We did it! We both turned up and repeated all the words in the right order. There was a nervous few minutes after 3 o'clock when we were left waiting in the registry office and I thought maybe she'd come to her senses at the last possible minute, but she had just had to go to the loo.
Amy Pond, alas, failed to take advantage of this hiatus.
I'd suddenly got quite nervous myself in the hour before the ceremony, which had been slightly exacerbated by the fact that I was left alone in a board room at Marylebone Town Hall to await the registrar. There was an open window overlooking the Euston Road and I wondered how many potential grooms had taken the easy way out and leapt out of it. It was only one floor up so they'd probably only break a few limbs. There was a flip chart board propped up against the wall about "Female Use of Violence" which I didn't know whether to take as poor clearing away or some kind of warning, "WHO IS PROTECTING THE CHILD?" it asked in big red letters.
There was also a bottle of ink on a high mantlepiece in the room and I suspected the sitcom gods had a whole plot line planned out where I would reach up to look at it and it would fall on me covering my face and my brand new suit in unwashable black stains. But I resisted the urge to make this daydream come true.
The day had passed by in a blur. I had spent most of it watching CBBC with my Best Man's two sons, who were tiny rocks of calm on this jittery day, mainly because they had no understanding of what was going on. We had all gone for a walk down to St James' Park. On the way an excited group of young men who looked no older than 14 (but it's getting harder to tell as I get older) stopped me and asked if I was on television. They clearly had little idea of who I was so perhaps they were asking everyone, but they told me they were a
squaddies and were doing some kind of competition where a photo with someone off TV was required, so I would have to do. I just hoped that there was no time limit on when I had had to have been on TV. Somewhere there is now a photo of me in my last moments of freedom surrounded by young soldiers.
The day was utterly brilliant and it seemed everyone had a great time. After a few months of being mainly on my own and on the road it was just lovely to be amongst all my friends and family, but I had the additional joy of getting married to my beautiful and funny wife. I have two favourite funny moments from the day. The first was at the start of the service, when our four bridesmaids came up the aisle towards me. Three of them were pretty tiny and wide-eyed and just walked until they got to where I was and then didn't know where to go. They were supposed to sit down but dazzled by being the centre of attention they more or less just stood still in the wrong place, creating a bottleneck of bridesmaids that my near wife was now heading towards. Luckily it was cute and funny and a perfect way to relax everyone.
The second was at the top table during our wedding breakfast (it's dinner, but today I was only eating breakfasts as I missed lunch - I was having three breakfasts in a row with no meals in between). Each person had been given a small tub of mints and a small tub of lip salve on their table, which is perhaps slightly odd. But my mum told me that my dad had been a bit confused about what he'd been given and had eaten his lip salve thinking it was cheese. I don't know why he thought the hotel had given him such a tiny amount of cheese in such an odd receptacle or why he hadn't realised that it wasn't cheese once he was eating it (maybe he thought that the cheese was being protected by this strange layer of waxy stuff), but it filled me with great happiness that he had done this. And I added the story to my ad-libbed speech (it was the best bit, it has to be said), saying how having the family I had been blessed with meant I never really had to actually make up any jokes. It was nice to think that my dad's intestinal tract will be nicely moisturised though. I wish I had talked more about how amazing my wife was, but the lip salve thing was a good substitute.
I had also arranged for my friend Tony, who is an actual factual ambassador to arrive and offer my wife a Ferrero Rocher from the pyramid that we had built last night, which hopefully might count as fulfilling her ambition finally and get me out of my exponential nightmare. But the Ferrero Rocher cake was even more impressive. We should really have been sponsored.
I got nicely drunk and actually rather enjoyed the thing that I had been most nervous about - the first dance (which we did to "Girl From Mars" by Ash, as a tribute to Mrs Herring's alien like qualities). We just threw ourselves into it and it was rather joyous and beautifully improvised in a way that my speech largely failed to be. It didn't feel like much time passed before our last dance to "The Luckiest" by Ben Folds. It certainly felt apt to me. I held my wife close and my bottle of Becks behind my back in a perfect symbolic representation of the years to come - good to have a weapon on hand in case the flipchart about female violence turned out to be prescient.
Then to the honeymoon suite where our friends had covered the bed in condoms and a book called "What you always wanted to know about safe sex and STDs". Which was lucky as I was about to finally lose my virginity at last. But I won't blog about that obviously... because I have done a special podcast of it which will be available on iTunes soon.
None of this yet seems real, apart from the happiness and love I feel for this amazing woman who now has the same name as my mum, Mrs Herring. Weird.