As most of you know, this has been planned for for the past 2 years now. The church was booked on our 48th wedding anniversary. I booked it through the churchwarden who told me in an email that although not a marriage ceremony, a vow renewal is very similar to a marriage. Based on this, I started the planning of the whole event.
This is something which is very personal to us and we feel that we should be able to celebrate it in our own way. This, more so because we have only had one marriage in 50 years and so, it was important to us that we celebrate it in our own way. I decided that I wanted to include as many of my family as I could, and for that reason I chose to have 6 bridesmaids, 4 granddaughters, daughter in law and daughter. This was not because I feel that I am a bride, on the contrary, it was to include family members and the little girls love to dress up. We have 2 sons so we asked the eldest to be best man and the younger one to escort me down the aisle, the other daughter in law to do a reading and two grandaughters to sing. Yes, we wanted to include everyone and we knew what we wanted.
In November we arranged to go and see the vicar to sort out the service as we would be away for most of December, half of January and half of February. Father Richard was pleasant enough but delivered the first blow when I said that I wanted the girls to sing Leonard Cohens “Hallelujah ” – the probelm was that it is lent and the one word that they dont use in church during lent is Hallelujah. I straight away agreed to change my song choice. Father Richard then raised his eyebrows when I said that I was having bridesmaids and asked when I wanted them to walk into the church. I said I wasn’t too bothered really and he suggested ” they can walk in behind the two of you.
Now us entering the curch together had never been part of my remit! I bought my dress when we were in London last May whilst hubby was at a football match and it has been under wraps since then – he still hasnt seen it. That plan would have gone straight out of the window. I also have an ex chauffeur who is going to pick me up from the hotel and take me to the church whos services would not be necessary.
He then asked about hymns and readings. I said that I wanted Anne to do a reading . We had alsready chosen something that we wanted her to read but Father Richard wasnt interested, he told us that he would send us a list of readings that we could choose from.
Now, for the priveledge of being told what we could and couldnt do for our celebration and having to make our choices from his choices, he was charging us 450€ and I was quite upset about his suggestions. The next day, after mulling it over all night, I emailed him, early in the morning and asked if he would compromise and allow Dave to be in the church ahead of me and me to be escorted in by my son. he emailed back very quickly to say that he would have to give the matter some serious consideration. It took him 5 weeks to get back to me and when he eventually did, he said that he had decided that this was not possible. The guidelines of the church state that when a couple are already married, they should enter the church together, without ceremony and sit at the front.
We talked long and hard about this. We both really wanted the service to take place in church, but we also felt that we had already compromised about the song and he was not prepared to bend at all. We were not happy with this and ultimately we found a celebrant who would write us a bespoke ceremony and conduct it under a pergola out the back of the restaurant where the reception was to be held. I wrote to Father Richard and cancelled and did not even get the courtesy of a reply.
Now, with our anniversary itself just 2 weeks away and the vow renewal 3 weeks away, everything is in place. Lynda has written us a very personal ceremony which mentions and includes all of our family members. One of the grandadaughters who was to sing is not able to make it but the other brave girl will sing Hallelujah, solo.
I just have a few more buttonholes to make and then all of the flowers are finished. I made a posy to carry,for myself but a coupe of weeks ago I pulled it to bits as I felt that it was too bridal. I have since made an arrangement of flowers and attached to my handbag and I am a lot happier with it.
Next week we will finalise numbers, menu choices and liase with the hotel.
Our anniversary, on 1st April will be a quiet affair but from 4th people start arriving and on Friday 7th we go to the hotel for the week end.
I shall be posting photos and lots more details on here afterwards so make sure you click follow on here so that you are informed each time I update.