One Wedding, and a Funeral

We had a family wedding. Not too large, because we all know the old saying ‘The bigger the wedding, the shorter the marriage.’ It was just the right size, with all the ingredients to set the couple up for life. This is their recipe for a good wedding and, next time I get married I will probably follow it.

Invite all Family you can Find

Our side of the family all live in different countries, and we have been kept apart by Covid, so this was an excuse to get together. Everybody accepted. Luckily for me, the wedding was just down the road, so they all came here first.

Marinate for One Week

Four generations from five countries trickled in and stuffed themselves into all corners of this house, tents, and even the dead van. It was a glorious, excited reunion. There is nothing better than too many people shoved together in one house for days, while mostly it rains outside.

While we were marinating we also got out in the fresh air, dodging the showers and rampaging the cliffs.

Orcombe Point. Exmouth

Some people swam, despite the rain, so then all the towels were wet so people started stealing dry ones from each other, always a fun game until it isn’t any more.

After that we concentrated on getting excited about the wedding and happily watching films together. Except we didn’t, because it is weirdly impossible to get 12 people to agree on one film. Things were just starting to wear thin when luckily the queen died.

Those of us who live in the UK were slightly shocked, as that was the last thing we expected her to go and do, but it was great for solving ‘what to watch’. We were caught like rabbits in the headlight in front of fascinating documentaries on her life with dogs, picnics and historical moments. Gripping stuff for everybody, especially all the non English people who had never really thought about the queen until this day and were now on a crash course in ‘who was the queen of England, and what did she do?

By now we were well marinated.

Cover with fine costumes

The invitation encouraged us to dress up.  Nobody thought about this when the left their own country so a good part of the week was about second hand shops seeking fine clothes.  Some of us did better than others…

When the great day arrived we were all clean, despite the ongoing towel problem, dressed in a assortment of bargains, and on time. So that was a major achievement.

Pour into a Large Orchard
Wedding in an orchard

The orchard looked like this. I can’t see any of my family in the photo because, after a week of marinating, they were ready to mingle.

Sprinkle with Friends and Other Families

We had to get over the fact that everybody else looked so beautiful, sane, confident and joyful, and quickly pretend to be all of those things ourselves. You can do that at a wedding, because even if you are nervous, nobody knows everyone, and there is lots of common ground to seek out.

Drizzle with Alcohol

The drinks table had a selection of what appeared to be ginger beer, on tap.  Nobody knew that each barrel was laced with a different spirit. Some of us realised after the first glass, and took a different route.  Some of us realised after the second glass and drank as much as possible, as fast as possible.  One of us hijacked the groom for the first dance and it was not the person who had stopped after one glass.

Add a large Dollop of Emotion

It is nice when two people who are perfect for each other, stand in front of you and talk of love and their future together. Even better when they cry along the way, so you know they really mean it. And then everybody cries and covers that up with some nervous laughing when the celebrant says something witty. All this went on for a minute or an hour but nobody knows how long because nobody was counting.

Leave to Stand in the Sunshine

After the emotion and some eating, it was time to relax. We played Kubb.


This is a Scandinavian game so we know how to play it, and is a great way to make friends. Other guests said ‘what are you doing’ and we said ‘you have to line up bits of wood and throw sticks at them’. It is so beautifully simple that people are not afraid to join in. It only took an hour or two to train several more players and pull a good crowd.

Slosh in some more Alcohol and Whisk Vigorously

All you need is an excellent Ceilidh band and a fine caller to drive everybody into a frenzy. The ginger beer was loaded with more whisky and rum, and for some hours our feet did not touch the ground. This wedding recipe was working well.

Dancing with a plastic flamingo

When people loose all inhibitions and seize anything, even a plastic flamingo as their dancing partner, you know things are going to plan.

Allow to Settle

When we could not dance any more there was another beautiful moment.

Wedding cake with flowers

With a fine cake, shared between the new found friends and family.


And that was it. Everybody who was too old, or too young, to carry on, gently filtered away. We took three of our four generations home and left behind the ones that were the right age to dance through the night.

Which they did, under a harvest moon until dawn, while the rest of collapsed into bed and swore to never drink again.

The next day we went to the beach.

child and sand

This distant niece lives in Austria, where there are no beaches. When she got here she sat down and said ‘Look. I found some sand.’ She might not remember the wedding, or where she was when the queen died, or all the fuss about the funeral today, but she will probably remember the first time she found sand.

5 thoughts on “One Wedding, and a Funeral”

  1. So glad Wendy told me about your blog, Jo. You’re a brilliant observer and writer! Plus it’s hilarious. Can’t wait to read more! Love, Maria

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