When the invitation plopped onto my doormat last June (2013) to the wedding of my half sister Sarah, I literally jumped for joy and danced around the house with excitement! This was for a number of reasons; obviously I was honoured that I was invited because my sister is 30 years my junior and I haven’t seen an awful lot of her or her two brothers the last few years. They live in Colchester and I live in Surrey, I do make the effort to go up there once a year around Christmas time but it is hardly perfect.
Chris kindly invited me to his wedding two years ago and it was a lovely affair in a country manor and we stayed overnight and all breakfasted in the morning and I felt almost like part of the family. I say almost, not with animosity but relations have been distant since the death of our joint father thirteen years ago. My step mother was left with three young children and had lost the only love of her life, our father and didn’t want any reminder of life before her. Namely me.
Her early death three years ago would have been difficult for anybody but these three were all so young to lose their mother. That is the background to set the scene for the time I spent with my half siblings who are all the same age as my own children and grew up not knowing what relation I was to them until our dad died, despite visiting them over years when they were young.
The other reason was that I had always wanted to go to Mexico and as my partner will not fly, I was a bit stumped for who to go there with. So the chance to go on holiday with my younger siblings would give me an excellent chance to bond with them, killing two birds with one stone; perfect! I couldn’t have organised it better myself. Ok, I didn’t organise it but it worked out so well for me.
So the day finally arrived eleven days into the holiday and I did, indeed feel like I had bonded with my family, in time to be part of the important event of the wedding. I have to say at this point that I have never seen such a perfectly matched couple. You could see how in love they were with each other and it was truly lovely to witness.
Mikey, the groom, had spent the night in Chris’s room as tradition dictates and Jennie had moved in with Sarah for the night before the wedding. I had the wedding dress stored in my room so Mikey couldn’t see it, so I took it over to Sarah’s room the night before and had a nightcap with her and Jennie. It was really nice for me to have that time with my sister on the eve of her big day; it meant a lot.
The next day, I had breakfast by room service because everyone else were going in different directions and then down to the hair dressers for a cut and blow dry. Sarah and Jennie went to the other hairdressers up at the Spa resort for their hair do’s and Sarah had an appointment with the wedding make up artist.
We all met up at Sarah and Mikey’s room after (apart from the groom of course) for the last minute preparations and a glass of bubbly. This was the first time I saw Sarah fully made up and hair dressed beautifully. She looked stunning. I took some photo’s of Stella and Isla who looked so cute in their bridesmaids dresses as well. Don’t they look lovely?
Soon it was time to make our way to the venue. I took the two bridesmaids to the lobby in the hopes of obtaining a golf buggy to take us, otherwise it would mean going on the inter-resort bus which didn’t seem fitting at all for the occasion. We met Mikey’s parents in the lobby and two other friends of the couple and I managed to get us a buggy big enough to fit us all in.
We arrived at the the place where the proceedings were to take place and I can only describe it as a band stand, for all intents and purposes, that’s what it reminded me of. The actual wedding was to take place on the beach beneath a purpose built, I don’t know what to call this either; gazebo? No, not quite, I will let you decide a suitable word for it by this photo. It was very appropriate for the ceremony anyway. We took some photos while we were waiting and then made our way to our seats on the beach.
Sarah arrived in another buggy, with Tim and Chris, who were to give her away and they guided her towards the beach, one on either side with Sarah holding onto the arms of both her brothers. Here they are heading towards us.
As Sarah approached us, I noticed that she only had eyes for Mikey. She was actually crying, which made me start; it was such an emotional moment, I will never forget it. Brides always look stunning and Sarah was no exception, she was beautiful and radiant all in one go and so in love!
All through the ceremony, she didn’t take her eyes away from Mikey’s, such was the commitment she made to him. As I was one of the witnesses, I had to sign the book, here I am doing my duties.
The ceremony was short but meaningful and at least we didn’t have to sing any dreadful hymns out of key. And there was no fidgeting or whingeing of bored children, in fact Isla was playing with the sand at one stage!
We followed the newly weds off of the beach, where we were offered a glass of bubbly, towards the conveniently shaded trees for the photos before the hot buffet that was waiting for us at the bandstand. Here is the whole group of us.
We had our own bar there too, it seemed that one was never too far from alcohol at any given time, which was fine by me! I have to admit, I got rather tipsy at this stage because the barman’s measures were over generous, to say the least.
We had the buffet and next were the best mans speech. And then the brothers speech and the grooms speech and it was all very entertaining. Here they all are, in matching outfits and flip flops.
Speeches finished and buffet food eaten, soon it was time to leave and let the next couple have their turn. We were at a loose end. What were we to do next? The main meal wasn’t until six and it was only three by this time, so we did the only sensible thing. We walked along the beach until we came to the nearest pool bar and made ourselves comfortable!
The best man Marti and Chris thought it a good idea to push Tim, fully clothed into the swimming pool. They both followed suit and before long, most of the men in the group were in the pool as well! Here they are.
It didn’t take long for me to be persuaded to have a dip as well and not wanting to be the odd one out, I decided to join them. The water was like bath water but it was still cooler than being in the full sunlight. Here I am, totally bedraggled and all signs of my newly coiffed hair gone forever. But did I care? Did I hell, I was enjoying myself too much.
The next port of call was the mini golf course. Sarah, Mikey, Tim and Chris played everyday throughout the holiday and they planned to have some photos there. Here is Sarah playing in her wedding dress! You couldn’t do that back home. We had a few group photos there as well.
Playtime over, it was time to head to the Italian restaurant which was to be the venue for the Wedding meal. My dress was still rather soggy from the earlier immersion in the pool but apart from that, the meal went very well and was very tasty.
The cake came out for the obligatory photos and loe and behold, it was chocolate inside and absolutely delicious.
One thing that I know Sarah was worried about was where were they going to have their first dance as a married couple? This was because there wasn’t a conventional setting where everything was in one place, like Chris and Jennies wedding. Instead, we seemed to meander from one place to the next in an random sort of way. It had worked beautifully up to now and Sarah really didn’t have to worry because next door in the lobby, the in house singer was just waiting to oblige with any request they asked of him. So it was settled, they had their first dance right there in the lobby and before long they were joined by others who wanted to share their special day.
All in all, I think everything ran smoothly and just fell into place. It was a truly wonderful day and I would recommend it to anybody if they were thinking of getting married abroad.