Tag Archives: Marriage

A most inspiring wedding

Two weeks ago I had the thoroughly enjoyable experience of watching an old university friend of mine, Emily Maudsley, marry her fiancé, Matthew Slattery, whom she had met in Durham three years previously. My report of the event follows.

The lifelong commitment of a loving couple was sealed recently as Matthew Slattery and Emily Maudsley were married at a traditional ceremony in Kenilworth.

In a time of doubt about the nature of matrimony, this young couple proved that tradition remains alive and well in a small pocket of the West Midlands. Guests were overwhelmed by the touching speeches and emotive church service as the couple’s devotion to each other was demonstrated with heartwarming sincerity.

Emily was resplendent in a spellbinding white dress as she was led down the aisle of a packed St. Nicholas’ church by her father, who was giving the last of his three daughters away, to the understandably jittery Matt at the altar. Some guests momentarily lost control and audibly gasped at the sight of the loving aura that seemed to surround the couple, who had chosen Emily’s local church to provide the glamorous backdrop to this unforgettably pious event.

The groomsmen, who, like the groom himself, were attired in impeccable grey morning dress, and the bridesmaids, whose beauty in elegant blue summer gowns was surpassed only by the ethereal glow of the bride, provided able support to the day’s two protagonists. The vicar juggled guises between jocularity and solemnity, when appropriate. The assembly was coaxed into hymnal singing by an angelic voice from the front, and talented pianism from the side. All other thoughts were smothered by the significance of the ceremony, of which Matthew’s memorized recital of his vows provided an apposite reminder, whilst adding to the undeniable sense of class surrounding the occasion.

In an era when truly lifelong commitments to others is rare, to witness an exchange of vows that engenders such confidence in their sincerity, and in their likelihood of fulfillment, is not only refreshingly different, but makes the soul sing with a noticeable purity of joy. As was once claimed by Oscar Wilde, “men marry because they are tired; women, because they are curious”, and the veracity of this often holds; in this case, however, does the famous playwright invite ridicule. Any doubts that presented themselves throughout the service seemed so immediately inappropriate that, within a few engrossed breaths, they had already been banished to the graveyard of forgotten thoughts.

The wedding breakfast, taking place in a garden marquee at St. Swithin’s House, was appropriately free of the uncouth anecdotes and relentless pursuit of costless intoxication that have come to bedevil modern matrimonies. The class and considered organization cast a spell over the guests, banishing rogue notions of fatuous hedonism and inducing them to maintain the integrity and respect the occasion deserved.

The speeches were attended with captivated concentration. The best man complied with the tone by resisting the temptation to regale the assembly with cheap gags; the proud father was keen to impress on the listeners his delight at the union; and Matthew, the groom, enchanted the audience with an intimate account of his past with Emily, and his hopes for their future together. After recounting the difficulties of the previous two years, when they had been compelled by circumstance to conduct relations from distant dwellings, negated only slightly by sporadic trysts, the speaker despatched his guests into enraptured admiration by turning to address his bride and revealing his most heartfelt source of delight: “And now I’m so pleased to think that I’ll never have to spend another day apart from you for the rest of my life.”

If anyone had almost inconceivably managed to continue nursing a doubt about this couple, it must surely have been excised for evermore by this most moving of moments, to be superseded by a confidence both complete and comforting, for all in the room received a vicarious glow of contentment as a result of the roaring cauldron of love that was burning so brightly on high table.

The matter of the day proved indubitably to all concerned, proceedings assumed a festive character with the provision of the evening entertainment, which took the form of a traditional ceilidh. University friends relived their cherished college memories as formality was forsaken for the cause of voluptuous delectation, which was accompanied by an arresting spirit of joie de vivre that descended upon the dancers. Enthralled and absorbed, guests barely remembered to jaunt over to the bar, which was attended most competently by this writer’s uncle.

Finally, and not unaccompanied by regret at time’s ever-swift passage, the denouement arrived. Exhausted in the kind of ecstatic and satisfied manner that only truly enjoyable and fulfilling physical exertion can produce, guests formed a guard of honour to see the newly-weds out of the marquee and on to their more private enjoyment of the evening, before beginning a honeymoon in the sensuous grasp of rural Italy’s bewitching charms.

This was a day that will live long in the memory of those endowed with the fortune to witness it.