Despite the fact we were only there for a few days, we had a blast and made the most of every day.
The highlight of the trip was the wedding for our dear friends, Mike and Naomi. They made the trek to Dallas for our wedding a few years ago, and there was no way we were going to miss their special day. In case you've had your head in the ground this year, or forever, English weddings are quite the affair. Royalty or not, it's a big, all-day celebration with plenty of drinks to keep your spirits up.
We started the day early with brunch in Bermondsey - we'd obviously need full bellies to keep us going all day long. But let's be honest, when you walk in at 11am dressed to the nines, and most everyone is still in their pjs, it can feel a little awkward. And its more awkward when you ask for the wine list and your waiter has to tell you he can't serve it to you till noon. Well, fine, bloody mary's for the next hour will do.
Donald & Donald. I don't think they even know why they call each other Donald.
Thanks for never taking any picture too seriously Donald.
In typical London fashion, it absolutely chucked it down with rain while we were enjoying our brunch. (Oh, it's raining? We should get another bottle while we wait it out.) And in one of the strangest weather phenomena I've ever experienced: from our table we could see one side of the street where it was raining and another side of the street where it wasn't raining. And I promise that wasn't the wine making us see things. It really happened. Upside after the showers? We were treated to glorious sunshine for the rest of the day.
For you architecture buffs, this was from our table - The Shard of Glass.
Construction is coming along nicely...
And then us walking directly beneath it. Let's talk about how Mike and Adam look like my personal security detail here. Thanks lads.
And the wine is kicking in. And we're not even at the bloody ceremony yet.
Undoubtedly, I said something ridiculously stupid or we were planning our dance floor moves for later in the evening. Probably both.
Despite many drinks, getting lost and a minor shoe crisis (Notice the flips girls. Don't even try to walk long distances through the streets of London in your heels.) we made it to the cathedral on time. And yes, cathedral, cause the bride and groom have connections with godly types. A beautiful service - take my word for it - but no pictures cause I'm not that tacky. But outside of the cathedral, it was fair game.
Sometimes life's so bright you gotta wear shades. Except Mr. B.
Sans shades cause we're cool like that.
So here's what you need to know. From the cathedral, we had to walk a short distance to a pier on the Thames to catch our river cruise. (Yes, river cruise, but more on that later.) Well after a good hour in the church, we were, shall we say, sobering up a little, AND England was playing Ireland in the Rugby World Cup. So would you judge us if we made a quick pit stop in the pub on our way? I didn't think so. Thank you friends.
Photographic evidence that, really, there was sports on that we needed to watch.
And watching sports without drinks is lame. Bulmers, Lager and Wine.
So maybe a little too much time passed at the pub and we had to hustle it to the boat. And we were the last ones on the boat. (Oops. Thanks for waiting though!) The bride and groom had catered to our every need on the boat which meant we were greeted immediately with more drinks. Our crew decided to head to the back of the boat and soak up the sunshine and some amazing views. Prepare yourself for a few of my favorite pictures we've ever taken in London.
Mrs. B + full security detail.
Have no idea what we were laughing at, but if you don't know us IRL, this pretty much sums it up.
Donald, Big Up, Mr. B and hubs with the London Eye.
In case you want to know the story of how Mr. B and I met,
blame thanks Donald and Mr. B.
But that's another post.
My fantastically pathetic attempt at getting a group shot in front of Ben. Fail.
Mr. and Mrs. B with Ben and the Eye.
So, fast forward an undetermined time later. (I say undetermined because at this point I have lost all track of time. It was at least an hour? Maybe two?) We arrive at the other end of the arrive and head for the reception at Fulham Palace. Yep. Palace. Cause again, the bride and groom have connections.
Mr. B attempting to get artsy with the iPhone and I just have no idea what is happening.
More drinks in the garden but the threat of showers chased us inside. By this point, we'd had our fill of English sunshine and it made complete sense to position ourselves as close to the bar as possible. Again, loss of time keeping and we're on our way to dinner. The food was amazing. And that's not just because I'd been drinking all day.
Shepherd's pie and mash at a wedding?. Yes please. Delish.
Soon enough it was time for dancing and that's where things started to get a little hazy. If my pictures are anything to go by, the wheels were starting to come off. We left around 1am, at which point Mikey had an absolutely epic (drunk) temper tantrum about the rest of us being (insert choice word) losers for not wanting to go to some seedy, nasty disco to dance and drink the rest of the night away. For once in my life, this was probably a wise decision because we had to be up in the morning, and in decent health, to travel down to Rich's parents. (Some of you may recall a previous wedding where I did not heed this advice and spent much of the train trip home in the bathroom. Thanks Marie.)
We spent a couple days down on the south coast with Mr. B's family. Our visits home always seem to fly by - when does a trip home not feel that way? We spend a lovely English Sunday afternoon at the local fair. I guess for us Americans it would be a cross between a local 4-H gig (but more civilized) but not quite like a state fair (smaller in scale.)
The nephews and I immediately went on a quest for donuts. Mmmmm. We walked around the entire area before we finally found them and they were well worth the wait. And yes, I am the auntie who feeds sugar and sweets...
We wandered around until we found Mr. B and his brother, Matt, up to their usual, highly-competitive, tricks. This iteration included a coconut throwing contest and believe it or not, ended up in a tie!
Playing "Paper, Scissors, Stone" to start the game.
You and I call it "Rock, Paper, Scissors".
Either way its official.
Matt with his coconut throw. Excellent form.
Mr. B following through with his coconut throw.
To finish off the visit, we went for a family dinner (Nanny, Grandpa, Auntie and Uncle, plus Matt & Helen and the boys.) Of course, I didn't take a family picture. Nothing new there... But I did snap this adorable picture of my little nephew with his after dinner dessert. A cappuccino and ice cream. (But the cappuccino is really just frothy milk.) How adorable is that?? So proper!
I headed back to the States on Tuesday (darn MBA class ruins all the fun) and Mr. B came home the next day before our big adventure to the Land of 10,000 Lakes.... stay tuned for more!