A Dartmoor Wedding

Preface

On the Thursday before the wedding, the Bride’s mother and father decided not to go out at all as the weather was terrible, so, almost for the first time ever, they spent the afternoon sitting, holding hands watching their namesakes in Pride and Prejudice and it was a lovely start to a lovely weekend. How soppy can you get!

A Dartmoor Wedding

By the Photographer’s Assistant

The Assistant and one of her dearest friends took the road to Gidleigh Church. They drove cautiously in case there was a fast oncoming vehicle. There could be no bumps at this stage of the proceedings. The lane was narrow and it was noticeably cold. They had an enormous bag of ivy and trimmings from the garden. The Assistant had her trusted secateurs, some scissors, all sorts of string and useful bits and pieces in an old box. The car came to a halt by the church and the two set out into a beautiful sight.

Stiffly starched and all the same. The bridesmaid's work of art

Stiffly starched and all the same. The bridesmaid’s work of art

 

There, was the work done by a bridesmaid and her fiancé. Beautiful white bows adorned each chair in the church. It was an amazing sight and here, was the natural greenery to adorn it. Outside, there were to be candles in personally decorated jars. The bridesmaids were busy clipping and snipping. There was nothing in the church that had not been made and crafted by friends and that was the essence of the wedding. There were no vast amounts of money spent, just friends who wanted to join in. The small family involved (just the Bride, groom and four close relatives) were both amazed and touched at all those wonderful helping hands.

A wedding lectern

A wedding lectern

 

As her friend decorated the lectern, the Assistant heard a car door shut outside but it was some while before the occupant appeared. This was a dear elderly lady who had known the Assistant since she arrived on Dartmoor. This was an unexpected appearance. The lady had forgotten that there would be no flower arranging this weekend. She had the most beautiful flowers to contribute, so the Assistant’s friend helped with arranging her flowers too. Only that morning, the Assistant had been sad that all of the brides grandparents had died years before. The lady who had come to fulfil her role on the flower rota was the only person the Assistant knew with a connection to her own father. This lady, who was now very old had had a husband who was a doctor attached to the Eighth Army in the war, and the Assistant’s father had been a medical commando, also attached to the Eighth Army. The Assistant found this a strange happening. In a way, her father had made his way to that church. He had always loved children and had only seen the bride for nine months before he had died.

This eve of the wedding passed in a haze of preparation. John, the bride’s godfather had arrived and had been a great help with all sorts of jobs, which hadn’t been completed. The threesome sat down and had an early supper, at the end of which they all agreed that age was catching up with them and went off to a night’s heavy sleep, despite the next day’s coming event.

Oh! The day itself was wonderful. The bride left for the wedding from her own home. John and the Photographer had decorated the Photographer’s car, which had been left in a kind neighbour’s garage, one of the few on the Moor. The Moorland mist would have ruined the ribbon. There was a touching scene in the bride’s home. When the bridesmaids were going to be late getting away from having their hair done, the bride was left with her mother for some last precious moments. The bride’s mother had never been very good at dressing the daughter as a toddler, let alone getting full bridal gear onto her as an adult, but the two struggled away together, the bride’s patience being immense. Eventually, the dress was on, but the mother’s fingers could not hook up the fastenings, a hook was really needed. Just as the mother thought she would never get there, the bride’s father arrived. He had decided to park the car early to collect the bride. Father immediately set to, just as he had when the bride was a toddler. With some hesitation, as the bride was a woman, and no longer his small child, the father shyly asked if he could proceed with the fasteners and was shouted at to get on with it! He had the bride done up in no time and completed the job just as the bridesmaids arrived. The father and bride left and had a pleasant chat as they waited outside the church in a wind swept car for the allotted arrival time, specified to the minute by the vicar.

With much amusement the two watched the late arrivals zoom to the church; find all the parking taken, dash back as suggested by helpful locals to the Village Hall, find that full for a pre booked other event, disgorge slightly flustered guests, then disappear down granite lined lanes seeking the non existent parking spots. Meanwhile the more laid back late arrivals spotted the bride and just had to have a gossip.

What a wedding! People who arrive at weddings usually feel a sort of tension. Will it all go well? The mother of the bride did her best to talk to the arrivals and what happy meetings of old friends there were there. The priest, who took the service was a dear man, who had only recently retired from being the hospital chaplain at Great Ormond Street. He is a splendid person, and we were lucky to have him there. The bells rang, the organ played, and there was a silence as the bride entered the church with her two glamorous bridesmaids. As the bride made her way up the aisle, it became obvious that her father could not steer such a large frock in tandem up the narrow aisle. Here was the breaking of the ice. Everyone laughed and the father announced that they just didn’t fit in such a small church. The vows were beautifully said between two lovely people, who clearly loved one another very much. There was solemnity mixed with much smiling. The bride’s artist friend read wonderfully and the bride’s mother managed to do one of the things she was trained to do, and actually used her teacher trained voice to make a clear reading. An achievement at last. You simply can’t let the bride down! The organ played wonderfully. Snacks were laid on in the church and in this the bride’s mother was grateful to her niece, who could not be there because she was expecting a baby. Her niece had insisted that it was essential to feed people throughout the wedding, so Black’s Deli had provided excellent local pasties and there was mulled wine too, provided by the bride’s father and Pilates wine shop. The father had spent the previous morning having a fun time boiling the wine to get rid of the alcohol content! The bell ringers joined in the snacks and a jolly time was begun.

While the guests remained in church munching pasties the Bridal Party and the Wedding Photographer set to work

While the guests remained in church munching pasties the Bridal Party and the Wedding Photographer set to work

 

The reception was just a blast, as they say. There were short speeches, during which the brides mother nearly broke down after the groom gave her a glowing report and a really large bunch of flowers. The conversation flowed, as did the wine. The father and mother of the bride were immensely pleased with the acquisition of a step grandson, who was so fond of their daughter in this lovely frock that he couldn’t help constantly giving her a big cuddle. Needless to say, this handsome young man was in great demand when the dancing commenced until he finally collapsed and was carried to the blue room for a snooze.

The happy bride

The happy bride

There was good country rock music with plenty of dancing and lots of conversation. John, the landlord of the Chagford Inn seemed to have unending energy. He and his staff were simply amazing. The bride’s mother was given a beautiful book, by a friend, signed by the artist, who had earlier in the year seen her own son get married The cake made by the bride’s father was robustly beautiful, and the second cake made of cheese was very very tasty.

Engineered cake!

Engineered cake!

 

They knew the reception had gone well, when the men had whisky to finish off, and the mother’s had a cup of coffee, because they simply couldn’t keep up with them!

It was all like a scene from a Thomas Hardy novel, that joyful playing of music in the wedding of Bathsheba and Gabriel in Far From the Madding Crowd.

Music, wine and good conversation, was had by all...including The Photographer.....who needs focus anyway?

Music, wine and good conversation, was had by all…including The Photographer…..who needs focus anyway?

 

Footnote:

 

Go on, you really just wanted to see the frock…….and the lovely bride

 

The Frock

The Frock

 

 

 

The Photographer’s snapshots can be seen on Flickr (follow link) or the serious stuff is on Artfinder (follow link)

Any similarity between characters in this blog and real people, products or events is entirely co-incidental

Any similarity between “The Little Town” and Chagford is entirely deliberate, Click on this link to find out more. Visit Chagford

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1 comment
  1. Barbara and Geoff said:

    Lovely to read about the wedding..obviously tailor made to be enjoyed by all…and great to see the photos.
    Glad you all had such a good time.
    Best wishes to all
    Barbara x

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