Tag Archive | Wedding

The Wedding

After almost two years of planning Bridezilla and her faithful and patient paramour finally got hitched.

In other words, my lovely niece Pippa and her gorgeous groom Dan pledged their future together in a moving church ceremony which was followed by a reception at the local golf club.

Beautiful dress

Beautiful dress

A beautiful Spring Saturday dawned in rural Hampshire and a few close family and friends helped to put the last minute touches to the reception venue before returning to our hotel to spruce ourselves up for the 1.30pm wedding ceremony. Pippa was a little late, as is the bride’s perogative, but looked absolutely stunning in the perfect wedding dress which she had spotted in a bridal magazine and hunted down with relentless determination. Bridezilla doesn’t really describe this process adequately but let’s just say that when Pippa makes her mind up I wouldn’t want to be standing in the way of her target!

The service was lovely and any residual  formality and tension was broken by Dan the Groom when he was a bit too eager with his promise of undying love and protection and chipped in with his answer to the declaration too soon! Even the Vicar was laughing as were Pippa and Dan who managed to headbutt each other in the process. More laughter ensued and the congreation was given a few moments to calm down and regroup before the ceremony continued.



I was honoured to read a passage from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin during the proceedings. I had introduced Pippa to the book when it was first published, and the words are particularly poignant.

“Love is a temporary madness, it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your root was so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is.
Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion. That is just being in love, which any fool can do. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident.Those that truly love have roots that grow towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossoms have fallen from their branches, they find that they are one tree and not two.”

After the ceremony, the traditional photographs were taken before we all travelled across to the Reception where we were met by a four-piece jazz band, “Acoustic Jass.”  They were brilliant and were just what was needed to bridge the gap before Pippa and Dan arrived.

We then had our meal, listened to the speeches, witnessed the cutting of the amazing birdcage cake, the first dance before the party really started. There was also a Props Booth for people to dress up and act silly which was the source of much hilarity and great photos!

I left quite early in the evening as I was extremely tired and had a long drive to make on the Sunday but I left knowing that Pippa and Dan are meant for each other and a brilliant day was shared by all.

Congratulations Pippa and Dan!

Pippa and Dan

Pippa and Dan



Hello world!

Dear all-what an amazingly busy and fun month I have had and all the time I have been very mindful of over exerting myself to avoid being the victim of fatigue. Apologies that my blog has been one of the things to suffer but I had to be ruthless in my choices. It was  nothing personal but there are just not enough hours in the day to do everything I want to and coincidentally this is starting to get on my nerves. I spend too much time doing things I don’t enjoy so it’s time for a rethink.

In the meantime I can tell you that in the month I have been absent from this forum I have met the amazing and inspiring Simon Weston at a London Disability Confident conference, my colleague Richard and I are in the process of setting up a Midlands Employer Disability Network and I have had the privilege of seeing my niece Pippa married to Dan in a beautiful ceremony surrounded by family and friends. More about these in a separate post.

My son Will has been to Iceland and back and even saw the Northern Lights out of season which is amazing. I don’t think he realises how lucky he is but that will come with age and experience!

Further posts will come shortly but in the meantime I hope you all had a Happy Easter- back soon.


A Spring wedding

My niece Pippa is marrying her fiance Dan next April and the invitation landed on my doormat yesterday firing up my excitement again.

Pippa's Invitation

Pippa’s Invitation

I designed the invites for them and during the summer holidays cut out the shapes and toppers, stamped and hand-painted the birdcage images (100) and then transported everything down to my sisters house so we could all sit together around the kitchen table and put them together.

It was a lovely sunny day in August and one of Pippa’s bridesmaids, Nicola also came across for the day to help out-it was girly heaven! Pippa provided the jelly beans and Nicola the raspberry lemonade. Big Sis provided the lunch and her husband the entertainment as always!

Birdcage stamped images

Birdcage stamped images


Nicola & Pippa


All done!


Pippa & Nicola-JD! (Job Done)

Pippa’s twin brother Paul designed the inserts so it turned out to be a real family joint-effort. It was good fun and made it all the more special because we had done it ourselves.

I am now back to thinking about more pages for their wedding scrapbook which I have already started and have spent an hour or two (and some pennies) on some gorgeous Kaisercraft papers. I can’t post any pictures of the pages yet, you will have to wait until well into 2014 when I get the photos of the day but there is nothing to stop me preparing the pages ready to slip in the pictures when available.

I am also extremely honoured and proud to say that Pippa has also asked me to read a passage from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin at the ceremony. It is a beautiful reading taken from one of our favourite books of all time. I just hope that I do it justice.

Exciting times and something to look forward to over the winter months.



Congratulations to my gorgeous niece Pippa who got engaged to Dan last night. Dan surprised Pip with the $64m question at a 25th birthday party which he had organised for her and managed to keep secret from her for 4 months-and that was after he told my sister, a miracle!

Of course she said “Yes” and is now sporting a very pretty diamond solitaire.

Lovely, lovely lovely. The day just got better!

Congratulations both and we hope that you will be very happy!

Time flies

I can’t believe that it has been almost two weeks since I last posted. I have done so much but achieved so little and it is beginning to dawn on me that today being the start of Advent, Christmas will soon be here.

The late November temperatures are higher than average, my geraniums and fuchias are blooming merrily and yet I have a holly tree bursting with red berries. It looks rather incongruous to say the least but I’m not complaining.

So the great Christmas countdown begins in earnest and I need to get my act together soon if I’m to post my cards in good time. I’m not a fan of the commerciality, hassle and hub-bub of Christmas at the best of times but this year I have much more exciting things to do than go racing round the shops.

In the meantime, Will has a football match and I need to get to the craft shop if I’m to finish my pages today. Christmas cards and garlands have to wait.





The Everlasting Wedding-Day 2

Well, the day finally arrived and our first task in the early afternoon was to get ready and drive to the couple’s new house where official photos were taken with family. The groom looked very smart, polished and not at all nervous whilst the bride looked truly gorgeous in a traditional long off-white dress and carrying a bouquet of apricot roses.

Photo shoot over, we drove to the reception hall where men and women were immediately separated by a screen in the middle of the room as is the custom. Three hundred people were expected and the hall soon filled up with expectant guests.

The bride and groom arrived a while later, clapped into the room in welcome by a group of close friends and family and slowly made their way to the “love seat” at the top of the hall stopping to speak to all the guests on the way.. Then the first party began.

Plenty of dancing, merriment and eating delicious food followed until we left thehall at 10pm to drive to the private family gathering and more partying.

Then the fun really started.

In Iran it is customary to decorate the bride and groom’s car with bouquets of flowers front and back and to follow them in convoy with everyone’s hazard lights flashing and horns blaring all the time. Firecrackers and sparklers are let off out of the car windows and there is plenty of shouting and whistling. Alarmingly, in the middle of the dual carriageway all the cars stopped in the road and the men got out and started to dance to music playing on the radio. Not bothered about holding up the traffic this continued for a few minutes until they returned to their cars and continued the drive to party number 2.

More dancing and yet more food until the early hours when time was called.

Thank goodness; I can’t keep up-they party like maniacs.

The Everlasting Wedding-Day 1

Goodness knows how much preparation went into this extravaganza but for us it meant three days of full-on wedding celebrations, dancing, meeting the relatives who had descended on Esfahan from far-flung corners of Iran and of course making the Bride and Groom’s happy event a momentous one.

It all started on the eve of the wedding day itself when the families of both the bride and groom met at their new apartment to admire the dowry. It is traditional for the groom to provide the accommodation. The bride’s family provides everything else and I was amazed by the fabulous décor, and a home completely furnished and ready to move into immediately. The family had even stocked the fridge with fresh food and drink!

The bride was stunningly beautiful in a long green gown, matching shoes, and of course nail polish! Slim, elegant and radiantly happy she sailed through the evening with great poise lovingly supported by her husband-to-be.

The party really started to pick up pace and the dancing began. It is a bizarre experience to sit and observe such an eclectic mix of people and modes of dress in the same room. This is especially noticeable with the women. Some clearly prefer the modesty of headscarves and chadoors indoors when men are present. Many are dressed in classy evening dresses which would grace any Oscar ceremony whilst some are not quite so modest. “Killer” heels are de-rigeur and I can’t believe there were not more sprained ankles being treated in the local A&E.

I survived the loud music, clapping and laughter to end the evening looking forward to the wedding ceremony the next day.

What will the bride wear tomorrow? She wouldn’t tell!

The Wedding Day-the art of marriage

Art of Marriage
by Wilfred A. Peterson

The little things are the big things.
It is never being too old to hold hands.
It is remembering to say “I love you” at least once a day.
It is never going to sleep angry.
It is at no time taking the other for granted;
the courtship should not end with the honeymoon,
it should continue through all the years.
It is having a mutual sense of values and common objectives.
It is standing together facing the world.
It is forming a circle of love that gathers in the whole family.
It is doing things for each other, not in the attitude of duty or sacrifice, but in the spirit of joy.
It is speaking words of appreciation and demonstrating gratitude in thoughtful ways.
It is not expecting the husband to wear a halo or the wife to have wings of an angel.
It is not looking for perfection in each other.
It is cultivating flexibility, patience, understanding, and a sense of humor.
It is having the capacity to forgive and forget.
It is giving each other an atmosphere in which each can grow.
It is finding room for the things of the spirit.
It is a common search for the good and the beautiful.
It is establishing a relationship in which the independence is equal, dependence is mutual, and the obligation is reciprocal.
It is not only marrying the right partner,
it is being the right partner.


Wedding preparations

Today is the eve of the wedding, and  if I know the girls around here they will be flitting back and forth to the beauticians, eyebrows plucked, hair cut, coloured and curled, manicures and pedicures galore. Dresses checked, make-up at the ready.

Relatives will be arriving from all over Iran, our house will be full of visitors recovering from their journeys and preparing for tomorrow’s big event.

I will be helping out wherever I can, and observing these traditions as they unfold. It will be an exciting time and it should result a lovely wedding ceremony tomorrow for a couple who are well-suited, clearly devoted to each other and two of the loveliest people I have had the pleasure to meet.

This Marriage

May these vows and this marriage be blessed.
May it be sweet milk,
this marriage, like wine and halvah.
May this marriage offer fruit and shade
like the date palm.
May this marriage be full of laughter,
our every day a day in paradise.
May this marriage be a sign of compassion,
a seal of happiness here and hereafter.
May this marriage have a fair face and a good name,
an omen as welcome
as the moon in a clear blue sky.
I am out of words to describe
how spirit mingles in this marriage.



Iran-the engagement party

The end of my first week in Iran, if it hadn’t been momentous enough, culminated in the formal engagement of Ali Reza, Feri’s nephew, and Arezou his intended bride. The hard work and slick organisation which had been carried out behind the scenes by all involved whilst a normal family life continued regardless, only became obvious when the celebrations began.

The betrothal ceremony in Iran is traditionally a far bigger affair than the actual wedding which takes place at a later date; usually one year later but it can vary between 3 months and 3 years.

To start the public proceedings on the Friday, 600 people were invited to an afternoon/early evening gathering held at an orchard “Bagh” which was specially hired for the event. The orchard was appropriately decorated to accommodate the Iranian traditions of the “Bride” and “Groom”. Ali and Arezou arrived together in a car decorated with bouquets of flowers; the bride wore a long, white dress complete with head-covering, the groom was smartly dressed in a dark suit. On arrival they took their place on the “love-seat” so that the guests could view the happy couple, offer them congratulations and hand over the gifts. The first part of the proceedings was attended by both men and women, but this all changed at the ring of a bell.

Once the bell rang, the men and women separated. The men, including the groom, disappeared behind the screen dividing the orchard whilst the women remained with the bride in their woodland “quarters”.  Women everywhere having been to the beautician, nails beautifully manicured, hair curled and coiffeured, were wearing wonderfully glamorous evening dresses and I felt a tad underdressed to say the least. I had also made the effort to put on “my face” and was quite proud of my efforts. Foundation, eye-shadow, mascara, lipstick; what I considered the “Full Monty”. However, I was rather taken aback when I was then asked if I wanted some make up to put on. I guess “less-is-more” has not reached these shores yet!

Now ready for the real party to start, some of the more sedate guests looked on from their seats and took the opportunity to catch up with family news whilst the dancing commenced. At the Iranian parties I have attended in England, I have managed, so far, to avoid Iranian dancing. Being in charge of the photographs and feigning ignorance works successfully there. Not so here. But more of my Iranian dancing lessons later.

As the only English woman amongst 300, it could have been quite overwhelming with everyone staring curiously at my very English features of fair skin, blonde hair, blue eyes and rosy cheeks. However, the Iranian people are so friendly and welcoming and their interest and curiosity is only well-meant and not at all offensive that their polite nature made it a lovely and fascinating afternoon, for which I am truly grateful. I felt very much at ease with so much attention which is unusual for me and is testament to the amazing ambience which they manage to create.

It was also my good luck and great pleasure to be introduced to a lovely Iranian lady, Moazam. Moazam is an English teacher in Iran currently studying for her MA in English studies.  Moazam very kindly helped me to converse with the Iranian ladies who wanted to meet me and ask questions, and acted as my translator all afternoon. For her attentiveness, kindness and boundless patience I am indebted and hope that one day I can repay her benevolence. Kheyli motashakkeram Moazam.

So, back to the Iranian dancing. Modern Iranian music has a very western feel to it but the dance movements are very different to the discos and parties I remember in England (maybe I need to go more often) and are based on more traditional sequences. Some dances replicate the growing and harvesting of rice-but I gave that one a miss since I have no experience or knowledge of this practice. I don’t think there is an equivalent beetroot harvesting dance in England. With some individual tuition and some coordination left over from my younger days however, I was able to copy and follow the moves of some of my newly-found friends quite competently. That was a good job because I was then taken round each separate area of the dancing platform whilst everyone clapped to the rhythm and watched this strange-looking person try to perform their dances. I don’t think that I made a complete fool of myself but I noticed that I caused quite a bit of merriment….and not an alcoholic drink in sight. And don’t forget, this was all in front of approximately 300 people who all knew how to do it properly.  Most importantly for me, they appeared to appreciate my efforts to join in and, whilst dancing is really not my thing, I was more than happy to oblige on this occasion.

At the end of this first session of celebrations which came to a close around 7.30pm, the men joined the women again, and a huge three-tier cake was assembled and eaten. The guests gradually started to drift away leaving the 50 or so friends and family invited to Ali’s home for further festivities.

Before I was allowed the leave the orchard however, the owner of the venue personally invited me to a guided tour of the whole area, showing me how he had created such a lovely and beautiful area for these kind of celebrations. He had retained an old stone flour mill which still works together with the nearby well, and the canopies covering the seats and tables were draped with grape vines complete with bunches of ripening fruit. I was very privileged for the invite and again, this demonstrates the hospitality, warmth and willingness to please of this nation which we do not often get to witness.

Returning home, the party continued with more dancing, music, food mostly outside in the late warm weather which makes such a difference. When everyone had eaten and could hardly put one foot in front of the other, it was time to call things to a close and say Goodbye to everyone.

What a wonderful day, not just for Ali and Arezou, the lovely couple whose happy day it was, but for me to be able to experience such an amazing family occasion as part of their family and to be treated with such friendliness and respect all afternoon.

Kheyli mamnun.