15 August 2006

Mariage pluvieux, mariage heureux

Thank God for French sayings – they can turn anything into something great or even greater. ‘Rainy wedding, happy wedding.’ I guess it works in English too.

Yes, it rained. On 21 and 23 July, the sky was cloudless and only the moderate coolness of our house was comfortable. On 22 July, the heavens opened and Berkshire got more rain that day than in the whole month of May – at least it felt that way.

I was getting ready at the venue, in the stunning, huge, nicely decorated room where my parents were going to spend the night, and I was looking out the window feeling like somehow the Universe didn’t think I deserved a nice, hot, sunny day for my wedding. And I couldn’t help asking ‘Why?!’. At the same time, I knew there was nothing I could do, so instead of lamenting over the dark grey landscape, I smiled at the camera and just prayed that the rain would stop for the post-wedding photograph session that we so wanted to do outdoors. We had a Plan B, but I only wanted to follow Plan A.

Going down the stairs after the official legal interview with the registrar, my legs started to wobble and my breath to shorten. Half-way down, I could feel tears forming in my throat. Had somebody not asked me a mundane question about I don’t even remember what, I would have exploded. But that ordinary question saved me, and the emotion flew away as quickly as it had come over me.

Behind the closed doors of the reception room (a beautiful library, which symbolises our passion for books), waiting for the music to start, my breath was getting shallower and shallower. ‘I cannot cry. I must not cry,’ I repeated to myself. The first few bars of the music; the doors open; the photographer just there, asking us to stay still for the first picture of the most memorable day of my life; and off we go, slowly, in time with the music (a march by Handel), my father holding my arm and taking me to my husband-to-be.

Going down the aisle, the same feeling of near-explosion overwhelms me once again. I try to breathe normally, but I can’t. ‘I must not cry.’ So I breathe out for as long as possible, after each tiny intake of air, and I smile. I smile to the people who are looking at me so intently, who are smiling at me, who are opening their mouths (in shock? amazement? surprise? – I’m not sure, and I’ll never know), and I walk towards my soon-to-be husband, who is looking absolutely gorgeous in his morning suit and top hat.

We haven’t seen each other since 9.30pm yesterday, and it now feels like I haven’t seen him for weeks. He says, ‘You look beautiful.’ I know I won’t cry now. I have him by my side, and that is enough to centre me and get most of my self-control back.

The ceremony unfolds smoothly. Every now and again, I turn around to look at the people who are all witnessing our wedding. Then I realise that so and so is here, and that my soon-to-be mother-in-law looks stunning in her hat and black-and-white outfit, that my soon-to-be father-in-law’s suit is perfect, that my two witnesses are both here, that our readers are also present. They all made it! It feels like a sweet little miracle. It’s all coming together nicely.

Apart from the rain.

But soon, half an hour after the ceremony is over, the heavens close and in their stead appears the first ray of sunshine. Hurray! My wish has been fulfilled! We all rush outside and start taking the group photographs.

And for our own private photo session with the photographer and his wife/assistant, the sun is truly shining, the sky is blue save for a few white clouds that are still lingering, and Mr and Mrs Y can’t stop smiling.

Tomorrow, we’re getting the result of the photographer’s hard work. We can’t wait!

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