I’ve never been married, but after attending many over the years as a guest or as part of a string quartet, I have a decent idea of the sort of wedding I would like.
Picture this: a Christmas theme, held in a beautiful hotel in the countryside, with lots of candlelight, a simple ceremony and beautiful food, celebrated with a small group of our closest family and friends.
It turns out, one of my oldest and dearest friends, Charlotte and her partner John, clearly have similar tastes, and The Bloke and I have just returned from one of the most stunning weddings we have ever attended.
Charlotte, or Charlie as she is usually known, is a friend from university, and while we have only seen each other in person a handful of times since we graduated, we talk on the phone regularly and over the years she’s been an absolute rock. She’s been through a lot, and I’ve always admired her for her strength and ability to carry on amidst the various challenges that have been thrown at her.
A few years ago, after being single for a while, she met John, a pilot in the RAF, and it didn’t take long to realise that this was it. Within eighteen months they had bought a house and moved in together, and during a trip to Thailand John had proposed, and they’ve planned their wedding in just a few months.
It was held at Bibury Court, a Jacobean mansion (built in the 1600’s) in the beautiful town of Bibury in the Cotswolds. It’s renowned for it’s beauty, so much so that it has regularly been used in Hollywood films (Bridget Jones and Stardust to name a few), and even though I grew up in the countryside I have to admit that I was overwhelmed with how gorgeous it was, even in the dull and grey weather.
True to form, The Bloke and I arrived ridiculously early, to find the wedding party sitting down to breakfast. To avoid disturbing them, we decided to explore the grounds…
After they had finished, we checked into our room, relaxed and watched some TV, and then got ready for the ceremony that was being held in one of the rooms downstairs. As John is in the RAF, he and his friends were dressed in full military uniform (complete with swords), and the guests looked beautiful.
This is a summary of the day:
- Unbelievably gorgeous decorations.
- Beautiful dress.
- John’s face was a picture in itself when he saw Charlie for the first time.
- Simple, intimate, beautiful ceremony. (I also did one of the readings, which thankfully went well – I was so nervous!).
- Walking under a presentation of swords from the RAF boys (I love the pomp and circumstance that comes with being British).
- Candlit meal. Stunning.
- Betting sweepstake on our table to see how long the best man’s speech would last. I was three minutes short.
- We ate our desserts without using our hands (long story).
- Disoranno and lemonade. Several of them.
- Winter leaves, Christmas trees, pine cones, cinnamon sticks and more candles.
- Pork and stuffing ciabatta.
- Dancing, singing, talking with the awesome people who shared our table.
- Sore feet.
- Sticking snowflakes onto the bald head of one of the guests.
- The best ’90’s playlist ever!
It was a truly fantastic evening followed by a great sleep in a ridiculously comfortable bed. I’ve never seen Charlie look so happy… And she absolutely deserves it.
What about you guys? What have you been up to?
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It sounds as if you have been to a beautiful wedding!
That sounds (and looks) an absolutely beautiful wedding. It is a wonderful, and magical time of the year to get married and start a new life wth someone. 🙂
What a beautiful wedding! I’ve always liked the idea of it being simple. Congratulations to your friend and her husband! I’ve never been married either. Maybe one of these days 😉 I wouldn’t want anything big or fancy.
Looks and sounds absolutely gorgeous! I actually wanted a wintry wedding as well, but it all became a bit too much in sunny Australia. Still I was very happy with my day 🙂 Sounds as though you’ve had a lovely week/end – as for me, I’m just wondering who’s stealing all my time away!
Beautiful photos! Thanks for sharing your experience!
Congratulations to Charlie. What a stunning place and a beautiful wedding! Uniforms and swords are definitely a must!
Absolutely! The Bloke isn’ in the forces, but I’m sure he could rent a uniform for me haha!
What a beautiful venue! It’s like something out of storybook! Thank you for sharing Suzie. I definitely will add this to my bucket list but for now, your pictures made me feel as if I was right there with you all.
Thank you Kimberley!
Wow, Suzie! What a stunning wedding! I wish I was there! *LOL* Cher xo
AwwCher you need to come to the UK!
I would love to, Suzie! It is most definitely on the list!!!
A wedding fit for a movie. How lucky you are to have been guests.
We traveled up to Northern California, about an 8 hour drive, to visit our younger son and daughter-in-law and our 2-year-old grandson, and got to meet our 2-month-old granddaughter. Nothing sweeter than seeing young children who smile at you and are pleased for the visit. We spent 4 days with them, playing, eating, reading stories, lighting Chanukah candles. We took our grandson to Build-A-Bear and watched him meet his new white kitty friend. He knows finally that we are not cell phones, but real grandparents, just the ones who live too far to see him often. It will be a year or two before we see them again. Saying goodbye was so hard that I couldn’t talk at all for 2 hours. We packed a whole lot of love and experience into a short visit. Hope he remembers. The baby might have a vestigial memory.
The next day we drove the famous 17-Mile Drive down through Carmel, where we’d honeymooned decades ago. Took the road through Point Lobos, one of the most beautiful places on earth, and picked out the lovely home we’re going to purchase – in our dreams – with a view of sea and rocks and sky uninterrupted by anything at all. Stopped in Monterrey and saw the huge holding tanks where fishermen stashed their catch of herring after a night fishing on the sea, the town itself the site of Steinbeck’s Cannery Row. A favorite book of a lifestyle long gone.
Drove through Big Sur, as close to the edge of California as you can get without swimming with the sea lions and whales. Waves crashing against rocks, spray spouting 15 feet high, the sounds loud enough to block out the noise of worry that usually courses through my head. Sea otters floating on their backs in water too turbulent for humans, trees as old as any on earth, darkening the blue sky, clouds frothing overhead like a reflection of the ocean. Dipped my toes in the sea because I had to and I could. Wind blowing our hair across our faces in every picture – funny photos of the old folks. Still, smiles all around.
Ate at Nepenthe, a restaurant perched high above the coastline, and looked toward Hawaii. It’s out there somewhere. The best hamburgers ever, and when the waiter brought our basket of French fries, I asked if we were supposed to share them with the rest of the folks at the restaurant. Big, as in four-potato-big. Shopped at a tiny gallery and bought a few handmade gifts.
Continued to drive south, twisting and turning on a road too narrow and too steep to be safe, stopping every other turnout because every one of them showcased a wonder too gorgeous to be missed. Blubbery sea lions basking on the shore, a few males chest-thumping and barking at each other – sea lion king of the mountain games. Seagulls swooping in serpentine patterns because they don’t have to follow the road. Two dozen zebras on the lower slopes of the Hearst Castle estate, a remnant of the quixotic man’s private zoo. Tourists like us, snapping photos, talking in other languages, smiling in the universal one.
Home a day later than we’d planned, full with memories. Asked at last minute to watch our two older grandchildren so our son and daughter-in-law could attend their work holiday party. Such an easy “yes” for us. Spent the evening eating dinner with the kids, laughed and laughed, listened to them play piano, helped with the younger one’s spelling practice, listened to the older one read the choose-your-own-adventure-story he’d written, lit Chanukah candles, sang bedtime songs, kissed them goodnight, and tucked them under blankets because it was cold. Stayed until their parents got home late and shared their evening’s adventure with us.
Our kids are all such wonderful parents. Our grandkids are amazing little people. We are so lucky.
It rained today in California, a rain desperately needed. Hoping for more, and snow in the mountains too.
I hardly ever tell you anything because I don’t want to share the crap that has made up most of this last year, but this past week was glorious, so good it will linger for a long time. Thanks for asking, Suzie. Didn’t mean to take over your blog – hope you don’t mind the lengthy note. May you and The Bloke have a wonderful, warm Christmas. ❤
Wow Sharon,that sounds utterly fantastic, and this is probably the longest and most epic comment I’ve received in 2015! I’m glad that you’ve had such a good time – I know you’ve had a difficult year but please dont think that you can’t talk about things – you’re always welcome to discuss whatever you like. You might be surprised at how many people are going through the same thing!
It’s stunning isn’t it? She had the wedding I want!
My daughter – 22 – tease me with how expensive she intends her wedding to be. We have an understanding. For every 1000 quid there’s another appalling anecdote in my speech. So far I think my speech is somewhere between character assassination and parental suicide.
Haha! That’s a great idea – I bet your speech will be amazing!
I love the Cotswolds. This place looks gorgeous.
It was totally stunning – I was really jealous!
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