A daredevil air show? 50’s Rock and Roll band? Alcoholic Slush Puppies? Historic Royal Agricultural College? And not forgetting deep within the Cotswolds, one of the most beautiful scenic national parks in the UK?
Yes, this was all part of one of the most eclectic and beautiful weddings that I ever had the pleasure of being invited to. And I absolutely truly mean that. The bridal party went all out to make their day a memorable one and quite possibly, they exceeded their expectations.
Let’s find out what happened.
Travelling to the Cotswolds
Armed with my suitcase, I immediately went straight to London Paddington Train Station to catch my train west towards Cheltenham in the South West on the 90 minute train journey passing by Reading, Swindon and finally arriving at my final destination, Kemble.
Kemble serves as the main rail connection for the town of Cirencester, an Olde English style market town that will delight the tourist in search for the quintessential English Market Town.
However, Cirencester is not where I would be going but rather a historic University called the Royal Agricultural University.
Accommodation at the Royal Agricultural University
The Royal Agricultural University (RAC) is the first agricultural college in the English-speaking world and the history and establishment is really clear thanks to the beautiful scenery and buildings that surrounded us. They even have a royal courtyard!
So, as this was a university housemate’s wedding and all four of us met in a halls of residence those 10 years ago, we thought it would be a hoot to stay in this University’s halls of residence, Woodland Lodge. Little did we realise how much we grew up and enjoy our creature comforts since then!
The room was good. The bed creaked every time my heart thumped but I slept soundly. The folded paper Bath mat was a source of amusement as was the notice from exasperated cleaners who told the students that in order to help them clean, they had to do one thing:
But one thing was how evident of how the Royal Agricultural University took seriously their environment friendly status. Recycling bins were in our room and the showers were dependent on hot water tanks that seemed to be almost empty whatever the time of day. (Luckily, it was an extremely hot weekend so cold showers were a blessing).
There was a throwback to my student days when there was no ironing board available and therefore I had to iron my shirt on the desk with a towel underneath. It was pretty funny. Oh, how we talked about the good old days!
But here begs the question:
Would I stay here again?
Possibly. If they sort out the showers, then I would think of coming back. After all, the RAC is set in a beautiful place with access to the tumbling Cotswolds.
Breakfast like a Lord
Included with our accommodation is the breakfast. I was mystified when I was told to present myself at the Mess Hall for 8am on Saturday and 9am on Sunday. There weren’t a time slot such as 8am-10am given to us. We simply had to be there at 8am on the dot. We dutifully complied.
You had different choices for breakfast. Full English (no black pudding, sadly), Cereal, Fruit, Toast and yogurts. They were extremely filling and I had no complaints. I wasn’t a big fan of the coffee as it was very watered down but that’s what you expect from a machine.
But the highlight of the breakfast was the venue itself. The room was like from a country mansion with walls covered with Georgian style paintings. Perhaps you could feel like a Lord here?
The beautiful Ceremony
Ah, what a beautiful ceremony. Taking place in the Boutflour Hall, soaring big balloons dominated the room with flower centrepieces covered with lights. It was rather a tasteful affair cemented with the arrival of the Bride in her gorgeously beautiful dress that suited her to a T!
Slurping on Slush Puppies
Shortly after the ceremony, we had time to reflect on the ceremony now that my pleased university friend is married to his wonderful bride. The day was hot, the sun scorching and it was a perfect excuse to sit outside in the grounds of the Royal University.
Most weddings will serve champagne at this point but this was extremely different. It was alcoholic slush puppies that was absolutely perfect to cool us down, feel refreshed and get that kick.
I opted for the Strawberry daiquiri and it was absolutely delicious! So much so that I had three cupfuls! I’m sure Vintage Trikes saw me coming and filled one up for me before I had to place my order!
The delicious Wedding Breakfast
Inside the Entrance Hall is where we had our extremely delicious three course wedding breakfast. Here’s what we had:
Starter: Olives, humus, Bread, Oils
Main: Beef Roast
Dessert: Eton Mess
This was all complimented by a rather tasty Chilean Merlot Red Wine, Strong black coffee and a flute of the sparkling stuff to toast the speeches with.
The speeches were short and sweet that touched to the heart with their personal experiences of the times, good and bad.
Did I have a tear in my eye? Maybe. I’m just getting hayfever…
That Daredevil Air Show
Before we left the Wedding Breakfast, we were told rather mysteriously by the groom to assemble outside the building at 6.50pm. So we did and an expectant air hung about us. Soon, we could hear the drone of an aircraft that triumphantly made its arrival with a series of loop the loops.
This was the Daredevil air show.
People gasped in wonderment and at the feats the crazy pilot was doing high in the skies over the Cotswolds and the Royal Agricultural University.
As the groom was a pilot himself, it was a fitting tribute to his career and to his new wife when the cloud trail behind the aircraft formed themselves in a heart shape.
This was a guy with style. Why didn’t he assemble my pasta in a heart shape when we were living together?!
Rocking at the Evening Dance
So, the evening beckoned! The DJ was set ready to play cheesy music and rave music. But it was the live band that drew everyone’s attention.
It was a 50s Rock n Roll Band playing hits from Elvis to the Proclaimers. It was great to see everyone of all ages dancing away together and attempting to duck n jive. It was a wonderful night topped with the cutting of the cake and of course, the delicious buffet that was provided.
Midnight struck and only a few stragglers were left that stayed on to the bitter end to Pharell Williams’ ‘Happy’ as the last song.
It really was apt to see the look between the blushing bride and the gallant groom. Both were radiating for their love for each other and you could see they were truly, madly happy.
After a slightly later breakfast call at 9am, both my friends and I wanted to explore the Cotswolds for a few hours before catching the train to London. But guess what greeted us when we opened the curtains that morning?
Worse luck! It just had to happen with good old-fashioned English weather with blazing sunshine and clear skies one day and then a grey rainy day after.
We tried to find a tea room in Kemble to hole ourselves up for a few hours before our train arrived. It was 11am and everywhere was literally shut. I even pulled and shook on a door handle to check. What could we do?
Luckily, our friends who were dropping us off at the station offered to drive us to London instead as they were driving there anyway.
The M4 beckoned so we took the opportunity. But not before looking back and seeing the Cotswolds beauty warmingly inviting us back.
But only if the English weather behaves itself, that is.
The wedding band are all pilots too… (!)