I kept it together - now I’d love to do it all over again

The Rev Canon Bob White with representatives of the groups involved in our Christmas campaignh run with churches in Portsmouth - Comfort and Joy

NEWS COMMENT: Dig deep and help to spread some comfort this Christmas

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I woke at 6am. Not bad. My nerves had at least given me five-and-a-half hours’ sleep. This was more than I’d envisaged.

My mind ran through the daftest of things. Would I get my words wrong at the altar? Would I lose it when I first saw her enter the church?

Would I faint like you see people do on Who’s Been Framed? Well, at least I’d make £250.

I stayed over with one of my best men, Graham, and his family. As nerves jangled for both of us, football became the topic of conversation.

Discussing who was England’s Pirlo and what system we would you play certainly lowered the pressure.

At 11:30am we left Stubbington for St Mary’s Church in Alverstoke. But wait, why did my best man throw me out of his car at the bus stop outside the Cuckoo Pint pub? Not a stitch-up, surely?

As I waited, a familiar noise from the past filled the air. No horse and carriage for me, but Sarah had arranged a surprise trip to church in a vintage 1970s single-decker bus. She knows me so well.

With the words Congratulations Rick & Sarah on the front and People’s Provincial on the side, we picked up guests en route. It was brilliant.

There may have been a hundred or so in the church, but as I reached out for Sarah’s hand, it felt like we were the only two there.

She looked simply stunning. Again I resorted to dreaming up my perfect England football team in the vain hope I would not start to cry.

‘Come on Rick’, I said to myself, ‘hold it together.’

Your wedding day really does pass so fast, but you feel like royalty. Everyone wants to speak to you and shake your hand, everyone wants a photograph.

But quietly, in the background, the official photographer is keeping you in check.

With twinkling fairy lights, lit hurricane lamps and tea lights, our reception room looked magical.

Then my best men’s PowerPoint presentation included many embarrassing pictures of old buses and haircuts.

Later, sat on our balcony looking back at the Isle of Wight glisten in the dark, we just wanted to do it all over again.