Over the years I have been to many weddings both great and small, from village halls to local pubs; Claridges to The Savoy. During the last few months I have found myself reflecting on weddings, wondering what makes one imprint on your memory more than the next?
For me, one particular imprinted wedding was that of a great friend who had only invited 16 guests. Having never been to what is now referred to as a Micro Wedding before I was surprised to see so few of us at the church. It wasn’t that they didn’t have many friends - they did, but had decided to only have their very best friends and close family.
I knew the bride had opted to wear a designer suit up the aisle so was amazed when she appeared at the church door. It turned out she had woken the day before the wedding with the realisation that she wanted to look like a traditional bride. Hanging her suit back in the cupboard she hurried off to a local wedding dress hire shop. A few hours later, having tried on every dressing the shop, the owner disappeared upstairs and returned carrying her own wedding dress - a classic 1960’s number covered with enormous daisies, a square neckline and flowing sleeves - complete with a rather strong smell of mothballs.
To put this in context, this was back in the 1990’s and at the time 1960’s wedding dresses were worn to fancy dress parties as a joke. Not wanting to offend, my friend tried it on to find it was a perfect fit. She took it home and hung it out in the sun to air. On the morning of her wedding she picked some wild flowers, popped them in her hair and walked down the aisle looking like a boho bride twenty five years after (and before) it was fashionable; she looked absolutely perfect!
As they say the devil is in the detail and, being a chef, the bride had been very specific about the meal. Food was the order of the day and we sat around a huge table chatting and laughing, with delicious food and excellent wine. It was a truly wonderful day and we all felt incredibly honoured and special to be part of their tiny guest list.
Their wedding was the polar opposite from another we had recently been invited to. The bride’s father was extremely wealthy and nothing was too much for his little girl - evening having a huge lake dug on their property to create the perfect view from the marquee. As the couple left the church we were lined up like little soldiers and given dried rose petals in little baskets to throw. In those days you would normally nip into a newsagent and buy a packet of confetti on your way to the wedding, so we all quickly hid our shop bought ones and stood, throwing the pretty petals over the bride and groom as instructed. As the happy couple settled in their convertible classic car, a little boy, who had been watching us, scooped up a pile of grass cuttings, leaves and twigs and lobbed them right at the bride’s head. There she sat - totally horrified - completely covered in churchyard debris. It was not part of the carefully curated wedding day at all but it was terribly funny.
I don’t remember much else about that particular wedding - what we ate, what the band played, the flowers on the table or even the view of the lake, which just goes to show that the amount of money you spend doesn’t necessarily make a lasting impression. It is only the image of this happy little boy, wanting to be part of the fun, that has stuck with me for decades.
It is safe to say that 2020 has been a year that will not be forgotten in a hurry, but alongside some desperately sad stories there have also been ones of joy. I think we have realised what is important to us having missed our family and close friends above anything else. As a team we have greatly missed hosting weddings at The Pilgrims Rest, so when we receive phone calls from our couples telling us they are tying the knot this year with, or without, government restrictions in place there is a great deal of excitement.
The Pilgrims Rest team we would like to take this opportunity to wish every 2020 couple out there, wherever they choose to marry, the very best of luck on your wedding day. We hope this little blog might help to reassure you all that, when surrounded by your very best people - no matter how few - your wedding day will be one that stays in hearts and memories for a very, very long time.
The Pilgrims Rest has last minute availability for the final months of this year. If you would like to arrange a virtual viewing of the venue or further information, then please contact a member of our team on 07552873448 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photography: Georgina Piper Photography