Alpacas as ring bearers – Saturday 4th March, Ben married Alexis. This was the first wedding of the year for the Larmer Tree. The wedding was scheduled for 1.00pm and it was a busy morning. Ray Marino – family friend and appointed Master of Ceremonies – dropped off the favours at 9.00am. Jars of pink and white candy floss supplied by his own company, the jars were tied with blue and green ribbon, labelled with guest names and doubling up as place cards. Naughty Floss. As Ray left to get suited and booted, Steph from Catkin and Co was next through the door with her team to set up the table decorations. 4ft silver candelabras, alternating on the ten tables with 22” wide wreaths with hurricane lamps, high and low arrangements of roses and thistles. Steph remarked on how glorious the sunshine was, streaming in through the glass of the pavilion and that it was. We had sun, we had rain, we had rainbows, – no unicorns but alpacas! and bagpipes!!
Now Wendy Williams of Alpaca Adventure had confessed to me that she just didn’t know how her boys, Ted and Lightening, would react to bagpipes. As the pipes began, Wendy, with a firm grip on the reins waited with Ted and Thunder out of sight from all the guests seated in the Jubilee Hall. Elouise and Hamish, The Southern Jacobites our teenage pipers wearing Traditional Highland Dress, walked side by side under the festoon lighting of the Jubilee path, playing Marie’s Wedding in a mist of very fine drizzle. As they stopped at the top of the terrace steps, and turned to face one another, I sent the wedding party on their way and the rain came down. Ken escorted his daughter Alexis down the aisle and as she reached her groom, the bagpipes drained and I tiptoed to take shelter with two wet pipers, and two hiding alpacas. Ted was now wearing Ben and Alexis’ wedding rings, on a ribbon round his neck of course, and he was chomping at the bit so to speak, the pipes having stirred some emotion. I crept inside to listen for the registrar’s cue and just as Janice from The Salisbury Registry Office invited the best men, Dan and Andy to present the rings, Ted and Lightening made their move. The alpacas were led up the steps of the Jubilee Hall as Dan and Andy were staging some theatricals with an empty ring box to gasping guests. It was like an episode from Dr. Dolittle.
Nathan Eames of Libra Photographic was on hand to capture each and every moment. Ceremony done, the pipers led all the guests onto the main lawn for drinks and canapes, as the bride and groom led the alpacas to join them and their immediate family for a short blessing at The Roman Temple. Pete Aves and his band performed on the Singing Theatre and the stoic guests embraced the March weather.
Ben and Alexis had planned a handsome day’s hospitality for their guests, food by Forkingout cake by Robert Lewis and dancing with Dilesh and DJ Allstars. One thing Ben and Alexis hadn’t planned though, was singing waiters. Alexis’ parents had booked this surprise, The Secret Singers, and Martin and Luke did not fail to impress. They turned up wearing black as instructed, we gave them an apron, they served food and they cleared dishes, and once dessert was out, they took to the floor and got the entire dining room on their feet, 99 guests singing and waiving their napkins in the air. Our lovely couple had no idea, looking bemused as Luke started Queen’s ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ – Alexis frowned and pointed the finger of blame at me but quickly realised who was to thank, as each song had been carefully selected by her lovely parents, Margaret and Ken. Just such a wonderful start to the 2017 Wedding Season.