting keepsake.
Before too long, the bridal crew were gathering on the small stairwell, waiting to enter. My bouquet was in one arm, with the other was tucked firmly in the crook of my father’s. I had time for perhaps one deep breath, before we were off down the aisle!
I approached the whole being ‘given away’ with a lot of thought. I don’t particularly like the historical connotations, and Mr H and I both liked the idea of walking in together. But at the end of the day, I very rarely get to share such special moments with my Dad, and so I am so pleased that we made the traditional decision. I have no regrets.
A sneaky wink – I have no recollection of doing this, but it’s a wonderful moment nevertheless!
We were lucky enough to have two readings by wonderful friends. The first was Habitation, by Margaret Atwood, read by my dear friend E. I couldn’t have asked for better! The second was an extract from the essay Knowing What’s Nice, by Kurt Vonnegut. I’ll link to both here for posterity
By the time you reach the top of the aisle, some little gremlin grabs all the clocks in the world and starts spinning the hands faster – the time absolutely flies.
Before I knew it, we were saying our vows to one another, the vows we wrote together:
I promise to love and cherish the life we build together.
I will care for you, and help you to be the best person you can be.
I will enjoy you when it’s easy, and be loyal when it’s not.
This commitment I make to you for the rest of my life.
There was the obligatory stumbling over certain words and names, but it was all heartfelt and full of love.
I felt very conscious of what I was doing, and I suppose the seriousness of the matter prevented me from getting choked up – I was fully expecting to be a sobbing mess, but instead some serene goddess replaced me! It felt like my voice was very loud. “Clear”, people said, “Your voice was very clear”, and that means loud. Ho hum.
Rings were presented, and a with momentary panic about swollen knuckles, exchanged. Then we were married!
Maximum ribbon stick action!