Overall it went OK, and despite things with Mum being more difficult than average, there were no disasters, so I suppose I should just be grateful for that. It’s done now anyway, so that’s a relief, and I was able to enjoy a fair portion of it.
The coldy virus thing I had at the end of the week had abated enough by Saturday for it not to give me too much trouble, and so I set off on time in the car up to Tunbridge Wells. I got checked in at the hotel (quite nice for a Travelodge), and then went to meet Mum and Dad who had already arrived at the wedding venue. We were there good and early so Mum had time to rest before the ceremony, and so she could get installed in the room she was to be using for her rest periods.
Basically things went slightly downhill from there, and continued in that trend until Mum and Dad went home. It became apparent to me fairly quickly that Dave and Janine had made choices and organised things in a way that was somewhat incompatible with Mum’s needs, and this made things more difficult than they otherwise might have been. I choose the word incompatible carefully, because after all why shouldn’t they choose what they want first and foremost for their wedding? It’s not unreasonable. It’s just that it exacerbated an already difficult situation.
Take this room Mum was to rest in: we were told it was a dressing room, attached to the function suite, where she could be out of the way and rest quietly. In fact it was a small attic room up five flights of stairs, with no lift access, and with no furnishings other than a table and chair. Given that Mum can’t walk that far, can’t exert herself etc., this was not ideal. She ended up ‘resting’ with a blanket on the floor.
Janine arrived on time, by steam train which was quite novel, and looked very nice in her dress. The ceremony was nice, a fairly typical civil ceremony really, but the room was too hot which added to Mum’s progressively crosser expression.
Then the plan was to get photos with Mum done quickly so she could go and rest again, while the main body of photos would take quite a bit longer. She had practically to be dragged across a lawn to where the photos would be (it was ‘too far’), at which point the photographer’s camera jammed. So after five minutes of hanging around, Mum complaining that she “can’t stand like this for long”, Janine barely able to mask her fury at Mum diverting attention towards herself, and the photographer getting stressed, photos with her had to be abandoned and NO official photos with Mum in were taken. Disaster! So off she went in a foul mood, basically delirious with fatigue, and Dad and I had to do our best to sort her out.
Thankfully, the camera became unjammed after that so Dave and Janine still got the rest of their photos done. I missed the bucks fizz of course because I was sorting Mum out, but managed to get back for most of the photos and the ones I needed to be in, and took quite a few nice ones myself.
Then there was the meal, which Mum didn’t really attend any of, and the speeches which she was there for but which were ‘too loud’, and through which she sat looking like she was about to pass out while poor Dad looked confused and embarrassed. And then they went home by 7pm.
So it wasn’t awful, but it wasn’t great either. Thankfully I was able to relax after that. My Grandad pushed off at 8pm, around the time Chris arrived, and after that I was fine. We watched their first dance (well executed – Janine used to ballroom dance competitively), we had quite a few drinks, we chatted nicely with other guests, and we danced quite a bit ourselves. It was fun, and I think Dave and Janine enjoyed it, which is the main thing.
I’m glad that it is over as I found the build up and the thought of what could happen quite tense. I’ve already had Mum on the phone twice today though, in tears at one point, at how ill she now feels following the wedding, how it’ll take her probably two months to recover from it (that’s not an exaggeration), and how no-one understands. So that was thoroughly depressing and made me think “can’t I get a minute’s peace??”. But she’ll be OK I should think, and at least the day wasn’t spoilt. I only give it a disaster rating of 6/10 from a personal point of view; hopefully Dave and Janine weren’t aware of all the stress that went on and were able to enjoy their wedding undistracted.
How sad it is though that almost my entire blog post about my brother’s wedding is about my mother. Chris will read this at some point and think “yes, because you let her rule your life, exactly like she wants you to”, and he’ll be right. Ho hum.