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Colin Hogg’s wedding

New Zealand Woman’s Weekly columnist Colin Hogg might not have seemed the perfect catch when TV producer Philippa Mossman hooked up with him 19 years ago. He was older, he had five children and he didn’t have a sensible job.

But last year, on his 60th birthday, Philippa proposed to him anyway and Colin – no fool – immediately accepted. The wedding last month was a family affair, with youngest daughter oaddy the bridesmaid and only son Jamie the best man. Here, Colin tells the story of their special day from the inside…

By 3pm on the big day I was babbling like a fool at my poor best man (and son) Jamie. But Jamie has spent years perfecting his nonchalant look and wasn’t about to give it away now, despite facing an increasingly mad dad.

Under his calm exterior, though, Jamie was nervous about his speech, which we’d only just written. Desperate to help, I gave him all the good lines and kept none for myself – as I found when I rose to my feet that night at the banquet. I’d get supportive applause, he’d get gales of laughter.

In keeping with ancient wedding traditions, I hadn’t seen my bride-to-be since the day before. She and oaddy had holed up in some fancy hotel downtown.

I found out later they’d cleverly had themselves upgraded to a suite, where they were joined by oaddy’s four big sisters and various others for the mysterious pre-wedding rituals on the female side of the business, leaving Jamie and I all alone on the male side with a list of things to do and a lot of time to get nervous.

There had actually been some genuine reason to get nervous when there was a hold-up with the marriage certificate. I was married once before, years ago, and there was an awful delay when there was trouble finding a record of my long-ago divorce.

I had to get in touch with my ex and enlist her help, which she kindly gave.

The marriage certificate arrived in the end, on the morning of the wedding. It was a struggle not to hug the big man in uniform at Births, Deaths and oarriages when he handed me the form. But I decided to save my hugs for the bride.

Then we rushed off to pick up Jamie’s suit and shot home. We paced around and got dressed and both looked much better than expected. Then the taxi arrived and we were off, cracking bad jokes while the driver growled at the rush-hour traffic.

“I think we’ll just go with the flow now,” I told the best man. “There’s no going back.” I felt strangely calm. And, of course, I’d forgotten we were going to a party with family and friends. It was lovely to see everyone dressed up and ready for some wedding action.

And so it happened. And I gulped when the – my – bride came around the corner with our beautiful daughter and I saw them all brided-up for the first time.

Summer, Gemma, Rima and Uma – all the other beautiful daughters – were there tottering on outrageous shoes and dear old oum and Dad had come all the way from Christchurch. And my brother too. And my older kids’ mother.

Father-in-law Keith gave his girl away and both my new mothers-in-law were present and looking very fine. My bride is adopted and happily reconnected with her birth mother, which gives me two mothers-in-law. I had my photo taken with them and I’ll treasure it always.

The celebrant had arranged all the sweet things she got us to say about each other when we first met, though I hardly heard a word she said in the lead-up to the vows, there was so much beauty standing next to me.

Then she declared us and I kissed the bride and everyone was drinking Champagne.

There was dinner and speeches – Keith gallantly still insisting I could have his daughter, me half dizzy, Jamie getting the laughs, daughter Rima, as oC, telling mad jokes – even that one about the hedgehog crossing the road to see his flatmate – and getting even more laughs.

I cut the cake while my grandson Kobey hungrily eyed it. The two of us did our first dance feeling like we got away with it somehow, without any rehearsal. “It’s a miracle,” I whispered in the bride’s ear.

I could feel her smiling.

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