The barometer for how much fun I’m having at a wedding is usually how often I flip the bird for the camera.
It was a really good time.
This past weekend Bryan and I ditched the kids and went to Bamburgh, Northumberland for his boss’s wedding. (Don’t pronounce it Bam-berg as we did. Only once.). Northumberland is the strikingly gorgeous Northeastern-most county in England, bordering Scotland to the North. More importantly, it houses within its borders Newcastle upon Tyne – home to what was once Bryan’s favorite beer (when he lived in the US and thought it was special, and before we knew it’s like the Corona of Britain). Bamburgh is a village along the coast in the northern part of Northumberland.
Although it was the same week we moved, and the stress level in our house was pretty high, we were glad to have a reason for a weekend away. I mentioned before, though, the months of trepidation I had leading up to my first English wedding. I never even RSVPed because I could never get one definitive answer on how to do so. Luckily, our companions for the weekend were Bryan’s colleague, Sara, and her husband Nick. Not only were they hilarious and fun train and hotel company, but Sara (Welsh as she is) was my constant go-to for advice on how to behave.
Behaviour is so much more important in this country and therefore I always feel under a microscope unless I am safely ensconced in gaggles of Americans. Or at the very least, there’s the whole eating-with-your-fork-in-your-left-hand thing. I refuse to do it. Bryan, because he seriously makes up more sh*t than anyone I have ever met in my life, just decided one day to eat with his fork in the left hand. But here’s the exciting part: he doesn’t keep it turned down, using his knife to put things onto the fork, and then bring it up to the mouth in a straight up-and-down manner the way the English do. No, he just tries to use it as though he’s left-handed. But he’s not. Not at all. But in his mind because he’s using his left hand, it’s proper. I always have to look away.
The weather was out of control. Such cold and windy rains on Friday meant a planned boat trip was scrapped for a bus tour of Holy Island. But the sun peeked out for pints at The Ship Inn in Newton followed by fish & chips nearby.
Saturday the weather wavered. But even intermittent rain and cold could not spoil watching the couple marry in the breathtaking Parish Church of St Aidan and the reception which followed at the base of Bamburgh Castle, high above on a rocky hill overlooking the beach and the North Sea. For a first English wedding, this is pretty much as good as it gets:
In all, there was drinking and celebrating from 2pm until well after midnight. They do these things right here. They don’t wuss out and start the ceremony at 5 like in the US. No, as Sara explained, no matter how early the ceremony is, you’re expected to drink for the rest of the day and night.
The ladies’ hats and fascinators, the superior English wit-comprised toasts, the food, the DJ, the ice cream truck, the bar, the company, the dancing (at least once to Kriss Kross’s Jump) – it was all dyn-o-mite.
And so were our wonderful friends Matt and Trish who took care of the boys one of the nights back in London. We weren’t missed at all.