This weekend we had the great fortune to attend the wedding of two lovely people whom we met by chance last summer.
The band had been invited to play at a festival last June and although the venue was a bit of a headache to get to, Rocksey agreed as there were other bands playing that we hadn’t met on previous occasions as well as long standing friends from other bands that we were looking forward to catching up with. Although the festival also clashed with our sojourn to southern Spain, Rocksey and I flew back for the week end and due to the proximity of the venue to the airport the entire band flew back out with us for a week in the sun.
The organisers of the festival were two guys of a similar age and mindset whom we got on well with immediately. When Marty introduced me to his girlfriend Adrianne we also got on like a house on fire and have kept in touch ever since. Adrianne originally inspired me to attend pole dancing classes after watching her You Tube videos of how good you can get by just sticking at something and practicing ( unfortunately I was not as good as she and with the grace of a baby elephant my attempts at looking good whilst hanging upside down were (very) short lived) ! However, over the past year Adrianne has fascinated me weekly whilst learning other skills including ariel hoop. The wedding invitation was intriguing as it suggested an evening of entertaining in the style of a Victorian Travelling Circus and Freak Show – the date for the wedding? Halloween of course.
The venue – like the wedding- was shrouded in mystery. Over the past 10 months, various clues and snippets of information appeared on the couples dedicated Facbook page. The idea being that us guests pieced each clue together and then set off – in good time- to arrive at the secret destination in time for the 6pm wedding ceremony.
Halloween dawned with low lying mists which gave way to a beautifully sunny day with clear blue skies and temperatures more akin to early September and not to late October. Rocksey and I had lunch with Missy, Dave and The Baron and spent the remainder of the afternoon pottering around The Lanes in Brighton before heading deep into the West Sussex countryside to the mystery venue.
As dusk descended, those mists came rolling back in, a smell of damp earth, bonfires and fireworks hung in the air as we pulled up outside the 14th century gate house of the Sussex manor house that the clues had lead us to.
Wow – we both looked at each other. The gatehouse had been festooned in cobwebs and fairy lights and manned by ( would you believe it -scared me half to death) The Grim Reaper himself who welcomed us to ‘Una Boda Gotica’.
We drove down a long driveway lit with firery torches which cast long shadows into the gardens beyond. We have an hour until we need to be at the ceremony – said Rocksey as the receptionist handed us our room key – we need to get ourselves sorted out.
Although it was Halloween there was no fancy dress code but intrigued as to the venue, the date and the Brides fascination with skulls, Rocksey and I dressed appropriately. Within the hour, glass of champagne in hand we left the hotel reception with a gaggle of other guests led by a faery creature on stilts back towards the gate house attached to which is a small chapel where the ceremony was to take place.
Marty greeted us on arrival, dressed head to toe in white save for his mohican hairstyle dyed black and red for the occasion. Once the guests had assembled and to the opening bars of O Fortuna, Adrianne made her dramatic entrance in a trailing black velvet off the shoulder dress laced at the back with a red ribbon and a tiara of skulls glittering in the candlelight, her long red hair curled to perfection flowing to her waist.
After a very moving ceremony and the exchanging of rings we left the chapel to be greeted by a cacophony of ear splittingly loud rock music and a spectacle of fire eaters, creatures on stilts, Vikings, Dwarfs, bearded ladies and a huge hog roast as centre stage.Fireworks were setting off all around, it was purely magical.
Marty had used his skills as an events organiser to the max and there were live bands on in several circus marquees as well as side shows, a coconut shy, donut stalls and small rides – all the fun of the fair! Wow, Wow , wow Rockey and I strolled around the magnificant show in awe. Hoping to catch up with the bride and groom we wander to where a crowd has gathered drawn in by the fire eaters to a tightrope wire at least 4m above the ground. Look theres Marty I say dragging Rocksey along -but here is Adrianne?
We didn’t have to wait too long. Adrianne appears, no longer in the lower half of her wedding dress but remaining in the corset/leotard part of it she climbs the ladder to a small platform above our heads. I clutch at Rocksey, Marty introduces ‘his amazing wife’ and then Adrianne – a year of circus skills under her belt – treats us to the most amazing show of tightrope walking skills finishing with a flourish into Marty’s waiting arms
The applause is deafening, Rocksey clapping the loudest – obviously impressed by Adriannes proess on the wire, Marty’s grin is a wide as the cheshire cats and Adrianne confesses that she had been terrifed of actually stepping out onto the wire but what an adrenaline rush! I am in awe – Oh God I couldn’t do that I say hugging her tightly but it looks amazing!!
The night is still in full swing when we finally decide to call it a night. There is a zombie walk being organised within the woods and pumpkin lanterns lead intrepid guests towards the trees. Its also getting very cold, but pashminas have been handed out by the good fairies and I am glad of this as well as Rockseys arm around me as we make our way back into the hotel for a welcome hot chocolate.
The Grim Reaper bids us good night handing us our room key.
We leave early in the morning – its along drive back -at least 4 hours and Rocksey doesn’t want to get stuck in motorway traffic. The Grim Reaper has miraculously turned back into the general manager with a friendly smile. There is no sign of last nights festivites within the grounds although there is smoke curling up from a small fire near the woods where I spot a Viking, a dwarf and the bearded lady their laughter hanging on the early morning air.
Come on says Rocksey as I get into the car – you have tightrope lessons to organise.