“How nice, we’ve got an invitation to a friend’s wedding.” I showed Jackie the smart invitation card.
“Shall we go?”
“Oh, yes, mum, that would be lovely; I’ve never been to a wedding.”
As the service was to be held at one of the grandest hotels on the seafront, we felt that we should really dress up for the occasion. Being used to wearing everyday clothes, donning posh outfits seemed strange at first, but we both reckoned that we didn’t look too bad.
I felt that we couldn’t use the old car for transport on this occasion, in fact the front door porter would probably have asked us to remove it from their car park, as, huddled between the waxed and polished Rovers, Bentleys and Audis, our battered, rust riddled vehicle would definitely have lowered the tone of this hotel. So we enjoyed the luxury of a taxi and strolled together into the foyer, looking for a sign that would give directions to the room where the wedding was to be held. A crowd was heading for a sign that said ‘BAR’ in big flashing lights. We followed. Smartly suited staff were dispensing drinks, and our order for a lemonade and small sherry were quickly processed.
“Is madam paying by card or cash,” enquired the young man serving us. I didn’t wish to tell him I didn’t ‘do cards’ and, having glimpsed the astoundingly large bill for two drinks, felt tempted to say, ‘Neither,’ as I began to wonder if there was enough money in my purse to cover the cost. Whilst other customers at this 4 star establishment were pulling out fifty pound notes or gold coloured cards to pay for their orders, I was discreetly trying to count out my coins to pay for mine.
“The bride is on her way, she will be here in a minute,” someone shouted, and we all rushed to the big windows to watch her arrival. And we weren’t disappointed. Along the seafront came a fairy-tale glass coach pulled by two plumed, and lively grey horses. As they were brought to a halt outside the front entrance, a limousine nudged in behind the coach containing the Matron of Honour, Chief Bridesmaid and four tiny bridesmaids.
Whilst the stable groom held the horses’ heads, the traditionally dressed coachman opened the carriage door and helped the bride and her father to dismount. Her wedding dress, a froth of cream silk, had a long train, which the little ones were encouraged to hold onto.
And so, to the sounds of the Wedding March being belted out by an enthusiast organist, the graceful entourage entered the building, heading towards the wedding-themed, flower-filled ballroom. Our friend, the nervous husband-to-be, was out in the garden, smoking on what was probably his tenth cigarette during the last thirty minutes. To shouts of, “Come on, quick, she’s here,” from his Best Man, he dumped the dog-end in amongst the dahlias and scurried to his position in front of the vicar.
He waited for his future wife, her father, Matron of Honour, Chief Bridesmaid and the quartet of little bridesmaids to enter the room. But – they failed to appear. As the music played on, and on, most of the invited audience were unaware of the cause of the hold-up in the corridor.
One of the bridesmaids, four year old Angel, with her fair curly hair and big blue eyes, looked perfect for this part. But looks can be deceiving. Angel could have moments of being kindergarten’s answer to Terminator 2, and right then she obviously decided that being a bridesmaid was definitely not in her job description.
The procession was forced to halt as she threw down her portion of the train, crossed her arms, pouted her lips and shouted, “Shan’t.” Then she sat down on the floor.
The Chief Bridesmaid, here carer for the occasion, had wisely been ready for the possibility of rebellious tantrums, and got her walking again by bribing her with a piece of chocolate that just happened to be in her cream purse.
But although Angel was now upright, she wouldn’t go back to her rightful place in the procession. The bride’s bouncing skirt held more attractions. Angel grabbed the hem, lifted it up, and peering underneath, loudly announced to the amused congregation, “Look, my mummy’s got blue knickers.”
With what appeared to be muttered threats from the Chief Bridesmaid, Angel quietly picked up her corner of the train and the procession carried on, heading towards the smiling vicar and waiting husband-to-be. But, a few seconds into the service, even before the words, “We are gathered here today….” were uttered, Angel wrenched off her flower embellished headband and threw it at the vicar. In spite of a quick tackle by the Chief Bridesmaid, her posy followed the same route. By the time the service had finished and the wedded couple were heading towards the Reception room, Angel had systematically ripped most of the frills off her dress, to the horror of Peggy, the dressmaker, who had spent weeks laboriously making all the cream silk dresses for this wedding. Armed with a few handy safety pins, she somehow managed to sort out Angel’s diminishing frock, in readiness for some more Wedding Pictures.
In a rare moment of sunshine, the bride and groom posed on the front steps of the hotel, then by the carriage with their respective families, and, of course with the bridesmaids. But there was now one bridesmaid short. Whilst the photographer had fussed and puffed to get the people and pictures right, a bored Angel had slipped away and gone missing. But before anyone could start searching for her, one of the bar staff came rushing up, saying, “I wonder if anyone can come and help? One of your little bridesmaids has got her head stuck in the bar balcony railings.”
Unfazed by her captive predicament, Angel had discovered a new game, seeing how many puffs it took to demolish the numerous spiders’ webs hung around her on the ironwork. After we’d carefully squirted a few drops of washing up liquid, courtesy of the hotel kitchen, around Angel’s head, we then went through the delicate operation of trying to get her unscrewed. Her ears did get in the way, greatly hindering a backward pull, but with the help of another application of washing up liquid, she finally slid out.
Chief Bridesmaid managed to get hold of a towel and tried to clean Angel up. But her appearance was now past the point of no return, it looked as if she had been dressed in front of an aircraft propeller. After a few angry words from her worried mother, who has seized the opportunity to have a quick smoke on the balcony, Angel rubbed her bruised and oily head and reluctantly said, “Sorry, mummy.”
She then spotted the liberal display of food.
“Mummy, please can I have a sausage roll?”
“Go on then, but you stay where we can see you.”
Chief Bridesmaid was again roped in to shadow Angel, but decided that one little girl sitting quietly on a stool, with a sausage roll in each hand, wasn’t going to go too far. She turned and carried on flirting with one of the good looking young male guests.
We watched as Angel apparently decided to sample as many of the foods as she could. A trail of half eaten sausage rolls, chewed chicken legs and tooth marked sandwiches were soon scattered along the white tablecloth. Then she sampled the contents of one of the numerous half filled glasses that were around, and, with a crafty look to see if her ‘carer’ was still being chatted up, decided to carry on with the drinking.
The alcohol soon took effect; we saw her slide off the chair and disappear under the table. Jackie lifted up one of the drapes to check things out and found Angel was taking great delight in stroking the legs of some of the seated guests. Unaware that she was there, a few misinterpreted this action, and, after some meaningful glances, paired off, staggered drunkenly into the garden, disappearing behind a gushing water feature of naked cherubs.
Although apparently having got bored with twanging a few suspenders and trying to tie shoelaces together, Angel refused to come out from under the table. Her ‘carer’ accompanied by her admirer, sat down and pulled up the edge of the tablecloth to see what was going on. As nothing appeared amiss, they started indulging in a lengthy, and passionate, kissing session.
But by now Angel had run out of steam; too tired to seize the opportunity to play up any more, she fell asleep. A while later, the Chief Bridesmaid, having suddenly remembered her responsibilities, hastily hitched up the top of her strapless dress to a respectable level, and peeped under the table again.
There lay Angel, curled up on the carpet, a smile on her face and sick down the front of her dress.
“Ah,” said her mother, gazing fondly at her youngest offspring, “Isn’t she just a little angel?”
|'Angel And The Wedding' is taken from the new, bigger, paperback version of my book, 'From Fancy Pants To Getting There', which is available to buy from Amazon. If you prefer I can send you a signed copy of this book with a personalised message from me for only £10, including postage & packing! Perfect for reading yourself or as a gift for a loved one.
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