The wedding of Suzanna Bell and Steve Mitchell – 10th November 2012
We were privileged to be among the guests present in Folkestone for the wedding of Suzanna (Suz) and Steve.
With Sarah’s parents kindly agreeing to look after the girls for a night, we left for Kent, having dropped them off at around 9.30am to allow plenty of time for traffic and delays.
We made good time and were able to stop for a brief coffee on the way down.
Once we arrived in Folkestone, we spent around 30 minutes driving around trying to hunt down the elusive St Peter’s Church. Eventually we arrived and were greeted by Steve who seemed as calm as ever.
St Peter’s ‘maintain the catholic tradition within the church of England’ and there were many associated statues etc located within the stone church. One thing which did seem to be lacking in the church, was any form of heating. Given the rain falling and chilly November day outside, the warmth of the welcome was a little half-hearted and many of those gathered chose to keep their coats and scarves on during the service.
One thing immediately evident from the service was how personal it was for both the bride and groom. A number of their friends helped out with readings, prayers or playing in the band. All of this combined to make the day even more special and memorable for the happy couple.
Best Man duties were ably carried out by James Jury who remembered to produce the rings at the correct moment.
The presiding vicar, Rev John Leach, was a man possessing a dry sense of humour. Before the service began he implored the congregation to ‘Please, please, please remember to turn your mobile phones…back on, after the service.’ Once the actual wedding ceremony was complete he announced that the couple could now ‘update their Facebook statuses’!
The service itself followed a largely Anglican pattern but was broken up with a number of modern worship songs – all led by the band. The service began with Before the throne of God above, after which the wedding ceremony took place.
After the exchange of rings, the congregation sang I surrender and Bless the Lord (10,000 Reasons) before two readings from Ephesians 5:21-32 and Romans 12:1-2 and 9-13.
Following the readings, Owen Hylton, Pastor from Beacon Church in Brixton came up to deliver a short message on marriage using his wallet, mobile and keys to indicate the various costs of money, time and possessions that marriage takes up. He also brought out the couple’s personal Christian faith.
More singing followed, this time with This is My Desire, after which three of Steve and Suz’s friends came up to pray for them.
The final song was This is our God after which the Signing of the Registers took place. During the short break the band sung Take That’s Shine and Liam Gallagher’s Songbird, before the the wedded couple appeared and the service was over.
The Order of Service was particularly imaginative and was bookended with emails exchanged between Steve and Suz, following their successful first meeting. The rest is history.
Following a few photos in the church, we all adjourned to the Burlington Hotel for the reception.
We had arranged to stay overnight at the Burlington and took the opportunity to check in when we arrived.
After leaving our luggage in our room, we made our way to the reception and enjoyed a pre-dinner drink and catching up with some of the few people who we knew at the wedding.
Before long, the wedding reception was under way and we were ushered past the receiving line of parents and the bride and groom and into a long room with the top table set out halfway down one side.
Each guest had a framed photo in their place on the table which made a unique gift. My photo was of Danny Glover – but that’s a different story!
I was asked to take a few photos of people’s reactions as they looked at their photos for the first time.
Each table also had a quiz on with questions asking whether the bride or groom had done various madcap things during their lives – judging by the list of items, it seemed that the couple were very well suited for each other.
We settled down and before long enjoyed our wedding breakfast which consisted of vegetable soup followed by chicken and finished with a delicious lemon tart.
After dinner came the speeches. Suz’s dad gave an occasionally emotional potted history of his daughter’s life so far including mention of his other children.
James then called upon the groom to say a few words.
In a typically amusing and at times surreal speech, Steve talked about his own upbringing into a Christian family and spoke of how important their personal faith was to couple. He talked of his love for his wife and how excited he was for them to be sharing the future together. He also thanked a huge number of people who had efforts behind the scenes to make the day as memorable and successful as it had been before emotionally talking about how proud he was that James, his Best Man, had chosen to name his son ‘Mitchell’ after Steve and his family.
James had a tricky act to follow and chose to do so by producing a folder of images which he used to back up a number of amusing tales which he regaled about the bride and groom.
After the speeches came the cutting of the cake and the happy couple posed beside the impressive structure for some time before taking the plunge with the large knife provided.
Before long, the formalities were over and tables were cleared and moved in order to make way for the hotel disco.
Steve and Suz took to the dance-floor to the strains of Beyonce’s ‘At last‘ and performed a surprisingly impressive array of moves.
The disco continued into the night as a very enjoyable and successful day drew to a close.
In the morning, we enjoyed a tasty full-English breakfast at the hotel, before having a walk along the seafront as the sun emerged from behind the clouds.
Eventually it was time to bid a fond farewell to Kent and enjoy a relatively traffic-free return journey along a variety of motorways in south-east England.
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