Well now, where did we get to...?
Oh, yes, walking out as Mr and Mrs Toon. Kristina greeted us with a glass of champagne each, which I managed to juggle (slightly) with the dress and flowers, and we were then whisked off to the grounds to start the round of photographs. I did manage to get about a sip of my champagne down me! (and therewith began the event known as "waving alcohol in front of Jo but not letting her drink it..." Which was actually a good thing, meaning that by the time I got to the wedding breakfast, I was still completely sober, and, after about half a glass of red wine, not actually wanting any more drink. Unlike the reports of the other bride partying at Tortworth that day, who, half way through her wedding breakfast, was falling under the table...)
The photographs were tremendous fun (although I understand less so for John, who spent most of them with one foot on the step below the other, meaning that his leg muscles were whacked by the end!). We had all of the traditional photos (family and friends groups) - a little bit embarrasing that my family pretty much filled the stone stairs we were using, but John's was just a little cluster! We did the throwing of the bouquet, and I'm pleased to say that the person who is getting married next managed to catch it :-) (no, not planned that way - I couldn't see a thing behind me!)
After the group photos, and the pair photos (me and John, me and my father with Lorna), I was taken off by the photographer to have some solo photos done. These were rather fun, and most with the aim of showing off the dress (and avoiding all the cars in the car park!) We'd just come to the last couple, when Daddy came out of the building to say that "Cook says if we don't get the receiving line done now, then we aren't going to get to eat!" Of course, without a watch on, I hadn't noticed time flying past...
We headed through to the atrium where everyone had gathered for a drink, and then Tony said "we just need a photo of you cutting the cake." So John and I disappeared into the wedding breakfast room and posed with the knife whilst Tony snapped away. Finally he was happy with the results, and we went back out for the receiving line.
Barbara was amazing at this point - she knew that we were running up against our time, and, without seeming to hurry anybody, got everyone announced and through in double quick time! Everyone took their seats, and we waited outside the room (to the consternation of at least one guest who saw the doors being shut in front of us) for Barbara to announce us. Then a procession around the room to our seats, and I discovered that it is very awkward to hold a huge train out of the way whilst someone else moves a seat for you :-) We managed it without anything nasty happening to the dress, or it being inadvertantly caught and shortened so that I couldn't move (which has happened to me in shorter dresses than that!)
The food was brought out quickly and efficiently - I rather enjoyed the fact that the waiting staff lined up behind us and all stepped forwards to put our plates on the table at the same time. The food was truely delicious - I'm just rather sad that the adrenalin was still pumping round my system, and I was unable to each most of it (I managed the light starter and dessert, but the main course completely defeated me).
After the food, and the cutting of the cake (well the pushing the knife into the bottom layer, and discovering that there was a very thick rind of the cake...), the speeches!
My father started the proceedings, and, given that he is a management consultant, he did his speech with the aid of a powerpoint presentation (including embedded sound of me doing a church reading when I was 5 years old...) Many references to the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and a very funny (if occasionally embarrasing) speech set a very high benchmark for John and Paul to follow.
John's speech was short, sweet and lighthearted :-) He had his list of people to thank, and followed it up with the lovely story of how we met. He finished by giving me a gorgeous ring - a family heirloom.
Paul's best man speech was very funny - stories of himself and John at school, and finishing up with two brilliant pieces of advice: (1) The best way to remember your anniversary is to forget it once; (2) Always remember those three important little words: "You're right, dear."
The formal proceedings nearly over, there was just one little speech left, which was a lovely one from Barbara - she went through the traditional wedding poem (Something Old (the husband); Something New (the dress); Something Borrowed (the tiara); Something Blue (I was stumped here, but she told me to say my knickers....)), and then said that it traditionally concluded with "And a sixpence for her shoe". She then gave me (in a shiny blue box) a sixpence (that I didn't put into my shoe - they were far too comfortable for that!)
We then headed out of the Westminster Suite, to allow the staff to reset the room and the band to set up, and into the Atrium, where they were serving more drinks, and where the evening guests were arriving.
And, once more, I shall pause here, because I'm on another two pages in Word, and I don't want people to have to scroll too far! One more leg to go, and then the Honeymoon...