Well I am delighted to report that the wedding was fabulous. Laura, Claire and I had so much fun in the morning having our hair and make-up done together and helping Claire to get into her wedding dress – she looked so beautiful and radiant.
We passed ostriches - they are so funny - as we drove through the National Park where the wedding was taking place. Laura and I sat on the beach and waited for Claire as she was rowed ashore with her Dad before we all walked up the steps to the little white church above where everyone was waiting for us. Father Joseph led a very entertaining ceremony as GH and Claire’s marriage was blessed.
We had photos on the beach before we went to the reception, which was held in a marquee at a lodge in another part of the National Park. The format was very different to weddings I have attended in the UK. We sat down to eat and as the entree was being served the Master of Service introduced the various speakers - first Claire’s Dad and then the Best Man – who all had to stand at the front of the room. We then had a break where most of the guys headed to the bar for beer (only wine and sparkles on the table) or outside for cigarettes before reconvening to hear GH’s speech. All his friends, about 20 of them, grabbed their chairs and sat in front of him, heckling him as he tried to speak, apparently he got away quite lightly!
After GH’s speech the main course was served and then as soon as that was finished the men were at the bar again. Within about 10 minutes and after the cupcakes were cut, the first dance was called and GH and Claire took to the dance floor closely followed by the best man and me and one of the ushers and Laura...all I remember the best man saying to me was to slide my feet along the dance floor so that he could try and lead me, bad as I am at being lead!!
That was it for me and my dancing, the relief of getting to that stage of the ceremony and making sure that Claire was enjoying herself was all too much for me and I spent the next few hours drinking tea and sitting and chatting to those from Guernsey before joining a couple of GH’s “partied out friends” in the first convoy to drive out of the National Park (we had to go in convoy to make sure no one drove into any potentially straying ostriches or other wild animals) and back to the beach house. After the wedding Claire, Laura, GH, Stella and some of GH’s friends managed to find a local nightclub to keep them going until 3am – much to Claire’s disdain!
Everyone headed off to a christening today while I enjoyed the peace and quiet of a day on my own a combination of massage, sunbathing, reading and practicing – bliss. I am now feeling re-energised and re-invigorated for my return to Guernsey and the Spring and Summer ahead.
Thank you so much to GH and Claire for your incredible generosity, love and friendship and for giving me a reason to visit South Africa – you have shown us so much in such a short period of time, it has been fabulous. Thank you also to all GH’s lovely South African friends and family for being so welcoming and for educating me a little about your culture and way of life out here, it has been both fascinating, eye opening and incredibly entertaining – you guys certainly know how to party and it was great fun to watch!
Love Em x