Tuesday, 21 August 2012

99th Garrison at Dan and Erica's wedding - 13th August, 2012

The 99th Garrison was asked by Dan Fountain and his bride to be Erica to attend their wedding to add a touch of Star Wars.  Dan is a big fan of Star Wars who we had met when collecting in a shopping centre in Sheffield and he has since become a generous supporter of Dreamflight providing a variety of raffle prizes and donations over the past year or so to Dreamflight fundraising events.

The wedding took place at Peckforton Castle in Cheshire and wow!..... what a fabulous setting.  It was absolutely idyllic.

We needed to be in armour for 1:00pm so arrived at the Castle at about 11:30 ish and met up with Neil… or Lord Vader.  Neil is the tallest Vader I have ever seen and is about 7 foot when he is in his costume; making me feel tiny!  

I also had a quick look around at the Birds of Prey that the castle keeps which you can book some time to spend with and fly them.  The Castle also does Land Rover Day experiences in the huge woodlands which surround it.  There were also some classes in archery taking place.

We were then joined by James, David, Paul, Colin and his Dad Eric.  We had four stormtroopers, two scouts and Lord Vader and Eric as excellent crew.

We had a very grand room to get changed in… never walked on carpet so plush before!

We were ready for about 12:50 so we went outside for some fresh air and to prepare for the groom’s arrival… as this was no ordinary arrival -  Dan was due to arrive by helicopter on the lawn outside the front of the castle.  There were already guests outside who obviously did not know about our attendance and were happily surprised and suitably impressed.

The helicopter arrived bang on time and made a couple of circles around the castle before landing.  Dan told us afterwards that the pilot played a joke on him and pretended that they were going to have to make a crash landing as there was a serious problem and then having fallen quite low and close to the ground suddenly pulled up again!  Poor Dan….. didn’t help his pre-wedding nerves at all!

Whilst the helicopter was landing, it was quite funny to see Lord Vader’s cloak almost taking off and the force of the breeze also flicked up his shoulder bells…. But no harm was done..fortunately!

Once the rotators had stopped the Best Man's Lamborghini parked up next to it and Dan's   Ferrari  was already parked on the drive!  Most impressive! 

We then marched in formation to the helicopter and then escorted the Groom and his party to the venue for some much needed pre-wedding ceremony drinks in the castle’s coach house.

It was then a case of mixing with the guests and posing for photographs before the bride’s arrival at 2:00pm.  Fortunately, although rain had been forecast for virtually all of the UK, the day stayed bright and dry. 

Me and Colin also got to sit in the helicopter too!  My first time ever and one of the advantages of Scout armour over Stormtrooper armour as at least we can move around more and sit down!

We provided a Guard of Honour for the guests’ entrance into the Castle’s Main Hall where the wedding ceremony was due to take place and also for the Bride’s entrance as well.  She looked gorgeous! And had the perfect princess’s wedding dress for the venue/location with much assistance and finishing touches being provided on her arrival by both her wedding planner and six beautiful bridesmaids on the steps to the Hall.

We then had a quick break whilst the service took place before we were back out on the lawn for the main professional photo shoot.  The wedding was also videoed and hopefully we’ll get to see that and some of the photos too.

We were then told that there was some food and drink waiting for us in the Castle’s bar and we were very well looked after indeed.  It was quite funny as the tables were laid out for us with proper posh cutlery etc and chairs but the Stormtroopers couldn’t even sit down…. But it was nice to live the high life and be spoilt.  

The owner of the castle then asked if we could hang around for his five year old son [Lucas] to come home from Nursery so that he could have some photos with us.  We could have what liked from the bar in terms of food and drink whilst we waited… sadly I was driving!

We killed the time by going back outside onto the Lawn.  The wedding guests were having their wedding breakfast by this point and we took advantage of the empty bouncy castle and space hoppers which had been provided.  This included my and Colin having a race across the lawn on the space-hoppers and Lord Vader sitting on one and falling off!!  

Lucas arrived home at about 5:00pm and sadly, was too frightened to have his photo taken with us alone.  We tried our best, even taking our helmets off to show him that we were just normal people [some would say that helmets off actually is more frightening!!] but all he would do in the end was pose for one photo with his Dad holding him in his arms.  

We de-kitted after this and then had a quick drink in the bar before setting off.  

A great day and one which raised at least £400 for Dreamflight.  More was to be collected in the evening as Dan asked for a couple of collection pots to be left and he was going to nag his guests to donate!  I’ll confirm the final amount once it is known.

A huge thanks to Dan and Erica for inviting us to their special day and to David, James, Jim, Eric, Colin, Neil and Paul for making it such fun.