Story of the day

The day started bright and early, in two camps. The Knight family drove to Skilton Road, home of James' parents, to get ready. On the way they stopped near Blewbury to photograph the sunrise. Meanwhile, James went with Dave to the home of his best man. The bride got ready while the groom and his attendants assembled at the church and argued with Direct Line. At times like this it is extremely important to remain calm.

We started the service a few minutes late. At about ten past twelve the bride walked through the door, looking like a vision from heaven (the groom's words!). Our minister , the Rev. Ann Barton, conducted the service, while Anne Fellows - wife of previous minister Ric - did the prayers. Readings were ably handled by our friends Beth and Kirsten, and three of the young people from the church assisted the organist with some of the hymns. The vows were the epitome of serious joy, but we managed a nuzzle during the otherwise-restrained kiss.

The rest of the service ran as follows -

Processional: Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring
Hymns: Great Is Thy Faithfulness
  And Can It Be
  My Jesus, My Saviour (Shout to the Lord)
  In Christ Alone
Readings: I Corinthians - Street Bible edition
  Extract from The Velveteen Rabbit
Recessional: All Time High (theme from Octopussy)
We trooped out of the church - the groom failing to avoid looking smug - and then trooped back in again for the enormous group photo, taken from the top of the balcony. I don't know how Richard Hanson did it. There were nearly two hundred people, and somehow we managed to crowd them all into the bottom half of the church, breaking all fire regulations in the process, but with great results.
Outside in the park, we assembled for an hour of group shots. It got hard to smile after a while - your face starts to ache - but most people got to appear on camera, and it didn't rain. Meanwhile, in the church Ruth Lownsbrough and her team served refreshments, while her husband Richard trooped around getting people to record video messages. There was also a big umbrella to sign and a PowerPoint slideshow of photos taken over the last eighteen months or so.
After copious amounts of confetti, we left for the reception at the Comfort Inn, where people milled around in the bar for a while before taking their seats. We'd adopted a Trumptonshire theme, and each table took its name after a place in Camberwick Green, Trumpton or Chigley - with Treddles Wharf, Chippy Minton's workshop and Mr Carraway's Fishmonger all making a welcome appearance. (The top table was Colley's Mill, with an actual-size statue of Windy Miller as its mascot.)
We dined on pate, turkey and cheesecake, or the vegetarian equivalents, and then it was time for speeches: Mr Knight, who spoke of King's Cross and Winnie The Pooh; Mrs Knight, who delivered a bracing poem on the dangerous subject of leaving the bathroom door unlocked; and then the groom - joined by his bride. (For the record, the groom's speech is easy. You stand up, say "My wife and I", everyone applauds, you reel off a list of people to thank, give out some flowers, and then sit down again.) Finally, it was the Best Man's turn: suffice to say that Jon did us all proud with his thoughtful rendition of the time James had a tantrum in a supermarket because his mother wouldn't buy any pet food for the imaginary cat.
After dinner, we cleared the room and then had the first set of open mic items - songs from people at church (including a lovely rendition of S'wonderful, as performed by Annie Owen) and the results of the quiz. Eventually the bride and groom took to the floor for their first dance. Initially intended to be something suave, sophisticated and romantic, we decided a few months before the wedding that it would be more fun to just dance to Teletubbies instead. Emily handled the choreography, and we were joined halfway through the song by Alice Owen (who managed to outperform both of us).
The rest of the evening consisted of dancing, drinking and generally making merry. The bride and groom did a slightly tongue-in-cheek version of REO Speedwagon's 'Can't Fight This Feeling', and the ceilidh band - the cheerily named Wheelwrights Bane - performed a rousing set of dances that filled the floor to the end. The whole thing drew to a close at midnight, although actually getting to bed took quite a bit longer.

The next morning the hotel guests were given an early morning alarm call - courtesy of the wailing klaxon that is the fire alarm, which had been set off by steam from someone's 8 a.m. shower. After breakfast we were driven down to Heathrow, where we caught an early afternoon plane to Milan for a two-week honeymoon. Our luggage was full of confetti, thanks to the efforts of various family members, and we were picking it out of our bags for the entire fortnight. Still, at least it got us free champagne on the flight….

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