Wedding Report: Franky & Carl, Part Two
14 Tuesday Feb 2012
Catch up with Part One…
With a friendly, familiar voice, Beverley welcomed the 140 guests by explaining the long history that had brought them all together, from the registrar’s records dating back to 1837 to the prestigious position that Heatherden Hall maintained throughout the centuries as a Victorian show home, diplomatic retreat and the home of British cinema.
As she spoke, Franky and Carl continued to glance over at one another as though checking that they were both there, in this surreal moment. They dissolved into nervous giggles whenever they caught each other’s eye before willing themselves to take deep calming breaths.
Jesse wriggled free and jovially marched off to create his own amusement elsewhere. Slipping his left hand into both of Franky’s, Carl looked up intently at the registrar as she proclaimed, “We are all of us here to witness their true romance.” The bride and groom grinned unabashedly.
With the sound of Jesse playfully stomping over a metal vent, the registrar invited Franky’s friend Kate to undertake the first reading of the day. Over a soundtrack of cooing babies and the destructive joie de vivre of the bride and groom’s son, Kate began reading Edward Monkton’s A Lovely Love Story.
“I will forgive his peculiarity and his concern for things,” Kate continued after watching her own daughter toddle up the aisle and plonk herself in Franky’s lap in order to be closer to her mum. “For they are part of what makes him a richly charactered individual.”
Small faces became captivated by the love story between dinosaurs whilst more mature ears found humour in the lovely other dinosaur’s penchant for shopping.
“And that, my friends, is how it is with love,” Kate concluded, Jesse’s accompanying crescendo in the corner of the room stifled by his grandmother adeptly sweeping him into her embrace. “For the sun is warm. And the world is a beautiful place.”
Smiles spread across the faces of the attentive audience as the last few words lingered in the air. Plucking her daughter from Franky’s lap, the two returned to their seats amidst a wave of applause and quiet congratulations.
“Today is a special day,” announced Beverley. “Because weddings acknowledge love itself. It is a work of art.”
Elderly couples put their arms around one another as she went on to explain that love is the greatest gift that we can offer or receive. Inviting the bride and groom to stand, she explained that they would be exchanging vows that would formalise them as man and wife.
When asked to state his full name by the registrar, Carl narrowed his eyes at his laughing bride. Reeling off the several names that had clearly plagued him for his whole life, he threw a disdainful look over his shoulder at his parents by way of thanks and the room shared Franky’s amusement as it erupted into laughter.
The laughter subsided and despite the hundreds of pairs of eyes watching them, Franky and Carl looked only at one another. With linked hands and strong voices they both declared that they knew of no legal reason why they may not be joined in matrimony.
Their eyes were locked so strongly on each other that they had to drag themselves away in order to see their friend Gavin making his way to the front after the registrar introduced his reading by the Smashing Pumpkins. With a mischievous grin, Franky looked up at him and commanded, “Sing!” knowingly taunting him.
“You can never ever leave without leaving a piece of youth and our lives are forever changed; we will never be the same,” Gav began, smiling down at his friends. The melancholic words escaped his lips with an uplifting conviction that portrayed the importance of believing in each other in order to change the world.
No hint of the galloping drum beat that accompanied the original lyrics escaped as Gavin continued to speak in a strong, confident manner. Reading the words despite the fact he could probably recite them all without prompting, he finished with a smile as he declared, “The indescribable moments of your life tonight, the impossible is possible tonight. Believe in me as I believe in you, tonight.”
Thunderous applause filled the room and as he returned to his seat, Franky craned her neck round to grin her thanks to Gavin, knowing that he had nailed it.
Carl, Franky and their room full of witnesses were invited to stand once more as they reached the moment to make their vows. Flicking the puddle of her train out of the way, Franky straightened out her dress and turned to face her fiancé for the final time before he became her husband.
“Who gives this woman?” Beverley asked.
Gesticulating to Pippa, Hans replied proudly, “Her mother and I.” Franky’s fingers gripped Carl’s hands more tightly.
The registrar began to read slowly and clearly the vows that they had elected and in a strong voice, Carl repeated them with faultless determination. He promised to encourage Franky and inspire her, to laugh with her and to comfort her both in times of sorrow and struggle.
Swallowing her emotion in a smile, Franky looked up at him with glassy eyes, the weight of the words raining down on her.
“It’s so not fair,” she sniffled as Carl finished his vows. “It’s much more difficult going second.”
Dabbing at tiny crystal tears with a tissue, Franky took a moment to compose herself. Even as the emotion spilled over inside her, her porcelain face still looked perfect as her tantalising red lips curved into a smile at herself.
With a deep breath and a focused resolve, she looked at Carl and promised to love him in the good times and the bad. The thought of all the times they had already weathered together flew into her mind, her voice wavered, and she took a deep breath. She promised to love him when life was easy and when it seemed hard, when their love was simple and when it was an effort.
They promised to cherish each other and to always hold the other in the highest regard. With huge, knowing smiles, they gave these things to each other there and then, as well as for all the days of their lives to come.
Calming breaths and relieved giggles punctuated the lines as the registrar invited the two best men of the wedding, Richard and Jesse, to present the wedding rings to Franky and Carl. As Jesse turned his nose up at such a task, Franky looked past Carl’s head and grinned at the rows of guests looking back at her.
With their own private jokes, Franky and Carl exchanged rings as a sign of their love and a symbol of their marriage. Their fingers lingered over each other’s hands as Beverley described how, “These are the hands that will care for you, in good times and bad, and wipe away tears of joy and sorrow.”
The newly acquired rings glinted in the early afternoon sunshine as Franky’s uncle made his way to the front of the room for the final reading of the day. His voice rang out through the lofty space, reciting the much-loved extract from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin describing love as a temporary madness. The momentousness of the moment softened into an instant of reflective significance as Chas continued to read.
“Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away,” he explained. “And this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Those that truly love, have roots that grow towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossom have fallen from their branches, they find that they are one tree and not two.”
A sigh of appreciation and gentle applause accompanied Chas back to his seat. Franky’s thumb rubbed gentle circles across the back of Carl’s hand as the registrar smiled down upon them, concluding the formalities of the day. The newlyweds smiled back with anticipation as at last Beverley invited Carl to kiss his bride.
A soundtrack of rapturous applause and exuberant whooping accompanied their first kiss as Carl wrapped his arm around Franky’s back, pulling her close to him as their lips met for the first time as husband and wife. Lost in the moment, unaware of the cheering friends and weeping relatives, kissing with the rich history of eight years and two children combined the adrenaline of a new beginning, they succumbed to the moment in its entirety.
Pulling away, Franky laughed unabashedly at the transfer of her bright red lipstick onto her husband’s mouth. Like any doting mum, she licked her finger and rubbed away the stain, her hand brushing the side of Carl’s face in subconscious adoration.
The melodic sound of Moonriver floated up the aisle, displacing the applause and laughter with soft romance. Slipping out of Carl’s embrace, Franky gratefully accepted a fresh tissue from a vigilant attendant on the front row to dab her eyes.
As Beverley settled the couple to sign the register, a pandemonium of children darting out of their seats and roaming the aisle erupted. Happy chatter sprung up and down the rows of chairs as budding photographers eagerly waited for their opportunity to document the occasion on their own cameras.
Whilst waiting for her turn to formalise their union in ink, Franky stole a glimpse over her shoulder at the room full of guests. Catching one person’s eye she smiled broadly and then winked at another. Those people singled out for acknowledgement reeled in delight, as though having been noticed by a superstar.
Many jokes and much laughter ensued as Franky and Carl signed their names and posed for official photos. Eliza remained unruffled as she shot and reshot images of the newlyweds with their witnesses, having to account for the babies wandering obliviously through the middle of the shot.
Exuberant shutterbugs leaned over each other’s heads to take pictures when invited to come forth by the registrar. It took a while for a queue to form in the aisle – guests apparently too star struck to get too close to the glamorous couple posing for them. As they tilted their heads and altered their smiles, Franky and Carl pointed out people quietly from the corners of their mouths, looking at the wall of paparazzi and rows of indulgent faces staring back at them.
A party atmosphere seemed to seep into the room as people remained standing, chatting, hugging and laughing after the requisite photos had been taken. By the second attempt, Beverley managed to persuade them all to return to their seats.
Franky and Carl stole a little kiss of triumph as they were presented with their marriage certificate. “I know,” concluded Beverley. “That the love and support that you show them as their family and friends will encircle them throughout their marriage.”
A gale of applause ushered in with the sound of manic guitar riffs from Misirlou signalled the conclusion of the cremony and with jubilant excitement, the new Mr and Mrs Shannahan rocked out to the Pulp Fiction theme tune as they lead their children, parents, bridesmaids and groomsmen down the aisle.
Continue to Part Three.