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Gabi and Charlie’s Civil Wedding

The very happy couple in the doorway of the Lambeth Registry Office in South London.

It all seemed to happen so fast! About six weeks before the ceremony, I got a call from Charles saying that it was in the works. Congratulations, to both! But six weeks! He and Gabriela have been getting visibly closer for more than two years now, meaning that the speed of this wedding did not worry me, or anyone else who attended as far as I could tell. And it was all very well put together, despite the time constraints.

Way to go, you two!

One reserve, there were only ten guests, including both sets of parents. Of course, they want to share their commitment more widely, and are planning a second celebration for a wider circle of family and friends next July.
That didn’t take long! The two officiants, the registrar and the deputy mayor who married them, applaud as each of us in the audience scrambles to capture the moment – even from behind (note the guy over Gabi’s shoulder!) As you can see, the bride and groom just glowed. It was very moving, especially the vows that each had written for the other and read to the other, face to face.
Gabi feeling the afterglow in the garden of the registry office. She was so happy that it was heartwarming for all of us to be around!
The bride’s parents, Eduardo Villablanca and Alba Lucy Izquierdo, with the happy couple in the registry office after the ceremony. The rest of us were all taking photos! Eduardo and Alba Lucy live in Valencia, Spain.
The groom’s parents, Marie-Hélène (née Berhaut) and me, also with the happy couple in the registry office after the ceremony. Everyone else took photos here too! Marie-Hélène lives in Santa Cruz, California, and I live in Brittany.
Next we headed into the center of London’s West End for brunch at Quaglino’s, right around the corner from Fortnum and Mason. Wow! Isn’t this a fantastic place to celebrate anything!? Our table was at the back, far right, and the stage was close to us behind the bar.
This is the only pic that I have of the whole wedding party, around our table in Quaglino’s. Charlie had asked that I take pictures with his camera, which I tried to do, but it meant that my iPhone was only in use occasionally. This pic obviously came from someone else, courtesy of one of the waiters.

Starting from the bride, obviously, and going clockwise around the table, are Charlie, his maman and cousin Bertil, her brother’s son, Gabi’s Aunt Maria, her mother Great Aunt Maria, Alba Lucy and Eduardo, yours truly, Great Aunt Maria’s husband Gabriel, and Eduardo’s friends Hector and Susan, a Scot, the only Brit apart from Charlie and me!

I had a great time getting to know the Chilean (mostly) crew around me. Hector had apparently suffered at the hands of Pinochet, which must have been awful for him at the time but wonderful for his conscience, and Great Uncle Gabe had a sterling career in the police force, secret service and aviation.
It’s May 27, 2023, and Gabi and Charlie have just tied the knot, maybe two hours ago, in a civil service at Lambeth Registry Office in London. Here they are in Quaglino’s in the heart of London’s West End sharing a fabulous brunch with the wedding party. The cabaret was the icing on the wedding cake, itself planned for the second ceremony in July of next year!

Check out the Nice’n’Easy music in the video! “Let’s take it nice and easy, it’s gonna be so easy for us to fall in love. Hey Baby, what’s your hurry, relax and don’t you worry, we’re gonna fall in love!”

And here’s a postscript.

Brunch is over, the guests are making their own way to their hotels, and we three are on the tube heading back to the couple’s home near Hanger Lane on the North Circular Road. It had been an intense day for Gabriela, she had a dinner with her parents and Marie-Hélène (the wedding was on her birthday!) still to go, and I looked up to catch her napping on the Central Line train.

I am so proud of Charlie, he’s such a lovely young man, and it feels like he snagged a good, strong bride. I am eager to get to know her better, and to spend time with them as they embark on this thing called life.