On the 9th July 2021, I will be celebrating 10 years vas a Marriage Celebrant. Yep, I conducted my first ever wedding in London ten years ago. I know! Ten years!
I’m one for marking these types of occasions, and so I’m counting down my top ten wedding memories. Check in as these will be updated daily.
1: The one in front of the pyramids (2013), Cairo, Egypt
When Rupert and Anda asked if I’d conduct their ceremony in front of the pyramids, I thought about it for all of… oooh, I dunno… a millisecond.
Rupert is English, Anda Egyptian, and in fact she’s a former President’s granddaughter. She knew Cairo inside out. Although England’s her home, she wanted to show her birthplace off to her many friends who had never been.
The day before the ceremony a Professor from the University of Cairo to give us a private tour of the pyramids. On the day of the wedding, the guests enjoyed the ceremony with those amazing, seventh wonder of the ancient world views. The only slight glitch was when a call to prayer came over the pyramid loud speakers, interrupting the ceremony, but also adding to the whole moment. Anda and Rupert were not phased at all.
I’d got to know all the guests pretty well, so was invited to the reception at Anda’s family home. The Four Seasons served cocktails, DJs spun tunes, and we partied like it was the event of our lives.
Cairo is a very interesting city, as I’m sure you can imagine. However, there was some unrest at the time and this meant I couldn’t explore like I would have otherwise (for example, I couldn’t go to the museum). As I flew back to London the next day I reflected on what had been a wild, surreal, utterly once-in-a-lifetime experience.
2: The one where we all cried (2019), Terindah Estate, Bellarine
I’d known Mish since 1998, and when she started courting Jenni I was all ‘Hey – who is this person? Is she good enough for my friend?’
As soon as I met Jenni, any concerns went out the window. She was perfect for Mish. Over the years, Jenni, Mish and myself would catch up, usually with copious amounts of alcohol, and laugh and laugh and laugh.
Then Mish got sick. She was diagnosed with a brain tumour, and the prognosis was not good. Life changed dramatically for Mish and Jenni, and they decided that they wanted to have a celebration of their love with their favourite people. And so, a wedding was planned.
One thing that Mish really wanted to do, and Jenni really hoped for, was that Mish would be well enough to share personalised vows. Fortunately, on the day of the wedding, Mish was able to do this. Mish was never an overly emotional person, but as she read her vows, she shed a tear, which in turn had all of us crying happy/sad tears.
It was a remarkable day. Mish and Jenni were so, so happy. My sister, who is also a very good friend of theirs, did one of the best wedding speeches ever. The sun shone. The wine flowed. We danced to ‘500 Miles’ – one of Jenni’s favourite songs. It was perfect.
Sadly, just nine months later, Mish died. I was honoured to be there during her last moments, and to conduct her Celebration of Life.
I will never, ever forget Mish and Jenni’s wedding. I still think back to it with a huge smile, remembering my lovely friend, her beautiful wife, and the day we all basked in their love.
3: The one that fulfilled my art-deco dreams (2012),The Savoy, London
It was early in my celebrant career when I conducted my first wedding at The Savoy. Although I’d lived in London on and off for a couple of decades, I’d never stepped foot inside.
When I walked through those beautiful wooden revolving doors, past the doormen in their top hats, I was in art deco heaven. And so began a love affair with the place.
My first wedding at The Savoy was for Tamsin and Chris, who equally appreciated its Art Deco glory. Bruce Russell, was their planner and when I confessed my love of art deco, he invited me for drinks at The Savoy’s American Bar. As my mother would say, I felt pretty ‘swish’.
I was fortunate enough after this moment to work at two other historic London hotels – Dorchester and Claridges. However nothing, in my opinion, beats The Savoy. A ten out of ten kind of place, with the friendliest staff you’ll ever meet, cocktails to die for, and architectural and design details that are a true treasure.