Sunday, June 29

A Weekend Wedding in Wales

I love weddings away from home. It's like having a specific reason for going away, a holiday with a party to boot. And this weekend a bunch of us were whisked away to the far reaches of Pembrokeshire for the marriage ceremony of a close friend.

Even though some of us were there since Thursday, the weekend was still a blur. As one of the ushers most of Friday was taken up with helping set things up, rehearsing ceremonies and buying last minute items, although this really just consisted of me taking up a passenger seat as the couple-to-be drove around nailing the little details while creating brand new ones. I wonder if I'll be as stressed in the same situation?

Despite being as in the sticks as you could possibly be (Pembrokeshire is almost as far west from London as you can be - to get there you head west and keep going until you run out of road), I managed to find a mosque in which to perform Jummah in. This was a relief since I'd have had to go to Swansea or even Cardiff otherwise! There really is a mosque anywhere you'd want one in the UK.

Quite considerately the bride and groom to be had provided accommodation for the latter's side to stay in while in Wales. This was largely the same lot I had gone to Bangladesh with (and then for another couple of weddings), and so it was great to be out and about with them once more, albeit 4 years later; it was amazing how different, yet unchanged we all were. There were 25 of us in all, each bonding and developing our own individual relationships with one another; we didn't even end up becoming bored or irritated by each other by the end of the trip as so often is the case (although that may have just been because it all happened so quickly).

The wedding proper was on Saturday. It was a traditional baptist affair with a church, minister and hymns - it was very different from the Greek Orthodox wedding I had attended almost a decade ago in that the guests were expected to participate much more. It was a lot of fun - the hymns took me back to primary school, and it was pretty moving witnessing the couple exchange vows. The minister's address even got a bit heated up (let's just say an analogy was made between men and women and gas and electric cookers).

After the church we headed to Picton Castle for the reception. This bit wasn't that much different from other receptions I've been too - there was an awesome meal, various speeches and a dance floor that got some good use due to the excellent live band that was playing. My elevated status of usher meant I was to wear a fancy top hat and tails throughout, although I had made sure to bring a pair of trainers for this latter part (and I was the only one not to be complaining about throbbing feet the day after). Mercifully the weather held out - the days either side of Saturday were perfect for ducks - and the party went on till late. It was absolutely brilliant; I know this because I was still happy the next day as I got out of bed.

But we did have to get up early since the cottage we were staying in was to play venue to a garden party for the guests who couldn't make it the day before. The pressure was now on us to make the place as presentable as it had been when we arrived! Of course we managed this and the party itself went off without a hitch, with food almost as good as that from the day before.

As is the case with all these things, the end felt that it had arrived way too quickly. Most of us headed off to London around 4pm for the five hour drive back, missing the whole thing as soon as we sat in our cars. Looking back, the weekend was definitely lacking a wind down phase. Still it was a brilliant couple of days, the only regrets being that it wasn't long enough and that the actual nuptials distracted me from enjoying Wales itself. Heck it was even worth missing the European Cup Final for.

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