When Alex & Emily announced their engagement just over a year ago, Debbie and I were very pleased when they chose Friday, 17th March 2017 as their wedding day, three years to the day since they first met, as it was also our 27th wedding anniversary!
The wedding seemed so very far off in the future at the time, so I think it came as quite a shock when both families & friends all got together last week to celebrate it together in quite some style!
Below you can see the original invitation which Emily designed and produced. Hats off to her and Alex as the organisation of the two days in London was incredible in terms of attention to detail and sheer enjoyment.
But I’m getting ahead of myself here, so let me start with the arrival of Royvon‘s pet taxi 9.30am Thursday morning at our house in Llanfoist to pick up Molly and Hamish for their short stay in kennels or as they call it “dog hotel”. The taxi arrived on time and with Hamish in the lead it wasn’t too traumatic to get both hounds safely away.
Debbie and I had been very concerned about Molly’s reaction to being separated from us in particular given her background as a very nervous rescue dog when we first adopted her, so much so, that we decided to visit the kennels the day before and check it out under the pretext of showing their vaccinations for distemper and kennel cough were up to date.
We needn’t have worried as the two who shared a kennel together seemed to enjoy the experience and even got a bath each before being dropped off on Saturday evening around 6.30pm after our drive back from London.
Now observant followers of this blog will know that our daughter Emma is currently studying her MRes in Victorian Literature at Glasgow University. So to get to the wedding we had arranged for her to fly to Cardiff on the Wednesday night and was due to land about 11.35pm. Unfortunately Murphy’s law prevailed and that flight was cancelled by Flybe due to intense fog closing Cardiff airport!
Flybe were pretty good though & transferred her onto their Birmingham flight from where they laid on a coach to Cardiff airport. Alas this meant that instead of getting home to Llanfoist around 1am, we actually arrived back at 4.30am on Thursday morning. This meant I only had about 4 hours kip before the dogs were picked up.
I have to admit to feeling a little tired and nervous during the long drive down to central London but we arrived safely about 4.30pm. I’d prepaid the London congestion charge and a booking at the NCP car park at Victoria quite near the Rubens at the Palace hotel, but wisely I handed over the car keys to the concierge and got them to park it up for me until returning it late morning on Saturday for the drive home!
Released from the worry of the car we checked into two rooms, Executive room 416 for Debbie, myself and Emma who had the sofa bed at the bottom of our king sized bed, with Superior Room 443 for the groom and his best man, Alex & James for the first night. On the evening of the wedding Alex of course moved out with James sleeping in our room, allowing Emma and her boyfriend Josh to stay together in 443…
After settling into our respective rooms and unpacking we then headed off to the King’s Suite 205 that Alex and Emily had booked which was huge! I sampled a vintage port that Alex proffered me and met up with the rest of the guests staying over, in particular Emily’s parents Helen and Denis who’d visited us in Wales the previous month before we all headed down to reception.
After partaking of a rather large amount of wine in the hotel bar, we made our way at around 7pm to Tiles wine bar which was very close by, where courtesy of Helen and Denis, the entire party enjoyed a wonderful meal.
Eventually we all trooped back to the Rubens hotel where my wife persuaded me to stay a little longer and partake in a little bit more libration…
Eventually at around 10pm there was a run through of the bridal party’s ceremony entrance in Emily’s room and so the rest of us headed off to our respective beds which I have to say personally were amongst the most comfortable I’ve ever slept in.
Eventually morning came after exchanging our own anniversary cards, Debbie and I had breakfast together with our three “kids” before getting changed into our glad rags back in our respective rooms.
On safe arrival at the rear of the ICA at 12 Carlton House Terrace on the Mall, we climbed a double staircase to two most wonderful rooms, one set up the formal wedding ceremony the other for the formal dinner afterwards.
The dining room overlooked all the sights of Westminster including Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, the London Eye and the Shard, which all in all was very cool! 🙂
As the guests started to arrive I was relieved to see my brother Simon and his wife Sarah had travelled safely from Yorkshire!
Eventually we were all ushered into the ceremony room, with Alex standing in the aisle on the right, his best man & younger brother James next to him, followed by Debbie and myself on the front row. On our seats was the most elegant Order of Service which I’ve scanned below.
Alex’s younger sister Emma was the first bridesmaid to walk in leading the bridal party and took her seat at the front next to me. The other bridesmaids followed with a stunning Emily and her proud father walking down the aisle to the sound of “Can’t help falling in love with you” played by the two musicians called the Silvermere Duo.
After the initial introduction by the Registrar, who everyone thought was just marvellous on the day, I was asked to do a reading. I’d chosen with Debbie’s help “I love you” which we thought contained many sentiments on what leads to a happy & successful marriage.
“I love you” means that I accept you for the person you are and that I do not wish to change you into someone else.
It means that I will love you and stand by you even through the worst of times.
It means loving you when you’re in a bad mood or too tired to do things I want to do.
It means loving you when you’re down, not just when you’re fun to be with.
I love you means that I know your deepest secrets and do not judge you for them, asking only in return that you do not judge me for mine.
It means that I care enough to fight for what we have and that I love you enough not to let go.
It means thinking of you, dreaming of you, wanting and needing you constantly, hoping you feel the same way for me.
I got a vigorous handclap at the end with Simon (Berenyi) telling me later he was reduced to tears so I felt very pleased. At the conclusion of the ceremony Debbie & Helen were called upon to sign the register as witnesses. Afterwards we all descended the stairs for official photographs outside and fortunately the rain that had been forecast held off.
Eventually we all returned to the ceremony room to have a glass or two of prosecco and various delicious canapés, while listening to the string duo in the picture below who were terrific.
I had one last duty to perform before relaxing totally which was to announce the Bride and Groom once all the guests had been shepherded into the dining room by Frazer as follows:
“Ladies & Gentlemen, the Bride & Groom Mr & Mrs Palgrave-Davies”.
Finally a double-barrelled name in the family, I knew we were a posh family! 🙂
At about 6.30pm Alex & Emily got ready to cut the cake which was parcelled into dinky little cardboard boxes to take home. Very delicious too as unfortunately for my waistline I must have eaten at least three boxes!
During the evening Debbie and I gave an extra special present to the happy couple of an engraved Welsh love spoon (photo to follow) like the one we have to celebrate our wedding off her late parents Glenys and Cliff.
The balcony proved very popular for photographs but as the night wore on it was used for smoking Cuban cigars (which James had carefully nurtured for the past few weeks) went down well amongst many of the guests including yours truly!
Eventually the evening came to an end and we all headed downstairs to catch a taxi back to the hotel. On arrival we had one last nightcap in the bridal suite before the newlyweds “kicked” us all out at around 1am to return to our own beds.
The following morning remarkably I didn’t feel too bad at 7am, until I realised I couldn’t find my spectacles! So trying not to disturb Debbie and James I walked back about 20 minutes to the ICA to see if I’d left them there.
It was a beautiful crisp morning although it looked as if it had been raining overnight. Eventually I got to the ICA and pressed the door bell as officially it didn’t open on Saturday’s until 11am. Luckily a cleaner came down to talk to me behind the locked door but he confirmed no glasses had been discovered, so rather forlornly I trudged back to the hotel past Buckingham Palace wondering how I was going to drive back to Wales…
I needn’t have worried though as Alex had discovered them in his suite! So with a lightened heart we all went down to a late breakfast table laid for the wedding party at 10.30am and to be honest the brisk walk probably did me good in terms of my alertness for the journey home!
After a hearty breakfast together, we said our goodbyes and checked out of our rooms. The Galaxy was delivered outside the hotel for 11.30am and we made our way back home, dropping Emma and Josh at Hammersmith on the way, as they were staying an extra night together in London before returning to Glasgow and Suffolk respectively.
About 2.15pm we pulled into our drive in Llanfoist exhausted but very happy and were reunited with Molly & Hamish around 6pm thanks to the pet taxi again. All sorted! 🙂