On Wednesday, October 15, 2008 at 3:30 pm GMT, our daughter Kate walked into the formal room set aside for such occasions at the Register's Office in Bristol, England. She was escorted by Nick Abbott and surrounded by family and friends. In a brief but solemn and emotional ceremony, Kate and Nick said their vows and were declared married. Then, with lots of smiles and a few tears, we all walked downstairs and out into the crisp autumn day.
The new family members and friends all posed for a few photographs on the front steps of the Register's Office and then walked a few yards to a champagne reception. Ben, the Best Man and Nick's best friend since childhood, offered a toast to the newlyweds and everyone clinked glasses. More photos, chit chat, hugs, kisses, a few more tears, lots of smiles!
Another short walk up the hill to a Greek restaurant for dinner and more toasts with Retsina, the traditional Greek wine made not with grapes but with pine needles. Course after course came to the table. Amazing! No, not more. Pace yourself, more is coming. And it did!
Decisions were made for getting together in the future. We will fly back again in December to be with the entire family for Christmas, Boxing Day, a few days in Wales and finally, the big formal wedding at Ashton Court Manor on January 3rd, 2009.
We arranged a time for Liz and Ray, Nick's parents, to come out to see us in July when they celebrate their 40th anniversary and we have big plans to show them around our Washington.
We also planned a trip to Greece with Liz and Ray the summer of 2010.
The evening began to wind down when those with children said they needed to go. It was way past bedtime for their babies--and for moms and dads who must set their own schedules by their baby's sleeping cycle. It was past their bedtime as well.
Mom and I walked the 25 minutes across town to the kid's flat leaving them to go their new way into the world on their own, but surely not alone. Two families joined by marriage and a common love of these two wonderful people will watch over them and continue to offer love and support.
The next day they headed off for Prague and a short honeymoon.