I spent Wednesday morning with Ann, catching up on all her news and then took the train to Harrogate (a two hour journey via Leeds!) to stay with my sister Kate. This is where all the action is! I have had a wonderful time staying here in a house full of the sound of children! (the laughter, and the arguments of loving sisters!) Really made me miss my own boys though! Stephanie came on Thursday and a three day whirl of girlie appointments ensued – hairdos, manicures, facials, massages, shopping. In between all of this Kate fielded and made numerous phone calls confirming arrangements and sorting out last minute problems. Flowers, photographer, dresses, suits; Steph must be the most pampered bride on the planet but she just revelled in it! In between all of this of course there were still meals to be cooked, children to get to school and pick up and the general daily tasks to be done, as well as having two extra visitors in a family home, so you can imagine the scenes!
Personally, I enjoyed my first ever manicure and have spent the last few days admiring my beautifully polished nails! (sad really, isn’t it!?) I had almost completed my outfit but still needed shoes so the hunt was on – there are plenty of shoe shops in Harrogate but the prices are not quite in my range! Anyway, I finally managed to get a pair in a sale at quite a reasonable price – honestly Nigel, they weren’t very expensive!
Steph managed to fall asleep when she had her facial and again when she was waiting for Kate to have her manicure – she has an amazing propensity for falling asleep in strange places! I hope I manage to do the same on the plane on the way home. Steph really was in her element and loving her new nails and all the attention.
Crisis point happened when Eduardo arrived back from picking up the dresses and suits – there was only a jacket and waistcoat for Jack! Kate was distraught – she had planned everything down to the finest detail! But nothing could be done at 6pm on Friday evening – we hoped that there was a simple explanation and it was simply an oversight so all she could do was leave a message with Angel Brides and hope that they returned the call first thing in the morning. There were indeed some frantic phone calls in the morning and Jo went round there with Jack at 9am to find that the suit was indeed hanging in the shop – crisis over, but stress you can do without!
The attention started in earnest on Saturday morning – to start with Steph feigned a reluctance to be photographed but soon abandoned all pretence and unashamedly posed at every opportunity! After a hectic start first thing with pressure on the bathroom at it’s height with Steph, Lucy, Sophie and Rosa all needing to shower before going to the hairdresser, Kate and I had a peaceful hour and a half to tidy the house and get ourselves showered. Sarah, the Beautician arived and we had our make-up done before the girls arrived back beautifully coiffed and all hell broke loose again! Sarah didn’t stop for 2 hours and then David, the photographer arrived and snapped every stage of the getting ready process! At some point the flowers arrived and we oohed and aahhed over them! and then it was a whirl of dressing, make-up, lacing up of dresses – it was wonderful to see Lucy and Sophie helping each other into their dresses, helping Steph, the boys – Guy and Jack helping each other, and generally everyone pulling together to make sure we were all ready on time. We snacked on bacon and sausage butties to keep us going desperately trying to keep the smell from pervading the whole house and the dresses! We were so worried about being ready on time – thought it would take ages to lace the girls into their dresses – that we ended up beng ready early! Never mind – enough time to relax and have a glass of bubbly – well why not?!
Steph had been asking us over the last couple of days how she was going to get to the Queen’s Hotel; we had arranged a white limousine to take her, the bridesmaids and the ushers but it was a surprise, so we told her we would go in Kate’s car or in a taxi. When we called her out to tell her the taxi had arrived and she saw the limo she was completely bowled over – it was an absolute pleasure to see her face, she was so excited!
The rest of the day was just stunning – Stephie was in control all the way; Ann held her arm proudly as they walked down the aisle, she took Mark’s hand (and didn’t let go for the rest of the service!), knew all her lines, (said them ahead of the registrar), and was perfectly radiant! We were all moved to tears as she said her vows and again when she confidently made her speech. It’s not usually the bride who speaks but Steph is no ordinary bride! She is a natural when it comes to standing up in public and speaking – what presence she has! – she spoke with feeling and fun and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house! She and Mark danced all night, the evening was well and truly theirs! They seem blissfuly happy and so wrapped up in each other – whether either of them really understand what marriage means we will never truly know, but what is clear is that they love each other to bits and, after all, what is more important than that?