Wednesday, May 02, 2007

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.


Blogger Katherine said...

Oh goody - more sketches and interesting blog posts. I never seemed to visit this blog as much and I'll now just have to do much more visiting.

Mind you you're setting some standard if you're going to start with this! What an absolutely brilliant place for a wedding reception!

I think you should award yourself a very nice sketchbook for having finished your year of sketching. One of suitable and size and quality that it'll generate the sketches for the next book. I'm inclined to the view that the more you like your sketch, the more you tend to use it.

5/02/2007 5:19 PM  
Blogger Julie Oakley said...

Do you know Katherine, for me, the search for the perfect sketchbook seems to be like the search for the holy grail. I can see that some day I'm going to have to take up bookbinding and make my own.

5/02/2007 8:56 PM  
Blogger Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

Beaut drawings to remind you of a fun occasion. Wow, a Greek wedding! We've been to one in Adelaide and it was lots of fun.
The last wedding we went to - Fijian guy, Oz girl - well, the bride did make a speech. Way to go.
There's a funny film - I think it's called 'My fat Greek wedding', an Australian film.

5/03/2007 12:54 AM  
Blogger Penny said...

Wow what a wedding and what a place for the reception. My nephew married an actress and the reception was at the I think Theatre royal in Perth, a fantastic venue. but this!!

5/08/2007 4:23 AM  
Anonymous Mario & Elena said...

Hi Julie,

I'm so very happy you enjoyed the wedding and i just knew you both would. It really is a feast for the eyes and Elena's attention to details shone throughout the day. She told me the reason she had me waiting at the alter for 40 mins was because she forgot her bouquet in her room and so sent her brother home to fetch it....and i was thinking she was having second thoughts !!

On the subject of second thoughts, Elena was going to make a speech and i read a portion of it and it too was a very sweet and funny but she decided against it during the dinner as she feared she would get too emotional and not be able to finish it. I think she would have done a great job but it was actually far more stressful then i had imagined.

We have just returned from our honeymoon in Sri Lanka and the Maldives and whilst in Kandalama we logged to my email and clicked on a link Robin sent through to us for your blogg. it made Elena so happy that people had notices the small but detailed attention she had put into the day especially around the Order of Service, the flowers, table names and also the fact the meal was a little different. She read your report three times did it please her so much. The sketch is also fantastic and i can tell exactly who each of the characters are which you drew.

The money dance has caused the biggest stir amongst our "never been to a Greek wedding" contingency. We had so many messages of people asking where they can buy those crowns of fifty pound notes from or whether i can find them a Greek girl to marry.

Thanks again to both of you for coming. I know it was quite a journey and with your army of children it can be quite a logistical task also but i just knew you'd both enjoy it.

Please send through any photos you may have as we're desperate to see some. see you both soon i hope !!

Mario & Elena

5/15/2007 5:40 PM  

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