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spikegifted - Wedding Preparation and Wedding Days

We are married

Nous sommes mariés

December 2003, Q1 2004, Q2 2004, Q3 2004

September 2004
- September 19: Wedding Day Three: Around 35 people came to the house and one of the Ruler_of_spike's friends made savory crepe for lunch... Another chance to mingle and catch up. Weather was again excellent.
- September 18: Wedding Day Two: Woke up at a respectable hour and went to the village to pick up some croissants and plain de chocolat from the baker. It was raining. 11:30am: picked up flowers from the florist (the bride's bouquet, bouquets for the alter, for the Virgin Mary and for the benches and button hole flowers for myself and others). It was lightening up a little... Delivered the bouquet to the Ruler_of_spike and then to the church. The bouquets for the benches turned out be really impossible to be attached to the benches owing to the odd shape - it took five of us over 90 minutes to get the job done. 3:30pm: Gathered at the house... 3:40pm: Arrived at the church, which now with the lights switched on and it looked great... 3:45pm: It was by now sunny! But the Ruler_of_spike arrived way ahead of time - guests were still arriving and were not sitting down! Before I forget: she looked stunning!! When most guests had arrived, 'Auntie' walked me down the aisle... Then the father of the Ruler_of_spike walked her down the aisle and before you know it we were married. Reception at the 'bride's base' - somehow we managed to squeeze nearly 80 people into the house! Amazing wedding dinner and we both had a good time!! After the party finished, the Ruler_of_spike drove us back to the house in the Jeep Wrangler, in her wedding dress! I was still in my wedding suit!
- September 17: Wedding Day One: My witnesses (and their partners) arrived from the UK in the morning and the show was on! Weather was excellent - sunny but not too hot. 3:30pm: Gather at the house for a brief chat; the Ruler_of_spike franticly looking for her shoes. 4:00pm: Town Hall... Our group was about 20 people include ourselves... 4:30pm: The Ruler_of_spike and I were legally married!! Back to the house for drinks and nibbles all round - the Ruler_of_spike and I share a drink from the wedding goblet. After a brief rest, I left for dinner with some of the crew from the UK, while the Ruler_of_spike left for the 'bride's base' - her brother's house...
- September 16: Woke up feeling a little under the weather. Went to pick up some flu tablets and slept the afternoon away... Wedding nerves?
- September 14: Met with the French lawyer to finalize the marriage contract. Went over to the town hall to hand over the notification from the lawyer (you can't get married in France without a marriage contract!).
- September 13: Met with the priest and the organist to finalize the arrangement of the church ceremony.
- September 11: My Eurostar train to France was scheduled to leave at 8:39am and due to some late night packing/organizing/hair cut/shower, I didn't actually hit the bed before 3am. Although I set the alarm to allow myself a good amount of time to get ready, I must have switched of the alarm and went back to bed again, only to wake up at 7:49am. The panic I experienced cannot be understated - I was frantic as I thought I've actually missed the train!! Somewhere between my ears, a bright spark went off and I check the time and I still had over 40 minutes to get to Waterloo International Station. I managed to order a cab while I got changed and it arrived by the time I locked the door. I offered the driver more money for motivation and he managed to get me to the station 10 minute before departure time. I somehow managed to get through the check-in and security with little delay and made the train a couple of minutes before it left. After a 10-hour journey (with two changes), I arrived at Vannes and was met by the Ruler_of_spike. I can't imagine how disappointed she'd be if I had to call her to inform her that I missed the train.
- September 10: Tomorrow, I'll be traveling to France to join the Ruler_of_spike ahead of our wedding. Looking back over the past few months of preparations, it has been an incredible experience - what appeared to be a long way away is now just around the corner. The next time I set foot in the UK, I'd be a married man! I'm, just like the Ruler_of_spike, very excited by the prospect of getting married. We've know each other for nearly six years and we, whether knowingly or not, have been working towards this day since we started dating. Now, on the last part of this long journey, I feel relaxed, at ease with myself and with her, and a very deep sense of joy and happiness. We've been through a lot in these few years - incredibly happy moments, worrying set backs, difficult professional situations, etc. Through all these times, we share our joys and our sadness - we know we have each other for support, comfort and even advice. I feel very fortunate to be marrying such a wonderful person, who knows me well and cares deeply for me. I just hope that I can perform the same for her when she needs me. I can't wait to get married!
- September 8: The Ruler_of_spike has gone ahead of me to France to kick start the final part of the wedding preparation. As usual, she's leading the way - the amount of time and energy she puts into this is just amazing! This will be the last time she travels as a 'Miss' (or a 'Mademoiselle')... When we return next time, she'll be a 'Mrs.' or a 'Madame'!!
- September 7: The order of service and the reception menu are both ready, but we still haven't come up with a seating plan. However, we have an idea how to label the tables - a stroke of genius from the Ruler_of_spike, of course.
- September 4: Seating plans... Man, until you've to create one you would've no idea how difficult to put a bunch people into a sensible seating plan.
- September 2: I made a quick trip after work to the jeweler to pick up the wedding rings. Again, she has done a very good job with them.
August 2004
- August 31: [CPR] has completed the mighty task of making copies of the digital photos taken during the 'stag' weekend. Man, there're some excellent photos of the trip.
- August 31: The jeweler called and left a message: the wedding rings are now ready for collection. Moreover, the Ruler_of_spike has previously left her engagement ring with them to be polished up and it is also ready!
- August 31: Over two months of hard work and lots of trips to and from various shops, the Ruler_of_spike finally has her complete 'wedding gear' ready. And a lot of kit it is: wedding dress, wedding shoes, a shoulder 'wrap' and other bits and pieces... Today, she went to pick up the wedding dress. After a rather long cab ride, she arrived home with a rather large bag. It would be interesting to try and figure out how to get all the 'wedding gear' over to France.
- August 13-15: 'Stag' weekend in Scotland!
- August 12: Just spent over an hour on the phone with a French lawyer in London. The French state requires marrying couples to enter into marriage contracts. It's not the most romantic things to think about when you're preparing for a wedding, but it is best to figure things like this out well in advance. Anyway, after a long phone call and a lot of explanation, I think I've an idea what I'm after - basically, since the Ruler_of_spike and I are going be living in the UK (at least to begin with), there is only one contract that we can enter into that is recognized both in the UK and in France. Well, that was simple, wasn't it? Considering that we've spent over 2.5 hours talking to lawyers in France and in London, the cost of getting this very simple answer could have been very high. In any case, we've some how managed to get a lot of advice free of charge, so we can't complain too much. 
- August 11: I've spent the past couple of weekends typing up the wedding service and reception menu. Just like with the wedding invite, there are French and English elements to the wedding service and we need to account for that in the order of service. After a couple of weekends of typing, we faxed a copy to the priest in France and he has very kindly marked up the mistakes. There was only a handful of them, so we should be in position to have it printed in the near future. 
- August 7: Our wedding list is now open!!
- August 6: I got a phone call when I was at work... It was from the jeweler who's making our wedding rings. I was half expecting trouble of some sort, but she cheerfully informed me that our wedding rings are now ready for collection! Wow! It has taken only three weeks. Now, we need to coordinate our schedules so that the Ruler_of_spike can go and leave the engagement ring for polishing and cleaning before the wedding and have all the rings picked up at the same time.
- August 5: The Ruler_of_spike has returned to the wedding dress shop with her wedding shoes for the dress fitting. I think from the excited expressions when she's talking about her dress, I think I'm going to be in for a very pleasant surprise on the wedding day! How excited is the Ruler_of_spike? Let's say she's like a little girl just been given a new dress in her favorite color... Magical!
July 2004
- July 31: The Ruler_of_spike and I were on our way back from doing some shopping and we suddenly realized that it is only 7 weeks away from our wedding day!!
- July 31: Ever since putting her order down for the wedding dress, the Ruler_of_spike has been to a good number of shops across London to find the right pair of wedding shoes. Just like the situation with the wedding dress, wedding shoes makers must have licenses to print money! Anyway, after nearly a month and half of searching, she found and bought a pair that should be exactly what she need to match her dress. Another little piece of the jigsaw in place...
- July 17: We passed another 'milestone' today - we went to order our wedding bands!! This afternoon, we went back to the jeweler who made the Ruler_of_spike's engagement ring and met with the designer. Within 15 minutes of entering the store, we picked the rings that we want. That's a very good sign!
- July 11: Having just got back from France, I've taken the opportunity to update various parts of this site - there're new materials in the 'How to get there?' and 'Where to stay?' sections. For those who are still on the planning stage, you may fine them useful. 
- July 9: Back to the priest with the service arrangements and to our relieve, he liked what he saw. Now, we need to get the 'proceedings' on paper and make sure he likes it. Best_Man has sent out another 'stag update'... It looks like I'll be lost somewhere in Scotland - I guess that's something I can tell my kids about.
- July 8: The lawyer's office... To find a suitable marriage contract is difficult thing to do and it is even more so as I don't have a good command of the French language. After one and half hour, we think we have a good idea what the deal is, but we still can't sign anything yet. I love the Ruler_of_spike, but before signing my life away, I'd like to know exactly what I'm signing away first. More work here! Got the pricing from the photographer... Man, photographers make good living! I think we're going to hire her for a limited amount of time, as we only want her to take a limited number of photos before and during the reception. We're too self-conscious to have too many 'posey' photos taken - that's just embarrassing! Moreover, we prefer to see people enjoying themselves in our wedding rather than spending time waiting for the photo session to be over. We called the organist and she'll be available. Yet another piece of the jigsaw in place. We spent nearly two hours going over the church service - picking readings, hymns, etc. Hard work!
- July 7: The Ruler_of_spike, her dad and I went to meet with the caterer. It was nice drive in the rain... The menu looks great on paper, but it is not easy to pick a nicely balanced one to suit everyone's taste. I think we did a good job and found something that will please most people.
- July 5: First thing in the morning, we visited the secretary of the marriage office with all the paper work. What relieve! All the papers appears to be order and the only missing paper is on its way. Excellent start... Next we visited the priest for wedding service. He's a very nice guy and the Ruler_of_spike and her family have been in touch with him, so he know what's the score is. He told us what are the things that we've to decide and gave us some suggestions. Wow, a wedding service is not a simple thing.
- July 3: Arrive in France. Main priority is to complete the wedding preparation. As we don't plan to make another trip over until the wedding, we have a lot to do - a very busy week ahead of us!

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June 2004
- June 26: We've spent a couple of weekends writing out the wedding invitations... Ok, we did have time to do other things, like chilling out, but it's not a five minute job! Anyway, most of the invites are now on their way to the guests. Another piece of the jigsaw in place for the wedding. 
- June 25: It would appear that the main bulk of the official documents that we need for the wedding is now ready! I must say, if it wasn't for all the hard work of the Ruler_of_spike, we would not be as ready as we're. She has been a tower of strength!
- June 17: The printers have done their job! It has been just over two weeks since we gave the go-ahead to print the proofed invite and we received our order today. I have to be lying to say that I wasn't excited when I saw them! I think our excitement is not only related to seeing and holding the invites in our hands, but that these invites are, in a certain way, another milestone towards our wedding. Things are slowly getting into shape and we're now three months from our big day... Just the thought of that makes my heart beats faster!!
- June 16: Wedding dresses... Wow, these things are not easy to get! Ok, there're lots of places selling them, but they're either not the right style or they're too expensive. Those people who design wedding dresses have got licenses to print money! While I haven't been actively participating in the hunt for the wedding dress (for an obvious reason), I get a pretty good idea of what kind of trouble the Ruler_of_spike's going through. However, I'm as much relieve as I'm happy to hear that she's found just the right dress at just the right price. The fitting is going to be in August...
- June 12: We were back in the department store again choosing our wedding list. I don't know what happened last week, but this time round, the whole experience was significantly better. The store seemed brighter and there seemed to be less people around (fewer people getting in our way). Another factor was probably the fact that we knew what the drill was and our expectations have been adjusted accordingly. Guess what: Time flies when you're having fun! We spent nearly four hours in the store and pretty much gotten everything done! To add to that, we left the store in good spirits.
- I'm certain that there's saying that the French invented bureaucracy. They may not have perfected it, but they sure done a lot of work on it to make anyone who comes up against it shake in his/her shoes! The number of documents they're asking for is just unbelievable! It's not as if I'm an illegal immigrant or a criminal - I'm a fully paid up citizen of a member state of the European Union! It's not a matter of cost (trust me, having document after document translated and witnessed by lawyers, the cost builds up - fast), it's just feels like I'm being led to jump through hoops... Of course, everything has lead-time and everything has to be planned and arranged in advance - the planning to make sure everything is in place is actually more time-consuming than getting the documents there.
- June 5: We finally got round to go to the department store to make our wedding list. Although we've figured out long ago which department store we want to go with (out of a possible selection of around six) and have registered with the store, the past few weeks have been so busy that we simply haven't had the time to make a start. To be completely honest, I thought choosing a wedding list would be like the greatest shopping trip in the world, but as they day went on, it was quite evident that it was not so - like any typical shop on a Saturday, there're other shoppers around getting on their own bits of shopping, which made simple tasks seemed very time consuming. After around two and half hours, we both decided that we've had enough - time to retire... We couldn't wait to get out of the place!
May 2004
- May 28: After talking to the printers and they've agreed to send a printed copy of the invite after making the suggested changes. The printed copies arrived today. As soon as we opened the envelope, it was immediately evident that they've done a good job this time round. Aside from the ink and the paper, we were looking at the invite itself. We think it's a 'go' with this proof. 
- May 25: We got the first draft of the wedding invite back from the printers, and I was nearly in tears! While the body of the invitation appears to be fine, our names and the front cover were a complete mess. It's either the case that my PC doesn't have the right fonts to display the text properly or that there has been a problem because it looks nothing like what we've expected. Also there other bits that we are not happy about. All of them have to be fixed. In its present state, the invite is not going anywhere!
- May 23: After a rather long weekend over in France, we returned to complete the second of the 'marriage preparation' session organized by the Catholic church. The 'preparation' itself was only three hours long, but it was followed by mass, where the engagement rings were blessed. You could see that all the brides-to-be were rather anxious to get their engagement rings back at the end of the service.
- May 15: Writing a wedding invite in both French and English is not the easiest thing to do. The styles are very different and it is very difficult to get the two portions balanced. Anyway, after taking some inspiration from a colleague of mine who has found an elegant solution to the problem, we finally drafted the wedding invitation. We went to the department store where intend to have our wedding list, and ordered them. While it doesn't sound like much, for me this is a big step - we're about to tell the world about our intention, and it's terribly exciting!!
- May 12: Best_Man has just fired the first shot across the bow! He's calling together the 'stag' party to arrange my impending doom...
- May 9: We just been to the first of two 'marriage preparation' sessions organized by the Catholic church. Since neither of us have been married before (of course), we have no idea how these 'preparations' were like and we went there with completely open-minds. I think both the Ruler_of_spike and I found the session interesting and we met nearly a dozen couples who're all about to get married! Between the structured discussions, we managed to swap stories with a few couples... All in all, a few hours well spent! More in a couple of weeks.
April 2004
- April 24: Another day spent looking at potential department store for wedding list and stationery. We think we have a good idea about who we're going to go with. An additional line of thought comes into play is that we need to have a small list in Vannes to involve those in France who can't or don't want to get on the Internet to do make their gifts.
- April 10-12: Owing to other plans not coming to fruition, we were completely free during the Easter weekend. We seized the opportunity to visit as many department stores as possible to find out the kind of services and the actual products are available. I must say, it was an experience. We now have to, somehow, decide whose services we're going employ. While making a wedding list can be compared to a giant shopping trip, I don't think shopping can be this painful!
- April 2-4: We paid a visit to Andy (he's going to be my best man) and his wife down in the Southwest of England. He now has the list of people that will hopefully participate in my execution stag weekend that he's planning in August!

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March 2004
- March 19: We met with our local Roman Catholic priest in London for pre-marital guidance. We need to attend some classes in May to receive the church's blessing.
- Finally, we've set a date for the wedding! We finally managed to find a date that all the key people (like priest, caterer, witnesses, etc) can make it... So, it's going to be September 18. Now, with the date set, we can get on with actually planning the wedding.
February 2004
- February 14: At last, after weeks of waiting, the engagement ring is finally ready. I went to pick it up from the jeweler and have to say the ring is stunning! And what a coincidence that the ring is ready on St. Valentine's Day... The ring fits her finger perfectly and it looks even better when she's wearing it.
- February 12: The Ruler_of_spike went to try on the engagement ring to make sure the size is correct. While the ring wasn't fully polished and the diamond wasn't yet mounted, she was saying how beautiful the ring was. The jeweler must be doing a very good job!
- February 8: We sat down and counted the number of guests we're going to have... Needless to say, the Ruler_of_spike has a lot more guests that I've...
January 2004
- January 15: We met with the jewelry designer to finalize the design of the ring with a sterling silver mock up.
- January 8: The diamond was deposited with the jewelry designer for work on the engagement ring to begin. The designer initially estimated around 5-7 weeks to completion.

December 2003
- December 23: Now that we know what kind of design the ring is going to be, we need to find a diamond for it. Luckily, with the help of a colleague, I found a couple of contacts in the largest diamond market in Europe - Antwerp. So I went over to Antwerp, Belgium, to acquire a diamond for the engagement ring. Man, that was a very long day: I spent nearly 24 hours traveling! More details here.
- December 11: We met with the jewelry designer to pick the ring design that the Ruler_of_spike wants for her engagement ring.
- December 7: I asked the Ruler_of_spike to marry and she agreed!!

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