--The time has come, Amy and Gary's wedding day is here, join them for the ceremony, reception and honeymoon.
So the big day is finally upon us, well not quite, but it's not far over the horizon, this coming Saturday in fact. As most of our friends live away we've not had a stag or hen do, instead the night before the wedding Gary, his dad and Geoff will be having a meal and drinks in a hotel near the wedding venue, and the twins Jackie & Julie, Pixie, Tina, Jade & I will be having a few drinks at our house.
The wedding itself is taking place in an estate near Cartmel, we were going to get married in Cheshire but the venue was already booked by some footballer, so Geoff spoke to a friend who has leant us their country house for the wedding, reception and hotel for the night.
Jackie and Jade (we'll always know her as Jade, although we have to call her Lady Jasmine in public) then swung into action, using their contacts to arrange the catering, drinks, marquee etc. I'm not sure who is in league with the big guy upstairs, but somebody pulled some strings to arrange fantastic weather, it was warm without being too hot, with a light breeze forecast for the day, as the boys (including Jackie as Best Man) would be in dress suits with a top hat, I didn't want it to be too hot or they'd be sweating like pigs.
Anyway it's Wednesday today, and I've got my final dress fitting. Pixie and a couple of her friends have been making my dress, and as she's been living with us until her new house is habitable, she's been storing and working on the dress in her bedroom, next to ours.
I'm a traditional girl at heart, and I don't want Gary to see the dress until the day, I want to see his reaction as I walk down the aisle (well the garden) and he gets a look at me in the dress for the first time. This has made things a little awkward, but I've managed to keep Gary out of the way when trying the dress on so far. So today, after months of work by the girls, my dress is finished, I've sent Gary to his mum's for the evening so I can try it on properly, walk about for a bit, see it outside in daylight.
Pixie took the mirror off the wall and put it outside, her friends Alice and Emily helped me into the dress, did I tell you it's stunning?
The dress is pearl white, we'd originally decided to avoid white, as I'm a long way from being a virgin, for a while we were going for electric blue, but Emily found some beautiful cream lace, and then mum gave me her dress and insisted that I was to reuse whatever fabric I liked from it, so that's my something old. The bodice and skirt are made from the fabric of my mum's dress, the skirt finishes just below my knee, I wouldn't have it any longer. It only has a single shoulder strap, over my left shoulder, this is to show of the tattoo on my right shoulder. The bodice is decorated in the cream lace, Alice hand-made a dozen little silk roses which are dotted around the bodice. In a nod to tradition Emily made a short train from silk and lace, it doesn't touch the floor, but Pixie can hold it as I walk down the aisle. To finish off the outfit Pixie made me some ballet slippers out of the last of the silk.
Outside, in the sunshine, I have to admit I looked gorgeous. On the day Tina would be doing my make-up and hair, and I'll look even better. Even though I do say so myself, I could be dangerously attractive on Saturday.
Thursday morning ramped the excitement level up a notch or two, I got a call to say my new car was ready whenever I was. Wasting no time at all, Gary, Pixie and I jumped in the car and sped south, towards Bentley heaven.
The car looked better in the flesh than I could have ever imagined, the Light Sapphire was simply the perfect colour for the Continental. It's funny how different colours show off different aspects of a shape, in this shade of blue, when the sun catches the rear third the car looks so much more aggressive, the rear wheel arches more accentuated. I do believe the car is turning me on, oh dear I'm turning into Top Gear.
Anyway, we spent some time at the dealers whilst they showed us how to work the various bits and bobs, like the electronic seat memories, which is ace, select the driver and the seat moves forward and up, the back changes shape and it's heated or cooled, all to suit the driver's preference. This seat alone probably cost more than a Ford Fiesta. The Naim stereo is astonishing, over 1000w of amplification through 15 speakers, and pumped up very loud indeed the sound was as clear as a bell, beautiful.
After a couple of hours and a superb cup of coffee I emptied the loaner of a month's worth of accumulated crud, CDs, toffee wrappers, makeup, receipts and transferred them to our nice shiny new car, then with a wave to Mark the salesman we headed off back home, via the nearest petrol station of course. It's amazing, you spend the best part £200k (the price before trade-in was £189,500) on a car and they still only put a thimble-full of fuel in the tank.
I'd just parked the car at home when my phone rang, it was Geoff reminding me that he'd be in the country Friday afternoon, with Jackie and Julie, who along with Pixie and Tina were sleeping at our house Friday night, Geoff had a room in some hotel in Grange. Gary would be staying with his mum & dad at the wedding venue.
Thursday I started to panic, for no reason at all really, but I suddenly remembered what every married woman I've spoken to recently has said, that planning a wedding is a nightmare, more stressful than a divorce is what one woman said. I've had no stress though, it's gone like a dream, so the little devil in my right ear piped up on Thursday afternoon reminding me that planning a wedding isn't supposed to be this easy, something must be wrong.
Thursday afternoon then was spent phoning everybody involved, checking that everything is running to plan, I got out my notepad and wrote lists, then ticked off the lists, and by the end of the day my phone battery was flat, but every item on the list was accounted for.
That little devil is a bastard, I can just see him now, laughing is little devil arse off for making me panic.
Friday though was stressful, because there was so much to do in so little time. Pixie's friends Emily and Alice had to be collected from Lancaster and brought to our house, they were attending my little hen party, such a small party it was more of a chick party really. I'd booked them a room at a nearby hotel, whilst not a couple they had no problems sharing a bed for the night.
Once they were collected Gary then had to drive the Bentley to Carlisle Airport to collect Geoff and the twins, they'd flown in his jet, which was then being serviced and refuelled ready to fly to our honeymoon destination, which is still a mystery, we've just been told to pack our passports and sunny weather clothes for two weeks, nothing else needed.
Gary dropped the twins off at our house, Geoff gave me a hug and a pat on the bum and Gary took him to his hotel. Geoff would be picked up tomorrow morning by the wedding car.
After Geoff was installed in his hotel Gary's last job of the day was collecting his mum & dad and driving to the wedding venue. Gary's dad would drive our car back on Sunday, I think he was more excited about driving our Bentley than he was about his own son's wedding.
Eventually everybody was where they're supposed to be, I had some suitably girly movies lined up in my Love Film watch list, we had some popcorn, a couple of litres of Chase Gin, loads of tonic to drink with it, and a delivery due from Dominoes at 9. We were all set for a proper girly night in.
Pixie mixed a big jug of gin & tonic, I poured the popcorn in a big bowl and set the first film running. Emily pulled out her make-up bag and she started to paint our nails, toes and fingers to match. When Emily was finished Alice pulled her hairdressing kit out and set to work on everyone's hair.
I'd been wearing my hair short in a bobbed style for a couple of years, but since Christmas I'd let it grow, and now it was shoulder length and wavy. I'd also quit dyeing it, and was back to a natural redhead. Alice didn't need to do much, but she tidied me up and enhanced the body a little, she was going to weave flowers into my hair in the morning.
The first jug of G&T was quickly polished off, so Pixie made a new one. The next film started, but we'd not really taken any notice of the first one, we let this play out as well, Love Actually I think.
I was a little tipsy now, I'm such a lightweight, I couldn't help myself, as Pixie refilled my glass I pulled her towards me and kissed her full on the lips, she responded, wrapping her arms around me, accidentally cracking my head with the jug. She jumped back with a squeak and I fell forward off the sofa.
"Oh my god I've killed the bride the night before her wedding. Oh shit somebody help me."
Luckily though I wasn't dead, but Jesus my head hurt. I got up on my knees, swooning a bit, rubbing the back of my head, I was going to have a bit of a lump there.
"Amy, you're OK", cried Pixie
"Well OK's going a bit far, but I'll live. Pixie love, remind never to hug you when your hands are full. Can someone get me a cup of tea please, ahh there's no milk, sod it I'll drink it black."
Tina put the kettle on while I got to feet, still a bit wobbly, but not feeling sick, which was a relief, Jackie helped me to the sofa and Tina put a mug in my hands.
"It's camomile, I found some in the cupboard."
"I don't remember buying any camomile tea, I hope I'm not concussed" I said
"Oh it's OK, it's mine," answered Pixie.
.... There is more of this story ...