Thursday, December 29, 2011

Europe Day 10 - Alex & Paula's Wedding (October 1st)

This morning we had yet another awesome breakfast at the Wynchgate B&B. Today was Alex & Paula's wedding so we had quite the journey before we arrived at our destination. When Patrick studied abroad in the Fall of 2003 he met Alex in a marketing class. They have kept in touch since then, so when Alex invited us to his wedding we knew it was the perfect excuse to go on a European Adventure.

We loaded up our backpacks after breakfast and got on the tube station at Southgate. We rode the tube back into Central London to take another line out to Epping. The tube ride went pretty smoothly for having to switch lines. We arrived in Epping and we knew we needed to take the bus to the Travelodge Hotel. We waited for the bus for quite a long time. Once the bus finally arrived we learned they didn't take the Oyster card which we had been using for our tube rides. So, we had to dig through our pockets to find enough change to pay for the ride. We asked the driver if it was the right bus, but not about the hotel. Patrick had put the route to the hotel on his phone before we left the B&B. The route stays on the phone and your location keeps moving even without service, so we were relying on that. We got off the bus at the point we thought we would only have to walk a few minutes. Boy were we wrong. We ended up having to walk over 2 miles in the noon sun to get to the hotel. Part of our walk even included walking on the grass shoulder of a two lane highway. We were both glad to have backpacks and not to be dragging suitcases on this journey.

We finally arrived at the hotel around 1:00pm, the wedding was at 2pm and on the invitation it said arrive by 1:30pm. We weren't sure what the protocol was on arriving late to a wedding in the UK. We decided we would try to make it to the wedding. We showered, steamed a suit and got ready in record time. Once we went back out to the reception area and a nice British lady called us a taxi. At this point we were pretty indecisive about whether we should go to the wedding or not, since we were going to be late for sure. We had the taxi driver drive us to the reception, but then we arrived there and they told us we should go to the wedding. We ended up at the wedding 10 minutes late, not too bad considering our journey.

The wedding was beautiful. I didn't really have any expectations of how a London wedding would be, but it was really awesome. The wedding was held at a small country side English church. Even though we were late to the wedding, we still were able to hear most of the ceremony. The structure was really similar to a wedding in the states, but the pastor was much less formal. At one point he said something about how he was happy Alex and Paula decided to get married in a church instead of jumping out of airplane or something stupid like that.

This was the one time I didn't bring my good camera with. I just didn't want to have to carry it around. It ended up being really nice not to have to a huge weight in my purse. Here are some pictures of the ceremony.

Wedding Ceremony

Wedding

Wedding Ceremony

Wedding Ceremony

After the ceremony the bride and groom took family and friend pictures outside the church. There were only about 70 people invited to the wedding, so everyone was invited to be in at least one picture. This took awhile, so we were really glad we came to the ceremony.

After Church

Wedding

After Church

After Church

We were lucky enough to meet some of Alex's friends after the wedding and they offered to give us a ride to the wedding reception. Good thing because otherwise that would be a long walk.

The reception spot was just as cute as the little chapel. It was an old barn that was renovated for events. It even had this awesome outdoor area for cocktail hour. We lucked out and had a sunny 80 degree day in October, so it was great to be outside. The cocktail hour included some English favorites Pimms and bangers.

Wedding Reception

Pimms and Cocktail Hour

Sara, Paula, Alex & Patrick

Throwing Petals

Wedding Bouquet

No one expected it to be such a warm day so our meal was planned around a cool fall night. The menu consisted of tomato soup, turkey, roasted potatoes, broccoli, carrots and Yorkshire pudding. Dessert was homemade blackberry or apple crumble. It was all really delicious.

Wedding Decor

The wedding dinner had speeches and gifts. The wedding dance included many American favorites including Maroon Five's Moves Like Jagger.

Wedding Dance

Wedding Dance

It was an awesome time. The wedding was really small, so we actually got to talk to Alex and Paula for a little while. They told us about their upcoming honeymoon to Malaysia for three weeks. Oh how I dream of having the vacation time of a European.

This was the first time all vacation we really slowed down and enjoyed ourselves. It was so nice to experience the culture, talk to people and really just enjoy the event. I am so glad it worked out that we were able to celebrate with Alex and Paula.

One of the couples we met at the wedding were also staying at the Travelodge, so we hitched a ride back to hotel with them. Today we only walked 5,943 steps or 2.97 miles. Patrick took the pedometer off for the wedding, so most of those steps were with our backpacks on walking to the hotel.

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