If you have photos from the day, please email me about getting copies to me so that I can include them here.
(click on "Interactive Tour" and take a look at Castle View on the top-right)
Better Public Buildings
(Castle View 2002 finalist)
BBC South Yorkshire
(page on the Earth Centre)
The music played during the ceremony was:
The Whole World Window by Cardiacs
during the entrance of the bride (Dan's choice).
Largelife by Lake
of Puppies during the signing of the register (Dan and Gill's choice).
Amazing in Bed by Ooberman
during the bride and groom's exit (Gill's choice).
(list number is 56699, no password - it's still not too late! At
least, not until 15th February)
View the wedding guest book
Dan & Gill become Mr and Mrs Sumption
Saturday 1st February 2003
You are gathered here today to find out a bit about what went on at
our wedding. On the left you will find links to some photos (and eventually
a bit of video) and other stuff. Below I will try to recount the day
as I remembered it - my memories are necessarily patchy, due to alcohol,
excitement and general rushing-aboutness, so I'd appreciate it if you
could add any memories of your own to help me comprehend what really
went on that day. You can either email
them to me or fill in the guest book on
the left of this page (putting them in the guest book will make them
public). Speaking of the guest book, I'd be grateful if you could stick
something in there before you leave - it's nice to be able to see who's
visited. You don't need to write anything profound, profane will do
I guess it all started for me a night or two before the big day. Until
then, although I'd been aware of our approaching wedding, I had no idea
what it would really mean to me.
The first thing that hit home was the weather. It suddenly turned nasty
in the middle of last week - or so news reports said. Here in Sheffield,
everything was fine, but in a reversal of normal patterns London and
East Anglia were apparently snowbound on Thursday. We began to worry
that our many guests from the South-East might not make it. Jenny and
Mike had reportedly spent an unsuccesful day trying to travel the forty
miles or so from Suffolk to London.
However, my Mum and Dad had a clear run up the M40 on Friday, and arrived
with us late afternoon. Rowan left to stay at Cath's for the night.
Later in the evening Mark, Hannah, Ed and Anaïs arrived on an undelayed
train from London - more good omens. We sat and slurped wine for a little
while before going to bed early. My sleep was interrupted with nightmares:
mini-buses full of friends careering off the road in black ice, something
which I'm glad to say never came to pass. I also lay awake wondering
whether all the details would be OK - I was particularly worried that
people might not like the music, or it might be too loud, but after
an hour of similar circular thoughts I realised I was probably worrying
about a tiny percentage of the people coming, most people would like
it just fine and those who didn't could put up - it was, after all,
our big day.
I awoke at 6.30am, realised that I was unlikely to get back to sleep
and, besides, had plenty to do, and leapt out of bed. First on my list
was a walk to the Post Office depot - I had an uncollected parcel which
was gnawing at the back of my mind, so I climbed about a mile up the
hill and back to collect it. On the way I saw that last night's snow
(yes, it had at last reached Sheffield) had melted away except on the
highest points - more good news.
In the parcel was a battery charger, a gift from Sony to go with my
digital camera (it's a long story...) perfectly timed. When I got back
home I plugged it in and put the battery on charge - brilliant, now
I was going to get some pictures of the wedding
The rest of the morning was a bit of a blur. Despite getting up at
6.30, I barely had time to squeeze it all in. Perhaps that's because
I decided to make Nigella's
American Breakfast Pancakes and croissants for our guests, before
dropping Gill off at Cath's, collecting our wedding "cake"
from the baker's (actually, we'd left it a bit too late for a cake -
instead we had a pile of 60 chocolate brownies, cut in half to make
a glorious 120 squidgy chocolately rectangles, plus a gingerbread man
for Lola), collecting all of my gear (and Lola's) together, loading
the car and getting Ed to shave my scraggy two-week beard into something
a little more stylish.
All of this was supposed to be finished by 10am, to give us a good
hour to reach the Earth Centre by 11. In the end, Ed took the last errant
strands off my face at around 10.45, we jumped into the car and made
it to the Earth Centre around 11.20. I realised I had very little idea
what to do next, so I asked for permission to drive onto the site, then
crawled across the bridge at 5mph, hazard lights blinking, to drop off
various things (brownies, boards [to stack brownies on], presents, CDs,
flowers, button-holes...) at the Castle View conference centre.
I drove back across the bridge, leaving Dad and Mum to chop up and
stack brownies. They did a wonderful job, creating a geometrically-correct
pyramid of chocolate blocks piled on top of a mirror, sprinkled with
icing-sugar and topped with two Playpeople with a passing resemblance
to Gill and myself.
Back at the River View hotel I unloaded the rest of the car and collected
the keys to our rooms (one for Gill, Lola and me, one for the kids).
I unloaded the rest of the car and got into my wedding
gear, assisted by Lola. I was getting increasingly confused - in
that sort of mental state that you reach when you know there are lots
and lots of things for you to do, have already done lots of them, and
have forgotten quite what the "and lots" entailed. I was vaguely
aware that I was supposed to be asking Richard to do something with
flowers and buttonholes, so I looked for him but didn't find him. Then
I decided to go back over to the conference centre to check up on everyone
By this point people were starting to arrive for the main event - I
said fleeting and half-dazed hellos to Jenny, Laura, Alex and co. in
the Hotel reception before striding across the bridge, my coat-tails
(if they can be called that) flapping behind me in the wind. At Castle
View I flapped around looking for people - no Richard, so I started
to get needlessly worried about flowers and buttonholes. No registrar,
so I couldn't do my pre-ceremony talk, nothing really for me to do except
worry that I ought to be doing something. The conference centre manager,
Steve, wanted to know who was operating the CD player during the ceremony...
another job for Richard (at least, I think that's what Gill said)...
damn, where was he?
I made another quick back-and-forth trip to the hotel... checked out
our room, it was occupied, yay, Gill's here at last! I tried to go in
by found June and Cath barring my way while Gill screamed "don't
come in!!!" - at least we held to some wedding traditions.
Richard was in the room opposite - I informed him of his duties, of
which he was blisfully unaware, and he agreed to come over and check
out the CD player in a minute.
Back at Castle View, Mark had found the bar and bought me a double
brandy - the start of a long decline. The registrar was looking for
me - I went up to the suite where the ceremony was being held (brandy
in hand) and confirmed mine and Gill's names, dates of birth, fathers'
full names, etc. He asked about the music and I explained Richard would
be here soon.
Down at the bar Ed had chipped in with the double brandies - a part
of me said that this might not be a good idea, but another part said
"it's your wedding day, what the hell!" - I sipped on it as
the traction engine/train pulled up outside and the first of the guests
started to filter in. Sipping turned to gulping as I realised I was
needed upstairs and the ceremony was soon to begin. I was to sit at
the front of the room and stand facing the door when the bride made
The ceremony passed incredibly quickly. I guess I was nervous, but
I rode over it all with a kind of "what will be will be" attitude.
I was happy, excited, a little giggly. I passed my still and video cameras
to friends to capture the moment, waved, made eyes and directed discrete
comments at people in the audience, and in no time at all heard the
opening chords of "The Whole World Window" signalling that
the bride had entered the building.
The next part seemed to stretch out the longest, listening to the music
play, at any moment expecting Gill to arrive, until finally the registrar
said "ladies and gentlemen, will you please stand for the bride".
I stood, faced the door, and saw Gill, tears welling in her eyes. I
felt overcome with love and just wanted to give her a big hug, which
I think is pretty much what I did once she made the sedate walk through
five or six rows of chairs.
The registrar read out some words, I kind of heard them but was much
more engrossed in Gill, looking at her, cuddling her, sharing smiles
and other emotions. Still, the words sounded good. And then came some
more words which I had to repeat, and which Gill had to repeat, and
then more again, this time spoken to one another. Because we didn't
have rings (another, very long story...) the registrar had added some
extra words to replace those about the rings, and they were truly beautiful.
He really did seem to have gauged the mood, and added sentiments which
really had some meaning for us. Lots of people came up later and complimented
the wording of the ceremony.
(to be continued...)
Thanks for reading this far. Don't forget to check out the
links on the left, where you can look at photographs
and video of the day, find out more about the venue
or the music played during the ceremony, see what's
left on our gift list and sign (or read) our
wedding guest book.