Saturday before last, the 22nd August, we were finally able to welcome a very special couple for our first wedding of the year.
Catherine and Ray came to look around Harefield Barn in November 2018; the Clock House was still under construction, there was no terrace laid, or glass in the porch, and we were racing against time on all fronts to get everything ready for our first ever wedding at the beginning of that December. In spite of the fact that they couldn’t see the finished result, Ray and Catherine loved what they could see and booked to hold their big wedding for family and friends in April 2020.
The caterers were all set, the cake was made, outfits bought, music chosen and all the final details in place, but none of us could have foreseen what was to come. As the big day approached, the realisation dawned that a change of plan was inevitable.
At that stage, we were all hoping that the worldwide pandemic would be short lived, so Catherine and Ray decided to move their event, lock, stock and barrel to a date in October 2020. Sadly, as time went on, it became clear that things would not return to anything like normal for a while, so by now utterly fed up with the roller-coaster of whether or not they could go ahead and in what form, Ray and Catherine opted for a complete ‘rethink’. They decided that they would go ahead with their marriage as soon as possible, marking it with a small family gathering, and then hold a commitment ceremony and celebration for all their family and friends in April 2021.
As it was such short notice, we were able to recommend Mark from Evolve to take care of the permanent record of their day, with his wife Natasha, from Pumpkin and Pye to create some fabulous bouquets and buttonholes for the wedding party.
The ever changing government advice meant that Catherine and Ray couldn’t be sure how many people would be able to share in their wedding day until just a week beforehand, but on 15th August we finally got the green light and it was all systems go!
As if it couldn’t get any more bizarre, I was contacted by a BBC producer the day before the wedding, asking if we would be prepared to appear live via computer link on the morning of the wedding on the News Channel! On the basis that things really couldn’t get any more strange, we agreed as seen in the photo. Just one more thing to make this marriage truly unique!
And so it was, that last Saturday, attended by her niece Rebecca, Catherine emerged from The Leveret Suite looking utterly stunning in a gown from Decorum and Ray waited at The Clock House, supported by his son Mitchell for her arrival; resplendent in a Kilmarnock FC tartan waistcoat (a lifelong supporter!)
Finally, the stage was set, the sun was shining, and the glorious tones of Etta James singing the highly appropriate ‘At Last’ played as Catherine, accompanied by her son Ed, made her entrance. Having been on her own for 15 years before meeting Ray, she had chosen this song for her entrance planned for four months before – now, it could not have been more perfect!
After a beautiful personal ceremony, Catherine’s son Ed and his girlfriend Nina, on guitar, sang two beautiful songs for the happy couple. Champagne toasts, an afternoon tea provided by Harefield Barn and beautiful cake from Sylvania Cakes completed this very special afternoon.
We can’t wait to do it all over again with Catherine and Ray’s extended family and friends next April, but somehow, I think 22nd August 2020 will be one of those days we will always remember!