This is me and Evilstevie enjoying our first hours of married life:
After the ceremony described in my previous post, we bundled into a car with our Official Photographer (Steve's cousin) and went to a more scenic part of the venue to take some nice, couple-y photos. I'd recommend this to anybody. It allowed us to have some time to just cuddle each other and marvel at the fact that we were actually married, rather than having to dive straight in to a busy mishmash of family politics and being congratulated for a ceremony we were still getting our heads around.
This took maybe half an hour or so, and then we headed over for the reception. I had decided ahead of time that I would walk for the ceremony but use the chair for the reception, and I think this was a good idea. Our reception room was advertised as accommodating up to 160 people. Our guest list was about 80 and about 75 came. It did look a little bit sparsely populated - especially as the summery weather saw a lot of people hanging around the outdoor areas - but it also meant that I had plenty of room for manoeuvring the chair, that parents didn't have to worry about where to put buggies, that strangers weren't sitting more or less on top of each other - all of which are good things. If I was doing it again, which I don't intend to do, and if I had a free choice of room sizes that met my other requirements, then I'd probably go for something nearer the "seats 120" capacity for an 80-person guest list.
The reception was going well when we arrived. Rather than a disco drowning out all hope of civilised conversation, we'd opted for quiet chill-out jazz and this worked really well.
We'd invited all the kids (mostly little boys between 2 and 10) to come dressed as pirates. The idea was that this way their parents wouldn't have to fork out for uncomfortable suits that would be ripped and outgrown within minutes. We'd hired a bouncy castle shaped like a pirate ship, complete with giant purple octopus overhanging the prow.
We also had heaps of chocolate coins/pirate treasure on every table, in lieu of favours...
... and our cake table had several chocolate pirates on the beach, alongside their enormous treasure chest.
We did have our Wii set up in one corner to entertain the kids in case of bad weather, or if the bouncy castle was too full. It was set to just scroll through a slideshow in the meanwhile. None of the kids even noticed it.
Lunch was an assortment of sandwiches, and scones with cream and jam. The venue caterers served these in large dishes to each table, a happy medium between the awkwardness of a buffet and the unwanted formality of a plated meal and seating plan. Obviously at this point Steve and I were both making our way around the tables, with the tragic result that I had to eat two scones. Just to be polite, obviously.
You can't put helium balloons and engineers in a room together without there being an effort to get something floating. At our wedding, this was one of the pirate ship table decorations...
... shortly followed by the Stunt Bride And Groom.
We only had one Stunt Bride and Groom which we really didn't want to lose, but we had plenty of table decorations. With this in mind, when a certain young lady begged for permission to take the floating pirate ship out and launch it... well obviously it's irresponsible and we couldn't endorse it, but we felt equally unable to say no. And it did look beautiful drifting off into the dusk.
Technically the bouncy castle was for children only, although at one point Evilstevie and I did, erm, pose on it for wedding portraits that may have had a slight bouncing element.
By the evening some people had left and others had changed into more comfortable, less formal clothes. At Jiva's suggestion, I too had a less formal outfit of black trousers and a white top to get changed into for the evening. This was another one of the Really Good Ideas. My dress wasn't uncomfortable to wear or difficult to manage as wedding dresses go, but it was more effort than my normal clothes and I was starting to get really quite tired. Also, dinner was bangers and mash with vegetables and gravy. Getting changed was definitely a good way forwards.
The bangers and mash had another effect we hadn't predicted. All those little pirates, who'd spent the day hopped up on sugar enjoying sunshine, a big grassy area to play on, and an unlimited-access bouncy castle, suddenly had bellies full of a nice solid hot dinner, and very nearly fell asleep on the spot. It was magic.
The last guests left a little while after 9pm. By that point I wasn't making sense any more, but I was very happy and had enjoyed the most wonderful day.