Sunday, June 15, 2008

A married man

Three weeks ago yesterday, I became a married man, a husband. The dust is finally settling enough on the day for me to mention it here, before it passes into memory.

I proposed way back on Christmas Eve 2006 and it took until now for us to get to the wedding day. Naturally, all weddings take a lot of care and planning but this one was quite a big job - most of it having to be organised and arranged long distance, from Tokyo. Truly a marriage of the internet era!

All the essential elements were in place before I arrived back in Britain, but the fine tuning had yet to be completed. These are the seemingly smaller details that should be just a little 'icing on the cake' but are actually far more time consuming. While this was going on and I was reintegrating myself back into UK life, my fiance was still on the other side of the world, finishing off her job contract, so it proved quite a challenge to get things right.

A key lesson learned (and passed on to me by my best man) was 'Whatever you do on the day, make sure you keep your bride happy', something I think I mostly achieved. Another one that I picked up myself was the importance of an Event Manager or someone who can deal with the big picture on such a big day. I wouldn't recommend moving continents, job hunting and organising a wedding at roughly the same time, but I think I just about pulled it off!

The event itself was in Brighton, on the last day of the Brighton Festival. Always a risk in Britain, but part of the thinking was that there'd be a good chance of decent weather, which we were fortunately blessed by a good run of it. The ceremony itself was at the Royal Pavilion (pictured above). I had a small studio flat opposite this building back in 1995 and was confronted by this grand vision every time I opened the front door. Given that it was to be an Anglo-Japanese marriage, it seemed only appropriate to let it take place in one of Britain's buildings that most symbolise the coming together of East and West!

Indian exteriors, Chinese interiors, and slap bang in the middle of a British Victorian seaside resort. As could be expected, there's a certain ostentatiousness to the building that makes it feel a rather grand place to be getting married in. We were pretty lucky to bag a booking during the Brighton Festival too.

I'd been denied a look at the dress until she actually walked into the room and I have to say that I'm glad I was - she looked quite breathtaking when she walked into the room. The ceremony was an enjoyable and good-natured one, with many people who'd not seen each other in years and some who'd never met each other all coming together for our big day, something I felt quite honoured by.

We took a little 'victory lap' through town once the rings were on our fingers, with photographer in tow (an uncle of mine, over from Germany) and it was a most amusing sensation to stroll through the streets I'd wiled away my twenties in, with a beautiful bride from the other side of the world in tow. How far I'd come since those times, I thought to myself.

People were out on the streets, soaking up the performers and entertainers that were rounding up the festival, and many offered us their congratulations - another enjoyably unusual sensation.

The evening event was held at a venue called The Old Market, a grand place often used for classical concerts on the other side of town. Most of my friends and family managed to make it there on time (hers were smaller in number and the Japanese are very good on timing anyway), but I had a little more of an element of desperation as I tried to pull everything together that I'd not been able to sort out in time. Another big lesson learned - there are some things in any event that you just can't control, no matter how hard you try!

Anyway, all-in-all it was a great party in the evening too. We had guests from eight different countries, which is probably the broadest range of nationalities I've encountered at any wedding. I began my groom's speech with a 'Good evening' in English, Japanese, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Welsh and Romanian, being languages spoken by those present.

One of my mates that came to it described it afterwards to me as 'very cosmopolitan', which was an interesting comment. It's not a word I would generally use to describe the circles I move in, which culturally tend to be very broad these days, but I suppose that if the company one keeps is less culturally mixed, it's a natural adjective to use. Either way, I'm happy to have been able to put on a 'cosmopolitan wedding'.

I embark now on a bold new adventure and am thinking for two rather than one (though I've actually been doing that for quite some time now anyway). This blog will contain the writings of a man with another perspective on which to look at life - that of a husband. I don't know how different that will make things or whether it'll encourage me to post more often than I currently do, but here's where it'll be happening...


Rowan Stanfield said...

Congratulations! It sounds as though you had a quite magical day. Ant & I celebrated our fourth wedding anniversary the same weekend! Hope you are settling back into British life ok? x

Globalism said...

Thanks Rowan! And a hearty congrats to the two of you for the anniversary.

I got back in February, so pretty settled back in again now. With the Japanese food I get at home, I only have to miss the convenience of Tokyo now (sound convincing?).