Karen and Vashti’s Civil Partnership at Pendennis Castle on Saturday 4th May 2013 with Lola.
Today, Karen and Vashti’s beautiful occasion had everything…
A castle, a ‘King’, a Merlin, a flypast, some swords and of course a very well known camper van!
It was early March 2012 when I, Chauffeur Bob, was first introduced to Karen and Vashti. By special invite, Lola was on display at Pendennis Castle for their first wedding show of the year. Just as visitors started to arrive, I managed to rip the seat of my trousers in true style!
There was nothing for it but to quickly change back into my jeans. I found myself apologising for my rather unusual attire – an interesting twist of half formal, half casual. To my surprise most couples seemed quite taken with my new found fashion.
Clearly Karen and Vashti were, as they booked both Lola and the ‘look’!
So it was that on a Saturday morning over a year later, sporting a traditional chauffeur’s Jacket, shirt, tie and cap, I put my blue jeans on and set off in Lola to collect Karen and Vashti for their journey of a lifetime. I somehow couldn’t help keep thinking of the one hit wonder David Dundas had in the 70’s, immortalised in the TV ad for Brutus jeans.
The arrangements for the day were to pick-up Karen and Vashti from the St Ives Harbour Hotel (formerly The Porthminster) and chauffeur them in the coolest of style to their ceremony at Pendennis Castle. Afterwards, returning them to the Harbour Hotel for their reception.
Lola awaiting the arrival of Karen and Vashti outside the Harbour Hotel, St Ives.
As with good, professional practice, we always make a point of calling the couple a day or two before the occasion to check and double check the plan for the day and attend to any last minute changes or requests.
Replete with champagne, water, ‘Pringles’ and wearing my blue jeans, I pulled up outside The Harbour Hotel in Lola a few minutes before 11.00am exactly as planned.
Within minutes of arrival I had met up with Elle from Inspire Hire who was in the process of ‘dressing’ the reception venue, and Elle, wedding coordinator from the hotel. We were on a fairly tight schedule given the nuances that can be associated on a journey from St Ives to Falmouth, particularly on a sunny Saturday!
It was therefore a relief to get a report back from wedding coordinator, Elle, that the couple were just about ready and were having a few snaps taken inside before departure.
Elle from the Harbour Hotel – looking after Karen and Vashti.
Karen and Vashti had chosen St Ives based, Jenny and Ricky from Kiss to capture their ‘day in a lifetime’ along with videographer, Ben Foster. A few wonderful hours lay in store…
Vashti with Karen ready for the off.
At about 11.15am Karen and Vashti appeared, closely pursued by Elle, Jenny, Ricky and Ben. Lola was already causing her usual stir outside whilst waiting for her VIP’s – the sun was shining and her ragtop rolled fully back. Karen’s mum, Jenny, introduced herself and posed for a quick picture along side Lola.
Karen and Vashti were wearing stunningly beautiful complementing dresses. Indeed, the whole situation was very ‘atmospheric’.
Ensuring their dresses were kept out of harms way, I helped Karen and Vashti aboard. Karen mentioned that they needed to be at Pendennis Castle between 12.15 and 12.20. I had already sensed that Karen was a stickler for punctuality, for which she later confessed.
A few ‘just about to leave’ snaps ensued before finally getting underway – it was about 11.20.
I popped on some music after checking our VIP’s were happy with my selection… “I’ve got Michael Buble’s new album, but I’m aware he’s a bit like Marmite to many people”, I remember saying. “We’re cool with Michael Marmite Buble” came the response.
Much to my relief, the journey went smoothly without any hold ups. We arrived at 12.15 exactly. Karen had requested that all guests were inside and seated by 12.15. We decided to pause for about five minutes just around the corner for good measure before finally making our way through the portcullis. Just as we were about to make the famous final right turn towards the castle, I could see Beverly, a wedding coordinator at Pendennis Castle, frantically chatting on her walkie-talkie whilst directing us into a holding pattern.
Time for a quick pose before the ceremony.
Apparently guests were still arriving, so we had to sit tight for a few minutes.
The call soon came though and we chugged the final few yards up to arguably one of the most majestic headland settings.
A few important poses later and Karen and Vashti were inside and their life-changing ceremony got underway.
Lola awaiting the arrival of the happy couple.
Talking to Beverly during the ceremony, I gleaned that there was an RNAS Culdrose connection going on here, as a Guard of Honour with Swords had been lined up for when the happy couple emerged.
The ceremony lasted about 30 to 40 minutes and soon afterwards guests and the Naval Guard of Honour were busy getting themselves in position outside. Everyone appeared to be armed with copious amounts of confetti.
Meanwhile Karen and Vashi appeared from the ramparts waving away and getting some rather cool poses in for Jenny, Ricky and videographer, Ben.
A post nuptial ramparts walk.
There followed a seemingly unscheduled delay in the couple’s arrival. Eventually, on command the swords were held aloft and Karen and Vashti appeared to a rapturous round of applause, cheering and waving.
The thundering flypast by Sea King and Merlin helicopters from RNAS Culdrose.
A split second later, we all witnessed a well choreographed, thundering fly-past of a Merlin and Sea King helicopter. The ladies had certainly kept this a secret! What an amazing sight and gesture, followed with an ‘explosion’ of confetti, combining to send camera shutters into a whirring frenzy!
This and the RNAS Culdrose connection had explained to me Karen’s pedantically close attention to timing.
We popped the champers, exchanged Michael ‘Marmite’ Buble for the ‘Ukuleles’ and with Lola’s rag top fully open, the scene was set for one of those iconic and beautiful open-top departures.
Cheers to a lovely couple!
Karen and Vashti remained standing throughout our gentle chug away from the castle and back through the portcullis. Guests were waving, cheering and clapping as the happy couple reciprocated and danced away. I could see that the Ukuleles music was going down a treat – “turn it up Chauffeur Bob”. Meanwhile the photographic and video team were chasing and jostling for prime position as we made our retreat.
Wow – what an occasion!
Time to go.
We had a lovely drive back to the Harbour Hotel in St Ives lasting in all
about an hour. Clearly Karen and Vashti had had a remarkable few hours, but I suspect there were still quite a few to come!
Our very best wishes go to a beautiful couple and thank you for involving us in your spectacular day x.
All photographs taken by Strawberry Leisure unless otherwise stated.
21st May and a beautiful card has arrived from Karen and Vashti, honeymooning in the Maldives…
Sitting here on a Paradise Island sipping Prosecco and reflecting on our perfect wedding day, we wanted to write you a little note to say ‘thank you’. we’d especially like to thank you for the jeans, the wonderful ukulele music and the Pringles but the entire experience with the beautiful Lola was amazing and will stick in our memories of our big day forever. We look forward to seeing you again at our friends weddings!
Mrs and Mrs Barnicoat x