There is a lot to be said for family and friends. It is only with family you can often share moments of emotion about loved ones who are long gone, even when it is a happy occasion such as a marriage. So when my uncle gave a speech at my cousins wedding and mention our departed grandmother and their other departed grandmother, my cousin and I (who incidentally were both born on the same day), our sisters and brothers, my dad and her mum (my dad's sister) all welled up with tears. I was also wearing my grandma's necklace so she was there.
Equally in the comfort of family you rediscover the similarities. So when a group of six Dutch cyclists touring the British countryside appeared in their everyday attire of jeans and t-shirts for the wedding, none of the family and friends who know the family well batted an eyelid. In fact they were staying at the castle (which is a youth hostel) opposite the village church and had got talking to my aunt as she was doing the flowers in preparation for the wedding. Naturally, she invited them along to the service. Naturally we all had a chat with them afterwards before going to the reception.
And of course at the reception we had a wonderful view of the Kymin a white towered building above Monmouth where Admiral Nelson breakfasted with his lover Lady Hamilton and her husband Sir William Hamilton (who was quite old) and greatly admired the views.
The location for the reception was the marvellous modern Sports Pavillion of Monmouth Boys school. With its splendid space and views of both the English and Welsh counties.
There was something lovely about the blend of old and new, which is a good reminder why the changing nature of fashion when it comes to taste and new ideas is something to welcome. Yet the story of Nelson and Lady Hamilton is a reminder how little we change as people.