Chris and Clare’s wedding on Saturday 22nd June 2013 at St. Mewan Church,St. Austell with campervan Lily and Range Rover Millie.
Such are the nuances of the great British, mid-summer weather, it decided to blow-up just when Clare and Chris could have done without it. Twenty-four hours earlier it was wall-to-wall sunshine.
Fortunately Clare and Chris were having none of it. Displaying equal portions of great British resolve, they still had a truly memorable day.
Joining our gorgeous ‘party-girl’ campervan Lily for the day’s sortie was Millie, our white Range Rover Sport, secretly booked by Clare as a surprise for Chris. Chris loves cars and the white Range Rover Sport is one of his favourites.
As the weather set in, this head-turning pairing, spanning 70 years of motoring history, were to deploy their combined entertainment and practical attributes to the full.
Making the news the week that Clare and Chris tied the knot was, for a welcome change, more lighthearted…
The Queen’s horse, Estimate, had won the Cheltenham Gold Cup on Ladies’ Day whilst the president of the United States gaff at the G8 Summit in Northern Ireland was also doing the rounds by referring to our Chancellor, George Osborne as Jeffrey Osborne!
President Obama apologised; “I’m sorry man. I must have confused you with my favourite R & B singer.”
For those of you too young to remember, the Osborne of the ‘Jeffrey’ variety had a 1982 hit with…
On the wings of love
Up and above the clouds
The only way to fly
Is on the wings of love
At approximately 09.00 Chauffeur Brett and I (Chauffeur Bob) set off under the clouds, ‘on the wheels of love’ in Lily and Millie respectively in search of our separate pick up addresses.
In comparison to Millie, Lily had the easiest task in finding the brides boudoir, nicely tucked away in a small village with a great sense of community bonding called Sticker. Suffice it to say, Chauffeur Brett didn’t come unstuck and found the address with ease. He arrived with Lily well ahead of schedule.
Meanwhile driving along very muddy lanes somewhere in deepest Cornwall near Par, I found myself starting to panic. Despite being given concise and detailed instructions to the ‘boys’ boudoir by Clare, Millie’s SatNav was telling me otherwise.
It was time to revert to my paper map and Clare’s instruction and disengage the autopilot.
I’m not sure where I would have ended up if I had opted to follow the Sat Nav, probably somewhere in the English Channel!
Although totally alien territory to me, I was able to deduce, after a cold sweat, that we were on the scent. With all the landmarks and signposts now corresponding with Clare’s narrative, a fuzzy, warm feeling of relief started to permeate my senses.
It didn’t last long…
About half a mile or so away from my destination, I decided to pull over and give Millie a quick once-over. With literally ten minutes to spare before my pickup and ‘chamois’ in hand, the sparkling white Range Rover I set off in just an hour or so earlier resembled a romp around Glastonbury!
Minutes later, a superhuman effort had restored her to her former sparkling glory. In living memory I can’t ever recall cleaning such a large car to such a high standard in 10 minutes – such is the pressure of weddings. Goodness knows what passersby thought – it must have made a great cabaret act.
Chris and Steven ready for the off in Millie.
I dusted myself down, jumped aboard and duly found my destination just a few hundred yards further down the lane, round a corner and up a bit.
Upon arrival I could see a posse of ‘boys’ on the lookout. They had obviously had a tip off and were clearly under strict orders to keep Chris occupied so as not to spoil the surprise. I immediately recognised Tamsyn, wife and photography partner of Khalile Siddiqui, Chris and Clare’s chosen professional picture takers for the day.
Here we go!
Videographer James, from ‘Motion Farm’ had the camera rolling as well, getting our arrival ‘in the can’ so to speak.
Climbing out to greet everyone, I couldn’t help but notice that Mille had, in just a few hundred yards, managed to get herself plastered again.
Introductions followed; ushers Ross, Ed, Anthony and Francis and finally best man, Steven (brother of the groom) along with an elated and surprised groom, Chris.
“Sorry about the splatters of mud”. “Don’t worry – impossible to avoid around here”, Chris retorted.
A few poses for the album later and we were underway to St. Mewan Church, the opposite side of St Austell. Ushers Ross and Anthony joined Chris and Steve in Millie for the thirty-minute trip. The others left under their own steam.
Chris seemed very relaxed and we all had a ‘blokey’ conversation about, you guessed it, cars.
The ‘defending a free kick’ pose – the ‘boys’ arrive at St Mewan Church.
The plan after dropping the ‘boys’ off at the church was for Millie to join Lily at the bride’s Sticker boudoir, just a mile or two from the church.
In talking things through a couple of days beforehand with Clare we felt this would be a good contingency plan. Should the weather turn in, we could do the run to the church in one go – bridesmaids in Lily with Clare and her dad, Keith, going in Millie. Otherwise two trips could be made in Lily.
“Millie’s is in no state to carry the bride”, I remember saying to Chris en-route.
“There’s a hose on the drive at Clare’s”, put my mind at rest.
Chauffeur Brett working at the carwash!
Tamsyn and James were poised for action as our VIP’s alighted at St. Mewan’s and posed for a few ‘just arrived’ snaps. Meanwhile, legging it to Sticker and car washing started to preoccupy my thoughts!
A few minutes later, I had joined a relaxed Chauffeur Brett and squeaky-clean Lily on the driveway to Clare’s boudoir. It was 11.30. The conditions were near perfect. Even the sun was trying its darndest to make an appearance.
“How’s everything going?” “I’m certain the bridal party are well behind schedule”, said Chauffeur Brett.
A pre nuptial pose with Clare and proud dad, Keith.
Rain or no rain, I felt it imperative that we get on and give Millie her fourth clean of the day – she really was in a bad state, even the bows needed replacing.
We found the hose and set to work.
Clare with bridesmaids – Jo, Linzi, Anna, Hayley and Fran.
Fifteen minutes later order was restored, just as the bridal party stepped outside and grouped themselves around the vehicles for snaps.
Khalile diligently choreographed a number of poses as the clock ran down.
Five minutes before the allotted ceremony time of High Noon, the bridal party readied themselves for departure. Joining Chauffeur Brett in Lily were bridesmaids Jo, Linzi, Anna, Hayley and Fran.
Clare and proud dad, Keith, climbed into a now sparkling clean Millie.
Lily set off first, whilst I deliberately held back a few minutes in Millie to enable Lily’s VIP’s to disembark at the church to greet the bride.
Clare’s neighbours and villagers wave us off.
Understandably, Clare’s nerves started to jangle as we slowly made our way on her short journey of a lifetime. Neighbours and Villagers lined the street to catch a glimpse and wish Clare well.
It was about ten past the hour when we arrived and despite an ominous looking sky, it remained dry.
The bridal party make their way into the church – cheeky bridesmaids!
The customary pause for a few final pictures, thoughts and composure ensued before finally the bridal party gracefully made their way up the path and into the church.
During the ceremony a most unusual thing happened…
On turning round, Brett and I could see a rather bemused looking lady Church Warden, scratching her head.
“Are you OK?”
“Yes – but did you see that?”, said the lady.
Apparently, the long serving parish notice board/cabinet finally gave up the ghost and simply fell off its supports during a change of notice. On closer examination, it did appear rather rotten.
Wasn’t me – it just jumped off its stand but no one took any notice!
What’s the chance of that happening again during a wedding ceremony I thought to myself.
At 12.50, Mr. and Mrs. Dustow emerged from the church followed by their sizable congregation. Miraculously, it was still dry as Khalile, aided by Tasmyn set about the somewhat challenging task of organising everyone into a series of poses.
A ‘monsoon’ of confetti greets an elated Clare and Chris.
Eventually, everyone spilled onto the lane for a group shot and confetti throw. Khalile nipped into the back of his van, pulled out a set of step ladders, sat astride on top, and resembling an umpire at Wimbledon, began snapping away. I had one foot on the bottom rung (health and safety) whilst at the same time clutching and directing one of those silvery light reflector things!
Khalile on top of his game!
Videographer James and his colleague remained busy in the background with cameras rolling. James even managed to plant a remote camera in Lily to capture the bride and groom’s onward journey.
It was at about this time that the inevitable happened. The rains came.
The newlyweds made haste to Lily and bridesmaids to Millie. Chauffeur Brett popped the ‘champers’ and we discussed the plan from here with the bride and groom.
Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Dustow!
Instead of a pre-planned stop off at Charlestown en-route to the reception, Clare and Chris decided to head straight for the reception venue – a marquee on farmland just a stones throw from where I had collected the boys a few hours earlier.
Despite the weather, spirits remained high as Millie led the charge to the marquee in deepest Par.
The cheeky bridesmaids make their way into the ‘big-top’.
Immediately on arrival I could see that the ‘off road’ crossing to the impressive marquee was unsuitable for Lily. Although heavily sanded, it had visibly started to kick up into a bit of a mud bath.
Clare and Chris held back in Lily on an adjacent hard standing area and posed for a final few photos whilst I delivered the bridesmaids to the big-top entrance in Millie.
A final pose with Lily.
I returned a few moments later for Mr. and Mrs. Dustow, safely delivering them to a rapturous round of applause and the warmest of welcomes.
Congratulations and best wishes Clare and Chris and thank you sharing your special day with us x.
All photos by Strawberry Leisure unless otherwise stated.
The following video highlight of Chris and Clare’s beautiful day has kindly been provided by our friends at The Motion Farm….