A Wedding, Tourism, and God by Tayo Fatunla

We often hear of weddings taking place in faraway destinations, such as Dubai or in the beautiful Caribbean islands, or on cruise ships. But some couples stay behind in the UK — even with the unpredictable, barmy and cold UK summers — because of affordability, and some travel back to their countries of origin to hold mostly colourful, traditional weddings with their respective families, who travel in from home and abroad.

The UK weather has been different this year. With mostly uninterrupted sunshine — even warranting hosepipe bans around the country — there was no barmy, cold UK summer this time around. Not this year. It has been a brilliant summer of 2022, which was too hot at times, but I wasn’t complaining!

My daughter’s wedding had been booked to take place way way after the troubling period of COVID and lockdowns, which had ruined the wedding plans for so many couples who had had to reschedule their weddings for the following year or even the year after.

It’s only when my daughter and her husband held their wedding in Holkham, Norfolk in East Anglia, that I realised you don’t need to travel to Dubai or anywhere else to have a really good wedding. England — in fact, the UK as a whole — has beautiful towns, villages, landmarks and tourist attractions. Once you travel outside of London, it seems like you’re in an entirely different country — far away from the polluted cities.

My daughter had wowed me with a video of the Holkham Hall stately home a year prior to the wedding, so, as a proud father, I looked forward to walking her down the aisle of the elegant Marble Hall, to hand her over to her husband. Every detail of the wedding was creatively and well planned.

The wedding dress, the suits, both sets of parents, the ambience and the beautiful sunny weather all made for a successful wedding. The applause from onlookers and tourists, when my daughter got out of the car in her beautiful wedding dress to walk into Marble Hall, was heart-warming. I felt that having a creative dad had helped her to be creative and original. I had also challenged her to have a wedding that wasn’t predictable, like the many previous ones I had been to. And she did. Most importantly, I wanted the best for my daughter, Omotoyosi, and her husband, Tafadzwa, so I prayed that God would make the wedding successful and hitch-free. My prayer was answered, because God is a Master Planner.

The Bible says, in Matthew 19:26, that with God, all things are possible. This I believe. I knew it was going to be very good wedding, full of surprising visual touches throughout. I had no worries or concerns but prayed for the safety of everyone who had travelled from abroad and from within the UK to witness the marriage of our children and the joy of our two families, with different cultural heritages, becoming one.

Holkham Hall is an 18th-century Palladian-style estate, based on designs by William Kent and built by Thomas Coke, 1st Earl of Leicester. The present Earl and his family take great pride in opening their doors to members of the public and tourists and sharing the treasures within. At the heart of the 25,000-acre estate, on the Norfolk coast, is where Holkham Hall is situated, and it has been the family home for over 300 years. Holkham Hall proves and will continue to be a place that inspires creativity and the highest level of service.

The wedding ceremony took place at the breathtaking Marble Hall, an impressive introduction to the 50ft dome ceiling and elegant walls of English alabaster (and not marble, as the name suggests). The grand staircase leads to a myriad of state rooms, and it was a thing of beauty to see my daughter walk up those stairs, with her wedding dress cascading up the steps like a reverse waterfall. The reception took place on the same estate, in the simple and beautiful Lady Elizabeth Wing.

Friends, families and well-wishers, who had been invited, enjoyed the jaw-dropping experience of travelling to Holkham. Weddings at the beautifully landscaped Holkham Hall has helped tourism and will remain in the minds of visitors forever. It is very likely many will seek to have their own wedding experience on the Holkham Hall grounds. God be praised.

For more information about Holkham Hall, visit https://www.holkham.co.uk/

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