It was a good wedding for Parry. Seldom has his music been so celebrated outside a festival of Parry. I Was Glad is glorious - Blest Pair of Sirens less so, and some of the other bits really forgettable. Jerusalem scored a big hit: lovely arrangement with sublime violin writing.
It was also a good wedding for Twitter & FaceBook. Thanks to all those who made the experience so enjoyable by joining in the fun. I will refer to many of you...
I have to say - if any of you are about to get married at St Catherine's, don't get any ideas. No, you may not have I Was Glad (our aisle is far too small), no you may not plant trees inside the church, no you may not invite the Queen, no you may not have fanfares of trumpets, no you may not use the 1928 rite, no, the Chancellor of the Exchequer will not be available to sing in your choir. Yes, you may have Bread of Heaven - you usually do; yes, you may have a mini-me as your chief bridesmaid, but at your own expense (don't come crying to me if your sister in fact looks as much like you as William's best man looked like him); yes, please invite lots of men in uniforms - I always think it adds something (James Stewart behave yourself now). (I include a photo of two random blokes in uniform.) Richard helpfully pointed out that the bridal party formed a 2-2-3-2 formation; Stuart commented that when Fabio doesn't sing the national anthem he gets pilloried, but somehow the Queen just gets away with it.
There were other unanswered questions. Why was there a nun sitting next to William? (No - not the pretty girl in white, the rather plain one in grey.) Joyce suggested she was his friend. What, his only friend? Mark added a definition: Nun, adj., The number of boys who wanted to date her at school. Maybe so, but she got to sit next to the future King at his wedding.
During the signing of the register we had the aforementioned Blest Pair. If you will choose Parry, you will only get one song during the signing, and I don't care how long you take. Should have gone for Love Changes Everything. Elaine wanted Michael Ball singing that. James preferred a little-known (but much loved) version, Fish Changes Everything. Now that would have been a signing of the register piece to remember.
During the balcony scene, there was a surreal moment as Prince Charles seemed to announce his come-back tour and single with a Michael Jackson moment as he threatened to throw one of the flower girls over the edge in front of millions. The Queen evidently had already heard the song and hurried inside. Gemma was worried about what happened to the child. But the kid was only 32nd in line to the throne, so it didn't really matter.
This information came from (or should have come from) Sir Malcolm Toffee-Knowes (OK - it was Ross, but, come on, did you hear him?), former Comptroller of the Royal Household.
Former Comptoller. Just the title makes you proud to be British.
As did so much of the non-Parry music. Yes - some was allowed to creep in. A beautiful Ubi Caritas by Mealor, and a new piece by Rutter which seemed to be a medley of everything he's ever written. The Rutter divided people. James: "It's gone all Disney. Ugh." Nicky: "Love the new Rutter anthem". Gill & I were with James. I think it was for the American market. Watch for it in the next cartoon. And then there was Crown Imperial as the exit march. Fantastic. (Yes, St Catherine's couples, you may request this.) Actually, that made it quite a lot of Coronation music at this wedding, didn't it?
The first line of the sermon was excellent - "Be what you are meant to be & you will set the world on fire" - but then it went off a bit. Thanks to Mark for his compliment about my preaching at this point. Actually, I can never hear anything about Catherine of Sienna without mentally seeing her church in Sienna & picturing her shrunken head which is on display there. To quote James: Ugh.
I do like the Royal Family. I am not an ardent Royalist. I was not fired up to gawp at the events of the day - but I did enjoy everything. I do like a good wedding - I do get to take a lot of them. This was a good wedding, and I enjoyed it with friends all over the place. Thanks for your company, and thanks to the BBC for having cameras everywhere. I mean, everywhere...
Marriage is a wonderful thing. Because love is a gift from God, and to celebrate that gift in the life of a nation and a world is to celebrate something godly. People deserve to find someone they may love and by whom they may be loved. I wish William and Kate every happiness. I wish them more than they may hope for. I wish them God's love in all its fulness, surrounding and filling and overflowing their lives. Which blessing I pray for every couple beginning their marriage. And I pray for them friends and family who will have as much fun with such an occasion as my friends and I had today too.