Sunday, 12 October 2014


It was Abbie's wedding today. It's often difficult to write about a wedding because weddings tend to follow a traditional formula which doesn't necessarily make for particularly interesting or surprising reading. No one's going to be surprised to hear that there was a flower-filled church, or that the bride looked beautiful, or that everyone had a thoroughly lovely time. Tick. Tick. Tick.

Abbie is a proud evangelical Christian, so I suppose I was a little worried about the potential spiritual content of her wedding. Would there be references to hell? Would everyone be told that a marriage was only valid if Jesus was part of the equation? Would someone suggest that gay marriage was a sin? As it happened, the religious side of the ceremony was subtle, relaxed and rather tender. Yes, there was a worship band, who mangled one or two ghastly traditional hymns with even more ghastly treatments on guitars and things, and the vicar continually talked about marriage as a union of man and woman with the objective of raising children, but the majority of the readings were deeply
heartfelt and about universal love.  And this touched me. I was really quite surprised, and frankly, a little humbled. I also remembered mid way through the service that these were the people who'd so kindly prayed for Nathan and me when we were in trouble in San Francisco, so I had a little epiphany, where I realised that religious people don't necessarily have to be judgemental bigots. Some have the capacity to love living people as well as myths!

Abbie looked a picture in a stunning black and white dress with a laced-up, plunging back. She carried a bouquet of silver brooches set into a ball of oasis, many with sentimental value or significance. It made such a great alternative to flowers, which of course only die. Abbie's bouquet will instantly become a family heirloom. Perhaps her daughter or even her grand daughter will walk down the aisle carrying it.

Nathan's beautiful composition, which really I'd only touched up in places, went down extremely well. The choir Abbie had set up to sing it, performed brilliantly, and the bride and groom were very happy with the result.

Nathan also sang Abbie down the aisle. Have You Seen Miss Jones? was a highly appropriate song for someone whose surname is Jones, and Julie sang the happy couple out of the church with a stirring rendition of Feeling Good. In true theatrical Abbie style this was accompanied by a seven-piece band.

We had a few mid-wedding drinks around the corner from the church in the old Colherne pub, which happens to be where we had our birthday drinks this summer. I don't know the west of London. I don't know how it all pieces together, so was quite shocked when we walked inside!

It was a nice crowd, mostly Rebel Chorus singers, which made me feel rather proud as they were all people who wouldn't have been in Abbie's life had I not formed the choir: a choir which I always wanted to feel like a family.

Abbie and Ian took their photographer to the picturesque Brompton Cemetery to have some pictures taken within the graves. Abbie's always had the heart of a goth and had been hanging out in the cemetery since she was a child. It's horrifying therefore to report that the police appeared to tell them that, without a license, they couldn't take photos, and that, if they didn't stop immediately, the photographer would be fined. A public place in broad daylight? I find that inexcusable. But then again, when we talked to Brompton cemetery about performing the requiem there they were beyond unpleasant. But to throw a bride in her dress out of the cemetery on her wedding day is beyond offensive.

The wedding breakfast was great fun. Good food. A well-conceived best man's speech involving animation and the band from the church who more than redeemed themselves for updating hymns by playing great covers marvellously well, some of which the bride herself sang. By all accounts a very fine wedding... But I didn't get cake! I saw delicious cakes across the room, and then I was in a car heading home to North London.

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