IT'S ALL ABOUT WEDDINGS...
And not just for our characters. But for us. And here are a few memories from my daughter's wedding, which took place on the pretty island of Guernsey just off the coast of France.
After just about the worst summer I can ever remember, the day dawned warm, fair and fine. with a cloudless blue sky.
Amy, her dad and I began the day with leisurely breakfast. Family began to arrive soon after -- including a ninety-three year old aunt who'd flown in for the occasion -- and there was time to look at old photographs my cousin had brought with him.
Then it was off to the hairdresser. Mine was a big guy with a lot of hair and tattoos -- very different from Rachel back home in Llandeilo -- and three times as expensive!
We seem to have missed lunch -- excellent breakfast at the Cobo Bay Hotel! -- and instead went off to have makeup done.
I got dressed then went to help Amy into her dress. It was the first time I'd seen it in all it's glory (we live two hundred miles apart) and it was just beautiful. Champagne lace with a fish tail train, little lace shrug and a gold sash. There was quite a battle with the endless buttons -- there was a moment when I thought they had me beaten! -- but we got the better of them. Then there was the debate whether or not Amy should wear the fingerless satin and lace gloves. Absolutely! They were the perfect finishing touch.
Amy's "borrowed" were the pearl earrings (the pearls came from the Sheikh of Bahrain's pearl beds) that her father had made for me when she was born. The final touch was the little pearl and diamante tiara. And then I took her down to her father.
Oh, proud man!
Unlike most brides, Amy arrived early at St James's Hall -- the Registrar was amused. "You're eager," she said. Of course she was. It was her show. She'd arranged the whole thing herself and everything ran like clockwork.
The photographer took some pictures, then I went inside, leaving her with her father. There was time to give the groom a big hug, kiss all the new family that has now joined ours before settling down. Then Pachebel's Canon faded and "All You Need is Love" burst out as the bride arrived on her father's arm. The groom, his best man and most of the guys around were all members of a rock band called Subliminal Girls, (as well as having the very necessary day jobs) so, as my ninety plus year old aunt remarked, it was all a little bit "rock and roll".
The civil ceremony was short, as these things are, but intensely moving. Afterwards, Alice, one of Amy's friends, gave a reading called "Love is Giving" which began:
Love is giving, not taking,
Mending, not breaking,
Never deceiving ...
Then the groom's sister, Harriet, sang The Rose a cappella.
She's only sixteen but has the most beautiful voice and the last line nearly got me, but the mascara stayed intact. It was the most joyful occasion and despite being a "blubberer" of the first water, I was just too happy to even think about tears.
The ceremony was followed by loads of photographs outside St James's Hall before the bride, groom and all the younger element set off for the reception in a 40 seater bus, getting waves from children on their way home from school, as they drove across the island.
Dad gave a lovely, emotional speech that made us all laugh and -- Amy cry. He wrote every word of it himself, by the way. The cake was cut, and then there was that special first dance, but in minutes all the guys -- and the bride -- were lined up playing air guitar and the party began.
Finally, here's a photograph of the sunset over Cobo Bay just to show you where we were.
Liz Fielding's latest Harlequin Romance, WEDDED IN A WHIRLWIND is available this month in print and ebook form.