wedding marquee at Byland Abbey

wedding marquee at Byland Abbey

So the wedding of my favourite daughter, I’ve put it off for a while mainly because I didn’t have any photos and now I do courtesy of number one son, most of which are unpublishable but I’ve extracted a few from the many he took, on his phone of course, and there are all the official photo to follow but I’ve decided not to wait for these. To confuse matters we’ve got a few of these also and I’ve now included two of them (and one of mine). To say it is all a bit of a blur would be an understatement. It was a blur at the time and it’s not much clearer now. I suppose the answer is to be brief and let the photos do the talking.

bylland1First thing to say is that it went well. Yes, there were one or two moments of crisis but then given the incredible complexity of organising the event (brilliant job by the two of them), that’s hardly a surprise. The wedding was at 3 and at 11 in the morning it was hosing it down and the marquee was leaking right down the middle table. But as father of the bride I had everything under control. As it pissed it down Mrs Summerhouse and I went into Helmsley to take more money out of the bank (the bridesmaid’s husband was sent to York to buy umbrellas). You have to understand that a part of the wedding was in the ruins of the abbey itself so protection against the rain was quite important. If we could get through that part of the ceremony then we’d be OK because the rest was indoors. Well, OK apart from the leaking marquee of course. And as I was saying I had a cunning plan for dealing with the rain. What you ask? Answer, I bought a magic hat, although of course I did not know it was magic at the time. Yep, as we got to Helmsley it was market day and in the market was a Frenchman selling flat tweed caps.

the lucky cap

the lucky cap

To cut this bit shortish I put the hat on, having knocked him down from £13.99 to £10, and I stepped out from under his covered stall and it had stopped raining. Apart from the hailstones at about 5 we had no more rain that day. Best tenner I’ve ever spent. Yes, I know I’m mad but on this day that helped. As I was buying the hat and of course explained that it was my daughter’s wedding, the lady on the next stall who turned out to be married to the French man, said I was not to worry because in France (yes, I know we’re not actually in France but never mind) they have a saying Mariage pleuvier – Mariage Heureuse, hope I’ve got the French right. I read it out during my speech and asked the guests if they knew what it meant. Thick buggers didn’t know or possibly my pronunciation rendered it incomprehensible. It means of course, a wet wedding is a happy wedding but in broad terms, wet marriage, happy life, or so I was told by the lady. With that happy thought I stepped out of the stall and it stopped raining. Go figure. I wore the hat during the speech then took it off as it didn’t go with the suit and it was making my head itchy. I told the somewhat bemused audience that I was wearing the hat to keep the rain away but now it was OK but would put it on again if it started raining. So when it started to hail about 5 a little girl rushed up to me and told me to put the hat on again. Which of course I did.

byland2I suppose the only other moment of crisis was after my daughter had had her hair done and special make-up applied. Her bridesmaid her told when it was all done that she looked like a Russian prostitute. My daughter agreed and so she washed off the make-up and restored her hair to her usual ‘look’. You could call it a waste of money but then I’m not paying, oh hang on, I am paying, a third of it anyway. I think apart from the bride’s aunt scaling one of the tent poles in a very pissed state, all evidence destroyed sadly, the only other minor crisis was during the ceremony itself. This was a civil ceremony and rather nice it was too. Far more to it, many more words than I remember from our Catholic ceremony but then that was nearly 43 years ago so it’s quite likely that I’ve forgotten 50% of what was said. So I walked my daughter up the aisle handed over to her handsome husband to be (well just look at the photos) and sat down then the celebrant said, who gives this woman away? Or something like that I wasn’t really listening, my work here was done, at least until the speech, I could relax. She said again, who gives this woman away. Kate turned to me and said, I forgot to tell you about this bit. Turned out I was supposed to say, I do, but I didn’t know that. But with massive prompting I said my bit and they got married.

I think that about covers it, the rest was all people saying what a lovely do it was and getting pissed. What a crowd, with a combination of my son-in-laws rugby league mates and Mrs SH’s alcoholic brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews not mention number one son who has been known to enjoy a drink himself, you might say the potential for mayhem later in the evening was high on the scale but you will be relieved to hear that all went well, yes, a few people fell over but the grass was nice and soft, they were shovelled into taxis. The prize for most pissed was won my son-in-law’s boss’s wife who had to be loaded into the taxi with a bucket so narrowly beating my sister-in- law, the one who tried and apparently succeeded in climbing the marquee pole. And we went to bed about 11.30 which given the whole thing finished on the dot of twelve and that our normal bedtime is about 8.30, we did pretty well, oh and so did the bride and groom. This isn’t about me you know. So retirement an unending round of fun and  frolics but it’s not about me.

the happy couple the morning after

the happy couple the morning after

1 Comment

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  1. Lynn Turner 2 years ago

    Sounds wonderful! I love the idea of the magic hat, I may buy one for just such an occasion. Well told!

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