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Wizard Wedding Weekend

Last weekend I had the privilege of attending the wedding of two wonderful friends, Laura and James. The bride and groom met at a Harry Potter wizard Rock show in a library a few years ago and honoured the connection by theming the wedding around books. This was a very special wedding, and Laura and James’ personalities and hard work could be seen throughout the weekend.

This was a very small wedding with forty-two people in attendance, meaning that we could all stay together in the large house where the reception took place. On arriving at the house, we could see the schedule of the next day’s proceedings while we settled down to a fish-and-chip takeaway.

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On the morning of the wedding, many of us woke at quarter to eight and so we pootled into Kylie and Mel’s room for a chat and a cup of tea. By 10am we had Twerked, tea’d and Cheerio’d and decided it was time to put our nice frocks on before heading down to the Knight Bus to go to the ceremony.

Wedding bus

Ellie and I show off our hats aboard the Knight Bus!

We drove over hill and dale (singing a rousing bus-related wizard rock song) to get to the ceremony’s venue, a small converted barn on an organic farm. We saw lots of nice cows and sheep on our way, as well as a sign for pig racing, which we decided would be an excellent day out and a marvelous activity to follow a wedding…

Paper book flowers

Handmade flowers from the pages of books to tie in with the book theme.

Wedding

Vintage and pretty decor at the venue.

When we entered, Here Comes the Sun by Laura’s favourite band, the Beatles was playing. There were strings of bunting and fairylights and garlands decorating the barn along with the red roses and book-roses that Laura had made. As is tradition, the bride was quite late. Untraditionally, though, it was because she’d got lost and ended up in a field. Luckily we had the Beatles playing and cereal bars to keep us fueled until she arrived. We also convinced James and our friend Neil, the best man, to keep us entertained. 🙂

Wedding Men

Kylie-faces!

The ceremony was beautiful. Laura looked stunning and elegant in her red gown. We were so few in number that we all felt honoured to be there for Laura and James. When it came to their readings and vows, we knew exactly what they meant. Laura read a passage from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix that was so wonderfully relevant and poignant that Mel, Ellie and I all made good use of the tissues I’d brought.

In the Morris

Mr and Mrs in the Morris.

Vintage Wedding

The wedding party and parents on the farm.

When we got back to the reception house, the photographer took some photos of everyone outside the house. Meanwhile, a few of us scurried off to take some photos in the surrounding area. There were some great props like tyres and old sheds, long grass, and rubble! Grunge-chic!

Wedding fashion

Rachel in the wedding high-fashion photoshoot!

Feeling a bit... tyred? Hahaha...

Behind the scenes!

Leaning on the fence

David does his best model-farmer pose.

After a pretty sparkling wine and some nibbles, we moved through for dinner. The dining room had been decorated beautifully by the wedding party. As we arrived, we each found our names attached to a small charm (mine was a clock!) on top of an old book which bore the name of our table. All of our friends were seated at the Fantasy table, which was decorated with the one ring, the wardrobe, and a pile of children’s book, including Philosopher’s Stone and Beedle the Bard.  When we found our seats, there was an envelope each with our names on, and a literary address. (Mine was 4 Privet Drive!!) Laura and James had also chosen a different classic Ladybird book to suit each person. I got a make and do book! 🙂 This was such a lovely touch and made everyone feel really included in the wedding!

Toast

To celebrate!

Favours books

The wedding favours. The envelope contained a quiz about books and the bride and groom!

After an italian themed dinner, we dined on cupcakes and drank tea from vintage china teacups and saucers. Once the speeches and toasts had been made (there was an actual piece of toast raised), we all headed through to the dance floor.

Wedding Cake

The sideboard of sugar.

Cup and saucer

Everyone had a different vintage cup and saucer.

Ellie, Cathrin and I provided some live musical entertainment with a selection of songs from the 40s and 50s. This included Unchained Melody, sung by Cathrin, to which Laura and James had their first dance.

First dance

Serenaded by Cathrin.

At around 10pm, we came back to do a special set of Wizard Rock songs and to debut our new act Kate and the Bushes.  We sang Wuthering Heights and had a choreographed dance routine. It was fun! 😀

The night went on with sing-alongs to such classic hits as Vindaloo, songs from Greece, 500 Miles, Goodbye Privet Drive, Sweet Child of Mine, 500 Miles and 99 Death Eaters.

The following day we had a picnic in the garden, went to visit some nice friendly cows with the cow-whisperer (Lucy) and played Pointless. There was a group reading of some Mills and Boone in the late afternoon and a drama with a missing cheeseboard.

What a lovely weekend it was. Thanks Laura and James for including me. ❤

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Timeturners and Armies.

I wish that I could have been given a crystal ball when I was twelve years old and given a glimpse of my future. If I had known how reading Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone would shape my life, perhaps I would have been more enthusiastic about getting to read it. The truth is that my best friend at the time pestered and pestered me for weeks to read Philosopher’s Stone and Chamber of Secrets.

Eventually I relented and checked them both out of my tiny local library. I remember sitting down on my bed, opening it up and being swallowed up by the story. I broke only to call the friend and whisper frantically (because I wasn’t allowed to use the phone) that “SNAPE IS LORD VOLDEMORT! SNAPE! IS! LORD! VOLDEMORT!!” I remember that so vividly. Immediately I was swallowed up again, and finishing that first book, I realise now, my life changed.

From the second I met Harry, my life was better. School was more fun as my equally obsessed friend and I reenacted scenes from the books in empty corridors and made our new secondary school our own Hogwarts. (We even scratched a snake onto the tap in one of the girls’ bathrooms.) When I was thirteen and fourteen, I lived and breathed the books. In classes, I did my very best to out-Hermione my friend, and we did our homework with quills. We had a folder filled with fanfic and fan art that we found on the handful of fan sites that existed back then and it was our most prized possession, apart from the books themselves.

When Prisoner of Azkaban came out, my friend and I both put our names down on a waiting list in the library for it. (We weren’t aware yet that people often just went and bought books they hadn’t already read.) The depth of story completely bowled me over. It occurs to me now that I never analyse these things as they happen to me, all I knew was that suddenly there were Marauders and I was in love with two of them. But really, J.K. Rowling has a way of NOT writing things that leads the readers to fill in the gaps themselves. It came at just the right age, where that amazing childish imagination hadn’t yet succumbed to teenage ‘coolness.’ My friend and I spent hours imagining ourselves at Hogwarts, with Harry, Ron and Hermione. We knew them as friends. I longed for friends who were just like them in real life – just as courageous, loyal, funny and caring.

I couldn’t possibly write all the ways in which Harry has affected my life. When, initially the movies were announced and the tiny fandom began to grow I resented every new fan who turned up and said they loved it as much as I did, or as much as any of the people I knew online. I was a child then. In fact, I was a child until very recently and in many ways I will never stop being one. But at the time I didn’t understand that people could read three, four, five, etc, books in a row and still understand, love and enjoy them as much as we did, having lived them out several times.

Again, if I’d had a crystal ball and seen what this enlarged fandom would be capable of – adopting causes, changing the world, helping not only others but each other – maybe I wouldn’t have minded. And of course, I would see my wonderful friends.

There’s a fierceness, I think, in a way a Harry Potter fan loves their friends. I know that among my closest friends there is an unspoken understanding that we are the Rons and Hermiones to each others’ Harrys. We’re going to be there for each other when we’re needed.

This brings me to, if you’ll allow me, the ‘crux’ of this post. My Rons and Hermiones. My Nevilles, Ginnys and Lunas.

In every one of Harry’s friends there is an admirable quality. Ron is loyal, unassuming and does everything he can to help. Hermione is clever and prepared. Neville is ready to step up and do what he has to for the good of others. Ginny is ferocious when it comes to protecting the people she loves. And Luna sees the world in a different way, and embraces the differences she sees. Harry doesn’t feel that there is anything special about him. In fact, we are led to believe for a long time that he is very average. But Harry sees these qualities in his friends – in every person he picks out something that is admirable.

I’ve noticed over the last few years that once you leave school, college or work, the people you were friends with may drift away from you. Often you were only friends because you were sharing a common daily life, not because you had anything in common. I have also noticed that in each of my friends now, I can tell you at least one quality in them that I admire. Harry Potter has brought me together with so many different people and I admire all of them. They’re my friends. The word has taken on new meaning to me in the last few years. In a way I went through a very traumatic phase last year of examining my existing friendships and thinking about how I felt when I was with a person, or how they treated me. It resulted in me letting some friends drift away, to see if they cared enough to come back again. (Not one of those friends did.)

Even though that was difficult, it helped me to see the incredible relationships I did have and gave me more time to spend on the people with whom to spend time is its own reward. Rewarding. I give my love and more love comes back. Only today did I realise how much love I have and how many people I love, in so many different ways. And I know that if I hadn’t picked up that book twelve years ago, I wouldn’t have these people who make my life so much richer. I may not have the privilege of being friends with people I deeply admire.

“I longed for friends who were just like them in real life – just as courageous, loyal, funny and caring.”

Thanks to Harry, I found them.

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Dear Mr. Potter

The things I feel are worth writing about are, without fail, the things I find incredibly difficult to put into words. For instance, when I was given a piece of paper in the Room of Requirement at LeakyCon ’11 to write a Dear Mr. Potter’ letter, I could barely take it seriously. What did I want Harry to know about how he shaped my life? Could I just sellotape myself to the postcard? I am so implicitly formed by the Harry Potter books, my understanding of them, the experiences I’ve had and friends I’ve made because of them.

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WIZARD ROCK WEEKEND and more!

I feel quite bad for not having posted at ALL in the last week. Last week literally nothing happened. I slept for the entire week trying to recover from the weekend before.

The show was EPIC! The only hitches happened in my set, which is okay because I feel I can take ownership over Siriusly Hazza P and Harry and the Potters’ successes in a tiny way for actually being the person who organised the concert. It was a great weekend. I just can’t stress how amazing my friends are. James and Lucy, Mary and Janice, my family – MY PIANO TEACHER, EVEN? All helped in some way and were there to support me. God. Amazing, really. The actually progression of the day went so eerily smoothly. There were no disasters. Well, my friend Martha has a seizure after my set but like, these things happen. More than 200people showed up. I’m still in shock.

The after party was cool too and culminated in me collapsing at 2.30am. Whimp.

—:D—

Today this happened:

Me:Maybe getting a cat would help you with your paranoia.
Sister: I’m not paranoid!
Me: You called the police on some mice in your house….

—:D—

God I can’t believe how long it’s been since I posted, really. Here are some photos:

I was in Cheshire visiting my friends a few weeks ago. They brought me to a BOUTIQUE that was NAMED AFTER ME!
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Laura and Cathrin also brought me to a bakery which had SUCH tempting confectionary. I sampled 6 cakes and took the rest home to my father. 😀

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In the bakery I got a hug from Robert, my man cardi who I named after my boo, Robert Downey Jr.

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Later I murdered them at the dinner table.

From the show weekend!

On Saturday we went into town with some Wizards and Witches.

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Neil, Mel, James, me, Lizzy, Matt on our way to the Opera House

And in the evening I had everyone over for a barbecue at m’house:
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THE SHOW!!!

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Siriusly Hazza P

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Me with a Hazza P on either side.

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Harry and the Potters working the crowd!

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Me, Cathrin and Ellie doing our thang.

GOOD TIMES!