First of 3 posts about our recent trip to England
“We can’t go.”
Our friends James & Kara had invited us to their wedding — in an English castle, no less, near James’ hometown of Chester. But our finances basically forbid us even considering it.
When I texted James we couldn’t make it, he said he understood but felt “gutted.” That’s when I knew we would go.
We simply could not afford to go — but we couldn’t afford to bypass this opportunity either. When else would we ever get a chance to sleep in an English castle?
So of course, we went — and added a side excursion to London to round out our trip.
Words cannot adequately portray their beautiful, fairy-tale wedding. I’d known James about 5 years and knew him to be a hopeless romantic at heart, and this wedding lived up to every bit of its promise. Nothing could stop this celebration of love coming together. When Kara & James met the vicar lined up to officiate the ceremony, they disliked him enough that they fired him and asked their friend, Aaron, to take over the ceremony instead.
Suffice it to say the ceremony was short and simple and appropriately romantic for the setting — complete with a poem about two dinosaurs falling in love! Aaron carried out his duties smoothly and professionally amidst happy sniffling and tears in many eyes in the hall.
After the ceremony, we adjourned to the lawn for a birding exhibition.
The falconer showed us three beautiful birds one at a time, starting with a barn owl, then a hawk and finally a larger owl. With each bird, he would describe certain features which aided these birds of prey in securing their food. As he talked, he would circle behind people in the crowd while the bird waited on a perch on the lawn. Then, he would call the bird which then swooped over us close enough to brush our heads with their wings as they flew past.
After the exhibition, the falconer gave his glove to Kara so she could hold one of the birds — which looked nearly half as big as she was! I was busy watching the exhibition and took no photos of the birds. Thank goodness Sara snapped this shot of the bride with one of the birds.
Back inside a little while later, the reception was warm & welcoming with marvelous food (not sure why British food gets a bum rap) and camaraderie. The Best Man’s toast was a splendid exercise in revealing embarrassing moments in James’ past — which he had specifically asked not be mentioned. I will not repeat any of these hilarious bits here for my friends’ sake — both Kara and James alike. Let’s just say: you shoulda been there.
As promised in the original invitation, dinner was followed by “awkward but enthusiastic dancing,” though Kara & James’ First Dance was really quite lovely and touching.
I was pretty much primed & ready, so while I may not have been the first one out on the dance floor, I jumped in pretty quickly afterwards, managing to execute both “awkward” and “enthusiastic” aspects of the dancing quite handily.
Shall we say a good time was had by all? Yes, indeed.
And the less said about my drunken faceplant late in the night going to bed the better.
Next: To the Tower!