Okay, right at the outset I'm going to say this: I'm aware that there are potentially discussions to have about the question of gay marriage. One day, I might actually post on that topic. But the time for that was not last weekend, and it's not really now either. This was, and is, about my cousin's day, so I'm going to respect it as such. To that end, while I'm not realy a fan of censorship, I've disabled comments on this post. Sorry.
So, I got back to the UK on Friday morning, at about 10:30. On Sunday, at about 2:30, I was parted from LC once again, got into a car with my parents, and travelled down to the wedding. We were the only three members of the Scottish branch of the family to attend; unfortunately, the schools up here go back earlier than down South, which impacted on most other people. (Indeed, I missed LC's first day of work as a result, which wasn't ideal, but there it is.)
The journey down was... interesting. According to Google Maps, it was a journey of 4 hours and 38 minutes. We got there about 8:30. Still, it was okay, I suppose. We did stop to eat along the way, then abandoned our first choice of services, stopped again later, regretted that we hadn't stayed at the first place, and reluctantly dined at Burger King. It wasn't the best - especially when we reached the hotel, Dad saw the menu, and commented that he felt the hotel restaurant would have been a good choice, looking both good quality and not bad price. (Yes, I know. I was shocked too.)
We stayed in the Premier Inn at Harmer Hill, which I think was once a family hotel that has since been bought over/converted to become a PI. Which was fine - it was pretty much as expected from the chain, complete with the Good Night's Sleep guarantee. I had no complaints, and even my parents were duly impressed. (Yes, I know. I was shocked too.)
During the journey down, it occurred to me that I didn't recall putting my cufflinks in my bag. I knew I'd put them beside the bag to go in, but didn't recall them actually being packed. LC then confirmed that they had been left behind, and so alternate arrangements had to be made (which reminds me - must send the borrowed ones back to M). However, this proved to be the less embarrassing wardrobe issue, as a certain person had to rush off to buy a new suit due to a trouser shortfall...
So, Dad returned to the hotel, dressed in about five minutes, and then we piled into the car. He then set off at high speed - so fast, in fact, that I didn't have the time to get the directions aligned and we missed the vital turn. Oops. Fortunately, I had somehow remembered my book of maps, and was thus able to navigate us to the appropriate place. Which was lucky, really.
The weeding took place at Rowton Castle:
It was a lovely, sunny day, so there was a gathering of the family in the grounds outside, and then again just within the castle. And then came the time for the ceremony.
At this point I wasn't sure what to expect. This was, after all, the first civil partnership I had attended, so what was it to be? What would they wear? What was the terminology? I mean, I didn't want to ask, but I was understandably curious.
Well, it turned out that, regardless of the technicalities, it was basically a wedding. So, there were several bridesmaids, each of the couple had two "best persons" (Katie had two best women, while Bex had a best woman and best man), and so forth. Also, the couple were referred to, almost exclusively, as "Katie and Bex" (or "Katie and Rebecca" where appropriate), which was a good choice.
For their part, Bex wore a fairly traditional dress, being a bluish silver and strapless, while Katie wore a pantsuit with a huge velvet jacket festooned with buttons in a nautical style. It suited her entirely, conveying exactly the whimsy that we've come to expect from Katie:
(Sorry, not the best photo, just the best that I took. I was using my phone, and hadn't quite got to grips with how best to use it.)
The ceremony was short and sweet, and then it was outside for mingling, for photos, and for the single greatest idea in the history if ice creams:
Yes, it's true - the ice creams were both larger than the entire wedding party, and they had the ability to turn you into a giant so that they were smaller than your thumb! Isn't that amazing?
The rest of the day was more or less as would be expected - there was some mingling, then the meal (chicken, or maybe turkey, and potato salad to start, roast beef for main, and then a brownie and cream for dessert), and then the first dance and disco.
During the afternoon, I was asked if I would pipe the couple in to the top table. I was, of course, delighted to do so, although I was initially a little concerned - I didn't want to force myself into their day, but my Dad had mentioned to Katie's Dad, and then Katie asked me. But I checked, and they were absolutely delighted that I play, so... huzzah!
Amusingly, while I was tuning up, it was noted that the cows in the field stopped what they were doing and appeared intrigued. Actully, while I was in the car park, I noticed this was the case, and had been a bit concerned lest they suddenly stampede. But all was well. In fact, I'm sure I noticed a few cows with cameras, so I can only conclude that I've now been tagged on photos on the cow social network, Facemoo. (Actually, that would be my second appearance on Facemoo, as I'm also the genius behind that famed mini-game "Is the Grass Always Greener?")
(For the record, LC laughed at both those jokes, so I'm taking that as authorisation to use them.)
And that was more or less it. We left the hotel about 11:30, after Grandma turned in for the night. And we travelled home the next day, just in time to attend young nephew P's birthday party. Because, of course, the adventure never really ends.