Monday, October 19, 2015

A Perfect Day...

This past week, the big day finally arrived - the wedding of Caroline and Stuart. We drove down to Edinburgh on Wednesday, arriving around 6pm. It was a good journey down, with terrific weather. The day was one of blue skies and that special light that a sunny day in October brings. We got to our hotel, quickly unpacked and dressed before heading out to dinner with Stuart's mother, father, stepmother, and the two little girls. I can now highly recommend Vittoria on the Bridge in Edinburgh. Tasty Italian food in a lovely setting. We had a very pleasant evening getting to know Stuart's parents and spending time with Paige and Catherine. But the girls were going to need their sleep for the big day, as did we all, so we headed back to the hotel for a good night's sleep after filling our tummies with pasta, Prosecco, and tiramasu.

Flowergirl Catherine
Thursday morning we awoke to grey, drizzly skies. But nothing could put a damper on our moods. The day we had all planned and waited for had finally arrived. We put on our stepfather and mother of the bride finery and headed to Caroline's hotel to be with her, Stuart's mother, her best friend and maid of honour, Linsley, and Paige and Catherine. She had a lovely suite at The Residence Inn by Marriot and we settled in for a morning of giggles and champagne. As Caroline had her makeup and hair done, Linz curled the girls' hair and we got them dressed in their beautiful little dresses, crowning their heads with wreaths of flowers. Both the girls were so well behaved and didn't seem the least bit nervous about the upcoming events. Caroline had arranged for lunch to be delivered, but I'm not sure anyone actually finished their lunch, all of us far too excited to think about eating a sandwich. (That being said, both the girls had something to eat, including little packages of chocolate buttons brought to them by Linz.) The girls looked so lovely and I'm so tickled with this portrait of Catherine that I took. Those who have seen the photo say she looks like a fairy or a forest nymph. I think she looks like a character from "A Midsummer Night's Dream."

My gift from Stuart
Before Caroline got into her dress, she disappeared for a moment, reappearing with two wrapped boxes, one for Helen (Stuart's mother) and one for me. And so the first happy tears moment arrived as I unwrapped my gift from Stuart. What a lovely gift from my new son-in-law! He is so thoughtful and kind and we are so lucky to have him in the family.

The afternoon flew by and soon the time had come for us to go to our taxi and take the short trip to the Lothian Chambers on George IV Bridge. We travelled with Helen; Caroline, Linz, and the girls followed in another taxi. When we arrived, we found Stuart, his dad and stepmother, and his friend Ross waiting. Stuart was very nervous and, I think, feeling quite emotionally overwhelmed. The registrar came down to get Stuart and his father (who would act as one of the witnesses) and they disappeared upstairs, where the rest of us soon joined them. Once Stuart and his father had been briefed by the registrar, Stuart returned for the moment now referred to as "The First Look." The photographer was there to capture that moment when Stuart saw his bride for the first time, looking every inch the princess in her beautiful gown. The rest of us, by that time, had taken our seats in The MacIntyre Suite. There were comments about tears and we found it was on both their parts.

Mr and Mrs Stuart Borland
Stuart came through and sat with his dad in one of the four chairs at the front of the room. The registrar met with Caroline and Linz, and then it was time. Music started to play in the room and the registrar asked that we all be upstanding for the bride. With that, Paige and Catherine appeared - Catherine carrying the little books that held their vows and Paige carrying the ring box. Linz appeared next, and finally Caroline, on Chris' arm, made her way down the aisle. The look in Stuart's eyes was all any mother could ask for in that moment. I know he loves Caroline with all his heart, but in that moment, I could see it on his face and it filled my heart with gladness. They proceeded through the first part of the ceremony and then it was time for them to face each other and say their vows. We could hardly hear Stuart's vows, he was so overcome with emotion. His tears prompted everyone else to tear up. His vows were beautiful, as were Caroline's. With the vows and rings exchanged, they moved to the desk to sign the register. Photographs were taken and the registrar then announced, "Ladies and gentleman, I present to you Mr and Mrs Borland." We all applauded. Chris went up to give Caroline a hug and broke down in happy tears. It was just the happiest moment. I felt my parents with us, too, in their own way - part of their beloved granddaughter's big day. Caroline had my mother's engagement and wedding rings tied to her wedding bouquet, and she gave Stuart my father's gold monogrammed cufflinks. (I can't wait to see the image the photographer captured of the rings and the cufflinks.) Once all the handshakes and hugs were completed, we moved out into the magnificent great hall, with the marble floors and walls. There, more photographs were taken, and we slowly made our way out to waiting taxis that would take us to Prestonfield House Hotel for the reception/dinner.

Prestonfield House Hotel is a magnificent hotel on extensive grounds within view of Arthur's Seat. Peacocks wander about the grounds and ancient trees, still with green leaves, dotted the finely manicured lawns. We were met by Gareth, a young man who would be part our evening as our host.
Our private dining room - The Garden Room -
at Prestonfield.
He had a colleague take us around to the disabled entrance and beyond to the private dining room we had for the evening. It took my breath away. It was so beautiful. French doors at the corner of the room opened onto the beautiful lush green lawn, complete with a little putting green where they had thoughtfully placed some child-sized putters. The sun had come out and the skies were blue, the lawn bathed in the light of a late October afternoon. We were met in the room by Gareth and another young man called Ryan. They were terrific. We were greeted with glasses of champagne and jugs of orange juice. As an extra treat upon arrival, I had arranged with the hotel to serve miniature ham biscuits. No Virginia wedding, indeed no Virginia bride, has ever omitted little buttermilk biscuits (scones) with Virginia (salted) ham. Along with Caroline's gift of small Jefferson cups to the parents, it ticked all the boxes for a bride who was born and partially raised in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Caroline and Stuart and the rest of the group went outside to enjoy the sunshine. The photographer spent time inside and out catching beautiful moments. I hope it won't be too long until we get the photographs back from him. I know they will add to the joy as we remember the day.

Needless to say, the wine and dinner and cake, the flowers, the candles, everything to the last detail, was perfect. Caroline did an amazing job putting the day together. I can't fault a thing. It was even beyond our hopes and expectations. It was an absolutely perfect day.