There was a lot of drinking. There needed to be. After the stress of cleaning and moving out of my flat* the arrival of my bridesmaids was a more than welcome relief. Miss Melville came down from Aberdeen and Vi flew in from America with her husband, Wally, and their son, Smally Wally. The Paleo-embryologist (also known as the Welsh Cake, or 'Cake' for short) was the only one of the three who actually lived anywhere near me, and had been keeping me sane all summer by taking me to The Ram and pouring rose' down my gullet whenever I got stressed out.
So Thursday, the day before the wedding, exactly 3 things needed to be accomplished. They were
1. Print out the service books for the wedding and tie them with ribbons
2. Bake, frost, and decoarate the wedding cake
3. Attend the rehearsal
That's still a pretty full agenda.
The service booklets would have been done the day before if I hadn't fucked them up and if my printer hadn't wasted all the good paper I'd bought by printing off the fucked up copies even after I pressed the "cancel" button and dozen times and finally turned the thing off. So first thing Thursday it was hop it off to the stationery shop to buy more paper, phone dad and get him to come over to my hotel room where I'd set up my computer and laser printer and get him to supervise the rest of the printing, and then get Aunt Sr. Pain-in-the-Ass to fold, punch, and ribbon-tie all 90 copies.
That was accomplished by 10:30 am.
Then it was grab all the cake supplies and get a cab up to the University of Bristol Chaplaincy, where they have a full-size professional kitchen with TWO ovens, which i'd booked out for the purpose of baking my cake. (IRONIC: the reason I was able to use the chaplaincy is because I'm a member of the UofB Atheist society, which is part of the multi-faith forum, which has access to the chaplaincy office. Thus I, a godless heathen, was able to use my atheist connections to bake a cake in a chaplain's office for my giant, pompus church wedding. Brilliant.)
The bridesmaids were all supposed to meet me there at noon, and yet somehow, not one of them managed to make it there without assistance. I would take me too long to go to into the convoluted scenario when they all kept phoning me saying "I'm at the corner of pillarbox and lampost. Where are you and how do i find you?" but it took a while and became far more complicated than it ever should have been. You goofballs.
Finally cake-baking and wine-drinking commenced. The first thing that needed to happen was grating the 20 pounds of carrots for the carrot cake tiers. That took a while. The whole process was reasonably well organized though, and once we got the first cake in the oven it all went fairly well. At The Cake (the human one, not the eating one) and Miss Melville went to get my dress from The Cake's flat and take it to the hotel where i was staying, and I went with Vi and the Wallys to the church for the rehearsal.
The rehearsal was extremely rushed. We only had a 25 minute window, and the minister really rushed through everything. Which was kind of good because it kept my mother from interfereing and interrupting every 10 seconds with questions about irrelevancies, but it also didn't give time for the readers to practice their readings, which I thought was rather important. Pirate and I did get to practice our vows, using the names of Marge and Homer and not looking at each other. I managed to get through all the God bits without rolling my eyes, which was an accomplishment.
After that it was a fast dinner at the nearest restaurant** and then back up to keep working on the cake. This is where it all started to go tits up.
For one thing, the chaplaincy had double-booked the kitchen, and when I got back there were 3 muslim blokes there cooking a feast for Ramadan for about 50 people. I wasnt' able to get in the door. They said they would be gone in 10 minutes. An hour later they were still there so I just started working around them as best I could.
They finally left but the place was a mess. I was able to work around the mess, but when they came back to clean up it really go hairy. I needed the sink to keep washing mixing bowls and utensils as i changed back and forth between carrot and lemon cake and frosting, but they were using the sink. That killed another 45 minutes of valuable time.
Then at one point one of them TURNED OFF THE OVENS!. Thank GOD the Cake noticed and we turned them straight back on so there was no damage done. If she hadn't seen that happen 2 tiers of my cake would have been ruined.
And then finally one of the batches of frosting didn't turn out. For some reason it was complete soup. It wasn't usable. So we weren't able to get the whole cake frosted that night.
The Cake's b.f. (The Pud) turned up about 11 pm from York where he's doing his PhD in entymology. We called a cab to take the cake (small c) to my hotel where they agreed to refridgerate it for me overnight. The 4 of us -- The Cake, The Pud, Miss Melville and myself -- piled into a cab, and between us we were able to hold on to all 4 tiers of cake and the bowl of soupy frosting. It was nearly midnight when we got to the hotel, and the cake was still only half frosted!
Stay tuned for part II: The Big Day
*I vacated my flat on the Wednesday before the wedding and moved in to the hotel. On Thursday morning I woke up and discovered I'd left ALL my socks and underwear behind.
**The Rehearsal Dinner isn't a custom over here in the UK, which is good because I was able to eat and run