This is a short extract from the first chapter of my first ever fiction novel — I welcome your feedback and thank you for taking the time to read it :)
As the first chords of the Bridal Chorus struck Georgia intertwined her arm with her dads. He patted her hand and she covered his with her other hand feeling his strength, his warmth, his love. He wasn’t a demonstrative man and Georgia knew from his touch all that he wanted to say to her although a little part of her wished she could hear the words. She shook off the overwhelming temptation to say something and instead leaned in and gave him a kiss on the cheek.
‘It’s time dad.’
The church, named the Cathedral of The Holy Cross and St Michael in Golders Green, looked beautiful swathed in all its wedding ceremony adornments and decorations. The usually inner somber darkness of the solid wood arcade behind the altar shone in the light coming in through the stained glass windows. It was decorated with garlands of tiny gypsophilia interlaced with pink and soft buttermilk roses in full bloom. Tall broad pedestal arrangements guarded the altar like two bridesmaids bursting with pride as they looked on at the proceedings, bathed in the light of the floor-standing candelabrum behind them.
The glow of the lit candles in the sandboxes at the front of the church and along the side aisles cast warm golden shadows across the otherwise cold stone walls and columns lining the central seating area made up of long, heavy ornately carved wooden pews. Delicately painted murals of saints cast blue, red and green shadows across the church, reminding Georgia that the wedding vows she was about to take were in the eyes of God.
She took a deep breath in and exhaled slowly in an effort to calm herself, the smell of incense and burning wax hitting her nostrils, making her slightly giddy. She smoothed the folds of her long gown and fingered the hundreds of handmade roses stitched across the front of the dress in pretty swags; pink, coral and dusky blue. She adjusted her veil hanging over her carefully made up face and took another deep breath.
Her sisters, Teresa and Elena and her brother Louis were in the very front row with her grandparents, her mum’s parents and her dad’s parents. This was a momentous day for them all, the plans of the past eighteen months finally coming to fruition. She searched the crowd for Nicolas, the man she was marrying and saw the back of him stooped over talking to his proto koumbaro, Best Man, Miltonos.
Alerted to their presence by the music the guests turned round to face Georgia and her dad, many stood up and clicked photographs of her. Faced with a sea of smiles and waves and nods she smiled back, her nerves ebbing away with the warmth of the love she felt.
She urged her two six year old flower girls to straighten her train behind her. She looked ahead straight down the aisle, the gold edging either side of the dark red carpet mapping out the path to her husband-to-be. She tilted her chin up, fought against the tears of joy stinging the back of her eyes and took her first steps towards Nicolas and the rest of her life.
Walking back up the aisle, the Wedding March booming across the churchGeorgia and Nicolas came out into the sparkling sunlight holding hands. It was a surprisingly warm Sunday, May keeping its promise to Georgia to offer her true spring weather on her special day.
Instantly bombarded with cheers and whoops of joy and handfuls of rice and confetti, Nicolas turned to her and brushing his lips against her ear he whispered. ‘This is it Mrs Josephides.’
‘It is, Mr Josephides. The rest of our lives starts now,’ she said momentarily solemn as she spat out bits of sugar paper confetti stuck to her lip and shook the rice out of her bouncy curled hair and her cleavage. She laughed and waved at people she recognised, friends, family, family from Cyprus, Nicolas’ aunt and cousins from Greece. Her head fell back as she whooped loudly and flung her hands in the air, full of joy, waving her posy wedding bouquet high above her head.
‘Come here.’ Nicolas pulled her close, pushed the netting of her veil away from her face. He gave her a long kiss on the lips and as the cheers grew louder they both came up for air, their eyes locked into each other’s, smiling.
The banqueting suite, in the Royal Kensington Hotel, accommodated their 400 guests with ease, spacious with tall ceilings it was light, painted in opulent creams and golds and the most luxurious carpet and exquisite wallpaper. Georgia had fallen in love with the room the moment she saw it.
The suite dazzled with crystal candelabra and the glow of candles. Fresh flower displays of bud pink and ivory roses interspersed with gypsophilia and light catching crystals decorated the tables and raised top table on a curtained stage, beautiful balloon arrangements formed two interlocking hearts against the wall behind.
With the four course wedding meal almost finished and speeches done, although not traditionally customary at Greek Cypriot weddings, the celebrations got under way.
Georgia moved away from her seat at the top table and danced around the open floor space feeling ecstatically happy. Her long curled hair bounced below her shoulders as the live music blared out; Harry and the Grecian Kings was one of the most highly paid and sought after bands for Greek Cypriot weddings of the 1990s.
The four foot train of her dupion silk ivory wedding gown swept the parquet flooring of the dance area as Georgia twirled and turned, dipped and moved her body to the rhythm. She loved the feel of the full skirt as it swished and moved with her. The music seeped into every part of her and she was lost in her dancing which came as naturally to her as a pirouette came to a ballerina. She stretched out her arms loosely to her side and she clicked her fingers to the beat. Her smile was wide, revealing her pearl white even-spaced teeth, it reached her dark brown eyes which mirrored the sparkle of the diamonds around her wedding ring.