Anthony and Cleopatra
My Cousin Angela recently remarried in an unusual wedding ceremony.
I received an invitation in the post about a month before the wedding. The card had a reproduction of a painting of Antony and Cleopatra on the front and inside was printed the date, time and place of the ceremony. When I asked my mother about the wedding, she said Luke and Angela were going to dress up as Antony and Cleopatra and make a big theme party of it.
I arrived early at the wedding venue so I could watch the pictures being taken. The couple had chosen to hold the ceremony and reception in the grounds of a magnificent Country House. The gardens of the house provided a stunning backdrop for the ceremony, boasting a collection of rare plants, gloriously coloured seasonal wild flowers and majestic trees. Angela was being photographed next to the lake wearing a beautiful strapless wrap around gown with a sheer gold cape. The fabric of the dress was white with golden threads woven into it. Her naturally dark and curly hair had been straightened by her hairdresser and she wore a stunning Egyptian-style gold tiara across her brow. The Egyptian effect was complete by the bride's make up. An extremely skilled makeup artist had been hired to transform Angela into Cleopatra, with particular focus on the almond eye look which is synonymous with the ancient Egyptians. The bridesmaids wore beautiful gold and white Egyptian-style dresses and black wigs. The groomsmen wore Roman guard uniforms.
A large marquee had been set up on the lawn and I was astonished at what I saw inside. The marquee had been decorated with the taste of ancient Egypt as well as a splash of ancient Rome. The support poles were shaped like pillars and had been decorated with Egyptian hieroglyphics. Brass incense burners hung from the roof, replica Egyptian statues of specific gods and animals had been placed in all the corners and throughout the marquee there were Egyptian pouffes, footstools, carpets and other replica Egyptian treasures. The tables were covered with gold trimmed white linen tablecloths and on the centre of each had been placed a miniature Egyptian statue. Each place was set with golden plates and matching cutlery and glasses. A scroll candle holder favour was sat in the centre of each plate. The overall effect was extremely authentic. I later learned that the couple had enlisted the assistance of a wedding coordinator to source the décor.
Some of the guests had begun to line up at the buffet table at the far side of the marquee. The table had similarly been covered with white linen with fresh floral garlands around the edge. On the table were stuffed grape leaves and stuffed olives, stuffed spinach pasta shells and artichokes with butter sauce. The bartender was also dressed as an Egyptian. I tried some of the olives and grape leaves with a glass of white wine.
Everyone ate and chatted for a while until a man in a Roman costume raised a heralding trumpet to his lips, blew a half dozen notes, and announced that the ceremony was about to begin. Everyone filed out of the marquee and took seats in the chairs that had been set up in front of an arbor that looked like miniature roman temple. Artificial ivy had been wound around the columns and the minister stood beneath in a simple white cloth toga trimmed in gold. I sat on the bride's side with my Uncle Joe.
A harpist in a Roman-style gown began to play a beautiful tune as the wedding party walked down the aisle. Angela's father was dressed as Julius Cesaer. Angela looked so beautiful and elegant carrying a bouquet of exotic flowers as they walked to the temple. Luke looked very handsome in a tunic of red and gold with a white cloak trimmed in gold. He wore a crown of golden leaves on his head and his hair had even been curled Roman-style. Angela's father placed her hand in Luke's and they turned to face the minister who performed a traditional Christian wedding ceremony.
After the exchanging of vows and after the couple had placed gold wedding rings on each others fingers, the minister brought out two golden goblets. Angela and Luke each took one and the minister poured wine into each. The newlyweds then drank from the cups as a symbol of two becoming one. After their cups were empty "Anthony" kissed "Cleopatra". It was so wonderful it made me wish I was getting married soon!
While the families were getting pictures taken with the bride, groom and wedding party, everyone returned to the marquee and discovered a wedding band had set up where the appetizer buffet had been. They played a variety of music from classical to modern. I danced with Uncle Joe and a friend of Angela's from work called Shawn.
The Toastmaster announced the arrival of the Bride and Groom. Everyone stood and applauded as they and the wedding party took their places at the head table. A wedding videographer captured Angela and Luke's grand entrance.
The best man stood up first to give his toast. His speech was short, but touching and humorous. The maid of honour was Angela's sister Sara and she stood up next to give her speech and toast the couple. She wished them well and told Luke that if he ever made her sister cry, she'd do the same to him. Everyone laughed!
There was a choice of lasagna, Koshari (an Egyptian macaroni dish), or fish for the main course. Every entree came with mixed vegetables and pilaf rice.
After dinner Angela and Luke danced their first dance as husband and wife. After the first song the toastmaster announced the father daughter dance and mother son dances. Angela's father danced with her and Luke's mother danced with him. Then he called the wedding party up to dance to the next song and after that dancing was open to all guests.
An hour later, the band took a break and once again the toastmaster announced it was time for the bouquet toss. I came so close to catching the bouquet it was cruel. Sally, another friend from Angela's work, was the lucky girl. The band played some sexy music while Luke slowly removed Bertha's garter. Everyone hooted and hollered while the single men stood in a line. Luke shot the garter over his shoulder and everyone groaned when my nine year old cousin, Billy, caught it.
After that "Anthony" took a long dagger out of its sheath and "Cleopatra" stood in front of him with her hands on his while he cut the wedding cake. They lovingly fed each other a piece. The three tiered wedding cake was cherry filled with golden icing. It looked too beautiful to eat, but after I tasted how good it was--no problem.
After Angela and Luke thanked everyone for coming they left in a white limo bound for the airport and their honeymoon in Egypt. The rest of us stayed a while longer and enjoyed some more dancing.