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Yesterday was one of the more fun weddings I’ve done.

Andrew and Pippa got married at Toadbury Hall and they used a traditional hand-fasting ceremony.  On the property is a small clearing in the middle of a magical looking and feeling forest very near a river.  However on my way out to the venue which is located on the very far east Rand I noticed a dark ominous cloud hanging over Joburg and moving rapidly.  I got a call from my sister saying it was raining cats and dogs in Joburg. When I arrived at the venue it was clear that the race was on between the wedding and the weather and by 3.30 the weather seemed to be slightly ahead.

We tried to hurry things along but generally weddings will not be hurried.  With the wedding scheduled to start at 4pm it was going to be very tight.  At 3.50 the guy running the venue came down the river to tell us that the rain had started and that we should move everything up to the plan B venue inside.  Both Andrew and I were convinced we would beat the weather and so chose to remain.

By this time the forest was positively gothic in appearance with the dark clouds, brooding weather and 6 lit candles desperately clinging to life.  It was perfect.  But the pace of the rain grew steadily and at two minutes to four we received word that Pippa had pulled the plug and the venue was changed to Plan B.  Staff scuttled about collecting up flowers and candles to get them up.  We all made a dash in the rain.  Within 2 brief minutes of getting inside the heavens opened up and it POURED down.  Then the lights went out. And then came back on, then went out, then on, off, on….

When the bride arrived several guests made a chain of umbrellas so she could make it inside without getting too wet.

Finally we were underway! I had the bestman and bridesmaid on either side of me with hurricane lamps as cover for when the lights went out – which was most of the time.

A key part of the hand fasting ceremony are 6 cords which are used to ‘bind’ the groom and bride together.  Pippa’s bridesmaid, Jess was supposed to have brought them but shortly after we started there was mild panic as she indicated she’d left them behind.  The bestman was dispatched to get a back up.  He slipped out and a few minutes later arrived back with cords in hand.

The rest of the ceremony proceeded well and afterwards we went to an upstairs room to sign the register.  Pippa’s father had bought a special pen for the occasion but it had vanished.  After some scurrying about it was located in the kitchen and the signing was completed.

Very little went according to plan but both Pippa and Andrew were in the spirit of the moment and it became a ceremony abundant with fun and meaning.

It was just fabulous as they brought with them the first rain of the season.  Perfect for a new beginning!