It has been a summer of high temperatures and deep emotions.
it wasn't an easy death.
and this kept us going during the difficult and emotionally draining times.
I think that I filled a notebook with all the lists I made to keep our plans on track,
even George took to list-making.
It was all worth it.
Jonny and Ming Ming were married on 14th February, in Shanghai.
It was a simple, formal ceremony,
despite the date.
We decided that there had to be a much bigger celebration when they came home.
So we planned a garden party...in England ...always risky, given our climate.
Our beautiful day was sandwiched between two of the worst days of this summer.
Monsoon-style rains fell the day before the party,
flooding some areas
and the day following the party was not much better
with wind and rain and even a tornado hitting the coast a little further north.
The gods were smiling on the happy couple,
for we had sunshine and warm temperatures.
There was even another wedding celebration taking place just across at the fish ponds
(our village is tiny, so the chances of this happening were miniscule)
we got to enjoy all their fireworks.
It was a beautiful display,
perfectly timed for our guests!
Best of all, it was free....
Lucky red Chinese lanterns and pom poms were used to dress the car park and driveway,
the gardens and gazebos.
Everywhere looked very festive,
the hard work of grooming all the gardens,
primping them and making them presentable
was worth it.
My job was the catering .... eeeeek!
I cooked and baked - an enormous ham, a gigantic salmon
vegetarian options, assorted salads,
pies, quiches, breads
with a very special aged Lincolnshire Poacher cheese
(thank you Davina and Jon)
lots of puds
and plenty of
...four wedding cakes.
Red velvet for luck.
Vanilla because I love it, especially with blackcurrant running through the middle.
Lemon - yum!
... and then, the most popular one of all, chocolate orange, decorated with fresh berries.
This idea was stolen from dear friend Dom, of Belleau Kitchen
Our guests were Jonny and Ming Ming's friends
plus many members of the Appleby family.
It was a large gathering,
no wonder I was having fits of the vapours over the catering.
Our dear friend Julia
gave the younger guests the opportunity to have their faces painted.
She was wonderful.
The girls opted for delicate flower and fairy designs,
while the boys were a little more extreme...
Ming Ming looked amazing.
She had opted to wear a traditional Chinese wedding outfit
and I am so glad that she did.
She kept the dress secret from us until the day.
It was worth the wait.
This exquisite cheongsam took a three women several weeks of intensive sewing.
The embroidery is incredibly beautiful
and the fastenings are entirely hand made.
Jonathan wore a Western suit, they made a very handsome couple.
Some friends who know Ming Ming and Jonathan from Shanghai made the effort to attend
and it was wonderful to hear them use their native Mandarin,
although both of them speak very good English.
Don't they look beautiful?
It was a opportunity for some beautiful dresses to have an airing...
...and also an opportunity for these three brothers to have a chat
and to catch up on things.
Later the happy couple changed out of their formal clothes.
They still looked gorgeous,
their happiness was contagious.
They have headed off on honeymoon and will visit three countries during their week away.
Castles are very much on Ming Ming's wish list,
so (although it will be a surprise to her)
they are staying in a castle in Wales,
then they will visit The Lake District for a few days,
before heading over the border into Scotland
and then down
to the beautiful island of Lindisfarne.
Before they do any of that, though,
they are heading over to visit my older brother
who is too ill to travel this far.
Ming Ming wants to show Steven and Shirley her beautiful dress
and to share a little of their happiness with them.
No wonder this blog has turned pink with all the romance.