Getting Married: Sarah and Michael's story
She said 'yes'! 553 days later, Sarah and I stood at the front of St Alban's Church surrounded by friends, family and loved ones as we repeated those two magical words, 'I do'. This is the story of how we got there.
It took a few weeks, possibly even months after our engagement to pivot from the joyous moment where we'd decided to get married, to realising that we should probably start thinking about where and when we'd like to do it.
Quite early on we knew that we wanted to get married in Copenhagen, despite both being from the UK. This was partly because our friends back in Britain would never forgive us if we didn't, and partly because this is our home and we didn't want to be planning a wedding anywhere else.
Once that decision was made there really was only one place that we wanted to get married, 'The English Church' in Copenhagen, St Alban's - though we've since found that it's so much more than just 'The English Church'. It's a slice of international community and a feeling of belonging, that just so happens to looks like a church you'd come across anywhere from Cumbria to Cornwall.
One of the first things we did (Step 1) was to contact Revd Smitha Prasadam to make sure that we were able to get married at St Alban's (we were) and to check which dates were available around the time we were thinking. From our side, we knew that we wanted our nephews and nieces to be able to travel to Copenhagen (from Manchester, London and Singapore) and spend some quality time in our city, so it needed to either be a weekend with a bank holiday, or a half term. If we wanted to have half a chance of warmth and sunshine then late May or early June was the sweet spot for us, luckily both Revd Smitha and the church had availability, and the date was set - June 3rd 2022.
Once the date was locked in, Rev. Smitha pointed us in the direction of Your Church Wedding so we could start considering what kind of service we would like (this was Step 2). Your Church Wedding is a website made by the Church of England where you can find everything you need to know about weddings, including what the service will entail, what the content of the service should be, how many readings you can have, as well as hymn suggestions etc.
Sarah and I put our heads together and came up with a few initial ideas but it was in the interactions and meetings with Revd Smitha, in person and on Zoom, when the shape of the service really started to come together. These meetings (Step3) were great for us to get to know Revd Smitha and for her to get to know us, but also to discuss the service and to start to get a feel for what will happen on the day. We even discussed things like, where the photographers can be during the ceremony, or ideas for where to place the flowers.
It's genuinely amazing how quickly the week of your wedding comes around and before you know it, all of the people you love most in the world are starting to arrive in your city. It's suddenly very busy and you want to welcome everyone individually, but there's no time to dwell on that, there's a rehearsal to do (Step 4). I'd never really considered what a rehearsal would entail until we were there but it turns out it's vitally important. Ours was a joyous moment as it was the first time the two families were coming together during their trip, but it was also really reassuring to go through the details of the big day, such as where we'd sit, who would be moving small pieces of furniture and where it would go, and the order of the service. It also allowed people the chance to practice their readings and for our page boy and flower girls to get comfortable with the building.
Before we knew it, it was Friday 3rd June 2022 - the day of our wedding. Everything's in place, apart from the confetti baskets, the cakes on the cake stand, the Zoom setup for those not traveling, someone's got a buttonhole who shouldn't have one, in fact, who's got the cake!?
Let me try again. Before we knew it, it was Friday 3rd June 2022, 12.30pm, and the greatest day of our lives was underway. All the planning, all the prep, that's all done, it's at this moment that you can relax and enjoy the wave after wave after wave of happiness that will come over you. Rev. Smitha presided over a service full of joy, full of love, it was everything we wanted it to be and I think the smiles on our faces tell that story better than any words can.
If you've made it this far there's a reasonable chance that you're considering getting married at St Alban's, all I can say is, if you do decide 'The English Church' is the place for you, you won't regret, from 'yes' to 'I do', it was perfect.
To caveat, this is by no means a complete guide to everything you need to know about getting married at St Alban's (you can find that here).