Well, on the 30th of December last year I did the unthinkable and inflicted my surname on another human being. There is now another Pither walking amongst us – my wife! She will now suffer the routine humiliation as I do when people try to pronounce Pither like it’s somehow connected to the pith inside of oranges and lemons. It’s Pither as in ‘dither’ I tell people. Then they understand.
I approached the wedding philosophically questioning what could really constitute ‘the best of your life’. I’ve had plenty of fantastic days in my life – in fact I like to make a habit of it, and I just presumed this was a saying you would exercise as a default response to those asking you ‘how was your special day?’ Really though, I was quite struck when I stopped and thought many times throughout the wedding that this really was the best day I can remember.
So, a fair bit of planning went into it. Whilst anticipating the wedding, each member of the family probably had a different idea of what would make all the difference and make it truly memorable. Personally, I just wanted a truly momentous party. I wanted to see people dressed stylishly and wonderfully, and sipping champagne (gulping perhaps), and just enjoying themselves and talking, dancing, laughing, as well as maybe a few antics.
We certainly got what I’d hoped for. Please allow me to indulge myself and recount the day with the aid of a few photos. I’m quite aware that looking at other people’s wedding photos is immensely boring (well for me anyway), so I apologise in advance.
For the day we provided the wine that we’d collected from our trip to Burgundy earlier in the year. Post wedding-day reports suggest that we’d chosen well, although admittedly we’d guessed people would want more white than red. That was in error, as it seemed people couldn’t get enough of the lightened red stuff. The champagne (well, burgundian crement actually), from Chambolle Musigny went down a storm. Later on the dance floor people were to be seen holding the bottles by the neck and passing them around.
When commenting on the wedding a few days later, one pal, Jim, who I suspect had a rather colourful night, looked up, gathered his thoughts, and then proclaimed: ‘Well the wine certainly flowed!’
My Father and I. And if I don’t say so myself, a couple of elegantly dressed chaps! For those wondering where my hairline is heading, you need wonder no more.
Myself and the father of the bride.
My mother and I
Because we got married on the 30th of December, the Hyatt in Birmingham still had all the Christmas decorations up. The Burgundy colouring of the decor matched the colour scheme we’d generally chosen (of the bridesmaids too), and I thought it looked brilliant.
The so-solid usher crew. L to R: Steve the best man, Jez, myself and Giles. Before the actual ceremony was an interesting experience for me. At one stage I was congratulating myself on how calm I was, and how everything was going smoothly. I’d had a decent massage, greeted people on the way in, things were progressing well. Then suddenly an hour before kick off, the quartet turns up, then the evening band, then a particularly imposing registrar (early twentieth century headmaster type, in the mould of Stephen Fry), the florist needed paying, the photographer kind of went AWOL… Consequently I began to get flustered. Luckily though, the assembled A-team of ushers and family where steadfast. They were excellent.
Meanwhile, my Bride and her cohort were getting ready, whilst tucking to a cheeky bottle of something by the look of it!
In the bridal suite.
Kath, mother, and sister.
Preparation in earnest.
The bar beforehand was buzzing. The ceremony kicked off at four, so natually all the guests assembled here at around 3.30. I had the pleasure of walking round and greeting everyone. As you can see in the above photo, the dress code was black tie / cocktail dress. I thought everyone looked absolutely fantastic. The ceremony room was very close to the bar, so the guests had a very short walk at five minutes beforehand.
With a quartet adding to the atmosphere.
A quick signing of some important documents. When doing the vows beforehand, and in being asked ‘Do I take Kath to be my wife etc’, I forgot to say ‘I do’, and simply exclaimed ‘Yes!’ rather loudly. I have to say, I spent days dreading the speech, but surprisingly, and later to be confirmed by other grooms having gone before me, it’s the taking of the vows that is the most gut wrenchingly nervous part of the day.
Well, I thank the Hyatt staff for this, because as we were leaving the room some chap was waiting for us with a tray holding two glasses of the Crement. Certainly required we thought at the time.
After the ceremony everyone gathered on the large balcony leading into the function room where the meal was to be held. There was lots of posing for photos, lots of socialising, and lots of drinks and nibbles.
My sister and I. Despite her being older, I really do feel I’m the sensible one.
It was a great day for seeing old friends.
And more such friends.
After this congealing of people on the balcony we had an exhausting line up that lasted for 30 mins. My feet frequently threatened to give way. It was wonderful though to get the chance to greet everyone, even the odd person you’d never met before in your life. It was at times like this throughout the evening when I felt astounded by the sheer effort the guests had put in. It’s an extremely humbling experience. Around the time of this lineup I was also nervousley anticipating the speech. Quite rightly though, more than one person told me not to worry, and that I was amongst friends and family. I couldn’t possibly balls up in front on them… The best man on the other hand could though!
The speech went OK. I actually relaxed into it. Afterwards I felt a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders. That was until…
The best man’s speech! It was a very good speech, although somewhat much more of a mauling than I’d anticipated, and this was the so-called watered down version. Quite how Steve thought it appropriate to recount details of a police-chase in Cork leading to my house arrest in a hotel on suspicion of kidnapping is beyond me! Don’t worry that’s a story that sounds way worse than it was; I wasn’t in any real trouble and I certainly didn’t know I was in the police chase until pulled over by the Garda (even though I’d accidentally driven the wrong way a chunk of the one-way system – they must have thought I was cunningly pulling off evasion tactics), the rest was really a frivilous ruckus. I was 18 at the time, and I’ve never been so glad to leave a country as I was back then! Other stories the best man brought up included ones best not mentioned here. Overall it was a complete demolition job, and I sincerely hope Steve appoints me as his future best man so I can return the favour.
The Father of the Brides speech was touching for me personally, there were lots of nice things said – surprising really! The two mothers and Kath’s best friend also chipped in for a few words (as above).
As you can see. and hopefully the guests would agree, drink was in an abundant supply. After the speeches and dinner the party atmosphere continued to grow. We had a great band playing Indie rock music, loads more Crement, people all over the hotel having a great time. Later when the band finished those still well enough headed downstairs to the cocktail bar. There we continued until 3.30 am, indulging in some fantastic arm wresting competitions, an attempted swimming pool break in, cigar and cocktail partaking, and generally in having as much fun as we could. I recall a couple of gents wandering off for a donner kebab, getting completely lost in Birmingham, and then having to succumb to a three minute taxi ride back to the hotel.
It was a fantastic day. The official photos can be found here: http://www.richardmorrell.co.uk/kathandjonswedding/.