Thursday, 30 June 2016

Wedding secrets.

Wow, were we tired! It'll be a while before we get the wedding photos and I wasn't taking many myself, for a change.

We spent the day going round returning stuff, getting back deposits and paying some of the bills.

We spent lots of money and it looked good as you can see;

But maybe not as much money as we could have - it's been a struggle all the way.

Our friend Sherin took this picture while I was waiting for the bus to come. I look fairly ill, which shouldn't be surprising because we hadn't had a lot of sleep for over week. We did a lot of rushing about, we collected people from airports at all hours.

We both had upset stomachs, I was on antibiotics for my toenails which have been blasted by the Chemo and last week I had yet another dose of Chemotherapy.

Worst of all, I had no idea whether the bus was going to come for everybody or not and I was a bit frantic.

But I look fairly dapper, if I say so myself.

We spent a lot of time in charity shops over the last few months, trying to find a suit that was right. We even found a charity shop in Woking full of morning suits at very reasonable prices but neither of us wanted me in tails. I tried on some waistcoats but I never used to wear them anyway.

Eventually I got this suit for £17-99p at the Oxfam in Maidenhead - the day I did the article about the homeless protest organised by 'SL5', people who had grown up in the Maidenhead postal district but couldn't afford to live there after their shelter had been shut down.

We chose a colour for our wedding and didn't realise that it was actually "Bianchi Green" until it was too late - that's the special colour of a cycling team and very difficult to find in real life.

Imagine my surprise when I walked into a charity shop in Ashford and found a brand new silk tie in its bag and exactly the right colour for £2.

I wanted a proper formal hat - mine aren't right - and I really needed a new hat.

So I got mine down for £10 off the list price, at Camden Market after a right old haggle, because I didn't want anyone to think I was just a silly tourist now, did I?

Somehow it was right to buy my Walter White hat at Camden which means so much to me.

I'm wearing some brand new Doc Martens, with steel toecaps, which I bought five or six years ago for £5-00 -  so they came in handy after all.

In real life, a button hole seems to cost £16 if it's for a wedding, less if it's not. We did 3 which more less covered the cost of all the flowers; the bouquet, remembrance flowers, corsage, centrepieces. They all came from New Covent Market in the early hours of Saturday morning and have filled the house with heady scents ever since.

Then there was the reception;

The sashes on the chairs came from a material shop in Southall, and we found the right colour nestling among the exotic colours and shimmering textures of sari materials.

We had to have candles and they were supplied by Tesco's.

The holders came from a million charity shops and kind of represent our lives over the last 6 months; usually bought while I was trying to get a suit.

Part of my problem in finding a suit is that it hurts so much trying them on in the changing room. I can really only do it once a trip - it's agony.

So most of the time I just walked on without trying out the possibles.

But each time I'd see a blue glass candlestick or a pretty vase and pick it up.

The square vase I bought from IKEA years ago when I bought a red and a blue one together because they looked like a three dimensional Mondrian painting.

There were three old bottles I found on beaches which had been sandblasted frosty by the waves and the wind but, miraculously, hadn't broken.

There were old 'Harvey's Bristol Cream' Sherry bottles that were my Mum's but I'd kept them because they were pretty.

There were bottles we bought when we went to Silchester, there was a 1930's bottle that was exposed by the floods of 2014 and a very old spirit bottle that may have belonged to my grandfather.

I wanted to put sea glass all around but I didn't have enough. But I had always wanted to work with molten glass and never had a chance. So over the years, I'd bought a number of bags of the glass pebbles people use for decoration from charity shops and there were enough to put them around everywhere.

Robyn made the place cards, just like she made the tickets for the bus. She also made coasters as a gift for everyone.

We searched, we haggled, we bargained.

We did everything ourselves.

Like I say, it's been a struggle but it meant that every part of our wedding was part of us.

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)
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