Ok this is a short opening chapter, but I thought if I put it up here you might badger me to continue. Your reviews will be much appreciated.

She flopped down next to him on the sofa with a huge sigh "It's so much fussing around".

"Tell me about it" he concurred as he pulled her into his hold whilst continuing to watch the cars hurtle across the TV and Eddie Jordan make another outrageous claim.

"I'm not so sure you should be watching that" she gently admonished sitting back in a more upright position

"I can't breathe out there princess" he admitted as he squeezed her shoulder

"So how do you think I feel?" the emphasised I didn't go un-noticed

"You're the bride - it's all about you"

"Not just me" she protested

He snorted "99%"

"Rubbish a wedding is about two people..." she waggled her engagement finger in front of his eyes

"All this dressing up malarky is one for the women, no two ways about it" Dempsey insisted but nevertheless clicked the remote and silenced the roar of formula one qualifying. He too sat up and looked at the big fluffy dressing gown and the pretty face peeping out of the top. He touched her nose with a gentle flick "you all ready under that lot?" he checked, she nodded

Dempsey stood her infront of him and slowly grazed her hair, face and the string of pearls gracing her neck. He ran the necklace through his fingers and very quietly and gently asked "'they your moms?"

Her fingers ran along the string until they met his, she nodded and he smiled in appreciation "something borrowed" she added as an after thought

"I think they're yours now" he whispered

"Don't say that" she protested "I've not got anything else borrowed"

"What about blue?" he asked with a mischievous wink

"Just the traditional garter" she began and then defiantly added "and I am most certainly not showing it to you"

Dempsey laughed "Cummon I need to be searching out something to wear"

"Something! I thought your suit was all sorted"

"Relax" he laughed "Everyone will be looking at the bride"

Outside the sun shone in true blazing June style and house guests were milling around on the lawns bordered by the formal garden. Tables with huge sunshades, scattered chairs and staff with trays of bucks fizz and canapés completed the scene.

The wedding itself would take place infront of the old folly and a small army of village lads were just finishing the regimented rows of chairs encased in their white wraps but without the huge bows so hated by the bride. A small generator hummed and two banks of speakers erupted into life drowning any other noise as the lanky technicians checked the sound levels. The sound of music brought a smile to the aunts, great aunts, cousins and second cousins alike as they soaked up the atmosphere of the pre wedding hours.

The huge marquee had been up for several days and was to be used for the wedding breakfast; now the local WI were at full throttle with the white freesias, lisianthus, cymbidium orchids and nerines for table decorations and a second crew were napkin folding and distributing the pure white sugar almond wedding favours.

Patricia McDiarmid had expected something rather more up-market for a Winfield wedding but as she placed the white voile bags at each setting she had to concede that the luxury of the flowers combined so well with the simplicity of the traditional gifts.

The oversized arch and three oversized pedestals made with the wild looking Sparrieshoop white rose gave an informality to the proceedings that never could be achieved had the hybrid tea selection that had been the first suggestion been used.

Dempsey had kept well away from everything, deciding that the small guest suite on the third floor was only just remote enough. He'd ensconced himself away 3 days ago and only yesterday had been unsure if he liked or felt secretly hurt that no one had appeared to miss him.

Alan had faithfully delivered his New York Times and Beth had kept him well supplied with food. In fairness he hadn't been house bound, choosing to use the servant staircase he had made several forays into the outside world; the one to the local pub had been a mistake – every villager seemed to know more about the wedding than he did but a fishing trip to Whitstable had provided some very welcome 'man space' and although he had only landed a couple of small cod and three mackerel he'd endeared himself to Beth with two huge lobsters landed earlier that morning by Barnacles Barnie. 'Fishing' he thought – now what was it Spikings had said about fishing?

Now he was forced back downstairs to his own room where the top hat and tails had been carefully hung for three weeks. The long hot shower pounded his skin and he sung an old Neil Young song at the top of his voice with no one there to complain or pass comment on his talent. Two hours to the service, then all the fuss of the photos – a nightmare he wasn't really looking forward to. The speech he had spent weeks mulling over would be the last big hurdle of the day, the partying after and the ensuing activities were what he was really looking forward to.