It started with a tiny country church, lost amidst fields full of wild flowers.
Outside, forgotten gravestones lay sunk in a sea of buttercups and inside people in hats waited and whispered, their heads twisting endlessly towards the door, as the comings and goings became fewer and the itch of anticipation spread.
All around us, the delicate scent of roses filled the air, and well-groomed guests rustled with expectation, and deep inside we re-lived the same electric moments on our own wedding morn, as we packed ourselves into the pews and waited in an uneasy silence for the magic to begin.
And when the door opened and the bride entered, dripping in lace, and looking bashful, bridal and more beautiful than she'd ever looked in her life, we knew something special was at hand.
We watched a smile slip through the church as we marvelled at her radiance and then we wiped tears from our eyes as we looked up towards the groom and saw pure love plastered across his face for everyone to see.
We sang the hymns with celebratory gusto, I read my reading with a clear voice and a stumbling heart, and then we all grew wistful and humble as the marriage vows were said and we witnessed the awesome sight of two people binding themselves together in love.
And once the ceremony was over and we had smiled for our photographs and showered the newlyweds with rose-petals, we headed off towards the reception without really having any idea of what we were going to find, but hoping for even more magic.
And magic is exactly what we found.
We walked into a manicured garden where flowerbeds frothed with foxgloves and jugs overflowed with roses, and felt its tingle hit us even before we'd sipped our champagne.
Above us, bunting fluttered beside Chinese lanterns and streamers soared from the treetops, and higher even than that, the marquee pointed majestically to a clear blue sky.
To our left little pavilions were dotted about the lawn, and to our right, beyond the cushioned hay-bales and the croquet game, an orchard stretched off into the distance, its branches dancing with streamers and hung with lampshades and hearts.
And beneath its bedecked branches, in a little glade that we happened across almost by chance this is what we found:
A Mad Hatter's tea party, complete with illuminated chandelier, hiding quietly in the orchard just waiting to be discovered.
And as we giggled and gushed, and felt reality shift beneath our feet, we wondered whether there could possibly be more, without knowing just how much more there was to come.
There was the marquee, bursting with roses, festooned with flags and dripping with vintage style.
There were the tables laid out with mis-matched china and hand-embroidered table-cloths and bedecked with cakes and flowers.
There was afternoon tea of the most exquisite and picturesque variety, complete with finger sandwiches, scones, strawberries and cream and trifle.
There were the gramophone records that crackled with Frank Sinatra as we sipped our tea from vintage teacups and picked our pastries from china cake stands.
There was the pick-and-mix table that made us gasp and giggle and then gallivant like sugar-high children.
There was the film tent, where old movies crackled in the darkness and buckets of popcorn waited to be picked up and munched.
There was the wish tree where people wrote out their wishes and watched them flutter happily in the breeze.
And of course there was my beautiful friend the bride, whose wild imagination had dreamed up this day and whose happiness was sweeter than all the cream eclairs in the world.
It was a wrench to leave the party, just as the band were beginning to set up, the fire-jugglers were arriving, the site was becoming illuminated from without and whispers of fireworks were at large.
But we'd savoured every minute of this magical and memorable day and as we bundled one sleepy boy into the car and made our way home we knew that we were blessed to have been included in the magic of this wedding and to have friends whose dreams are as big and imaginations are as beautiful as this.