Yup, August would appear to be the month for weddings.
This time, it was the turn of one of my friends from university: nice girl called Hannah, who was marrying an equally nice guy called Keith.
Hannah's family is Roman Catholic, so the wedding was held in the Catholic church where she was baptized as a child. It's a really pretty little village church with a thatched roof. I'd never seen a church quite like it before.
Hannah arrived in a horse-drawn carriage. Classiest entrance ever.
I've never been to a Catholic service before. It was very different from what I'm used to. It was read straight out of an order of service; the priest read the service word-for-word.
The weather kept fine, so there was ample time for photographs after the service. There were a lot of photographs. Standing outside in the sunshine in a jacket and tie got oppressive after a while. Goodness knows how uncomfortable the wedding party were, in their top hats, waistcoats and tailcoats!
My friend Chris gave me a lift from the church to the reception in his sports car. Bombing up the A2 in an open-top Lotus is an experience.
The reception was held at a local mansion house. In the past, it was probably owned by someone with a name like "Marquis St. John-Smythe XIV". Nowadays, it seems to be used exclusively for functions like wedding receptions.
I lost one of my cufflinks, which was bad. But I found it again, which was good.
The meal was very good. The first course was a fish course; there's something disconcerting about having a whole prawn staring up at you from the plate. Tasted good, once I'd figured out how to get into it... The main course was chicken in mushroom sauce; the dessert was strawberries. And the wedding cake was chocolate, not the traditional fruit cake, 'coz Hannah doesn't like fruit cake.
The best man's speech was a bit poor. He took the now all-too-common "let's dredge up a load of anecdotes from the groom's past and embarrass him" route. So poor Keith had to sit there and blush for ten minutes. On top of that, he spoke indistinctly.
A fair few of my friends and I are teetotallers, so we toasted the bride and groom with mineral water.
A book was passed around for the guests to write congratulatory messages to the bride and groom. My friends and I wrote a silly BASIC program that, if typed in and run, would print "CONGRATULATIONS HANNAH AND KEITH" in an infinite loop, and had our names as REM statements. Yup, we're a sad bunch of nerds alright
There was a dance in the evening. (No, I didn't dance. Don't you know me at all?!) Some more friends from uni who just had evening invitations arrived. I hadn't seen some of these people for two years (since the last uni wedding, in fact), and it was really great to see them all again. It took a few seconds for us all to revert to "silly university mode"
At around 22:30, some of us decided to get away from the (very loud) band for a while, so we went out to explore the grounds of the mansion. In the darkness. With only the light of the moon, the security lights, a small torch and the "headlight" on Paula's wheelchair. And then the digital cameras came out. And it all got very silly. Maybe it's best that we only meet up every couple of years
Hannah and Keith departed just after 23:00. They're honeymooning in Egypt. I hope they have a good trip, and are very happy together as husband and wife. They're both Great, and deserve every happiness.