Wedding Number One.
Wedding number one was A Buddhist wedding in the Temple at Sheen, Richmond. In true sixties fashion we had been going along there regularly to meditate. It was very pleasant. We had a friend called Gary Turp, who I haven’t seen for forty years, who was very into the Incredible String Band and Buddhism. He got us interested. I enjoyed it and learnt a lot.
We also made friends with a very wise monk by the name of Vorasak Candamitto. He was one of the happiest people I’ve ever met – must say something.
So we organised for a wedding ceremony and received a verbal okay.
Then we had to decide who to invite. We couldn’t fit all our friends in so we decided this was one for the relatives. It left them a little bemused so that was also okay.
On the day Liz and I got into our wedding gear. Liz had made it all. She had a dress in yellow, orange and red check which looked rather nice. She made me a top out of the same material so that we matched. She also made me this trousers of red velvet. We looked very colourful in our orange and red.
We arrived at the temple still not quite sure what, if anything was going to happen. The relatives all trooped in and we were shown to the front where we sat on cushions.
Much to our surprise the whole place was decorated with red and orange with lots of red and orange tulips. We matched!
Then a dozen monks came in. I did not know there were that many!
The ceremony was wonderful. The monks chanted and made this incredible sonorous sound. We lit candles and incense and got splashed with water. The monks’ chanting was intended to create Loving Kindness which was focused on that water. When the congregation and our good selves were splashed they were spreading the Loving Kindness around. I’m all in favour of Loving Kindness. We recited some words in Sanskrit. I’m not sure what we said. We could have been signing up to some Thai cult. It was probably about staying true to the path of goodness.
Then it was over.
The temple had arranged for someone to take a few photos and we ended up with three hazy black and white prints.
It wasn’t the usual wedding.
Liz’s parents boycotted it. I don’t think they approved of me.
I’m not sure what the relatives made of it. Some of them were very staid. We probably blew a few minds and sent a few tongues wagging.
One point of contention seemed to focus around whether we were actually married or not? Was it recognised?
Well that didn’t matter to us. But it seemed to matter to some. Particularly as Wedding two – The Registry Office – was not until the following week.
Were we living in sin for the week?
Well as we had been doing for a year we thought that was quite amusing. How times change.
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