What a lovely couple of days we’ve had here, celebrating the wedding of a sweet young couple, Sebastian and Maria. Seb and Edward have been the best of friends since they were in the pre-prep and we’ve watched both of them grow into fine young men. Even so, when they are together, the spirit and characters of those two small boys remain and when Seb invited Edward to be his best man it was a lovely acknowledgement of their lasting friendship.
For us, it was a real delight to watch them both. Edward took his responsibilities seriously, doing his best to support the anxious bridegroom and most of our phone conversations last week began with “we’ve been thinking…” The sweetest outcome of these chats continued “…that it’d be a good idea for Seb to stay with us the night before”, so on Wednesday night we had a houseful of slightly nervous but quite excited friends, full of anticipation for the big day ahead.
It was a beautiful day from start to finish. We weren’t sure what to expect from the Nuptial Mass ceremony, held in a local Priory church but knew that it was going to include quite a few personal touches to both families. In particular, we knew there would be music, because our friends are great musicians and several of their friends and colleagues were going to play. We also expected the ceremony to include some Mexican traditions, acknowledging Maria’s family culture, too. So when the bride’s mother stepped forward to read from the Bible, it seemed natural that she read in Spanish. All wedding services are special, of course, but this one was tailor-made and from the bi-lingual readings to the ushering-activities of five kilted cousins from the Scottish side of the family, this one was especially so.
For me, the most delightful aspect throughout was that the bride and groom spoke to one another, face to face rather than standing side by side as I seem to remember my Hero and I did some 36 years ago next week. Now I understood why Seb had expressed a slight anxiety that they would both have a fit of giggles during the ceremony, because at times like this, when we’re nervous, that kind of thing occasionally happens. But he needn’t have worried because both bride and groom were fully committed to the serious promises they were making and the sincerity of their words and love for one another was clear to see.
We knew from a conversation with Seb that morning that he’d been especially worried about one particular stage of the ceremony: The tradition of the thirteen gold coins which the groom passes to the bride at some point. He’d envisaged dropping them, of them slipping through his shaking hands or Maria not managing to hold her hands steadily enough to catch them. But all fears unfounded, for the thirteen coins were successfully presented and all was well!
It had been a cold and rather showery start to the day but the collected crossed fingers of friends, relatives and the hundred or so ladies at the WI meeting I’d spoken to on Wednesday evening (which included the now-retired boys’ reception teacher) worked the magic, because as the married couple stepped out of the church, the sun put in a brief appearance and those dark clouds held off for a while.
The wedding reception, in a local hotel, was a fitting celebration of the couple too. The bride’s father spoke of his lovely daughter in Spanish with simultaneous translation provided by the groom, the bridegroom himself gave a typically modest and self-effacing but heartfelt speech which generously left the ground clear for the best man. Edward did his friend proud and confirmed what we all know already: Seb and Maria are a very special couple indeed and we all wish them every happiness as they start their life together.