When you pass the sign saying ‘Welcome to Cornwall’, you can’t help but feel that everything from that moment until you leave is going to be alright, and you’d be right to think that because you’ve actually entered a bubble in which only good things are allowed.
Last week, in a beautiful church next to the Roseland peninsula, my cheeky cousin Annie and her fiancé got married under the Cornish sunshine.
Loums and I arrived in Landan Taan on Thursday morning and immediately went to my sister’s where she had rented a spaceship of a 4×4 to drive down to Cornwall in (the drive is about 6 hours, cue loads of Brits saying “woaaahh that’s nearly one end of the country to the other! And everyone else saying “Seriously, what’s the big deal?”) It was a smashing drive down, and immediately upon arriving at Trenona Farm B&B where there were so many intrigued cows and cats, we set off to be reunited with our family in Saint Mawes.
Our family reunions will never stop being important for many reasons:
- My family is the best.
- Cousins are your first friends (one of my cousins duly reminded me “not by choice, Catherine.” See what I mean about the love?), therefore they have the funniest memories about you and vice versa so you carry on and make new ones. Also, you can pretty much talk to them about anything and they’ll get it all because they know your past as well as you do.
- My aunt is from the states and this was one of those rare occasions where a lot of her brothers, nieces, nephews and their families were able to make it over, so we finally got to meet more people whom we had always heard about but never had the chance to meet.
- Any time with them is special, from when we were all dressed up at the wedding, to when we were all in jumpers and jeans the next day in my aunt and uncle’s living room with pasties and the Wimbledon final.
- Family help you to feel grounded when things become overwhelming.
- When we are reunited it’s mainly in Cornwall, which means lots of walks and little sailing trips are obliged. Last time I was down I slept in my uncle’s boat with my cousin and little sister, there was nothing so calm as watching the stars with hot chocolate and waking up on the still river that morning.
I need to mention the food: When we got to the seaside house my aunt’s sister-in-law and her family were renting, we found that she had cooked a feast of salads, pulled pork, rhubarb squares (which were amazing), red berry pudding, home-made coleslaw, the works for everyone to indulge on and we took it upon ourselves to fulfil our duty while meeting members of the family from the states we had always heard about but never had the chance to meet until that evening.
As this was to be Loums’ and my summer holiday this year, my sister suggested going to one of Cornwall’s many great beaches before the rehearsal dinner. On the Friday the four of us (my sister and her husband, Loums and I) went to Parenporth beach which is a great surfing beach. My cousin introduced me to it a couple of years ago and even tried to teach me how to surf, but it wasn’t meant to be. The water was freezing but it made for fun wave-jumping (at which I am at a professional standard), after about an hour of which we realised how knackered we were so rinsed off the salt water in a nearby stream (rustic), and headed to a local pub for smoked mackerel salads, ale and pool.
That evening was the rehearsal dinner at the National Trust (a charity that works to preserve and protect historic places and spaces) property Trelissick, to get to which we had to get a chain ferry across the river Fal which was fun for everyone involved. All of the delicious food was prepared on site, and most especially the home made quiche (my aunt asked for a gluten-free one especially for me, which was especially sweet, as I had fully prepared for to eat gluten during my stay, which I did because they don’t make gluten-free pasties yet, yet this was one delicious meal where it wasn’t involved!). This was the first night where everyone really got to see each other and talk, and even my little sister and setting off immediately after she finished school that day. Loums also discovered he went to the same boarding school as my Aunt, small world.
Annie and Billy got married! It was an absolutely beautiful wedding, Annie, her elder sister, my sister and our cousin all married within twelve months of each other and each wedding was absolutely unique and full of happiness. For Annie’s wedding there were so many subtle details and nods to their heritage and relationship, so here are a few elements of the day which deserve to be shared:
Annie’s and all of the bridesmaid dresses were handmade by the groom’s sister!
Each table was named after a place in significant to either Annie, Billy, or to them both, and on each table was a quiz with each name and blank space next to it. The table who correctly filled in the names of received a prize (a framed picture of the couple). Needless to say we won, mostly because my sister and Annie are incredibly close, and secondly because we missed 2 answers and as not only had we put the names, but also thoroughly detailed the reasons as to why they were special, that one of the best men who was collecting the quizzes let us have a peak at the final two. Hoorah! The frame is now in its pride of place here in Paree.
All of the place settings were written by hand in a Courier font. In these pretty little boxes were 6 cubes of Cornish fudge, two coffee flavours, 2 chocolate orange, two clotted cream (if you’ve never eaten fudge I will personally send some to you).
Real petals were used as confetti to shower over the Bride and Groom as they exited the church (zero waste, y’all).
The groomsmen wore kilts in Cornish tartan and Cornish cufflinks:
My aunt grew nearly all the flowers and succulents which surrounded the place settings.
All food was sourced from Cornwall, down to the pasties which finished off the evening.
We arrived at Caerhys Castle which was were the reception was held in the morning ready to take two vintage buses to St. Just in Roseland.
After the vows were exchanged, an acapella group called ‘The Lemonaires’, sung traditional Cornish folklore songs and shanties including “My Cornwall, My Home”.
Well into the night a surprisingly successful human pyramid was formed.
No more pictures were taken because of dancing, lots and lots of dancing.
The next day we all met up at the beach to say goodbye to those who were leaving that day, to wave Annie and Billy off before they went on their honeymoon. The four of us then went over to my aunt and uncle’s house to watch the final of the Wimbledon with my cousin, and as the day progressed, more and more of the wedding party from both sides of the Atlantic joined us so we all went on a big walk around Malpass.
Cornwall is, and will always be my happy place, and I’m so grateful that as we all grow up, we’re still creating memories.
“For this is my Eden, and I’m not alone.
For this is my Cornwall and this is my home.”