I then resumed my pacing at the hotel. With the rain still coming down at a 45 degree angle we were clearly going to be having the wedding inside, but we'd booked The Observatory Room for exactly this contingency, so we weren't too worried. The DJ and photographer were both already onsite, happily chatting while the chairs were set up (and Julie's Mum set up the wedding arch). Both being professional wedding people they'd met on numerous previous occasions (and, indeed, the photographer had done the DJ's wedding a few years ago). I handed over the USB stick with the last couple of tracks for the service, made sure that they both knew what they were doing (which they did, better than me), had a quick chat with Laura (the person who the hotel had managing the whole day), and then wandered off to start shepherding people up the lifts.
The Glasshouse hotel looks like this from the outside:
and is attached to the Omni Centre (which also has a cinema, restaurants, etc. in it) and I'd always assumed that the hotel was just the bit behind the church front. However, it turns out that only the ground floor there is hotel - the cinema then extends into the floor above that, and then the hotel resumes on the top two floors of the building, but extending the whole length of the centre, including a roof garden that stretches across the centre of that. If you look at this satellite view then you can see the roof garden in the middle, (with the word "Omni" on it), on the east side of that you can see a white roof (where we had dinner and the reception) and a bit of paving which is where the ceremony would have been if we'd had awesome weather:
Anyway, because most of the hotel is up two floors in a lift, and most of the guests weren't staying in the hotel we had a mixture of myself, Ed and hotel staff ferrying people up two stories and into "The Snug", an area which had multiple sofas, an awesome gas fire thing, and the bar. This went just fine, and it was actually very nice getting a chance to greet people myself, and say hello to some people I hadn't seen in quite some time.
One of the first groups to arrive included poisonduk and princealbert, the latter of whom was half the ushers. He immediately asked me three very important questions I didn't have answers to (including "Where are the orders of service?"), which was incredibly useful. and so I dashed off to discover where they'd been left. Shortly after other-usher John turned up, and you can see them looking awesomely Scottish in this photo:
And then it was time for me to chat to the registrar. We hadn't met her before (and, indeed, had no idea who the council would assign to us), but she was lovely. It's her job to conduct the ceremony, but also to make sure that both of us are actually entering into it of our own free will, understand what we're doing. Considering my levels of stress I could understand wanting to make _really_ sure :-> She spent ten minutes with me/Ed and then headed off to chat to Julie while I went and stood in The Observatory and waited.
And waited. Meanwhile. the DJ played song one of the wedding ceremony mix: New Order's Elegia, and I flitted back and forth chatting to the remaining few people I hadn't said hello to, before standing at the front with Ed, who was clearly exhausted already:
A minute later the registrar arrived and asked everyone to be upstanding and then we waited through the opening two minutes of Vangelis' Memories Of Green. I was getting a tad nervous after the second minute, and Julie (I later discovered) was surprised they had started the music when she was quite so far down the corridoor... In any case, eventually the photographer hoved into view, and I felt reassured she was actually coming. I'm fairly sure I had a big grin on my face when she walked down the aisle towards me, but the whole thing is just a blur.
(No photo of this yet. You'll have to cope with another one of me and Ed.)
And then we stood there as the registrar told everyone how legally binding the whole thing was, before the latter of lizzie_and_ari gave a reading, which she had written especially for us, entitled "A Slippery Weasel", which was just lovely, and nicely captures all sorts of things about love. And then we said our vows, which we wrote for ourselves, and will forever remain shared between us and the people who were at the wedding with us.
And then we all sang a song together. We'd been to my cousin Mark's wedding recently and enjoyed the bonding experience of singing hymns, but didn't want anything religious in our wedding, so we sat and listened to every song in the history of mankind with the word love in it, getting more and more frustrated at the sheer rubbishness of most of them, or their utter lack of singability (for people who aren't actual singers), before suddenly stumbling across an old favourite of both of ours, long lost to memory, that made us both grin and tearful at the same time. And so we all sang It Must Be Love, and it was absolutely lovely.
Then we signed a piece of paper, and absolutely everyone took photos of us while the DJ played Teardrop by Massive Attack:
(visible to the left, my sister-in-law Meredith, who was a bridesmaid)
before walking back down the aisle to Main Title by Ramin Djawadi, which caused massed giggling when people realised what it was.
We were handed a glass of champagne each as we left, and then headed back along the corridoor to The Snug as the photographer circled around us snapping photos, and we then accidentally held a greeting line by pausing at the top of the stairs and ending up saying hello to everyone as they came up. We then mingled aimlessly for 15 minutes while people congratulated and took photos of us:
And then we scooped up an umbrella and headed off to Calton Hill with the photographer to get some shots in the dreich. Which was clearing slightly by that point, turning into more of a mizzle, and then managed to become mainly mist while we were up there, allowing us to get a few lovely shots. There's hopefully one where we have a lovely columned construction directly behind us and our images reflected in a large puddle at our feet, but we'll have to wait for the photographer to get back to us.
Meantime, here are the other two bridesmaids, and Tallulah, who would have won awards for cuteness, if anyone had been allowed to upstage the bride:
Then we headed back to the building, took a bunch more photos, and then went back upstairs to get all of the family together and take yet more photos, then went outside onto the steps at the front of the patio (right of the building in the second photo above) with extended family and friends groups, and then had dinner.
We'd decided to spread the speeches out over the meal. Julie's mother did an introductory speech during the starter, my father did a speech during the main course, Ed's speech got delayed from dessert to coffee due to familial complications, and Julie and I also did our speeches then. Ed's best man speech was perfect, and I shall excerpt the middle of it after this photo of him giving it:
We've since been through a fair amount of adventures. None of which make terribly good anecdotes. None of them involve getting drunk and waking up on a pirate ship with a stolen penguin. We used to take a lot of long walks together and I remember one time we saw an owl.
I have promised not to tell a lot of awful jokes and embarrassing stories.
I did google for best man jokes and came up with a short list of the worst - they are all too awful to tell.
So i will skip over all that and not tell you about the mould that grew on the comics, the inflatable sheep, the dead snake, the fact that he had the whole of Babylon 5 on VHS, the time he insulted Neil Gaiman by accident or the second time he insulted Neil Gaiman by accident. I will tell none of these stories.
Which is when I realised that Julie and I had lost our champagne, and John had to lend us his, which we drank our of together when Ed toasted us:
And then I got to give my speech:
Some people have asked me why I'm getting married. Not in so many words, but general hints about the meaning of marriage, and what it means have come up.
And my answer is that I don't know.
I'm not generally one for rituals and suchlike - the idea of doing something just because That's What People Do drives me to fury and distraction. I'm all in favour of parties and celebrations, but the pomp and rules of rites grate on me. So I have to ask myself why it is that I do want to get married.
And my answer is that I don't know.
And then I think about all the things that draw me to Julie, of the things that match us to each other, that make us work well together. Of the games we've played together, the smoothness with which we put together Ikea furniture, how much fun it is just cooking with her, how we look after each other when we need it, support each other when we're down, and don't let each other get away with anything. I think about how much it says about us that while other people hold off before merging their book collections or their bank accounts we leaped those boundaries early and then held off for six months to make sure we were ready to merge our boxes of cables.
And I think about my married friends, who have gone in ahead of us, who say that after you're married nothing changes, and nothing is quite the same ever again. And I don't really understand. But I can't wait to find out. And there's nobody I'd rather find out with.
So I'd like to propose a toast to my wife, the lovely Julie. May we have great fun finding out what marriage really means.
(Isn't that view _awesome_?)
Ed was terribly relieved to have his speech over with, as you can tell from this photo of him and his notes:
And then it was time to go back to the place we had dinner, which was also where the cake cutting and dancing would be happening:
The cake topper was made by Hal, who is an absolute genius. Julie did a sketch for him, and he turned it into this:
And then we had the first dance, which my uncle Patrick captured on video.
You can occasionally hear everyone spontaneously joining in with the song, which was absolutely lovely.
And then we danced until 11pm, before collapsing into bed:
All in all, I'd say it went spiffingly, and I'd recommend it for anyone who wants to spend the rest of their life legally bound to another person.
(I snaffled the photos from John Smith on facebook, my father, and loads from the private cache emailed to me by princealbert, to whom many thanks. You can see larger versions here.)
Including some pain au chocolat that apparently vanished at high speed.
Also, an awesome wedding card that I only got around to looking at 15 minutes ago. It has an NFC-enabled button in it, which gives any phone held within 4cm instructions to go to this awesome website.
"Put somewhere safe last night" was as far as I got before Laura thankfully stepped in and had them located for me.
And aren't allowed anything religious in it anyway, what with it being a civil ceremony.
Behind the scenes extra: If the signing had taken more than five minutes the DJ would have segued into "Heeding The Call" and then "All Along the Watchtower" from the Battlestar Galactica soundtrack. Sadly people got bored taking photos befgore then.
I had to persuade Julie that merely naming it "Main Title" in the Order of Service was ok, as I _really_ wanted to see people's reactions.
Pausing in the lobby to take some lovely photos, including the one I posted on the day of Julie in her dress.
The ceremony finished around 2:30, dinner started around 4:50, in-between we chatted for 20 minutes and took photos. This seemed to take _forever_, and by the end our mouths ached from grinning at the camera.
The geeks in the audience will be delighted to know that the table names were Vorlon, Minbari, Narn, Vulcan, Klingon, Wookie, Dalek, and Geth.
The awesome bit about it being our wedding was that we got to choose the music. Which means that we got to dance together to Alice Cooper's Poison, I got to dance to the Utah Saints remix of the Mortal Kombat theme, and Julie got to dance to the Fun Lovin' Criminal's remix of Garbage's You Look So Fine.
Apart from the hotel managing to only put out the middle tier of the cake, so we were presented with masses of it to take home the following morning. And if that's the worst thing that happens at your wedding then you have no cause for complaint!
Original post on Dreamwidth - there are comments there.