Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A Very British Affair

This weeks vacation back in the UK was a lot of good despite Gloucestershire losing its water supply. I really hope if gets restored soon, as just my short stay there proved to be uncomfortable – particularly as my parents had a number of my auntie's visiting. It was excellent to see them again and one of them I had not seen in over twenty years – I plan to go and see them again all next year.

My main reason for heading back to the UK, was a very old and dear friend of mine was getting married. All weddings are unique in their own way, the one I attended this weekend was without doubt the poshest wedding I have been to.

I got a feeling it was going to be something special when on the invite:

Dress Code:

Armed Forces
Please wear number one uniforms with medals and swords.

Civilian
Boys in black tie and ladies in evening dresses

The venue was nothing less than spectacular. The pre-drinks took place in the Royal Fusilier museum and the ceremony took place in the Royal Fusiliers Chapel. Both of these are situated in the Tower of London – my favorite tourist attraction in London and home of the Crown Jewels.

Having a wedding ceremony in such a historic building brings a real sense of occasion and also one of huge curiosity from the masses of tourists enjoying a fine British summer afternoon. The groom as a serving Royal Fusilier was simply able to request the use of the museum and chapel as this there HQ – it all seemed amazingly simple.

The military theme of the wedding and day was prevalent and made for a very formal occasion. Mr Campion who was lucky enough to be an usher (seen below in the kilt)



Commented that in the 'briefing' prior to the wedding for the ushers was done with military precision. It went something like this:

“At 15.45 hours please take your pre-assigned positions and guide the guests to the Chapel. At 16.00 hours we will all collapse to the Chapel for final preparations”

Mr Campion's response (other than “Sir, Yes Sir) was “Collapse at 16.00 hours? I haven't even had anything to drink yet!”

The wedding ceremony was performed by the battalion reverend who at the age of 85 was retiring that day. Suffice to say he was quite a character and I have never heard a sermon before where he described a story where he was told to “F Off”. Larger than life would not even come close to describing him.

The guests who came in full military number outfits provide the guard of honor outside the church for the guests and happy couple to walk through. It certainly was an impressive site:


It also caught a lot of attention from tourists who joined in the round of applause once they “fell out”

After the ceremony we traveled to the TA base of the Royal Artillery. Which was perhaps the most surprising aspect of the day. I walked through the main gate not really sure what to expect – I was then greeted by a very lush looking cricket field accented by the Royal Artillery's freshly polished cannons:



The reception was held in a magnificent oak panelled drawing room with huge portraits of British Monarchs including Queen Elizabeth II. Despite the surroundings the reception was incredibly fun with heartfelt speeches and a lot dancing to the very good live band.

Seeing Maria and James take their first dance and watching the delight they were having summed it all up for me.


I wish you all the very best in your new wedded life together.

2 comments:

Little Penguin said...

and here's me thinking that the fanciest weddings take place at Brent Town Hall..

your friend's wedding looks idyllic.. I can only wish them a happy life ahead of them..

finally, I've found a Brit who lives in dismal Dubai.. i'll be a regular reader!

Regards from London!

rose said...

The wedding looks and feels wonderful to read.

i wish them all the best wishes for married life.

I lOVE the brides dress. Tell it to her from my side.