09 August 2012

London Calling, part 4

After a week of exploring the sights, after several days of hanging out with friends, and after a leisurely morning in our room trying to coax my hair into holding a curl for more than thirty seconds... it was WEDDING TIME!

Unfortunately the weather on the wedding day was, well, classically London. That is, it was a little chilly and drizzly, though at least the rain started to let up as the ceremony approached. And because it actually became rather pleasant outside – for a classically London day, at least – Mr. P and I opted to skip a cab and instead walked about twenty minutes to the church with our friend... uh... also Lil’ C. Apparently we tend to befriend petite ladies with names that start with C.

The walk from the hotel (in Belsize Park) to the church (in Regent’s Park) runs through Camden Town, a charming area that was relatively peaceful and residential. We also went past Primrose Hill, which you can see in the background in the photo above.

Psst, see what I mean about walking everywhere? So many things you could otherwise miss!

Soon enough, we made it to the church:

This is also where, in the middle of the street, I changed out of those flat sandals into the heels I’d shoved in my purse. Because if you invite me to your wedding, I am nothing but pure class, changing in the street in front of the church!

Anyway, both the church exterior and interior were gorgeous. This is the stained glass window above the altar:

We wondered for a bit why the lion from Narnia was in the middle of the window before realizing we were in a church named St. Mark’s. Oh yeah!

Catching up with the friends that had most recently arrived in London (and didn’t get to attend our group excursion)...

Our friends were married in a traditional ceremony for the Church of England, which had some fun elements I wasn’t expecting. For one, they had a choir!

Like a personal wedding choir! That was super cool.

After the entrance of the bride (too blurry of a photo to salvage), the bridge and groom stood at the front with the vicar, the bride’s parents and two bridesmaids, and the best man. All the wedding stuff (the vows, the rings) are at the very beginning of the ceremony.

I love how you can just barely see the bride and groom smiling and/or chatting with each other. Aww.

Both of our friends are scientists, and this was reflected by a quote about love and science read by one of our friends:

But maybe the most unexpected thing – to me, because I didn’t get up at 4AM or whatever to watch the royal wedding last year – was how the bride and groom disappeared, with their parents and attendants, to a totally different room. Like, in the middle of the ceremony. We just sat there while the bride and groom walked out and the choir sang to us. Apparently they were signing the marriage certificate or somesuch. But after that, they came back out for the recessional, as seen here in a photo that’s blurry but I don’t even care because they are so stinkin’ cute.

After the wedding, the rain held off to allow the bride and groom to have a receiving line outside:

Right as we were leaving the wedding, we discovered that another of our friends – who couldn’t travel to the wedding because she was pregnant – had her baby! Here’s one of the Lil’ Cs showing the bride the photo of our newest member of our group of friends.

After that, plus a hug and a congratulations to the bride and groom, we headed out and discovered our FLIPPING SWEET RIDE TO THE RECEPTION:


After cruising around London on the upper deck of our private bus, we arrived at the pub (but “like a fancy pub”, as our friend described it to us while planning their wedding) where the reception would be held. Not only is it so charming from the outside...

... you can just barely see the server inside the door holding a tray of champagne. Wheee! Champagne for all!

While the wedding party took photos, we guests got to enjoy a cocktail hour with passed hors d’oeuvres and all sorts of adorable personal touches for us to see, like these guestbook puzzle pieces (we were encouraged to write a message):

The candy sticks with their names inside holy moly:

And a slideshow of the bride and groom, featuring lots of wonderful baby pictures and several appearances of graduate school antics. It was so cute that several friends couldn’t take their eyes off it for this photo:

That side of the room downstairs, if you couldn’t tell, had absolutely gorgeous light. Love!

After the bride and groom arrived, we all headed upstairs for the delicious dinner:

And the toasts! Oh, the toasts. Okay, to fully appreciate this photo, you have to pretend that you have known this man for years, that he’s just married one of your dear friends, and that he begins his speech in a delightful BBC accent, “On behalf of my wife and I...”


Said wife was doing an awesome job working the room, chatting with guests after dinner:

I really adored where they had their reception – it was super classy and yet pub-kitschy at the same time. My friend chose it sight-unseen based on photos on the internet, but it really couldn’t have been a more perfect venue for this celebration!

After dinner, it was time to head back downstairs to the dance floor!

Now, remember I don’t ever really use flash, so this is usually when I put my camera down for the night. It’s dancing time, after all! But I still have to share this photo that I stole from the bride’s sister. Mr. P and I, we like to break it down.

After dancing the night away, after Mr. P and I returned home to St. Louis, and after the bride and groom spent a lovely honeymoon in Croatia, we got a quick email from them, thanking us for traveling all the way to London for their wedding. I was taken aback because... dude. What? Thanking us for coming? There really was no question that we’d be there! Not only did Mr. P and I have an excuse for a London adventure, we got to see two of our best friends get married – honestly, one of the most beautiful things in this world.

We were honored to be invited, to be in attendance, to celebrate.


Tina said...

I have thoroughly enjoyed your travel journals and pictures. I would love to be invited to a London wedding 'cause I know now I would so definitely go!!!