Glad All Over for the Bride & Groom

A few months ago, we received a legal summons in the post. After recovering from the momentary heart-freeze, we saw that it was, in fact, a wedding invitation, cleverly looking like a legal summons. Two of my Crystal Palace supporting friends (he a GP and she an ex-medical doctor now a lawyer, hence the design) were getting married in London and we’d been invited. They are such lovely, lovely people and I felt touched they’d invited us and was keen to attend. Sadly Billy was unable so I made the trip on my own.

I traveled to London by coach on the Friday – 7.5 hours with limited leg room, but otherwise a very smooth journey, though I felt sorry for the poor bloke in front of me who had 4 women talking over, round and through him ALL the way as far as Milton Keynes, where, mercifully, they all got off. I was quite happy just gazing out of the window or dozing and enjoyed having some time just to let my thoughts wander for a change. We arrived at Victoria Coach Station at 5.15pm and as it was a beautiful evening, I decided to walk to my hotel (about an hour’s walk) past Buckingham Palace, up the Mall, across Trafalgar Square and through Theatre land. My backpack was a bit heavy which slowed me down and finally forced me to take the tube for the last little bit – hardly worth it really as I was almost there, but by that time I just wanted to get to my hotel. Exiting Goodge Street station I had a 50-50 choice which way to turn and asked a passerby who thought it might be left but wasn’t quite sure. I reassured him that I would be no worse off than if I’d guessed, and it turned out that he was right. 5 minutes later I was in my room after checking in with the very pleasant receptionist. I’d found the Hotel through and though it was still a lot of money to find, with a 45% discount, the room worked out far better value than staying in a smaller B&B or hotel much further away from the wedding venue. (I wanted to stay near that so I wouldn’t have far to travel back alone the following evening after the wedding.) My room was absolutely tiny – but extremely well planned out so that it didn’t feel at all cramped and actually had a relatively good sized en-suite, so I was very happy with it. I had a refreshing shower then spent the evening relaxing in my PJ’s whilst I unpacked, ate a picnic tea and read my book, with the TV on in the background. (It was stuck on BBC1 so I had Question of Sport and My Family which were both quite watchable.)


The next morning I had a lovely, freshly cooked breakfast and then went out to walk the route to The Knight’s Templar in Chancery Lane so that I could see just where I was going later and how long it would take. It was raining a bit so I was glad I’d added my raincoat as a last minute thought, and it only took 20 minutes to walk the route. On the way back I browsed in a couple of the (small) local shops and had a coffee in Costa before returning to my room to get ready for the wedding.

It was absolutely bucketing down with rain when it was time to leave so I decided to abandon the brolley and use my raincoat again and when I arrived (pretty wet, partly thanks to London buses speeding through the very deep puddles near the kerbs!) I folded it up quite small, put it in a plastic bag and put that in my handbag 🙂 My dress was a cotton maxi-dress which soon dried out and I had sandals on my feet so they dried in no time too. I felt rather smug at having done so well 🙂

Guests were offered bacon rolls and coffee on arrival and left to mingle and to find their table place, and almost as soon as I arrived I was greeted by Caz. I need to explain that I know the happy couple through the Crystal Palace message board (BBS) and many of the guests were also BBS members. Some of them I have met before, when attending a Crystal Palace match with mum, or when I’ve been in London for something else and met up with a few people for drinks. I had briefly met Caz once at a BBQ after the last game one season, but not really had a chance to chat so it was nice to do so at more leisure. I discovered that I was on the “St Ives” table, along with Saul, whom I had never met but we’d exchanged a few messages on the BBS, are friends on Facebook and read each other’s blogs. Nathe was also on our table and we all got on well. Over the course of the afternoon and evening, it was surreal gradually identifying people’s BBS username and enjoying meeting them. Sadly, there were many there to whom I didn’t get to talk so next time we’ll have to wear a badge with our names on them! 😉 (As it turns out, Catty, a friend I’d mt a few times previously, was there and she has subsequently announced her engagement so the occasion must have been inspiring 🙂 )

St Ives Table:

St Ives table

The whole occasion was absolutely brilliant (one of the best weddings I’ve attended) and was a perfect mix of elegance and tastefulness, with informal friendliness. There was a Crystal Palace theme throughout – the colours were red and blue, we all sang “Glad All Over” to greet the wedding party (background music leading up to this was Selhurst Park match day music which built up the mood nicely), the order of service sheets were presented as match programmes with manager’s notes, team lists and so on. The bride looked absolutely radiant, the groom was adorably anxious, settling later to proud enjoyment and everyone felt so included in the happiness of it all that it was like one big happy family. The speeches were very entertaining, with plenty of references to Palace and the BBS and some hilarious stories about Martin, from Kumar, the best man who also happened to be celebrating his birthday – so we all sang Happy Birthday to him 🙂 We were fed and “watered” 😉 very well indeed and later there were Brazilian dancing girls and singing who really added to the evening. It was all absolutely perfect.

I lasted until around 10pm at which point I called a taxi (for safety, not laziness!) and went back to collapse into bed. What a fantastic day – the kind you don’t want to end. I’d met friends old and new (hilariously, after chatting to some most of the day, we only identified each other late in the evening!) It was great to see Saul, Nathe, Caz, Catty, Coulsdon Eagle, Away day Eagle, Mojo Jojo, Lorna, Princess, Nelson Alfie to name a few and I fell asleep with faces and conversations whizzing through my mind.

Photos are courtesy of Saul who kindly let me use them. Thanks Saul.

Many congratulations, Jen and Martin, hope you have the wonderful life together you deserve, and thank you for inviting me to share your perfect day.

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