Long As The Moon Can Shine
father’s reflections on his daughter’s wedding
will be a lot of people coming from all over the world
expecting a Lake District wedding.
either a lakes view hotel or a marquee in the garden.
was the instruction given to us by our daughter, Emma,
last August when the engagement was announced.
that we had only eleven months notice and the lakes
view hotels get booked up two years in advance for a
Saturday wedding in the summer holidays, in reality
there was no choice.
father with daughter
we have sufficient space for a reception? There
is an old tennis court at the back of the house that
provides a flat and well-drained surface but the access
is down steep steps with some health and safety issues
and how many people can you cram onto a tennis court
with enough space for tables and a ceilidh?
was the answer. Just!
next big decision was where should the wedding itself
take place. Neither Emma nor Scott wanted to get
married with their fingers crossed behind their backs
in the village church, picturesque though that venue
would have been. Initially, it was to be at the
Kendal registry office but they were inflexible on time
and ceremony. Then we discovered the Unitarians.
Unitarians are unlike any other church I know. Superficially,
you might just regard them as another non-conformist
Christian sect, a bit like the Congregationalists or
Presbyterians only more so! However that does
them a disservice. They are quite different. They specifically reject the
concept of the holy trinity and the divinity of Christ.
In fact they have no dogma and believe it is the
right of any individual to find his or her own way to
his or her own truth. Importantly in this context,
they regard marriage as a civil, not religious, ceremony
and are happy to facilitate a personalised ceremony
around the legal formalities, provided that the couple
are marrying for the right reasons.
added bonus was that the chapel is a delightful old
building hidden down an alleyway in the heart of Kendal,
just off the market place.
Celia preparing for rain!
and Scott, along with the Reverend Celia
Cartwright, put a lot of thought into planning
the ceremony, the songs, the vows, the rituals
etc. It was to be very different,
very personal, and very happy.
me, the biggest challenge was sourcing the
right for the Lakes
perform As Long as the Moon Can Shine.
from the outset Emma had insisted that she
wanted this song, from Mike Batt’s musical
of Lewis Carrol’s The Hunting of the Snark,
to be performed.
singers had no luck with the composer or his production
company but, bizarrely, I discovered a lady in Sunderland who arranged songs for choirs and, not only was
this in her catalogue of songs for which she was able
to grant a licence, it was her all time favourite
and she was delighted to produce a version for us.
the morning of the wedding, the garden was looking good,
the marquee was in position along with the temporary
toilets. Exterior lighting was ready for the night
marquee in course of erection
caterers arrived to set up. All was in good order
except one thing. The weather. The long-range
forecast had been consistently unhopeful and even at
11 a.m. the prediction was for rain. Somehow,
it didn’t happen. The skies grew darker and it
rained two miles to the north and two miles to the south
but the weather in Natland remained dry all day long.
Someone said that God had invited himself to the wedding!
nearly had a calamity in getting people to the chapel.
As a precaution I phoned the minibus company,
Ab Fab, in the morning to check they had the right times.
What a good job I did. They denied having
the booking. I reminded them of our three telephone
conversations, two e-mails and their confirmation. Despite
all that, they had forgotten to put it in the diary!
Fortunately, the other booking they had could
be dovetailed between the journeys to and from the chapel.
knew that Emma would look stunning in her
wedding dress and I was not disappointed.
took me by surprise was her headwear- not
exactly a veil, more like a Spanish mantilla.
had not known she was going to wear anything
on her head and what particularly registered
with me was that it was so similar to what
her grandmother had worn 75 years earlier-
quite unbeknown to Emma.
1934; Emma 2009
old Morris arrives on trailer
had not wanted a posh wedding car like a
Rolls Royce so we had been deliberately
vague about what we had ordered.
anyone one had asked, I was just going to
say that it was an old Morris.
true and very modest sounding.
it was a 1925 “bull nose” Morris Cowley-
a magnificent old beast.
it and I must admit it felt good travelling
in it through Kendal with her by my side.
market place was crowded as we inched up
to the chapel. “Don’t do it!” cried some
wag outside the pub but Emma just grinned the grin that
would remain in position all day long and we made our
way into the chapel.
service was beautiful. I know I am biased but
I thought it one of the nicest I had ever experienced.
The only pity was that we could not hear more
of the Lakes Ensemble who were entertaining the congregation
with their lovely singing whilst the register was being signed.
They must have been good as they generated a big
round of applause and many subsequent compliments.
of Lakes Ensemble
sun was shining as they emerged and after some milling
around greeting their guests, they left for Cracalt
in the old Morris. Scott loved it!
to the reception
Lune Valley Vintage Jazz Band
at the house, the guests were served with “Cracalt Royale”-
a cocktail of sparkling wine mixed with homemade damson
Lune Valley Vintage Jazz Band
were playing merrily, helping create a real garden party
With their last number they defeated
Scott’s plan to make it a “god-free” wedding.
played “What a friend we have in Jesus.”
was an amusing incident when the fake bridesmaids, Swaney
and Merch, stole the posies of the real bridesmaids,
Nicola and Cathy-Ann, and posed for photographs.
daft thing is that although they live together, they
had not realised that they were going to dress almost
identically for the wedding!
tussle for the posy
photographs, the decision was taken to have the traditional
wedding reception line as people entered the marquee;
had it been raining, this would have been abandoned.
It was conducted reasonably quickly but those
at the end did get a little bit chilled.
gave a welcome speech and then the hog roast was served.
So far we were running to schedule but somehow
this slipped quite badly during the food service. I
suspect that, as with Margaret’s big birthday party,
the problem is caused by the serving of second helpings
in a buffet style.
Edge ceilidh band
inevitable consequence was that the speeches started
late and the evening guests had to lurk a while before
entering. It also put paid to the plan of having
a disco during the ceilidh band’s half hour break. As
at Margaret’s party, Striding
played through their break. Most people thoroughly
enjoyed the ceilidh, some describing them as the best
ceilidh band they had ever seen- quite a compliment
coming from folk who had spent a lot of time in Edinburgh
where they take these things seriously. Actually,
I think that is the problem, Scottish bands often assume
you know what to do and are thereby exclusive. Striding
Edge assume you don’t know what to do and make it fun
are not to everyone’s taste, however, and there were
some anxious for the disco to start. When it did,
we were a bit lacking in volume as we were just using
domestic equipment, albeit with several sets of speakers,
but there was plenty of action, which carried on to
around 2:30 a.m.. The last folk left about 3 a.m..
the ball was over
garden and marquee at night
and Scott reflect on the day
left Emma and Scott to discover that their bedroom in
the cottage had been done up like a tart's boudoir and
went to close down the marquee. As I switched
off the generator, there was a bright sliver of a moon
shining in the night sky. It seemed quite appropriate.
following day, we had planned a post-wedding walk and
I was quite surprised that nearly thirty people turned
up to take part.
was a very sociable event, crossing gentle countryside,
over the suspension bridge limited to 25 people, past
Sizergh Castle to Helsington Church where, from the
scar, we had a fine view of the Lake District panorama
and, more importantly, Margaret was waiting with sandwiches,
cake and cava. We returned by a different route,
the main excitement being dicing with death to cross
the very busy A591 at Prizet!
night we had an impromptu party in the marquee with
carry out pizzas and left-over wine plus the disco and
a game of boules.
next day the marquee disappeared and the garden returned
to no longer being a wedding venue.
back, how do I feel about having the reception at home?
had had some sleepless nights about the implications
of rain, not just forcing people into the marquee far
too early but also the consequences of alcohol-filled
limbs on the steep slippery steps. We also had
a worry that it might prove to be a swine flu transmission
party- a fear reinforced when one guest dropped out
due to having caught it and another because her staff
were suspected to have it meaning she couldn’t leave
her restaurant. Fortunately, we have had no reports
of any sickness of any type picked up at the event.
had been a lot of hard work getting the place ready
and it is a good job that we are both relatively fit.
Had either of us been taken ill, I don’t know
how we would have coped. But we got away with
it and despite the moments of terror, it had been great
the event, we were unable to spend as much time with as
many of our guests as we would have liked but that is,
sadly, inevitable in the circumstances.
unconventionally, Margaret and I went off
on honeymoon leaving Emma and Scott to look
after the house and granny, bless them!
had a wonderful time doing absolutely nothing!
the time we returned, Emma and Scott had
departed for Iceland and this time it was
our bedroom that looked like a tart's boudoir.
one, Mr & Mrs Massara!
29th July 2009
photos can be seen at:
Long As The Moon Can Shine.
“official” photographs can be seen on Caroline
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is dedicated to
Scott Anthony Massara
18th July 2009
can be seen at:
The Moon Can Shine.
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