Wedding number two was back in Blighty. Yes, I wanted it all, and that meant asking everyone to fly home to Sussex so that we could do the whole thing again. This time with people we actually know and love.
I had my heart set on a beautiful field overlooking the valley. A place where I spent my formative years, hanging out with orphan lambs and helping the farmer with his daily rounds. Bless that man, he agreed the field was ours for the evening and so the marquee was placed just perfectly. When you have decided something at 14 it's hard to let others persuade you that the field behind the local pub is a genuine option....as perfectly situated as it is for the bar.
Little Sister and I spent the night before in the exquisite George Hotel in Rye and we awoke the next morning raring to go. We had champagne and glamourous photos depicting every flower-filled elegant 'getting ready' moment.
My father arrived to collect me and we walked up to the Town Hall ready for the big moment. Pleased to confirm that The Man had indeed arrived and save getting his date of birth wrong, succeeded in answering all his questions from Hawk Eye registrar lady.
It was a glorious ceremony filled with love and good wishes. Appropriately short at a mere 30 mins we had classical music, some excellent readings by various siblings (including a reading of the lyrics of 'Dance Me To The End of Love') by Big Sister.
I insisted on a wedding car to take us to the reception. Yeah um thanks for the offer of the lift in the back of the car but I'll fork out the £150 quid for the vintage Daimler thanks. So in we climbed and wound the windows down, basking in the most glorious summer day. Warm with a breeze. We just looked at each other and grinned in happiness. Great gig all round.
The reception, in that glorious field, was in a marquee decorated with 120 metres of handmade bunting which I had slaved over for the preceeding months. I was a woman possessed. Happily it now adorns the ceiling of the Red Lion - my favourite pub in the whole world.
We had pimms and early evening chit chat before a feast of potted shrimp, pate and crusty bread followed by a hog roast with all the delicious trimmings, completed with summer fruits and thick cream. All catered by Gary and Lindsay from The Lion - just divine. The wedding 'cake' was an amazing display of cheese, lovingly chosen by the parents and decorated with fruits and flowers. Little Sister was miffed as she wanted cake but sucks. It's my wedding.
Next it was time for a country dancing band that was frankly a little ambitious with its expectations regarding guest competence. But hey ho, luckily by then enough had been drunk (free bar essential) to get people up and giving it a bash. Finally Gary and his band got up and performed some great rock and roll numbers to dance the night away. Guests were last seen staggering into the night, aided by the flickering of the tiki torches brought all the way from Malaysia (to the evident delight of the fellow at oversized baggage at KL Airport). In fact at 2.30am I am led to understand that some guests were questioned by the police as to why they were walking in convoy up the main road of my village holding said torches aloft.
The man and I finally zipped up the tent at about 3 and bless him, one of the young waiters gave us a lift back to the hotel for £50 and a bottle of prosecco. Damn, I forgot to order the taxi.