Our friend Mario's wedding
As someone who bought her own wedding dress the Saturday before her wedding on the following Friday (and who had to put her foot down and insist that prospective hubby bought a new suit!), I’m not accustomed to attending lavish weddings. However I would be surprised if all of you out there who regularly go to this sort of thing wouldn’t have thought this was a pretty amazing wedding. The service was held at the Greek Orthodox Cathedral in North London. It was very long and much of it was in Greek, but we had very helpful orders of service explaining what was happening and the significance of each part of the service. Then we all made our way to the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. The bride and groom were driven in an uncle’s lovingly maintained immaculate antique chevrolet convertible. As Elena, the bride, was photographed coming out of the car in front of the Opera House, passers by stopped to photograph her, she looked so beautiful and the setting was so perfect , I’m sure they all thought they were watching a Vogue bride’s special fashion shoot. The photographer then took some more photographs of the couple on the merry-go-round in the Covent Garden Plaza. Inside the Opera house, drinks and canapés were served at the bar – which has an outside balcony overlooking the plaza. It also has the most stunning view high up over the attached Floral Hall where the meal and and the rest of the reception were to take place. The Floral Hall is of course the building where the flowers were sold decades ago when Covent Garden was the wholesale flower market. As we drank our aperitifs we were serenaded by opera-singing waiters. The tables (all named after operas) had the five foot high flower arrangements of palest pink roses and cherry blossom in long stemmed vases that formed canopies over the tables, and the light poured in through the glass walls of the building. I’ve been to a few corporate functions in the past where a couple of hundred people need to be catered for and because it’s so difficult to cater for so many, you can predict that the starter will be cold, the main course will be chicken and the food will be fairly indifferent. But this was the exception – really delicious food. By the time we’d finished eating, dusk was falling and the building took on a different kind of beauty with the blackness of the night, surrouding us. We had the usual speeches which were all very entertaining. My only gripe is that I think we should dispense with the tradition that the bride doesn’t make a speech. I would have loved to have heard Elena’s version of Mario’s courtship. And then the dancing began. When we came to the traditional Greek wedding money dance Elena and Mario had crowns made of paper money placed on their heads and long scarves of money wrapped round them. I have never seen so many £50 notes in my life. We stayed on ’til after midnight but had to get back to our children, so I don’t know when it finished. The wedding was fit for a princess – Audrey Hepburn, as the transformed Eliza Doolittle, would not have been out of place there.
Robin commented afterwards to our children. ‘Mummy and I have at last found something that we both equally enjoy doing together – going to posh Greek weddings’, so if you see a couple of people, that nobody seems to know, at a wedding service at the Greek Orthodox Cathedral, you’ll know who it is.