After the ceremony, folks had time to get changed out of their snow suits and boots and into their party clothes. We had family and wedding party photos taken out and about in Dinner Plain, and then snuck into Rundells to get ready to party.
My eldest younger brother acted as MC to coordinate the festivities. He introduced the bridal party and my sister had a narrow miss, slipping down the stairs. A quick recovery and we all pretended that we're graceful and coordinated. Then we started drinking champagne. Oh well.
Downstairs, we had the first speech, J's dad, straight away. He spoke beautifully about growing up as a baby boomer through ideas about anarchy and the possibility of scrapping marriage and seeing ideas grow and develop until in recent years marriage has become more popular, better understood. He was slightly upstaged by his granddaughter who decided to toddle around the empty dance floor. So sweet!
We moved into the dining room and everyone found their tables. Our table numbers were made using Valentine's day cards from a talented lady on etsy, whose store I would thoroughly recommend: DarkRoomAndDearly.
The food was excellent, and folks chatted away through dinner. The bridal party made sure they were protected from splashes and drips with enormous napkins tucked into collars.
After mains we had more speeches. J's stepdad spoke about his late mum and what she might have thought or wished on this day. My dad welcomed J into the family. J's best woman cried a little talking about entrusting her best friend to someone to look after him. J tried to make me cry (again) by making more beautiful promises. (I wasn't up for crying any more though.) And I got up to do thank you's.
There were so many people to thank!! Friends who helped with music and setting up and pulling down our ceremony. Friends and family who had collected flowers, favours, hat stands and brought them up the mountain. Friends who'd transported, fed and walked dogs, groomed and delivered them to the ceremony. Friends and family who'd recorded the day with photos and video, who chauffeured us round and kept the day on track in a stress free way. Our wonderful ushers, MC, best woman and bridesmaid.
And our parents. So welcoming and supportive. I pointed out that my parents have, in the past been very loving and a little bit protective (ok, looking back, they might have been right about some of my ex boyfriends), so it was lovely that when J asked my dad for his blessing before proposing, my dad was so thrilled that he had difficulty keeping the secret! And I talked about my decision to change my name. In J's complex family, with numerous step and half relationships, surnames are numerous. For me, as a geneticist and amateur genealogist, taking on a surname without a blood connection was quite an intellectual hurdle. But coming to see the love J's family extends had gradually changed my mind. I gave J's dad a special thank you for his welcome to the family, including giving me his name. (Ok, maybe I wasn't done with tears after all.)
Then it was time for cake cutting and dancing!! (And realizing I'd forgotten to thank our wonderful cake-making friends!! Whoops!)
and then it was time for dancing!