This is the bit where the drinking began and my memory gets a little hazy.
Back at the village hall the caterers served champagne and canapes to the family and friends who came to the ceremony. Not all of them mind since some buggered off back to the hotel to change into their evening attire and claimed to know nothing about it. Lucky for us they were losers and not missed at all.
Having set up the hall the night before with the help of assorted family/friends all that was left to do was light the candles and enjoy. What I didn't know was that the big glass fishbowl centerpiece on one of the tables filled with water and floating candles had proved too tempting to my older brother and he'd popped to the local aquatic shop and got a goldfish for it. I got a bit of a shock when I went to light the candles! Isabella christened him Goldie and he now lives in the fishbowl with Swampy. Swampy seems chuffed to have a mate and happy to be upgraded from his trifle bowl.
The band arrived and were ace, so good in fact that my friend's four year old wants to marry one of the singers as he is "very handsome man" I have a fabulous photo of me with them on a break when I was trying to be discrete arranging for OH to thank our Mums and dish out presents. My drunken whisperings look more suspiciously like I was licking out his ear. Hell, maybe I was...
The kids were very well behaved, distracted mostly by the sweetie table and a side room with various board games and colouring implements. The baby room proved a hit with various small people spending time there being fed/rocked/changed and gushed over.
Isabella was a total star dancing and having fun with her friends - she even gave an impromto speech which was well received. She eventually nodded off on my sister-in-laws knee and slept through until Gwanny took her home.
I had a 'thing' for people to put messages on, many people managed to remain civil, some were vaguely complimentary, others attempted humour. The card postbox was full to the brim, my favourite being a handmade number by an exceptionally talented three year old who has captured my likeness perfectly.
When the hall kicked us out we made a dignified exit to my neighbour's house where he served me and several of my freaky mates drinks until OH and I staggered out and my friends stayed boozing there until 3.30am, Poor man is in rehab now, he said they were feral creatures.
On arriving home OH and I were delighted to discover that my brothers had popped round while we were out. The carpets were covered in dried spaghetti (nice and crunchy underfoot), the bed full of couscous (at least it's low GI), the ensuite lights had been disconnected and the toilet clingfilmed (the shinyness makes it too obvious to work). They had hung all my undies in the bedroom window. put a cycle lock around the wardrobe doors and screwed my showerhead into a funny position. Charming creatures had then popped mustard into the kettle, substituted the sugar for salt, tipped ginger powder into the milk, filled all our wellies by the back door with water and our oven glove with horseradish.
Sadly many of their efforts were unappreciated by my mother-in-law who popped round the next morning while we were still sleeping off the night's excesses. She donned her rubber gloves and de-yukked the kettle, washed out the sugar pot and bought us a ton of presents.
All things considered it was the best day of my life excluding only the birth of my daughter and I loved every minute of it. Surrounded by all my family and freaky mates, I wish we could do it all again very soon!