The past three weeks have been spent in a number of countries with various family members and friends to celebrate the wedding of our second son, Jason to his London born bride, Katrina. I would like to share some of these experiences in a number of posts as it helps visualise our culture for those who are part of different cultures. Note: at times this wedding showed a mix of English and Australian cultures. A Greek ceremony in Cyprus the following week, will signify the Greek element. Many months of preparation had gone into this traditional, beautiful English ceremony.
Pre-wedding: Many of the guests stayed at the beautiful Burford Bridge hotel, near Dorking or Box Hill, for a number of nights providing an opportunity to get to know each other before the actual ceremony.
The Setting: The beautiful, historic All Saints Banstead Church – which dates from the 12th to early 13th Century.
Getting to the Church on time: A London heritage red double decker bus!
The ceremony: A traditional ceremony complete with 5 bridesmaids, two groomsmen (our two sons), a flower girl and page boy (our grandchildren), a vicar, a pipe organ, a choir, bell ringers, a church service, a flower clad archway, white floral arrangements and signing of the register. Eucalyptus sprigs, a reminder of Australia, were part of the bridal bouquets and the reception flowers. As Jason is still an Australian citizen, he had to get special dispensation from the Bishop of the Church of England to marry Katrina. A special certificate marked this event acknowledging the permission.
The reception or wedding breakfast: 120 guests enjoyed a traditional wedding breakfast in the restored barn of the Burford Bridge Hotel. This comprised of a starter of “fresh plum tomato, mozzarella and avocado salad, followed by a main of Roast Chicken complete with vegetables and Yorkshire pudding. The dessert was stawberry pavlova – a favourite of Australians.
At 8pm, the meal was finished, the tables cleared and a dance floor set up. The second set of guests then arrived. They were invited to be part of the social conversations and dancing in addition to the reception guests for the evening celebrations. They were treated to chips and burgers for supper.
Many also attended lunch the next day in a small nearby English pub – The Stepping Stones. BLT sandwiches and chips were amongst the offerings. For those who are not English – BLT stands for bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches. It was wonderful be part of and witness to this special event and we wish Jason and Katrina many years of happiness together.