I spent the night before the wedding at my parents', having been given strict instruction not to drive anywhere on the day. My day therefore started at around 7am, when I woke up after a decent, if short, night's sleep. There then followed a quick breakfast of near-Frosties, followed by a short walk. I offered to get the papers at this time, but that was a cover for one of my secret missions, that I'm not going to tell you about. (!)
Oh, yes... I've been given instruction that I have to mention the balloons. There were balloons all around the house, celebrating the wedding.
Shortly thereafter, G (the best man) and I had an early lunch. I had chicken soup; he had beans. And then, later than anticipated, we proceeded to start getting ready. Still, up to this point everything was nice and relaxed.
Unfortunately, this was the point where the stress started. See, I was wearing a plaid on the day, which is not something I've worn often in the past. And while I know how to put it on, I don't know how to put it on myself, only other people. The other person I know who does know is Captain Ric... and he wasn't there.
I made the mistake of asking Mum to help, precipitating a panic just when we needed to be leaving. Oops. Still, after a failed attempt to pin the thing on, I took the executive decision to leave... and we went.
About two minutes after arriving at the church, the plaid was properly attached. (It turned out to be inside out, but we fixed that soon enough.) I proceeded to hand out some gifts to our ushers and musicians, and spent some time generally getting in the way. I spoke to a couple of arriving guests, had some photos taken, and then was taken into the church to wait for the arrival of my bride.
(Naturally, my parents then arrived just after I had to go inside, which led to some rushing about getting some more photos taken, but that's not too important.)
The waiting was quite difficult. I really don't like waiting, and while I wasn't particularly nervous as such, I was really keen to get started. Shortly after the appointed hour, we received word that Lady Chocolat had arrived, and G and I moved to the front of the church, while the minister went to greet my bride-to-be...
At this point, I think I'll pause, and introduce the cast of the day. Obviously, I was the lead actor, being Kilt/Man and/or Steph/ven, your intrepid blogger and the groom. Lead actress is Lady Chocolat, my nemesis and fiancee (later bride). The Best Man was G, my youngest brother, while Captain Ric was the piper. The minister is A (of the A-team), the third brother. LC's bridesmaids are L and L, one her cousin and the other the daughter of her god-mother. Finally, the very lovely flower girl was SJ, our neice.
Anyway, it was time. A moved back to the front of the church and asked the congregation to stand, Captain Ric struck up with Highland Cathedral, and it was time to finally see the dress.
Lady Chocolat was wearing a very lovely ivory dress with little crystals sewn in. She wore a long veil with further crystals, which gave the effect that when the light hit her she glowed. The dress also featured a certain amount of corsetry, which further narrowed her already small waist, which meant she seemed tiny. Awesome.
So, Lady Chocolat made her way down the aisle, preceded by her bridesmaids and the flower girl, and accompanied by a very emotional father. At the front, she joined a groom who was grinning like a madman.
The first hymn was "Be Thou My Vision", and then came the wedding ceremony itself. Fortunately, I remembered the correct name (which was not Lady Chocolat!). So, that was one of three worries in the past. Huzzah!
And then A declared us married (Huzzah!), and I kissed the bride (Huzzah!). Seriously, it was just like that - blink and you'd miss it.
There was then the reading of a Sonnet (116), read by one of LC's school friends. And then it was time for the second hymn.
The second hymn was "Blessed Be Your Name", which I had initially been a little unsure of, but which was awesome. The whole church was filled, and it was just joyous.
A then bade us sit, and CJ (SJ's mum, and A's twin sister) read from Romans (8: 28-39), after which A proceeded with his address. I must confess, I don't really remember too much of the proceedings at this point, as I was too overwhelmed by it all. Fortunately, I've got a file with the order of events on my PC, so don't need to remember too closely!
There was then a prayer by another friend of ours, and then the third and final hymn, "Great is Thy Faithfulness". And then we went back to sign the register. While this was being done, one of our friends (who was also an usher on the day) sang for the entertainment of the crowd. By all accounts, he was awesome.
The recessional had been a subject of some debate for some time, as my suggestion had originally been thought too controversial. But Lady Chocolat then came around to the idea, and her parents had been okay with it, so...
The tune was "Throne Room", by John Williams, which is familiar from the end of Star Wars. It was played on the church organ by a friend of LC's Dad. And it was awesome! We especially got a kick out of that moment when everyone realised what exactly it was, and the laugh went around the church. And, of course, we had timed our entrance to match that scene from the film...
And that was it, we were out. The end.
Only not, of course. We headed out for a great many photos with many, many people. In this picture here, from left to right, we have LC's brother, her cousin, the best man, me, LC herself, one of the ushers (the singer), the flower girl, her other bridesmaid, and the second usher. I quite like that photo!
From the church we then went to the Colzium estate for more photos (ditching everyone else), and then went from there to the Inchyra Grange where the reception was to be held. It is symbolic of just how spectacularly lucky we were that day that the instant we got into the car for the Incyra, having taken the last photo, the first drops of rain fell in the only shower of the day. It stopped just before we got to the hotel.
Oh, and we got to ride around in this:
Nice, isn't it?
Of course, by this time we were running very late. Still, that was okay - we got to the hotel, and went more or less straight in to dinner. And then the nerves started again, just a little...
See, I had written a speech. But I wasn't really happy with it. The first draft had said everything I wanted, but had clocked in at 20 minutes, which was far too long. Several rewrites had got it down to 9 minutes 40 seconds, but that was still rather long and missed out quite a lot. Plus, I was rather unsure of how to follow up LC's dad, who might well burst into poetry...
The meal was great. The soup was roasted red pepper and tomato (just the thing when wearing white!), then the main was a choice of chicken stuffed with haggis or roast beef, and then the dessert was a raspberry cranachan. Yum!
Anyway, then the speeches. The poetry proceeded exactly as I had foreseen. And now it was my turn.
I had printed out my almost-last draft of the speech and I had it in my pocket. I had meant to do some cue cards, but in the end I decided to go for it unaided. Speeches are generally better that way, I've found...
Well, I needn't have worried, because the speech was fine. Better than fine, in fact. I was able to adjust my pacing to the mood of the crowd, and beefed up the "thanks" part of the speech a bit more than in that last draft, which I found more satisfying than my scripted version. Nobody seemed bored, the crowd responded at all the right points, and just as I'd hoped. Basically, it couldn't have gone better.
The best man's speech was good, too. So, three speeches, and all went down well. Huzzah!
And then, the wait... But the wait wasn't quite just a case of sitting around for the hall to be changed around. And a good thing, too, because that took longer than expected. Instead, I had asked my pipe band to come, and to play for us. So they came, they played, and they were excellent.
And while all this was going on, LC and I checked in to the hotel, the photographers got almost their last photos, and we met huge numbers of people. Good times. (Naturally, I didn't get to speak to as many people as I would have liked, nor to speak to anyone for as long as I would have liked.)
And then, finally, it was time for the third worry of the day - the first dance. And, because I don't do things by halves, we of course had something special planned...
The music was "Caledonia" by Skerryvore. It was a waltz. And, inspired by our friends Scott and Jen, and Chris and Cheryl, LC and I had sought out the services of a dance instructor, and prepared something special. Only to discover that LC's ability to move while wearing that dress was rather constrained! Oops.
Still, it went extremely well. I especially liked the applause that met the dip. I wasn't quite so keen when I made the same mis-step as had dogged us all through our rehearsals, but we got away with it. And before long, we'd reached the instrumental, and the wedding party joined us...
The rest of the night was mostly ceilidh, with just a little disco to round things off. We didn't have as much dancing as we'd originally planned, but what we did have was great. And, to be honest, I think that by the end most people had had enough anyway.
I only danced two ceilidh dances after the first, as LC couldn't really move in her dress. So, one of the two was with a friend of LC's, while the other was with CJ.
And then it was time to go. Our revels were ended, the band had finished, the party was breaking up. We retired to our room. And then...
I had to go back down, because LC had forgotten her purse, which contained the contact lens solution that she desperately needed!
This has, frankly, been a rather functional recital of events. There's just too much from the day to recount it all in a decent length. But the day was, simply put, legendary. It was absolutely perfect, from start to finish. I loved every minute of it. And, from what I've heard from people, everyone else had a really good time.
I don't really have any more words, so I'll finish up now. I'll leave you with one more picture of my beloved: