Every wedding gets a nickname. This will always and forever be “the one where it snowed”. It doesn’t matter how many weddings I do in the snow, sideways driving, 4 hour traffic jams, amazing hospitality and the fact that I didn’t get home for 28 hours mean that name is going to stick.
So, Suzanne and Peter chose to fly in from Dubai to get married in Kent. In the winter. Back home it was be a “healthy” 26 degrees with wall to wall sun. Here is was minus 5 plus windchill. Plus snow. So you’ll be pleased to see that Sue had picked out appropriate footwear for the weather.
Mmm-hmm. A gorgeous pair of Lauren Jones’ finest. In red, naturally.
Meanwhile her father Mick was putting on some more appropriate footwear.
And when he was ready he helped out page boy William with the trickiest item of menswear there is – the cravatte.
And they could only look on in admiration while Sue made her own preparations. A beautiful pashmina to wear over her wedding dress – yes, I’ve a funny feeling she’ll need that.
(I should probably warn you at this point that there are a lot of pictures. That’s because (a) it’s Christmas and (probably) the last wedding of the year and (b) because I love them too much to choose just a few.)
That pashmina might really come in handy because meanwhile it had started snowing.
When we arrived at the church, it would be unfair to suggest that the weather had got better. In fact it was snowing harder. Quite a lot harder.
In fact, in an almost unprecedented move, Sue was actually early at the church. That’s because her chauffeur was seriously worried that his rear wheel drive Daimler might not make it to the church any later. This is Kent, this is WeddingsByRyan. We don’t do things by halves.
So here’s best man and brother of the groom Dennis looking worried. Not because of the bride (she was safely at the church and hidden in the belfry in a borrowed cloak) but because guests were stuck in the lanes.
At this point it could all have gone badly wrong. But I’ve said before: you can’t control the weather, but you can control how you respond to it. And the Reverend Canon Gill Calver and her choir at All Saints in Staplehurst responded in a manner only befitting the friendliest church in Kent. They made tea.
(With milk pinched off a parishioner’s doorstep no less.) While we were all entertained by some seasonal music.
Amazing what a hot cuppa and a few carols can do to raise morale. Sadly it was just too dangerous out for some guests to make it. But most did. And around an hour after the scheduled time, Suzanne Maloney walked down the aisle to marry Peter Holt.
Preceded by flower girl Aimee and ring bearer William.
And I think Pete was pretty pleased to see his bride.
Sue looked pretty pleased to finally slip the ring on his finger…
But it was Peter who couldn’t resist just one last check – yes, it’s real. They are married.
So then, time for pictures. Hmm, the door was as far as we got. Did I mention the snow?
So….back into the church. Where with kind permission from Rev Gill Calver I was able to take group pictures in the dry and relative warmth.
Now then. On to the reception. Hadlow Manor is about 15 miles form Staplehurst. On a good day, it’s about 25 minutes’ drive. Yesterday wasn’t a good day. We all set off with a plan “stick to the main roads, they are gritted, AVOID side roads at all costs”. Unfortunately, Mrs Satnav had other ideas. One tricky left turn later and my car was heading sideways rather rapidly….. Never mind. I knew that I had everything I needed in the car to cope with winter motoring – including clothes warm enough to sleep out a blizzard. I gingerly put my foot down and explored the finer points of traction control. 45 minutes later I was at Hadlow Manor. Err, a good 30 minutes before the people who had taken the gritted roads! Don’t worry – the closest I got to their canapés was to photograph them….
On one of the shortest days of the year, we were always going to be chasing the light. Add in a couple of delays and, well, we had to be quick. Fortnately Peter and Suzanne didn’t mind getting jus a little cold.
And yes, Sue really was still wearing “those” shoes in the snow. Check this one out.
All too soon it was time for the first dance (actually there were loads of photos in between but I’ve already posted too many!). You can just see the joy on their faces.
But there was one more curveball for me. A quick check with friends on Twitter told me some bad news. Canterbury (my home town) was absolutely gridlocked. Several inches of snow plus two jack knifed lorries meant that people were spending literally hours going a couple of miles. Add in treacherous driving conditions and there was only one thing to do. Gratefully accept the offered pint, check into the Hadlow Manor for the night, oh and take “just one more” photo.
As always, you’re very welcome to leave comments and wishes for the happy couple below. If the airports thaw they are off somewhere MUCH warmer soon.
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