The magnificent Voewood House. Angie and Wil’s wedding was set for October last year but it had to be deferred for six months because of a family bereavement. And on Saturday – in fact from Friday to Sunday – Voewood House was full of love, laughter, delight and surprises. The house is big enough to take all those things. And this couple are generous enough to make it happen.
We had the run-through on Friday afternoon. I’d already delivered the cake I’d made – in its unadorned version. When I say delivered the cake – also the materials for icing it and flowers preserved since September. We (me and David) arrived in our campervan towing the vintage Puck caravan and emptied the van of its culinary and ceremony contents – planting the ceremony gear in the main room and the cake gear in the scullery. Then we pitched camp at Kelling Heath in gale force winds and driving rain. Later, I left himself in Puck, all warm and cosy with his book, and I went back to construct the cake (mantra-muttering ‘please don’t collapse on me’). It didn’t. Enough of me and the cake.
Amidst flowers and greenery, boxes and deliveries, Jim up a ladder fixing the glitter ball, Kieran setting up the bar, Finbar in the kitchen cooking a Friday night supper for 30 – as you do – and Angie and Wil were cheerfully supervising and deciding and switching and instructing. It might take a village to raise a child, but it takes a family and a herd of mates to make a magnificent wedding! And they did. Make a magnificent wedding.
Instead of an outside October ceremony, we had an inside March ceremony. Family, friends, babies, children, parents, aunties. All in the main room at Voewood – perched on chairs and lining the walls with smiles, balloons danced. And popped. Glitter balls glittered. It was wall-to-wall smiles.
Janis – the bride’s mum – did the best ever reading from Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera’s wedding.
“I don’t believe in marriage. No, I really don’t. Let me be clear about that.
I think at worst it’s a hostile political act, a way for small-minded men to keep women in the house and out of the way, wrapped up in the guise of tradition and conservative religious nonsense.
At best, it’s a happy delusion — these two people who truly love each other and have no idea how truly miserable they’re about to make each other.
But, but, when two people know that, and they decide with eyes wide open to face each other and get married anyway, then I don’t think it’s conservative or delusional. I think it’s radical and courageous and very romantic.”
This wedding was a triumph. A celebration. A testament to the endurance of love and the ability of love to deepen and change and grow in the face of huge challenges. Angie and Wil are a very special couple and over the past 15 months we formed a great bond, as their original plans rocked and changed and decisions needed to be made to either cancel, go ahead or defer. They didn’t shrink from it. They remained human, frail, strong and together. There was never any doubt they were together.
They deferred the date, took their honeymoon in reverse (before the wedding) and I think it was wise. Because it meant that although the world had thrown their world upside down – they showed one another in every word and deed that together, they could get through it. And they did.
They more than got through it, they came blasting out the other end at full throttle to put on the most magnificent wedding and week-end party which Gary Marshall caught with typical and amazing clarity and honesty in the photographs.
So beautiful. It took my breath away. So there we have it. A day in the life of a celebrant and a couple – trying to honour the memory of Wil’s mum whilst holding tight to the reason we were there. Staying real. Making a dream. Living a life. Being true. Jim summed it up!