Diary of a Bride - Lunga House
Maggie & Ollie Autumn 2011
"The man who says that his wife can't take a joke, forgets that she married him." Oscar Wilde
After the long drive up to the house, and up the bumpy track we arrived. The lights were on, and the door open, but the house empty. It is hard to describe the excitement and simultaneous nervousness opening the door. The nervousness disappeared within seconds; the excitement continued as we went in and started exploring. Lunga House was incredible.
The truth is we live in Singapore, and whilst we used to live in Edinburgh, and Maggie is Scottish, and we had sea kayaked in the area, we had actually never clapped eyes on the place until three days before the wedding. Madness? Maybe. Foolhardy? Most brides would argue yes. A leap of faith? Most certainly. You see, we had never made it back in time to see the place, for a variety of reasons, some better than others. We were however quietly confident that we had picked just the right place for us. We were right.
Living in Singapore and organising a wedding 6,000 miles away is do-able, you just need to adjust your outlook, and approach. Our wedding planning was one in which the age of technology came into it's own, a heady world of time differences, skype, emails, expensive phone bills and internet research. We set up a website on which we could keep people updated, and let them request songs for later on after the ceilidh. We were able to co-ordinate most, but not all, from Singapore. However, regardless of how much time and effort you plan ahead there will always be an almost unseemly scramble at the end, as many different parts gets drawn together, all funneling together for the Big Day. Although even more so when some of things you want to see or get can only be done a few days before the wedding. Thankfully were relatively relaxed about the whole thing. By the time the Big Day came, we were happy, exhausted but buoyed up by arriving friends and family. We were also in need of a drink. A large one.
Lunga House was frankly the best venue we could have had, without a doubt. We didn't want new and polished, we wanted character, uniqueness and somewhere to welcome friends and family for more than one day. We had the run of the house, cottages on the estate, and rooms at the pub for people to stay. There were some hardy campers, and some who had found nearby B&Bs. At Lunga the staff were incredible, the attention to detail superb, and the setting spectacular – Meg, Les and the team, thank you again. After all this was more than a wedding, this was a chance to catch up with family and old cronies. We stayed five nights with most people being around for two nights, and we were lucky enough to welcome people from Australia, Africa, Europe, and the Caribbean to Lunga.
The day itself was clear destiny. It hadn’t escaped our attention that the morning of the wedding was England vs. Scotland in the Rugby World Cup, with passionate supporters on both sides attending. Screening of course at the house and at 0830hrs drew a lively crowd. Given that the Future Mrs. Warner was Scottish, and Mr. Warner is English, there was clearly always going to be a lot riding on this. Would it set the future tone for the marriage? Given the score, Mr. Warner hoped so, but quietly knows Mrs. Warner won’t concede to that.
Then it was full speed ahead for ceremony preparation. Maggie retired with champagne and her ladies. Mr Warner and the Best Man Harry dilly dallied a bit, and then got on with the serious business of ironing and a couple of snifters. Before long the piper was out on the lawn, playing, and it was time.
Given the time of year we were left wondering whether the weather would be kind enough to let us get married outside, our first preference. Frankly though even if it hadn't have been we would have probably made everyone lean into the wind to watch us saying our vows. We walked onto the lawn, past family and friends, the piper leading the way, to under the Yew tree where a table had been set out, along with his and hers Lunga tweed covered chairs. An old chaplain colleague of Maggie's married us, with some wonderful readings, and a harp player under the tree. The ceremony was very personal, funny and touching – Ewan you did a cracking job. After the vows a minor drama arose as everyone looked attach other asking where the register was. Alas, still in the house. The Best Man was dispatched to high tail it back up on foot, locate, and bring back like a whippet. Bride and Groom smiling, posing for shots with most people none the wiser. Then the piper led us back up to the house for champagne and mojitos.
We of course wanted some unusual wedding touches. We had custom designed tea towels made to give as wedding favors, playing on the Royal Wedding earlier in the year. We wanted a minimal numbers of flowers to go to waste, so all the flower arrangements on tables were in terra-cotta pots, for people to take-away. The bouquets were to look “just plucked”. The meal was vegetarian (we heard later this was a cause of some consternation in the village, allied with that we were from Singapore - we still giggle at that). The wine was all Scottish fruit wine. The meal was absolutely sublime (Carol thanks again).
With the sun setting Nick discreetly pulled us out of the fray to head down to the pier to get some sunset shots, overlooking nearby islands. These are some of our favourite shots. It was a tense few minutes trip down with poor Nick’s car taking a hammering down the bumpy track to the pier to make it in time before the sun disappeared.
Neither of us are wildly fond of fruitcake or wading through icing, so our wedding cake was tiers of west country cheeses. We managed to find in Portugal some vintage port, from the year we were born, and get that ready to serve with the “cake”. Cutting was with a polished cutlass from a wall.
There was a little bit more in terms of background drama in the run-up. It is no secret that we both dearly love our travel. However, it came as something of a surprise that our rings did too. We had them made in London (by an ethical jeweler), and then had them shipped to Singapore. The drama came, when the tracking system wasn't updating their location, they hadn’t arrived in Singapore, and were shortly to be headed back to Blighty. To cut a longer story short, they arrived in Singapore after we had left. They were then sent back to the UK, and we watched with bemusement as we charted their progress back. From Singapore, to China, to Kazakhstan, to France, to London and then to Scotland. Arriving less than 24hrs before the wedding. Phew.
The first dance was strip the willow, all involving. The band played brilliantly, and then with a break for stovies (adorned with left-over “cake”) we carried on. After the band had finished DJ iPod had flown in all the way from Singapore, and stepped into the breach, with our favorite songs, and requests (filtered) from guests on a pre-sorted playlist. This was a crowd-pleaser to keep things going. The party went on well into the small hours.
We think we proved that you can have an immensely special day, with some spontaneity, after all the friends and family there are gathered with the expressed purpose of wishing you well, and want the whole thing to be a success. A key thing that did make life easier was having it all at one location – Lunga – and guests enjoyed this as well. In short, it was an immense gathering of friends and family. Moving and hilarious in all the right parts.
Nick was the ultimate in invisibility, seamlessly gliding around. We are mystified as to how he managed to move so quickly to get the different shots, and enormously pleased with what he delivered. Thank you Nick.
Stories told by the Bride and Groom about their wedding day
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