June 18, 2005

Neil and Kuljit's Wedding

Coming soon: The Tale of the Best Man and the Lost Speech.

"East meets West" said the faux film poster invitations. And it was. But with a huge helping of pure Neil and Kuljit. I don't think I've been to a more personal wedding. Kuljit and her sisters, the bridesmaids, were in saris, and had had their hands tatooed with henna. Neil and I, his best man, were in tails.

The party started on the way to the wedding. All bar the bridal party boarded our open-top Routemaster London bus, and sipped champagne as it took us to Avenue House, via a brief stop at Alexandra Palace for some photos.

It was a civil ceremony, but there was still much rejoicing in the musical tradition. You aren't allowed to have anything with religious wording at a civil ceremony, but that was okay, because the guests all joined in renditions of the Beatles' Love Me Do and All You Need Is Love.

After the usual photo shoot in the lovely grounds, we sat down for a absolutely fantastic three-course Indian feast. Then it was time for the speeches. I wasn't feeling particularly nervous, but then I'd had my panic the night before...

I still had the ending of my speech to write when I left home at Friday lunchtime. I knew roughly what I wanted to say, but hadn't actually written it.

After an afternoon spent helping out with last minute preparations for the big day, then some food and a drink with fellow guests staying at the hotel, I retired to my room and booted up my laptop. Only to find that Windows Offline Folders hadn't synchronized the speech onto my laptop!!! Not good. I have one of the most important speeches I'll ever give to do tomorrow, and the only copy of it is over fifty miles away in Cambridge.

If I'd had Internet access then it wouldn't have been a problem, but of course I didn't have the lead to connect my phone to my laptop (and haven't bought a Bluetooth dongle for my laptop yet), and the hotel didn't have WiFi. I guess I could drive back to Cambridge... Or maybe go round to Kuljit's in the morning and use her Internet connection...

I decided to see how much of the speech I could remember, and luckily, I managed to recreate it without access to the original. After all that, actually giving the speech was almost the easy part!

With the speeches over, my main responsibilities were finished. I still had a few announcements to make as toastmaster - cutting the cake, the first dance... but for what seemed like the first time all day I didn't have something else I needed to do. Until I started sorting out taxis for people at the end of the night.

Not that my tasks during the day were arduous, or things I was worried about, or that I didn't enjoy. Far from it, it was just rather hectic. I didn't realise until I finally got to bed, and started to unwind, just how emotionally charged a day it had been. Just a wonderful day and I was honoured to play such a part in it.

My photos are available here.

Posted by Adrian at June 18, 2005 02:00 PM | TrackBack

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