Once Upon a Time They Lived Happily Ever After – Telling Your Story

The story of your relationship, from first encounter to the moment you both say ‘I do’ is an important part of your ceremony, and there are lots of different ways of telling it. Earlier this year, at  Sophie and Neal’s wedding in the Royal Botanic Garden one of their friends, Jamie Hall, came up with a really original one, and I’ve been meaning to write about it for ages.
James only got in touch with me a day before the wedding to let me know that he was a surprise addition to the line up, and that he’d written a poem designed for audience participation. He read most of it, but he’d also roped in 8 friends, who had one line each, and all of whom were dotted variously about the John Muir Grove. With his permission, I reproduce it below, with thanks also to Claire Tennant for the illustrative photography.
A Rhyme for Neal and Sophie
So 2 months ago I think it was
My dear Neal asked me to state
A few lines at his wedding to Sophie
With a brief of ‘say whatever u want mate’
 Of course I accepted with overwhelming emotion
An honour beyond all words
The only things that were off the agenda
Were religion and the bees and the birds!
So I met Neal at the university of Bournemouth
And my gosh do I have some stories
And 13 years later I could regale you all
With the naughties, the funnies and the gories
But if there’s one thing I let uni teach me
Was that’s it’s best to leave the scandal behind
(ANDY) So it’s lucky for you that I aint reading,
Cos Sophie’s dad would change his mind
So that’s enough of Uni
We could talk about that all day
It’s time to talk about these amazing 2 people
For whom we’re all here today
So 2005 I believe was the year
When I first heard Neal quote
That He’d met this lovely young lady
Who was very much floating his boat
Now at the time I lived with Neal
(DUNC) so did I
(ANDY) So did I
So it was the house of bachelor bromance
Saturdays we’d go and get hammered
Sundays it was football in our pants
 But alas, our reprobate existence
Of which we’d all made an art
Would end as Neal and Sophie moved in together
But how had he won her heart?

Was it midnight walks on the South Bank?
Was it Frank Sinatra or some other crooner?
(LEE) c’mon lad let’s be honest now,
It’s cos he decided to become a Gooner

Now Lee my friend, don’t be so quick to judge
Love is a sum of many beautiful parts
(DANNY) No I really do have to agree with Lee,
For 25 years you supported Hearts!!

 Oh well Danny, all that really matters
Is that they sit in front of us right now
Amongst their nearest and dearest
Exchanging their wedding vows

But it was never always that public
When they first sparked their romantic flames
Cos they met and hooked when they were work colleagues
So at first they played the cloak and dagger game

So the clandestine relationship was blossoming a treat
The office anonymity was working out just chipper
And everything was going so perfectly until
(JACKY) I busted you snogging on the Thames Clipper

So several years on and here they are
And their love it so beautifully still stands
But if you’re a budding new boyfriend
You’ve got a challenge on your hands
Cos dear old Jon hooked up with Soph’s mate Amy
And took her way on their first romantic break
(JON) but romance was 100% off the cards,
When I discovered it was a double date

Yes Neal and Soph invited themselves along
To check the new boy out
But let’s be honest, if there’s an opinion you’d trust
It’d be these 2 without a doubt.

 So at this point Neal and Soph lived in Oz
Where their relationship reached new heights
But I don’t have too much material here
(ROZANA) yeah, cos you were too cheap to pay for flights

 Oh and how we all rejoiced
When they came back to Blighty
But that was just the start of it all
As these 2 were to become a 3

And last summer your angel Daisy came along
And I have to admire her style
As her arrival gave Neal a nudge
To at last walk Soph up the aisle

So now I conclude with a couple more lines
And I dedicate them to this breathtaking team
3 wonderful souls for whom we all cannot overstate our love
Quite simply today will be a dream

Neal and Soph you are my soulmates
Of warmth and love you are both so in wealth
And when I say I couldn’t have picked a more perfect couple
I speak for the congregation, and myself.

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