Anniversary Memories

I came across this photograph recently, it brought back so many happy memories of our wedding day. It got me thinking. My husband and I are about to celebrate our Coral Anniversary; thirty-five years of marriage. We sometimes reflect that had we been married today, with so many different possibilities for couples to express their personalities through their wedding,  we may have done things differently. At that time, the potential to have a truly bespoke wedding just didn’t exist. I’m not complaining, I loved every moment of our wedding day and will cherish the memories for ever.  

Over the years we have been privileged to witness many couples being married.  As the years have progressed, so has the ability for them to choose the wedding of their dreams.  In a location of their choosing and in a style that reflects them as a couple.  For the couple themselves they will have their own special memories of their day, for the guests they may have very different memories, minutiae of the day that may not always be associated with the wedding ceremony itself but by which memories are made. 

We have been wedding guests within the magnificent pomp and splendour of a wedding at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst; historic buildings, sweeping steps and beautiful lakes.  As the couple left the chapel they were honoured by fellow officers with a ceremonial sword arch salute for them to pass through.  In complete contrast but equally memorable and in truth, far more cute, was the wedding of a primary school teacher.  Held in a local church close to the school, his pupils, resplendent in their school uniforms made a similar arch to salute the happy couple; this time made with metre rulers. 

Our niece married in a tiny Tythe Barn; lit only by clusters of pillar candles and festooned with deep velvet red roses. The candle light and heady aroma of roses made for a very atmospheric romantic setting.  An involuntary hush descended over the guests as they entered and took their places.  Conversely the loud, brash vibrancy of a nephew’s wedding, was almost an assault to the senses.  Guests arrived in church with their pre wedding cocktails, sang hymns with rugby club gusto and all danced back down the aisle behind the couple after their ceremony.  Memorable, spirited and jovial.

Wedding ceremonies are a perfect opportunity to appreciate different cultures.  We were made very welcome guests at a Norwegian wedding several years ago. The brides family were in national dress. The ceremony full of cultural tradition; fiddle players led the bride into the church. It was simple, it was respectful and it was beautiful.  Though perhaps nothing can compare with absolute splendour of an Indian wedding; huge, colourful, vibrant and joyful.  Brimming with tradition and the importance of family, an Indian wedding lasts three days, there are many traditional ceremonial elements to observe. As guests we were invited to the last day of the celebration. We felt very fortunate to be part of such a glorious tradition.

This has been such an indulgent reminisce; makes me realise how very fortunate we have been to witness the very start of so many couples married lives.    

And what of the photograph that triggered these lovely memories? It is a cherished picture of the daughter of our good friends.  At the time she was about fourteen months old.  She followed me around all day transfixed until she eventually gave up and fell asleep on my dress. Whatever happened to the little girl you may ask?  She is now a very lovely, successful young woman who remains fondly in all our hearts.  Thank you Kate, for such a happy lasting memory.