Category: Weddings

Mr & Mrs

Today in a fabulous Civil and Hindu ceremony I got married to my beautiful wife Michelle. I thought it would be a good idea to finally update my blog for what can only be described as the happiest day of my life.

It is strange how when planning a wedding, the actual date of the event, slowly creeps up on you. Even with our eleven month build up, these recent weeks flew past like a runaway freight train. I had been counting down via my Facebook profile, with Priya, (my new sister-in-law) always the first to comment and her brother, Steve always leaving a funny comment, such as “until my birthday!”. There was a brief moment on Friday evening that I had to take a moment out from the festivities to truly appreciate the journey I was about to embark on. Was I nervous? Of course, extremely nervous, not just on a personal level but that months of extensive planning and undisclosed expense would not have been wasted away on what many would regard as just another Saturday.

Friday was always going to be a hectic day and as usual my family was running late. We ended up taking my cousins, Vishal and Rozy as well as my sisters Julie and Natalie into town. However we first had to stop at my old work place, Shell Cressex to get some fuel as I was running on fumes as usual. First stop, Tara Stores on Copyground Lane to buy a headpiece for my over hyped entrance. With little time or choice, we settled on a pagri which fit my big head and closely matched my sherwani. I then drove into town to drop my car off to be washed before we then finally got into Eden. I had booked a hair appointment at RUSH on the recommendation of my sister Natalie. Vishal and I were booked in for 11am and we made it just about in time. While my cousin from the States had just a trim from stylist Wayne, I had a colouring (number three on the chart, not jet black one like my first attempt in late May) before a small haircut myself. Not sure what happened with paying but for some reason they only initially charged me for my colour and cut and forgot about my cousin, only for me to have to be called back into the saloon to complete a second transaction. I did not spot the big frown the Indian receptionist gave to Vishal, as I had been heading out the door but my cousin made it clear, for a split second he felt like a two-bit petty criminal.

Afterwards we walked over to the bus station to meet up with my cousin Anita and my uncle Raman, who had wanted to pop into town to do a little shopping and generally just get out of the house for a while. Anita headed over to Toni & Guy as she had her hair appointment booked for 1pm and was close to losing her slot. I rushed ahead to inform the receptionist, to ensure they held her place. Now ideally at this point I would have gone home and got on with the hundreds of tasks I had to complete. Instead, I was left as chaperon to my uncle, cousin and first cousin, young Ramzi. We headed to Poundworld as that is where my uncle wanted to go and spent a good thirty minutes in here, going through all the assorted junk and picking up a few items for my uncle. He was searching for a whistle, which they did not sell, only whistles for pets or party horns.

We then moved away from the high street and back into the Eden Shopping Centre. I was desperate to get my last few things and head back home, but my relatives had other ideas. Thankfully I called my sister Samantha who would pop into town later to pick everyone up, so we headed to Marks & Spencer to get my last minute items and then I went to collect my car from the car wash. My Dad was waiting in the Baker Street car park and would collect the rest of the gang once they had finished. I headed back home, with so many things to do and no idea of where to start.

I am glad I took the day off, but I doubt it made much difference to my then fiancée, Michelle. Her day, I would later discover was going from bad to worse, with the majority of her family rushing around on her strict instructions, to finalise all the plans. On the other hand, I had a steady stream of well-wishers appearing at the door. It was going to be a long day.

I would also like to point out that I had no speech at this point in the day (lunchtime), I had written a few notes and taken a few internet suggestions into a Word document, while still at my previous workplace but nothing coherent enough to deliver to a room of two hundred guests. I had hoped that around 4pm I would be able to sit down with the laptop and complete my speech. Instead, it was not until around 10pm I finally got to go on the computer and complete my speech. It took me about an hour to finalise, as I had to write a new start, cut an extensive part of the middle and end on a rather romantic note. You should also be aware, that in typical bloke fashion, I left it until Wednesday 3rd August to order gifts for my best men and respective fathers and then had to call up to rush the order through to ensure it arrived on Saturday. Therefore at the time of writing my speech, I did not know if the gifts I would be presenting would arrive on time. I had already covered myself on this option with a gift-set of Glen Elgin whiskey of various ages. I was hoping I would not have to fall back on them. In the end, I did receive a confirmation of despatch e-mail and my order was scheduled to arrive on Saturday morning and I had planned for the package to be collected by my dearest sister Julie and brought to the venue. Around 11:30pm, I felt happy with the speech and closed down the laptop. I would print out a few copies of the speech first thing in the morning. I headed to bed, anxious. Would the day go as planned or would something go wrong?

Last Night Of Singledom

It is plainly obvious that I am not ready for this weekend and instead of spending Friday night sorting things out for my up coming nuptials, I am actually off to another wedding. I have no idea what my so called friends have got planned for this weekend. Although I did my best to arrange around eighty percent of the weekend.

I may be back next week. If not, here will be a good clue to my clothing of the night in question.

Big WeekendLast Night Of Freedom

A Leap Of Faith

Who knew that 2011 would turn out to be such a milestone in my life. Aside from that fact that I turn 30 in a mere four months time, I am also getting married within the next fortnight. I had always hoped to be wed before I entered my third decade but even this is a running quite close to the wire. With little time left of my twenties I thought it would be good to reflect on the the recent past and look forward with some trepidation to the challenges that lie ahead.

Throughout my life, people have recited the common known phrase – Everything Happens For A Reason. While I find that sometimes hard to believe, particularly in my rather naive younger years, I have come to be more accepting of whatever life throws my way and be much less reactive. I have a greater appreciation of the here and now and try not to live my live too much in the past or the future. The present is just as important.

It is interesting how we do tend to live our lives in the future. I will be happy when I am on the beach on holiday, or gain that promotion, buy that new sporty convertible or even get married. Marriage for me was always going to be watershed moment in my life. I just never thought things would come together as quickly as they have. I was willing to wait until next summer to get married but that would have been the absolute latest. However, two years ago, I had a problem, I still had not met the one.

Probably for the first time, outside my close circle of friends I am revealing (in part) my adventures in finding a partner. If my life was dramatised as a television show, it would general end like a mid season episode of The Apprentice. “Andrew Tegala’s search for a wife continues…”. While I could go into detail with various stories, I prefer to stick to just one. I went on a blind date, way back in February 2007. This was organised by a friend of a friend’s girlfriend. It was actually their colleague I was meeting. The date did not go particularly well, but I always thought it was worth trying for a second date. The first date, so I am told is the best moment to secure the second date. The negative response was fair enough but instead I got the added insult of, “Andrew, you remind me of my brother”. Yes, the very same line used by Lorraine McFly (at the time in 1955 merely Lorraine Baines) to her future son Marty. You can imagine how I felt after that comment and I was glad that I would never have to see this blind date again. I was wrong, she was invited to a subsequent house warming party a few months later. I did cryptically blog about this blind date, but my post is so ambiguous and hidden behind the metaphor of a now long departed Eastenders character that it probably only makes sense to me.

Does any of that matter now? Well of course not. I have had those experiences and they were all part of the journey. Sorry, I am starting to sound like some X-Factor finalist. Nothing could be further from the truth. Ultimately it came down to me putting myself out there and be willing to meet new people. These situations, while alien to me, were worth exploring, as I was unlikely to bump into the right person at work, or on the way to get some milk from the supermarket. I was persistent but perhaps with a lack of consistency. I would try a dating site or a speed dating event but as soon as it became obvious there was little interest or there was no follow up date, I went into hibernation. These spells would like a little as a month, to an extended period of several months. Having my confidence knocked, I would go and concentrate on other things in my life and come back to the love life later.

In 2009 while certain aspects of my life were falling apart, a chance meeting with a new face brought me a new sense of happiness. It was actually on the insistence of a friend I met only in late May, that the August meeting actually took place. A change of events or perhaps The Plan (as featured in The Adjustment Bureau) I suppose it is always easy to look back at the early dating phase through rose-tinted spectacles but I still feel, even after all this time, a warm glow. Little did I know where those first few dinner dates, lunches and even a concert at Wembley Stadium would lead to. If anything, I did my best to enjoy the experience, even if at times it was hard to keep my composure due to the undeniable issues at the office. This was compounded by my attitude to keep things to myself, rather than share my problems with the people closest around me. Perhaps with their help I would not have found myself in the predicament I did. The mantra of everything happens for a reason was a constant thought in my head as I forced into decisions which would have a major affect on my future, both short and long term.

I am sure married life will bring many challenges, it was never going to be easy and I have never thought it would be. I am nervous, scared, apprehensive but in equal measure to the joy I feel to finally be with that special someone, whom I spent almost three years of my life searching for. So here I take a big leap and start the next phase of my life. Wish me luck!

The Final Countdown

Believe it or not, there is now just a month to go until my wedding. In thirty days time I shall be wed and enjoying a reception with all my friends and family, many of whom will have made the trip from Australia, India, the USA and beyond to be with us on our special day. Our wedding website, as mentioned previously has now been online for over a month and most of our friends and family have successfully RSVP’d.

Khural Junior Family RSVP

My best man, Pavneet Khural is currently on his honeymoon with Mrs. Emily Khural in Thailand. Their last words to me, as they left the Marwell Hotel on Sunday 19th June (the day after their wedding) was they would get around to confirming their attendance at our wedding at some point. I am not due to see them both again until Friday 29th July, at another friends’ (Sarah and Phil) wedding. You can imagine my surprise when I get an e-mail notification with the subject, “Pavneet Khural has tagged you in a photo”. I was concerned that some embarrassing photos from the wedding had already been uploaded to Facebook. In fact, it was the above photograph. I am sure, like me, you appreciate the sexy shorts as modelled by Pav on the beach. As Michelle would say, Pav was being “extra” with his rather flamboyant confirmation of their attendance to our wedding. I just hope they write the message, “Happy 30th Terry” in the sand and save that image for late November.

Get Carter

Part Two of my blog post of Pavneet and Emily’s wedding, you can may want to read the first post on My Best Friend’s Wedding.

I was woken up at around 9:30am, by housekeeping knocking on my hotel bedroom door. When I did not respond, I am sure I heard the cleaner come in, see me out spark on the bed and say that she would return later. It took me a good few minutes (I would estimate as much as ten, perhaps more) to get my bearings. I am sure you have had the same, when you wake up the first morning, in unfamiliar surroundings. It slowly came back to me, yes I was at Pav and Emily’s wedding and last night had been a bit of a blast. I recall Jav, Dee and I walking through a muddy track making our way back to the hotel at around 1:30am. We were picked up by Em’s Mum, whom came to our rescue in her Golf to collect us and drive us back. It would have taken us a while to make our way back on foot (some of us were wearing Persian style footwear!).

Dragging myself out of bed, I tired to remember if breakfast stopped being served at 10am or 10:30am or 11am? I put on some clothes and headed over to wake up Jav and Dee. They were in a pretty bad state themselves, but awake and hungry. They believed they stopped serving breakfast and we should make our way down to the restaurant sharpish, as it was already gone 10am. Making my way down through the corrider, into reception and into reception I was greeted by a loud cheer from one corner of the room. These cheers came from a table with Pav, Div, Nige, Rav and others. My desire to make a low-key entrance and have a quiet leisurely breakfast had been dashed.

Vegas Air

I would discover later, when I returned to my bedroom and checked in a mirror that my ‘bed’ hair looked as if I was a member of Flock Of Seagulls. I am sure most readers out there have seen the 1998 smash hit movie The Wedding Singer (which also features a DeLorean). Yes, my hair did actually look that bad! [Image courtesy of Yes, That Dress is Hideous]. I had a few hours to sort myself after breakfast although it was a shame to have to say goodbye to the boys. We popped over to Pav’s room to say goodbye (well from Jav and Dee) after breakfast and bumped into photographer Grace Hammond, as they was finalising the details for the rest of the day. It was a brief catch up, but Dee as always made us laugh. He had ensured some of the other guests got to enjoy Famous Grouse. I believe his conversation with Chris Witten went something like this

Dee: What you drinking?
Witten: Beer…!
Dee: What would you like to be drinking?
Witten: Erm….
Dee pours a shot of the famous Scottish whisky!

Your drinks sir...!

I headed back to my room, to wait for Michelle to arrive. It was another glorious sunny day and I hope the weather would hold for as long as possible, or at the very least until the church service was finished. Ended onto the my ground floor terrace area, I waved at Foxy who was staying in the room opposite on the first floor. We were going to head off to the wedding around midday, so I had a more than an hour to myself. I watched some BBC News but ultimately just needed to lie down for a while.

Michelle arrived around 11:45am, after getting a little lost and picking up the brown tourist information sign posts, just as I was on the phone to her. I quickly got ready, now that I had my suit, shirt, shoes and tie and after a shower that made me feel much better, we headed down to reception to see what the plans were to get to the wedding and then wedding reception venue. Phil, Sandra and Paul had arrived, so we sat with them in reception and had a drink, while waiting for others to get ready and head to the wedding. Michelle and I were offered lifts with others, but in the end, opted to go with the Stevens brothers in Sandra’s brand new company car – a black BMW 3 series. We were in convey following Paul “The Professor” Rendell’s Atlantic Blue Beemer over to the church. The church was in the middle of nowhere and had opened up their graveyard to allow us additional room to park. We headed into the church, The Holy Cross Church, Durley. As we went inside, I noticed my dear friend Barry with his wife Lisa. They had space for two others on their pew, so we joined them.

Stain Glass Window

I had not see Mr. Tuck since the last lad’s night out way back in September last year. It was good to catch up with him and Lisa, after the birth of their son, William (by pure coincidence, born on my birthday, so Tuck junior has the honour of being exactly thirty years younger than me!). Michelle and I had been given an order of service book to share and I was pleased with the choice of hymns. Jerusalem being a personal favourite (since the days I used to sing along with classmates at middle school. Thursday morning assembly would be hymn time, obviously something that is far too politically incorrect, in our modern world.). Once everyone had arrived, it was just a wait for the lady of the day to make her splendid entrance from the rear doors. The bridal procession began with the bridesmaids, Hannah and Tiffany, closely followed by chief bridesmaid Melanie. Finally we got to see Emily, held closely in the arms of her elder brother, Tom and wearing a fabulous white dress. The ceremony could begin. I must say, I was very impressed with Barry Tuck’s vocal performance. He does have a good pair of lungs on him to belt out the hymns!

Pav & Emily

Unfortunately as we took an age to get out of the church, we missed the confetti being thrown over the happy couple as they exited the church. I did however, capture a few good photographs as the married couple jumped into the cream VW Beetle to make their way to the wedding venue, Pav blasting the horn a few times in celebratory fashion as they spend down the country road.

Pav & Em

We jumped back in the Beemer with Stevens and Sandra and headed back to the hotel. From here, we had to just collect our gifts and cards and arrange a taxi over to the farm. Unfortunately no taxis were available and were concerned with missing all the celebrations, so Sandra drove us over in their car to the farm and we walked up to the marque. As the sun was out, everyone was making the most of the photo opportunies by the pond, including some great group shots.

Poole Extended FamilyKhural Extended Family

The marque had been transformed into the dining area for the wedding breakfast. (I hear that Emily and others had been up at the crack of dawn to set everything up!). It showed! We were on table India (as each table was named after a location the beautiful couple had visited on holiday). I was sitting next to Rav. He had swapped places with others to be sitting next to The Feather. As I explained to him, this was the second best seat in the house. The only other place you would want to be, is on the table with the golden couple. I was impressed with the layout of the tables. I had a luggage tag with my name on. Emily had put her foot down with now husband Pav and made sure my name was listed as Teg and not Terry. Plus the napkin holder had the Indian Railways (the biggest employer in the world) symbol printed upon in.

Indian RailwaysTable Place Card

As the rain started to come down, I thought it best to introduce myself to the table (most people already knew me from past functions but doubt they would remember Michelle). On our table were, Rav, Harveen, Peter, Vicky, Lisa, Barry and of course my lovely wife to be, Michelle.

Lisa, Barry & MichelleRav & Harveen

We got served drinks and waited patiently for the speeches. I thought I should capture the nervous of Mr. Thomas Fox, seconds before he was to give his Best Man’s Speech.

Foxy

It was Susan, Em’s mother who spoke first, before the traditional speech from the groom. A short and sweet affair, with the classic line of, “After a few weeks of dating, Emily said to Pav, “You know this is just temporary, don’t you?”. This had the crowd laughing but it was just the warm up act before the head-liner Foxy would take to his feet.

FoxyPav

The speech was short but it was able to hit the spot perfectly. Foxy mentioned a few stories from Berlin and more importantly Pav’s detailing, which was described as Pav, “polishing other men’s hot rods at the weekend”. These punchlines did have the guests laughing amid the sound of rain on the marquee roof. We toasted the happy couple!

After our meal, I helped clear three tables away, so the band could start playing. Paul had been providing background music up to that point and we had had the Indie Killers do a quick sound check. With the dance floor cleared, it was time to get this party started!

At some point in proceedings I decided to head over to the decking over the pond. Paul “The Professor” Rendell had decided to jump on the small rowing boat, and I decided to join him. Michelle would tell me later that she was prettified that I would fall into the water (I cannot swim!). It was good fun and our friends enjoyed taking photos and videoing the whole entertaining show. Paul tried to rock the boat, literally and get me thrown out but I grabbed onto an oar to keep my balance. By this time we were some distance from the landing area, so paddled back to the now big crowd spectating. The Prof as he is now known, jumped off and kicked the boat, so I was out at sea (okay let me be less dramatic, the pond) on my own. I made my way back slowly and then Ben kept the boat secure so I can leap back onto the decking. There were cheers and laughs all around. Someone mentioned The Lonely Island ft. T-Pain – I’m On A Boat. That got me thinking and I hoped I could get the footage from Nige and put something together. (Update – it took me 18 months but the video has finally landed on YouTube).

Paul & TegThe Professor v The Feather
The Professor & The FeatherKick The Boat Out

Tradition has it that Cuban cigars are smoked at this point in the evening, so the best man brought out a pack and they were shared around. This is probably the best moment to mention that Nigel Carter was had been invited and actually turned up! (Like my birthday last year). I was close to strangling him for coming up with my now default nickname Terry. Which will go a long way to explain the title for this blog post. Unfortunately I do not have any photographs in my FlickR set to prove his attendance, but I am sure there are other people who took his picture. He is to blame for me being called Terry for the past four years. A nickname that has stuck to the point that people (by people I am predominately referring exclusively to Pav) change my name in their mobiles and MSN / IM contact lists to “Terry”. I was able to invite Nige to my stag weekend at the end of July. He will be there, as he has offered lifts to a few friends who are just attending the nocturnal activities. Hopefully at some point I can get my revenge!

It was time to cut the cake, beautifully backed by Divneet and featuring two skiers, well technically one male skier giving his female companion a piggy back. I managed to capture the groom with an excellent facial expression as they both cut the cake.

The Skiers
Excited Pav & All Smiles Emily

Time for the first dance everybody? The band kicked in and played Counting Crows – Mr. Jones. The evening party could finally begin!

My Best Friend’s Wedding

A rather tired cliché title for what can only be described as a blog post I have much joy in posting onto the interweb. Are you sitting comfortably? I shall then begin.

I met Pav at Henley College, way back in September 1998. He was in my A Level Business Studies classes and was regularly late for class. I never knew that this friendship would last more than twelve years and that I would be invited to his wedding. I just want to say how happy I am for Pav and Emily and thank them for putting on such a wonderful party over the weekend. A particular shout out to Em’s proud parents for hosting the festivities on their land!

The powers that be, were conspiring against me on Friday. I would have taken the day off, but due to late change of plan, I could only take half day (my colleague Richard already had the day off). To add insult to the injury I had to be in the office to get various reports completed by midday. The dream of leaving at midday never happened, I had to complete several additional ad-hoc reports before I finally got out the door at 12:30pm.

Now, before you expect me to enter the standard, jumping in my car and driving down to Southampton line, I actually took the train. Let me explain. The Sikh ceremony was to take place in central Southampton at the Shri Guru Ravidass Ji Gurdwara. There was not going to be much parking and given my time constraints, I did not want to drive. Michelle was going to be driving down on Saturday, so this was the best mode of transport. I booked my tickets via The Train Line a few weeks ago. The direct single ticket option was £30 but buying two single journeys (Swindon to Reading and Reading to Southampton) cost just £16. I was finally taking the advice of Money Saving Expert, Martin Lewis. As it was not raining, I opted to walk to the train station, happy in the knowledge that it was over an hour before my train would depart. Unlike my experience, the last time I was on foot and heading to the town centre in late May last year. I had also upgrade from my colleague’s hand drawn map to Google Maps / Google Navigation on my HTC Desire. Even with the aid of GPS satellite navigation, I found I took a rather different route to the one previously. Although of course on this occasion it did not really matter too much. My train was not until 13:41, I had time on my hands. Once I got to the station and made my way to platform three I stepped into the waiting area, to have some sandwiches before going outside and waiting for the train. It was a few minutes late, but this would not affect my onward journey. I was quite chilled out, after what had been a very stressful morning in the office. Fridays tend to be like this, but when I am usually working from home, being able to put the lid of the laptop down and switch off at 4:30pm and kick off the weekend immediately is a nice warm feeling.

I had reserved seats on both trains but in both cases, someone was sitting in my seat. This did not bother me and I just sat in the aisle seat next to these strangers. The journey to Reading was only forty minutes or so and then I found the platform for my next train and had about a twenty minute wait. I had the rest of my lunch, while sitting on a bench sitting next to an elderly couple. They soon realised they were on the wrong platform and headed away to the lift to go to platform nine. Once the train arrived, I got to my seat to find a guy asleep. I woke him up, only so he could move his bag and his feet from my seat. I was on the final leg of my train journey. It started to rain hard outside, as I made my way via Basingstoke and Winchester to Southampton Central. As I got the station and made my way to the main entrance, I could see it was not yet raining but very close. I called Dee but he did not answer, so I called Jav. Again, he did not answer but called me back a few minutes later. There was hardly any mobile coverage at The Marwell Hotel. They were both getting ready and about to head down in but would meet me at the gurdwara. No issue at all, I got out my trusty Android phone, pumped in the postcode (I had noted down three postcodes on a conventional 3M bright yellow post – gurdwara, hotel and venue). I headed off in the direction of the first wedding venue and it started to rain. Not necessarily that heavily but it was a down pour. I had no umbrella, and just a flimsy summer jacket for protection. I was going to get wet. I headed in the direction of the temple, checking my phone from time to time, to ensure I was heading the right way. I walked passed Unity Radio. I knew where I was, as I had visited Southampton back in April 2006 with my Uncle, who was over from India, visiting a friend of his, who lives in the city. I made my way towards the gurdwara and saw the orange flag on top of the building. I had arrived but I was soaked through!

I came through the entrance to find Emily, looking fabulous in her lengar but on the phone to someone, giving them directions. The rest of the family where here, also waiting in the entrance area. I came in and said hello and found out where I could get changed. I head through the hall, down to the back and the toilets. There was even a shower here, so I could have got changed. I quickly put on my sherwani and got out of my wet clothes. I was ready. As I headed back to the entrance, the rest of the gang had arrived, including Best Man – Tom Fox looking surreal in his purple sherwani.

Foxy

As I said hello to everyone that had arrived, I was given the duty of handing out headscarfs to all the men that turned up. (A sense of deja vu anyone?) Rav made the comment that I would probably end up handing them out at my own wedding, even though it is a Sikh ceremony taking place within a gurdwara. Once everyone had arrived (Elliott was one of the late arrivals) it was time for the milni. This is the traditional meet and greet in Punjabi weddings. Pav’s Mum was in charge, calling people out and providing the gardlands and gifts. The priest also gave a blessing before the meeting or literally merger of the families took place. I tried my best to grab some photos but I was behind a group of the bride’s family and friends looking on and cheering on each meeting and greet!

Nige & ElliottDiv & TiffManjit & SusanRav & Ollie

Once the milni was over, we were requested by the groom’s family to enjoy some tea and snacks before the ceremony itself upstairs. You cannot beat a nice cup of sugary Indian tea (in a glass) plus some samosas and bafrees (Indian sweets). Everyone was being very British and not going over to the food, until they were pressed by the Khural clan. Do we sit down, was one of the questions I was asked? No, the chairs in the corner are for those to frail to stand I responded. We are expected to stand and eat before the ceremony. Around twenty minutes or so we all headed upstairs for the ceremony, when prompted by the groom’s father. Although some people, like Matt and Chris waited back to follow me and watch what I did as I entered the room. “You seem to know what you are doing, Teg, we are going to follow your lead”.

Upstairs we sat down and waited for everyone to arrive and sit down in their relative places before the arrival of the bride and ceremony to begin. I thought I would be able to sit down and just watch and take the odd photograph. Mother of the groom had a different idea and called on me to take photos throughout the ceremony. Some where good, the majority were rather bad, but I am including the cream of the crop for my blog post.

Surinder, Pav, Emily & ManjitGrandad, Surinder, Beejee, Manjit, Pav & Emily

It was at this point in proceedings I bumped into Jav and Dee at the back of the prayer room. I asked if they had missed the ceremony, they had not but had arrived quite late. They had got lost and gone to the other two gurdwaras in the city. At one, Dee had asked, “Is there a wedding here today?” The response was, “No, there is a funeral…”. Jav had already scampered at this point, leaving Dee to apologise and make a fleeting exit. They had seen the majority of the ceremony but I had missed their arrival as I had been too busy at the front taking photos. There were a few more obligatory family photos to take, I heard Div shout out “Teg, Teg, photos!” After which it was time to head back to the hotel before getting to the venue and the party could begin.

I had already arranged to get a lift back with Mel, in her MG but it was tempting to jump in Dee’s Evo! In the end, as Mel needed a navigator and the boys were going to stop by and get some food, I opted to jump in the car with Mel. Even though Mel has now had this car for several years, it was my first ride in the silver beast. The irony is that Mel is to change the car imminently. A BMW Mini Clubman! It was raining, so Geoff had been the ultimate gentleman, holding a brolly for Mel until she was safely in the car. She then informed me that as she had to run the fans to clear the windscreen, the car was going to get very hot. I did not mind. It was good to be inside from the wet. We made our way through the rush hour traffic from the centre of Southampton onto the M4. From junction eleven, the moment we got on there was a great deal of traffic. I tried to call to let him know and advise them to take an alternative route. Foxy then called me, from a number I did not recognise, as we had lost Geoff’s black Seat Ibiza up ahead. Even though battery life on my Desire was scarce, we were using Google Maps to navigate to the hotel. We arrived eventually around 7:30pm.

The Marwell Hotel is sat beautifully in the Hampshire countryside, right next to the Marwell Zoology Park. I was impressed with the three star hotel and the rather pleasant tranquil surroundings. Each group of rooms are fed off the long corridor which heads to the back of the complex, all the way to the end of the park. I was in Room 404 and after dumping my stuff and having a quick clean, it was back to reception to find out what the plan was. Dee and Jav had arrived at this point, so I called them to find out their room number. I headed over to their room to find them both eating. I was not sure why as food was to be provided at the venue, but perhaps they both had a case of the munchies. Jav put some music from his iPhone playing on his portable Bose speaker system. It was at this point Dee decided to show me the surprises he had brought with him for the evening. I was surprised, but should not have been as this is Deepak we are talking about. We got ourselves sorted, or rather Dee and Jav did and we headed to reception. There had been long debate as to whether Dee should wear jeans with his sherwani or not. In the end, he opted to go for the mixed casual look with the faded grey jeans. You can be the judge from later photos, if you felt it worked. We headed to reception to be greated by Vicky, who called several taxi firms for us. No one was available, it was a Friday night and it was going to be costly to get a car to come from Winchester, the closest town to take us what is just a ten minute journey up the road. In the end, and out of sheer kindness, Vicky gave us a lift in her black Vauxhall Corsa down to the farm. We were very grateful, as otherwise we would have been waiting over thirty minutes for a cab and had to pay for the priviledge of having a car come all the way from Winchester.

Just as we walked in the semi-darkness to the marquee, Pav had come outside to call me. The time was 20:48. I ignored the call, as he had spotted us by now and shouted out “Terry!!!!”. The evening festivities had begun!

Pav & EmEmPav & Foxy
Foxy, Pav, Jav, Dee & Teg

A Warning Sign

What more motivation does a man need, other than to read the measurement profile from your wedding suit tailor?

Measurement

A Peach Wedding With A Twist

Mr & Mrs Peach

Forgive me for a rather rushed post. I wanted to blog as soon as possible after the event, but in this case I am actually just killing time in between two major events. (Plus, Pav has told me in quite harsh terms, that if there is not an entry for him to read with his tea and toast tomorrow morning at work, he will be having serious words!) For several months, I had known that these two weeks would be crazy. Div marries Nige and the following weekend a big group of my friends and I are off to Reading Festival. It does not get literally more Rock and Roll than this!.

I finished work promptly at 4:30pm on Friday afternoon and then headed into town to get a long list of tasks completed. Many of which related to the wedding itself (like collecting my suit from the dry cleaners). In the evening, I had several things to do, including burn a new CD for my Dad, sister Samantha, as well as myself. I had not even packed my weekend bag, and in the end decided go to bed around 11pm, rather than stay up and prepare. I was going to get up early on Saturday morning.

I did, well early enough at 7am and then got going. I got everything ready and packed my bag. I had a shower and put on my sherwani. I had purchased it from the Shoppers Stop in Alpha One mall, Amritsar. (The story of this purchase is a whole blog entry in itself and I will get around to writing it up, soon I promise!). I left home at 8am promptly and got to Michelle’s house thirty minutes later to find her still getting ready. This was not an issue, as I needed to pick a shirt (I had grabbed a selection, along with some ties). However, although Michelle was happy with my choice of shirt, the accompanying tie did not match, so Michelle gave me one of her brother Steve’s black ties. Now this was a skinny tie and I was not convinced I could pull it off. Instead, I was edging towards one of Michelle’s Dad’s black ties (which was thicker or rather standard tie shape if you know what I mean). Michelle’s Mum agreed with my choice but in the end I opted to go for the skinny option. I ironed my shirt in the lounge, while Michelle finished getting ready. It was at that point I suddenly realised I had left suit at home. You tool Teg! Not the end of the world, I could just pop bye on the way to Reading. Yes, it would delay my arrival to the wedding but I needed my suit, there was no way I could sweat it out in my sherwani all day and night! Pav had tried to call me at 8:45am precisely, but I had missed the call. I called him back and left a voicemail. I did not know if this was the call to either confirm my duties for the day or add to them. As I was getting to leave Michelle’s it was already 9am. Mel had text me and I called her back to confirm I was on my way. She wanted me to meet her outside the banqueting suite for the afternoon slash evening reception. (She was uncomfortable with so many people being there that she didn’t know, but I re-assured her that it would be fine!) I would call her when we at the reception at 2:30pm. I then drove back home grabbed my suit (to sarcastic cheers from my Dad, “Well done son!”) and then hit the M4 again all the way to Reading. I parked at Queens Road car park, as it is within a walking distance of the venue.

As we made our way up London Street, I commented to Michelle, how eerily quiet it was outside the banqueting hall. I knew we were late, but Asian people are generally late to these things. We do not have a sense of proper timing when it comes to a wedding. However, as we walked in, I noticed that many of the family already had their heads covered, so I covered my head with the head scarf from The Golden Temple. What we were walking into was the Milni ceremony. We stood back in the corridor and looked on as the families “met” officially for the first time in the joining of the two families together. Better late than never.

Once Nige had paid off various female members of the Khural family (cousins, sisters and aunts) they were given “access” to the wedding breakfast. I finally got to say hello to Manjit and Surinder. I was given my instructions very quickly, “Teg, you needed to eat juldee, and then direct people to the gurdwara from the coach and hand out headscarfs.” Michelle and I got into the queue for food, but I did not get too much food onto my plate, as I knew I had to make a move as soon as the coach arrived. I met up with a few of my friends (Pav, Emily, Matt) and was introduced to Pav’s cousins, Kanu and Sunny. Plus Rav was quick to come and say hello, “Hi Terry, how are you? I’m looking forward to partying hard with The Feather!”. Once I had eaten my small portion, it was action time. Well it was actually before I had finished because Surinder and Manjit were on my case. I dropped Michelle like a stone and I felt extremely bad. Would she forgive me before the evening was out?

I went outside with the chunis and male headscarfs. Matt was helping arrange the logistics of moving over 120 people from the hall to the gurdwara. I was expecting a modern coach with a fat Asian man driving. I was pleasantly surprised. It was a Routemaster complete with white ribbon on the front. (Diamond Geezer would have been proud!) The photographs, however I left to the professionals and my friends. In any case, I had left my camera in my car, in my haste to get to the reception in time. I would not really have the time to be taking snaps, I had more important things to do. Eventually we boarded the bus and Matt, Sunny and I sat at the back of the bottom section, chatting to the helper, taking the job of bus conductor on this short trip. There would be two journeys to ensure everyone could get across to the Gurdurwa on Cumberland Road. I took the lead, once we were off the bus and directed people to the temple in the middle of the residential area. I then waited outside the gurdwara, handing the men and boys headscarfs and directing them inside. Nothing major, but I thought that was my duty over once Div arrived. (For the record she looked absolutely stunning!). I was wrong, there would be plenty more to do before the night was out.

Manjit asked me to occupy the brothers (Pav & Rav) and cousins (Kano & Sunny) by holding up the chuni above Divneet as he made her way into the hall. We had a little dress rehearsal outside in the patio before being called in by a member of the family on a special signal (was a thumbs up or just a under stated nod?). I felt rather overwhelmed. Yes I suppose knowing Pav for the last twelve years I did feel part of the Khural family but was this a step too far. I was willing to do my duty, Div has always been and will always remain to me, a sister. We got the nod, but Div had dissappeared into the kitchen with her Mum. We waited but I do not think the guests upstairs had much more patience. We unfolded the chuni and set ourselves up and then made our way up a rather tight staircase. On top of this, Manjit wanted to make her way from the back of the procession to the front, sidestepping her daughter in the process. She completed the move, including handing her handbag to an aunty to look after. Only in an Asian wedding would such maneouvers be performed. I took a deep breath as we reached the top of the stairs and then entered the prayer hall. I wondered what Michelle would think of me having such a major supporting role, when I had originally offered only a bit part role on the sidelines. After we had “handed” Div over her Dad, we went and sat down. I thought that was my role over, but I was going to be proved wrong yet again.

An elder of the Gurdwara, took the service and explained over the PA system in (firstly in Punjabi then in English) the perhaps of the ceremony, the actual details of the service and welcomed the Peach family and friends. Thankfully I can understand Punjabi, so was not in the need of the translation however, it was good to understand better the service. I have enough difficulty understanding my own religions customs and traditions. There was a minor slip up though, when the gentleman confirmed that Surinder had now given Divneet over to John Peach (when he had meant to say Nigel).

Shortly into the service, Manjit called the brothers and cousins up once again and I took my place behind the holy scripture (fourth in the queue after Tom). I think a trip to Sikhiwiki might help! During the four rounds of the holy scripture, the brothers and cousins are asked to hold the bride and metaphorically speaking “guide” her around as she follows her now husband. It was an honour I had not been expecting. I am looking forward to seeing some of the official photos!

At the end of the service we sat back down and the final part of the service was started. Div and Nige were now officially in the eyes of Sikhism married and it was a joyous occasion. The musicians starting singing, playing the tablas and many guests went up to wish the happy couple and both sets of parents well. The main ceremony was over but my duty to ensure all the guests made it back to Shennai safely was very important. Matt took control though thankfully, and sent sixy guests for the first journey and then we waited for the return journey. Waiting outside talking to Rav was quite delightful. He was now holding the scarf that had joined Div and Nige. He then said something quite provide for a 14 year old, “Nige has always been a brother to me, but now it’s officially”. Yes, this it the point when you respond with an “Awwww, how cute!”. It started to rain a little, so we headed inside to wait as the main hall, catching up with Manjit, Nige’s Mum Christine and a few other guests. Eventually we were called outside, the coach was here and we headed to the bus stop around the corner. It was the final journey back to the banqueting hall, but for me it was the Bollywood diva moment. I was going to take some time out change and come back refreshed for the party.

Walking back to the banqueting suite, it looked dead again but as we went inside, I was greeted by a loud cheer from the bar. It was Pav, Kanu and Sunny. They were already starting the drinking, although Pav was the only one still in his desi dress. People were in the reception area, getting some snacks and I spotted a few other friends before meeting up with the boys at the bar. Michelle was very hot and wanted a drink, so we got in the queue. Once we finally got served, we headed back to the reception area to chat and catch up with friends. Mel had called me at this point (finally, after I had called her three times and left her a voicemail). She was outside, so I went down the corridor, outside to greet Miss Johnson and escort her into the reception. By this time, the clock had been ticking on the arrival of the golden couple, so Surinder asked Pav and Em to usher people to their tables. The seating arrangements had a desert theme, but only a few top tables were reserved, it was a free for all for the others. I had picked out either Apple Crumble or Chocolate Brownies as a potential spot for us friends and we duly took the table, almost centre in the banqueting hall. It was very impressive and the tables decorated very well, with candles. Once we had taken our seats, I decided it would be a good moment to dash to the car to get the gift for Div and Nige as well as grab my camera.

The evening affair could be a blog post alone but I feel I need to give myself a natural break and come back to completing this entry later this week (perhaps even during my lunch hour at work). Instead, I will leave you with some of my favourite photos from the evening. The rest you can catch on my FlickR set.

Div & NigeManjit & JohnChristine & SurinderFoxy, Pav, Josh, Sunny, Elliott & Teg
Here's the Pint you ordered...

Michelle had been anxious about coming to such a big “event” and not really knowing any of my friends. Sure, she had met most of them a few times now, but only for a relatively brief night out, not a full day and night of wedding. My sister, Samantha, had mentioned a song which I duly checked out on YouTube and we then watched the video on the TV thanks to the wonderful XBMC. The lyrics to the opening verse are actually perfect describe the Michelle’s feelings. She did meet some new friends and had a great time!

I Feel A Cold Flush Going Through My Hair
And Hey You Know What
I Don’t Even Care
The Time Has Passed Me By
It’s Gone With The Wind
It’s Only Cus The Sun Shined Once Again
Now The Party’s On
Everybody’s There
And If You Don’t Know Anyone
You’ll Still Meet Some New Friends
That’s The Way It Is
When I Have Myself A Drink
It’s Only Cus The Sun Shines Once Again

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