Our good friends (big)James and Emma of nb Kestrel were married at the Grand Hotel, Eastbourne (Emma grew up in Eastbourne), on February 14th 2010. The date made it extra romantic but was chosen beacuse it was the best date for (big) James, Emma, and all the relevant family members' schedules, and didn't clash with a rowing race! We were very pleased to have been invited to the ceremony itself, and decided, like many of the other guests, to make a weekend of it. So, on Friday 12th, we took the train from Cambridge to Eastbourne. We were booked into the Big Sleep Hotel on Eastbourne's Grand Parade, just next to the Grand where the wedding was to take place. It had a special deal going for the winter, which meant that we got the room for £25 per night including breakfast! Our room had a lovely sea view, looking over to the Pier, and was very clean and well-kept although eccentrically (but stylishly) decorated in pink melamine and grey fur curtains! The Big Sleep is a 'boutique' hotel, and all the rooms were like this! The whole hotel was very interesting, and the breakfast room particularly stylish. We were impressed, and very pleased with what we got for our £75. Several others also arrived on the Friday night, and we had a lovely evening in the Lamb with (big)James and Emma.
Our hotel was the white one on the right. Our window was the very furthest to the right on the second floor.
Our round at the Lamb!
Saturday was ours to explore the town, and although cold, it was sunny. Neither of us had been to the sea for a while so it was a treat to be able to walk along the shore, enjoying the faded Edwardian splendour of the seafront, with its Victorian pier and Art Deco band stand. We squandered at least £2 on the penny pushers in the arcade and visited the Lifeboat museum, before heading into the town itself. James was still looking for a hat as (big)James had been encouraging everyone to wear hats to the wedding!, as well as a shirt and tie. We failed to find a hat unfortunately, but did enjoy loking through all the charity shops. We ate in a fantastic greasy spoon, where a full English breakfast cost £1.99! We retired back to the hotel mid afternoon, and had tea in our room, before getting a call from Sarah, one of the bridesmaids, saying could we come and help decorate the room where the reception was to be held. We were only too happy to go next door to the Grand and spent an hour putting ballons and fairy lights up. Dinner was fish and chips (and mushy peas!) in a place just off the seafront with some friends, after which we went for drinks at a recommended local pub, where we met up with more guests.
The beach, still with snowy patches.
Helpful notice on the Pier!
Sunday dawned bright but cold. After breakfast we headed over to the other end of the seafront for a game of crazy golf with (big)James and several others. (big)James wanted to distract himself from his wedding nerves and is a bit of a crazy golf pro! There was quite a lot of snow still lying on the course, so the game quickly degenerated into a snowball fight with a bit of golf here and there! The game had to be abandoned when some of the tubes down which the balls had to run to reach the holes became blocked with snow!
The wedding was at 2:30pm, and we only just made it after the pub where we went for lunch mixed up the orders. Luckily I'm not the kind of girl who takes 2 hours to get ready! I was wearing a lovely dress which I had hired from the vintage shop The Old Chemists Shop on Mill Road in Cambridge. It was strapless with a velvet bodice and full midnight blue skirt. I also hired a velvet shawl, a large blue flower for my hair and a clutch bag to match. A thin black choker completed the look.
My outfit (photo Mike PJ)
There were lots of wonderful outfits and some spectacular hats worn by the guests. (big)James and the ushers were very smart in grey top hats and tails. Emma looked just wonderful in a beautiful cream dress with red flower details. The ceremony was a humanist one with a couple of very moving readings. The happy couple then left the hotel for a short drive to get some time together, before returning to the hotel for the reception. James and I were very proud to be blade bearers, and stood at the hotel entrance holding Chesterton blades in an arch to welcome them back. It was very cold, but great fun to feel part of it, and we'll be in the official wedding photos!
The bride and groom arrive back after the ceremony (photos Mike PJ)
James finally finds a hat, borrowed from Dave! (photo Mike PJ)
The wedding breakfast was next, and it was delicious! The main course was a very tender lamb followed by a divine lemon tart. Emma's father, (big)James and James' brother and best man David all gave wonderful speeches.
The reception was great fun, with lots of music, drinking, dancing (and falling over) until midnight. As we left the hotel, we heard a whistle from an upper balcony, and after a few minutes of confusion, saw James and Emma, waving from their honeymoon suite above! We thought this was the last we would see of them until they returned from their honeymoon, but we were happy to get a chance to see them and congratulate them again on Monday morning. They had also had a chance to open our present by then, which was a drawing of Jess which I had done, as well as some 'tokens' for beer in their favourite pub, which they were very pleased with and thanked us for. They then jetted off to their honeymoon, snowmobiling in Yellowstone National Park, followed by several days living it up in Las Vegas.
Dancing the night away at the reception (photo Mike PJ)
(big)James' cousin Tom and his wife Louisa drove us back to Cambridge on Monday which we were grateful for, even if we did have to stop occasionally to allow Tom to get out and throw up in bushes! He was somewhat worse for wear after the night before. Louisa wasn't much better, and hid bihind large shades! Both James and I were thankfully fine!
All in all it was a wonderful, fun-filled, romantic weekend. We very much enjoyed being part of their special day.