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a phonecall to wroxton

On the list of approved civl ceremony venues in Oxfordshire, I find Wroxton and its follies, home of the famed dyed pigeons. It's past Banbury, but I had to call (its website is unforthcoming about mundanities like availabilities and booking fees).

The woman on the other end of the line makes some abrupt noises and tells me that I'll have to talk to Brenda. She drops me into some classical music, which sinks slowly into a sound like the wind whistling through a long-deserted passageway. This gives way to weird, underwater noises, before the tinkly piano returns in brief, fitful bursts. Brenda picks up the phone. "Well, what were you thinking of?" she asks. I make what I feel is a fairly uncontroversially matrimonial suggestion. Well, we don't really do that any more, she says, although we do do some weddings, of course.

I'm confused.

Well, why don't you tell me what you can offer? I ask. No, she can't tell me. Well, they do have a Doric Temple and people do get married there, of course, but I'll have to phone a man named Matthew Hart, who lives down in the village. He organises it all, apparently. The conversation fizzles on, occasionally scattering a little information. They used to do receptions, but it got to be too much. They don't know of any local hotels. I'll really have to talk to Mr Hart. He's the one who deals with all of that.

I make my excuses, hang up and wonder if the strange end of Oxfordshire is a bit too strange for me. She's left me the number of Mr Hart. But I can't shake the feeling that if I call it, a soft, Oxfordshire-accented voice will reply, "Hello, you're through to Summerisle wedding planners. Now, would you like pigeons, crows or buzzards as sacrifices for the ceremony?"

In other news: Tim would like the wedding cake to look like this, although apparently it's not crucial that the pieces rotate.


( 25 worms — Feed the birds )
26th Nov, 2008 22:56 (UTC)
There are people at my work who could make that cake. You could advertise.

As for the phone conversation, that sounds like a classic heritage venue response. I hope the reason they outsourced it to Mr Hart is that he is more clued up!
27th Nov, 2008 09:08 (UTC)
people, what people?
I do expect the cake to be an achievable ambition.

Mr Hart gives me the fear...
27th Nov, 2008 12:29 (UTC)
Re: people, what people?
26th Nov, 2008 23:13 (UTC)
Just in case you are not aware of this: Tim is very much to be treasured on the basis of his cake design preferences alone.
27th Nov, 2008 09:10 (UTC)
Very much so, I'd say :)
26th Nov, 2008 23:29 (UTC)

That is all.
27th Nov, 2008 09:13 (UTC)
27th Nov, 2008 10:06 (UTC)
Is this what happens to guests who are not appreciative enough? :)
27th Nov, 2008 08:36 (UTC)
In my experience (whih is limited, but intensive), there are broadly speaking three categories of wedding venue:

1) the ones who basically let you get on with whatever you want;

2) the ones who dictate every step to you;

3) stressful "slightly rubbish" ones where you don't quite know where you stand, and nor do they.

That sounds a bit like a type 3) you have there.
27th Nov, 2008 09:14 (UTC)
>limited but intensive

I suspect that's the way it goes unless you make a career out of it....
27th Nov, 2008 09:22 (UTC)
making a career out of it
That might be fun,but I'm not sure T would approve.
27th Nov, 2008 10:09 (UTC)
Re: making a career out of it
What, never been asked to organise a game-based wedding? I see a market opportunity!
27th Nov, 2008 10:33 (UTC)
Re: making a career out of it
We do have a [Mafia] wedding-based game...
27th Nov, 2008 13:29 (UTC)
Re: making a career out of it
If it could incorporate a civil ceremony, I reckon you should let UK Bride magazine know -- they're probably dying for some slight variation of subject matter...
27th Nov, 2008 14:21 (UTC)
Re: making a career out of it
It already incorporates all sorts of other enticements up to and including prostitution, incest and Cabbalistic ritual disembowelment, so I don't see why that shouldn't be possible.
27th Nov, 2008 09:42 (UTC)
I guess planning a cake like that but not actually making it would be in the spirit of the original.
27th Nov, 2008 10:21 (UTC)
Apparently Taitlin's original model housed a small boy inside, turning a crank to make the cube, pyramid and cylinder rotate:


And it can be seen in a Liverpool dock:


I'm wondering where to put the bride and groom, though. Perhaps sliding down the helix as if on a helter skelter?

27th Nov, 2008 10:22 (UTC)
no not obsessed at all no
27th Nov, 2008 10:07 (UTC)
Our reception venue were at least this unhelpful, and it's a real PITA.
27th Nov, 2008 10:21 (UTC)
I don't think we'll be going for wroxton, tbh
27th Nov, 2008 10:58 (UTC)
I vote for Cluzean Castle, Ayshire - the real setting for the Wicker Man. If you're going to get the fear, it may as well be the real deal!
Seriously, though, I sympathize...our particular tortures were on the other side of the customer service spectrum, trying to navigate the overly-slick world of NYC weddings. The worst of it: dealing with $15,000 daily rental fees for loft conversions and $400 a plate restaurant nightmares, neither of which we could afford in our wildest dreams. The place we ended up was just ramshackle enough to be cheap, but 'together' enough so that major disaster was averted, and everyone loved it. Have faith, your venue is out there!
27th Nov, 2008 14:31 (UTC)
The crazy tower reminded me of this

which I would have loved for my wedding. (I apologise for showing it to you, as it is covetable, overpriced and impractical to achieve in Oxfordshire.)

I loved our reception venue guy - he ran a real production line of three weddings per week, and just gave us a set of very closely defined check boxes - six decisions and there we had it. When I rang him up to book the 29th of June of the next year he sucked his teeth and said - "You do realise it will rain?" and steered me onto an alternative date which would not have rain. He was of course right on both counts.
28th Nov, 2008 16:40 (UTC)
I just drowned in my own drool, I think. My sister did the profiterole tower thing -- we're going to be more, ah, homemade I think
27th Nov, 2008 18:46 (UTC)
The couple whose wedding we went to last year cunningly got round this by having the civil ceremony quite literally in the registry office (a few days earlier), which meant when it came to the wedding as opposed to the legal formalities, they could do whatever they damn well wanted - their own choice of venue, ceremony, celebrant etc etc. I am surprised more people don't do it (of course it's still the case that some mosques, gurdawas, temples etc are not on The Venue List and so quite a lot of Muslim couples for instance do).
28th Nov, 2008 18:05 (UTC)
That's what we did - it does make everything much cheaper, and Wandsworth Registry Office was rather lovely (no, really).
The first rule of wedding planning on a budget is to never mention the W word - if you go out and talk about "A dress" "A party" "Some flowers" then prices come down immediately.
( 25 worms — Feed the birds )