Towards the very end of my 3-ish week trip back to England I took a day off to attend my friend Cindy’s wedding. We met at a Christian camp in Milton Keynes and became close as we shared stories about life and love, Jesus’ work in our lives and God’s guidance through it all. We would call each other every now and again for updates, and even before she was engaged I promised her that one day when she got married I’d attend her wedding.
The timing of everything worked out perfectly and I felt so thankful that I was able to keep my promise.
Her wedding took place at a picturesque hotel in Forest Row, complete with its very own chapel, park and lake with a fountain in the middle, which ended up being a beloved backdrop for many a photo opportunity. We’d been blessed with glorious sunshine and fluffy white clouds, which all served to make the scenery even more beautiful.
The wedding was a full-day affair, so I travelled down the night before and stayed over at a nearby hotel. I wasn’t able to get enough sleep so spent half the time feeling a little light-headed and fueled purely on caffeine (3 cups of it by 9am, to be exact).
Even in my somewhat exhausted state I couldn’t help but appreciate how stunning my surroundings were – and, of course, how jaw-droppingly gorgeous my friend looked as a bride.
It was a super sweet ceremony with her and her now-husband vowing their love and commitment to one another before God.
The wedding took place on a Monday, so I imagine a lot of their invitees weren’t able to make it, but it was heart-warming to see how many guests still came to witness their special day – most travelling from various locations in the UK, but some even flew all the way over from Hong Kong amongst other countries. They are a loved couple indeed!
I spent a portion of my childhood in Southampton and it turns out a bunch of their guests were from the same church I grew up in back then. The uncle and aunties recognised me and it turned out to be a super cool reunion! I was extra glad I found someone I knew as I’d attended the wedding alone, expecting to be a bit of a loner.
Ann later told me that she was also invited but wasn’t able to make it in the end, and it turns out a bunch of her friends were there too since they all attend either the same church or fellowship. My connection with Southampton doesn’t end there either – that’s where Lisa G met Annie (her primary school best friend) and where Annie and I became best friends (after first meeting aged 6 in Cambridge).
Recently, in the States, I reunited with two more friends from Southampton, who knew both one another and also either Lisa or Annie or both, and many more of my friends back then (more on that another time too). What a small world!
After the ceremony we all filed out to throw rose petal confetti at the newlyweds and take group photos on the grounds. I experienced a major caffeine crash so didn’t have energy to take many photos beyond the standard large group photo, the ‘Others’ group photo with the bride & groom, and a couple of pictures with a new friend, Pinky.
The bouquet toss took place down by the fountain so afterwards everyone was taking photos with it. I didn’t join the bouquet toss as, for some reason, I’m bouquet toss-adverse (plus I was napping on the grass at the time). This time it worked out perfectly since the girl who ended up catching it was a close friend of theirs, and ended up getting engaged a month later! I don’t personally know her, but I saw the pics on Facebook haha – congrats to them both!
Pinky looked the picture of elegance while I could only manage to smile awkwardly at my feet or squint into the distance. I’ll blame both the sun and being
Asian sleepy for having no eyes.
Perhaps it’s better to just stick to selfies instead?
We finished our photoshoot and before long, we were all heading back to the chapel where the bride & groom partook in a traditional Chinese tea ceremony, offering tea and bowing to their parents as a sign of respect and gratitude for raising them. I have to admit I took a seat towards the back of the room and fell asleep through it. I was so tired, and was too far to see what was going on. That power nap sustained me through the rest of the evening though, and as the day went on I made more friends and became increasingly comfortable with my fellow guests that I found myself fully energetic by nightfall.
Or maybe that was because I’d just had food, lol.
The chapel had two floors – the top, where the wedding ceremony had been, and the ground floor was where the tea ceremony took place. Following the tea ceremony we were guided back to the top floor, which had been beautifully redecorated for the wedding banquet.
I was oh-so-ready to eat, ha!
Dinner, speeches, fun & games ensued, and then the music began. The alcove at the back of the chapel became a dance floor and we all applauded as the bride and groom performed a adorably sweet first dance.
I was able to get a few more selfies in with the lovely couple (sadly not together though!) and a couple of my new friends as well. We danced late into the night to classic hits and recent pop tunes and I don’t think I’ve ever had so much fun at a wedding before. That said, it is also the first time I’ve attended a wedding with dancing so that may also have something to do with it, haha. I didn’t want it to end!
Even after the music stopped and the lights came on, I was having so much fun chatting with new friends that we stayed behind for another hour or so. It was such a beautiful wedding and I am so, so happy for the newly wed couple.
Cindy & Kevin – thank you guys so much for inviting me! I loved every minute of it and wish you both many, many years of happiness, blessings, love and growth in our Lord, Jesus Christ. I’ll keep an eye out on your Facebook for any news of additional family members ;)