I'm rather fond of Hitchin. Any small town that can produce a pink bra in my size at 9.15 am on a Saturday morning is worth a visit. I felt as if I were in Europe; the sun shone on the square, cafe owners were laying out their tables and chairs, there was a market and an ancient church. But I wasn't on holiday, it was my daughter's wedding day and the bra-hunt plus dragging my husband away from further work on his speech made us late arriving in Royston for the hair and make-up session. It is every bride's privilege to be nervous and stressed. It is a parent's duty to protect their daughter from stress On Her Wedding Day. Enough said.
To avoid any further parent-induced anxiety, The Bride and her father set off too early for the wedding and spent half an hour waiting in a lay-by in the Rolls Royce, while the rest of us, including the groom, gathered in hushed anticipation at Hitchin Priory Hotel for her imminent arrival.
The magic of a wedding is the suspension of belief, when a young woman who only hours before wore jeans, appears in front of her friends and family like a vision from an Edwardian watercolour. As she walked down the aisle my heart ended up in my throat. I found the honest words of the civil ceremony powerful.
Once the wedding ceremony was over, the rest of the day wound down through various stages of relaxation. After the photographs, most of the guests could relax. After the speeches, the key players could relax, once the first dance was over, The Bride and her new husband could finally relax. At the end of the day, when we released magic lanterns, everyone was relaxed, tired and possibly somewhat 'emotional'.
The Bride's father's speech showed the effort he had made but there was a moment of panic when after ten minutes he had only spoken of her first year. The guests exchanged anxious, sideways glances; there were thirty years still to be covered. Luckily, his precis skills redeemed the intervening period.
My favourite moments were a speech by The Bride, where she included a poem by Joyce Grenfell which I will try to post on my next blog, my first glass of champagne and watching my husband produce her baby wellington boots from his pocket. I loved the sunshine, the green parkland, the spring flowers and embraced her four grandparents who had faced a long and difficult journey to be there. The day was solemn, yet graced with humour; the couple walked back down the aisle to Abba's 'Waterloo' and their first dance was to the Eastenders theme tune. Like every MotB, I was filled with pride and joy for her, her new husband and their brothers and friends who cared for and supported them through the day. But like every MotB there was also a quiet moment of regret for the years that have passed.