The wedding was held in beautiful East Sussex, where Tom grew up. The Domesday Book records a church at the spot where Tom and Auriol exchanged rings, though the building in which we gathered last Saturday was rebuilt in the 19th century. The churchyard was peaceful amongst the bustle of the village and looked out over the soft hills of the South Downs. I had to step out a few times during the ceremony because I had a bad cold and the incense was a bit overwhelming and, as I sat on a bench on the grounds, I repeated the vows they'd pledged as a sort of mantra to calm my breathing:
With my body I honour you, all that I am I give to you, and all that I have I share with you.
Jon and I didn't use phrasing as delicately poetic at our own wedding, but it was a poignant reminder of what we'd promised each other nearly a year ago and of what we were working towards as we struggled through the visa process.
After the ceremony, we all hied ourselves to Tom's parents' garden, where Auriol had created the loveliest reception: bunting, pompoms, and hearts hung from the trees and giant lawn games were set up on one side of the marquee. We feasted on a buffet that friends of the family had cooked, drank local beer, and enjoyed chocolates from nearby Brighton. The weather was mostly gorgeous all afternoon, and it was simply wonderful to be amongst friends, cocooned in such steadfast love.
The outfit I'd originally planned to wear to the wedding was held hostage in my luggage - I now have my bag back, but I had to do some quick thinking and even quicker shopping while I was in London! Jon and I dashed into the Anthropologie on Regent Street earlier in the week, and I have to give him credit for finding the dress I wore. Most English shoe stores don't carry my size (a women's 11 in the States, which works out to a 9 in the UK and a 43 in Europe) so I searched online and found tallgirls.co.uk, which offered next-day delivery on these sandals. The clutch was on sale at Accessorize, and I bought this necklace at the same to complete the outfit though I didn't wear it in the end because I was coughing too much to bear the thought of something around my throat. Luckily, I had all of my real jewelry in a bag in my carryon, so I had earrings (similar to these) with me. I was afraid I'd be too casual, but it was perfect for the relaxed atmosphere of the reception!