-Day 4- Adrienneís and Ianís Pip, Pip, Jolly Good, Can-Do Wedding
I awoke sharing a bed next to a girl I only met the previous day, a strange development no matter how you look at it. However, though there was no barbed wire set up, it was pretty clear "That side yours, this side mine," and, "Steal the covers and I will kill you."
It was a bloody marvelous day in bloody England with the clouds being a particularly chipper shade of grey and my right eye was no longer bloody goopy and bloody bloodshot (see Oxford). After Nicole got done in the bloody shower, I hit the bloody washing up station myself, cleansing both myself and a few clothes right bloody well. I put my jeans over by a heating unit to dry them much bloody quicker; that "much bloody quicker" was actually around thirty hours. Had the heater not been there, I imagine it would have taken a full fortnight. The frustrations in drying this pair of jeans were enough to really get my tucker up.
Nicole used the kettle to fix a spot of coffee, with biscuits no less, getting our day started in spot-on right. Eventually, some bloody English bloke picked up Nicole and myself in order to get us to the church. After a jolly good ride though the town and around the roundabouts, we stopped at this personís home to meet with some right honorable locals, that being his wife and some girl whose specific relation to either of them is beyond my recollection. Unfortunately, I cannot remember the name of either woman, thus we shall refer to them as "Emma Thompson" and "Bert" in no particular order.
Back to the story, every church in bloody England has a pub right within walking distance. In a traditional bloody English wedding, the groomsí side of the bridal party and all the guests head over to the pub to quaff some pints before going to the bloominí wedding. Obviously, you donít want to get pissed before you get to the church, since you would then have to frequently visit the loo during the service. Two notes on this: One, I like this tradition. A lot. Two, I think any man deserves a proper bracer before he takes the ultimate plunge.
After Nicole explained to the bartender what the bloody hell a "seven and seven" is, I ordered a pint of bitter and sipped amongst a whole mess of people I didnít bloody know. Soon enough we gave a "Tally ho, old boy!" and sauntered off to the church.
Bloody English weddings are a little different than American weddings. Apparently, in the bloody English wedding, the bride is normally followed in by the bridesmaids, but Adrienne, in her Americanization, decided to go with the bridesmaids entering before the bride. The second difference is the fact they take a long break in the middle of the show to sign the marriage forms, just to ensure that the couple is legally married while they are in the process of performing the ceremony. I think shots should also be involved somehow, especially since this was about two thirds of the way through and the groomís buzz might be wearing off. Anyway, there is a third difference in bloody English weddings, but that is actually at the reception, so it really doesnít have to do with the wedding, does it? I suppose there would be fourth difference, that being a person in a kilt will come to a wedding in bloody England, though I think this has more to do with the fact Adrienneís motherís side of the family is Scottish.
Anyway, with the vows exchanged, as well as the traditional tradings of, "Can do!"s our lovely Adrienne was officially announced as "Adrienne Harris" and some Ian guy was also involved, though it was quite unclear how. Incidentally, it wasnít until I read the program for the wedding that I had any idea of what Ianís last name was. Iíd always just known him as Ian, that guy from bloody England. By the way, for those who are wondering about some sort of description of Adrienneís dress, it was a white in colour with a train. She also had a veil, but I donít know if that cost extra.
Anyhow, Nicole and I were informed that we were to catch a ride to the reception with a different chap than the one who had driven us earlier, so we replied, "Pip, pip," and we were on our way.
After a discussion of gas prices (to reiterate: blimey lads, itís expensive) during the confusing trip through town, we arrived at the Wentworth Golf Club.
The Wentworth Golf Club in Virginia Water is known the world over for being a golf club. It was an impressive venue Adrienne and Ian chose: I say, good show! It was the same Wentworth at which the Volvo PGA tournament occurs. The clubhouse was designed to look like a castle, though, obviously not nearly as tall and without the moat monsters. From the front door, a person could walk down a long hallway filled with, obviously, golf paraphernalia and pictures of famous golfers playing the course. At the end of the hallway, a sprawling lounge (for use by the members of the golf club only, as we were informed later) was to be found. However, the reception was permitted to use the lounge in the afternoon for the most important part of any wedding: drinking at the reception. The champagne bar was set up there, as was a photo collage of young Adrienne and young, naked Ian. Incidentally, for all those parents present and future out there: for Godís sake, clothe your children before taking their picture. While the comedic possibilities of embarrassing your children later in life is nice and all, at some point youíve got to say, "This is just a little weird." Iím under the impression that your kid should decide only at or past the age of eighteen if she wants to have naked pictures taken of her.
After the usual picture taking rounds near the traditional bloody English setting of a putting green, everyone entered the reception hall where the bridal party recepted us on our way to our tables. Then it was dinner, drinks, conversation and all that rot.
It was after a bloody brilliant dinner, one of the blokes at our table started taking the bets. "Bets on what?" you ask. Well, go ahead, ask it!
I say old boy, Iím glad you asked that question; they were taking bets on the length of the speeches. "What speeches?" you ask. Oh, never mind, Iíll just tell you; those would be the speeches by the father of the bride, the groom and the best man, in that order. And these were not going to be the American, "Weíre here to celebrate the marriage of [whozzit] and [whatís-her-chops], since [joke]. Weíre very happy for both of them, after all [tasteless joke]. [Backpedal when everybody sits there uncomfortably]. Um, yeah, uh, well, congratulations, [whatís-his-nuts] and [some-chick]." [Hit the bar as quickly as possible] sort of speeches that are given by an American best man, assuming he is still sober enough to stand by that time. The people in bloody England actually make speeches requiring pages of notes. This, by the way, is the third difference between bloody English and American weddings that I alluded to earlier. Anyway, I asked a couple other people how long they were betting and I received responses of something like thirty-five and forty-two minutes. After picking up my jaw, I went with forty-nine. A bridesmaid by the name of Lindsay won it with a bet of thirty-seven minutes.
After clearing the tables, the disco started and everybody began dancing. Everybody, that is, except me.
I once had my dancing charitably described to the entire, 60,000 strong, campus readership of The Lantern (the student newspaper of The Ohio State University) as being like "a spider on fire". Dancing is actually much like gambling for me, I can enjoy it despite my complete incompetence at said activity. And, much like gambling, that leap into actually doing it is very difficult for me to make. "Do I really feel like making an ass out of myself?" I think to myself. The answer, in the case of both stated cases, is usually, "Better have another drink first."
While I was standing around, I had a few people come up and talk to me, probably since I was something of a curiosity. Older folks, couples and the very attractive bridesmaid by the name of Lindsay Harris (the same one who one won the forty-seven pounds in the speech pool). I was informed later that evening that this woman was, apparently, interested in me, though I thought nothing of the fact she came up and talked to me because I thought she was married. I have no idea how this idea came into being, nor how it continued lingering in my mind. Suffice to say it was much like everything else in the previous twenty-seven years of my life: it seemed to make sense at the time. By the way, in one of the non-Lindsay conversations, I learned the reason London has so much litter. That, of course, is because the city removed all the garbage cans. Of course, they removed all the garbage cans because the IRA tended to put bombs in them. I did not bring up the litter problem in conversation again.
Anyway, while I was standing there, I heard a song by the name of "Tiger Feet" by the band Mud. It was an addictively fun little number, I must admit. Apparently it was very popular in bloody England in the 70ís as part of the glam rock thing they had going on in Swinging London. Ian clued me into who it was and the fact it was a bloody English thing, apparently on par with Gloria Gaynorís "I Will Survive" and, hopefully, at least slightly more relevant to a wedding. While weíre on the subject of music, I suppose I should mention that I canít imagine that either the church or the state really considers Adrienne and Ian married, since, at no point I am aware of, did they perform the "Chicken Dance". (For any Brits reading this, have Adrienne explain the joke and why itís not funny here either. Also, if she illustrates the Chicken Dance, be sure to videotape it. And send me a copy.)
The usual wedding stuff continued later that evening with the send off of Adrienne and Ian. By the way, I have to think that after a full day of doing nothing but smiling and being chipper and happy and gracious to everybody you meet, I have to think the first thing I would want to do upon getting to the hotel room would be to bitch and swear for six straight hours.
After a while, somebody informed me that Lindsay would like to dance with me (which at first led me to respond, "Huh?" for reasons previously mentioned) which I did. Or at least I performed my best impersonation of someone dancing. Yep, I still suck. Eventually the music stopped and Lindsay and I left the dance floor to see Nicole and a bloody English chap by the name of Andrew sitting down at a table and making out, which led to Nicole later telling me, "We were not making out!" Iím very glad nobody told them to get a room, by the way, since she had a room and I needed to sleep there at some point.
Anyway, the reception closed up with my arm around Lindsay while a sing-song was going on around the piano Andrew was playing. The place closed and both Andrew and Lindsay left rather quickly, scuppering any intention either Nicole or I had of giving them a proper "Cheerio". Nicole and I discussed this while we were waiting for our cab, mostly agreeing "Blast our rotten luck!" Our cab arrived, took us back to the hotel and charged us an exorbitant price for the ride. Nicole was not happy about it, but I was in no mood to argue since weíd gotten where we were going and what would we have been able to do about it after we had arrived? At the end of the evening we were knackered and it was time to go to bed.