Utopian Celebrations

My Sunday afternoon/evening and Monday morning were spent at a wedding within the Victorian built chambers of Peckforton Castle. Constructed in medieval style, this impressive faux fortress stands on the northern edges of Cheshire’s Peckforton Hills. The opulence of the celebratory affair fitting in perfectly with the affluent county in which it resides.

I’ll be honest in admitting there were only a handful of the congregated family and guests whose acquaintance I’d made prior to the matrimonial shindig. GJ Strachan’s attendance a consequence of being a dear friend of mine’s (Sarah) plus one…… Not to be confused with Sarah’s plus fours which are her golfing slacks.

The fact I knew few of the hundred plus attending Sunday’s clambake mattered not, though, as a euphoric occasion and copious quaffing of laugh mouth soup were enough to build upon my acquaintance database and, hopefully, not augment my already burgeoning pile of hate mail.

The verve imparted by proceedings loosening my tongue, not to mention my overburdened trouser waistband after troughing a splendid three course meal. The loosening of tongues evoking much mischief, frivolity, laughter and high jinx…… Coming to think of it my trouser waistband loosening manifested similar reactions!

The service for Chloe and Ben’s betrothal taking part in a castle chamber decorated in alabaster hued chic. Guests walking into the Great Hall, where proceedings were to take place, to a soundscape of violin softly playing contemporary refrains.

The Great Hall pre-service

After taking our seats at the halls rear, Sarah felt moved to point out how accomplished the violinist was with bow and strings. Although her positive sentiment was utterly endearing, yours truly felt equally as moved to point out “Well they’re not gonna employ someone for the gig who’s unable to play the bloody thing!”….. That being said, I did file away that notion as an entertainment possibility of great comedic potential should I ever marry again.

Prior to the swapping of rings and vows, the innovative service included a juncture where the bride and groom’s rings (attached to a plate by ribbons) were passed among guests for blessing and passing wishes of future serendipity.

Thank god the slight of hand magician, who’d been paid to mingle among guests in the bar at the service’s denouement, wasn’t amongst those handling the expensive bands. Otherwise, I mischievously suggest Chloe and Ben could be waking up with green ring fingers this morning…… Of course, if they spend part of their honeymoon cutting the back lawn (like I did) they may’ve acquired green fingers anyhow.

Once the wedding vows were spoken and the man and wife pronouncement had taken place to a moving ovation, guests were treated to magic tricks, more violin playing from the guy who impressed Sarah so markedly during the service and a pianist. Our venue a bar laden with gratis ale and fizz……. If Carlsberg made wedding knees ups then this was it…… Especially as there was no Carlsberg among the bar selections!

As we drank and I made acquaintance with fellow table guest. all of whom Sarah knew, waiters mingled among guests with a selection of various canapés, all of which tasted divine. If I was being overly picky, I’d say my only complaint about the canapés was having to bend down to reach the nibbles from a waiter who looked as though he’d shrunk in the wash.

A marvellous three course meal, including cauliflower and truffle soup and chicken dish so exquisite god could’ve made it (well, maybe, Jamie Oliver) was the next enchanting castle episode bestowed to those lucky enough to share in the celebrations.

This element of the proceedings taking place after accomplished celebration speeches (particularly from the best man and groom ‘s mother). At the end of the speeches, I asked Sarah if she’d ever had to orate at a family celebration. After asking what orate meant, she answered “No!”……. It wasn’t the most interesting conversation we’ve ever had, but I thought I’d share it anyhow in the event it’s ever among your questions in the local pub quiz.

The evening, with brio augmented by further imbibition of loud mouth soup, was merrily danced away by the vast majority of the assembled guests. Part of this ball incorporating a wandering saxophone. A young lady of remarkable sax skills who meandered amongst the fray with the dexterity and grace of a dressage pony.

Unlike the earlier violinist, Sarah never afforded an opinion on this lady’s skills. I took this to be for one of two reasons. Firstly, she didn’t want me to take the Mickey again if she pointed out a musician was good; or secondly she was scared to ask me “Why’s that woman blowing into her violin?!”

In conclusion, it was a fabulous occasion to be involved in……. Thanks Chloe & Ben Brook for letting me share in your magical day!!

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