Saturday’s graciously fair weather was particularly welcome as it featured a trip up to Oxford for Chris and Alissa’s wedding. In a rare display of efficiency, the anticipated gallery of wedding photos is already up. Those pictures probably convey more of the wonderful day than I can with words, but then that’s never stopped me before…
The wedding itself took place in the heart of Oxford town in The Church of Mary Magdalen (the name being pronounced, somewhat confusingly, in the regular manner unlike the inexplicable Oxbridge college pronunciation — maudlin). Chris and I have discussed the high church nature of the services there, but I had not realised the true extent, with the whole affair easily mistakable for a Roman Catholic one. Having lived opposite them for years I know all his family well so it was great to see his parents, brother-and-best-man Alex, as well as sister-and-bridesmaid Jennifer.
Transportation to the reception had been something of a secret, the bride and groom travelling in a replica of the car driven by Inspector Morse, while everyone else clambered aboard a Routemaster bus, presumably for the benefit of the visiting Americans, Alissa’s family and friends. We journeyed to Kingston Bagpuize House for the reception. A marquee in the garden featured a string quartet, drinks and canapés while everyone settled in. Most interesting however, was the artist who cut out freehand profile silhouettes of the guests without drawing anything first. He had an exceptional eye for picking out details and everyone was enthralled by his work. Meanwhile I was able to catch up with Guy, Francis, Ravi and Cameron who formed the Whitgift contingent.
The cutting of the cake — being a large one atop an impressive tower of smaller cakes that formed the marquee’s centrepiece — was followed by dinner inside the house. It was as delectable as one would expect, with a careful seating plan that ensured conversation flowed easily despite the mixed generations. The bride and groom made it through the speeches relatively unscathed, though with time slipping away proceedings were running very late and I had no hope of returning to London that night as planned.
Fortunately Chris’ parents, Sue and Dick, graciously agreed to put me up in their apartment (the benefit of being good friends with the groom’s parents!), though as it turned out I only hit the sofa bed at 5am after several hours of celebrations with Alex, Jennifer and several others. This would have been fine except that I had to be up just 3 hours later to head back to London for a family lunch. Navigating Oxford in the morning light made me realise it really is a pleasant town that I ought to spend more time in, much as Cambridge will always hold more importance for me. Fortunately I already have invitations to return.