Bob’s 70th Birthday Party and Our Vow Renewal Ceremony

 

Today was just the best day for Bob and I!!!!  We woke up at about 0730 with birthday cards and presents.   People have been so kind and generous.  I’d bought Bob an upgraded version of his Akaso underwater camera which he was delighted with.  We had breakfast at Eve’s with some of our company, and Bob got more presents including a lovely wooden carved bowl from Ali and Maureen.  He also got a sushi master class at Jamie Oliver’s for 2 people, a golf round, an incredibly generous Amazon voucher, a couples’ massage…..

Bob and I spent the morning at Eve’s reviewing the details of the vow renewal ceremony again, particularly the poems that we had chosen to read.  While we were downstairs Marylyn and Clive decorated our room with balloons, hearts and flowers and left Bob a most amazing chocolate birthday cake.  We shall enjoy that on Sunday and Monday.  I put it in our fridge.  So kind of them.

At 2pm the taxis came to take those of us who were staying at the Sundowner Resort in Palolem link  

over to the resort.  They only have 4 cottages and so it was all the oldies, except Penny and Dave who opted to come back to Eve’s after the party because they are going home on Sunday and needed to pack.  We were in beach clothes and would change into our finery later.

I was the only one who had been to Sundowner before.  Even Bob had not set foot on the little “almost island” and I think it is fair to say that everyone was completely blown away by the beauty and charm of the place.  Our party organiser, Tabitha, was in full flow when we got there, laying out the large dining area with her helpers, and a team of florists setting up the flower bedecked wedding arch, and the arrangements around the different party areas.  It’s always a picturesque spot anyway with drop dead views in all directions, and many fairy lights and lanterns as the sun sets, but Tabitha was revving all that up to the nth degree.

We left her to it and checked into our bungalow huts perched high on the little hill above the resort.  They were plain but perfectly adequate, all en suite and with big glass walls facing out to sea, which could be opened to let in the breeze.  The guests were arriving from 4pm so Bob came up to get dressed just before that as did the rest of the cottage-staying guests.

Lucy, Daisy and I waited till 4pm and then went up to our cottage and got dressed.  The girls helped do my makeup which was a lovely experience.  They had flower garlands to put in their hair made of orchids, jasmine and gardenias.  I had a lovely spray bouquet.  The florist did an amazing job.  There were orchids everywhere.  Single flowers pinned down ribbons, sprays, pots for the dining tables….. just lovely.  So much nicer than I expected.

At 445 Bob and lovely Jazz, our celebrant, lead all the guests to the wedding area, facing west.  He had a gorgeous teal silk kurta on and white trousers and a large white flower garland.  All the guests also had white flower garlands.  We had about 15 minutes of music to cover this time, to get everyone in the mood for the ceremony.  You can see the choices in the Ceremony script document which I have attached. ceremony

Then, it was time for the Processional.  I went first, stopping for David to take a photo.  (He took lots of photos for us, did a brilliant job).  Our music was Remember Us This Way by Lady Gaga.  I had a white cotton dress with tiny sequins sewn into embroidered flowers on the bodice and a teal and gold stole draped over one shoulder.  It was lovely – a bit nervous-making walking towards Bob and the group – but they clapped and Bob gave me a big welcoming smile.  Then we turned and Lucy processed along towards us and we greeted her and she stood beside us and then we all turned to welcome Daisy, who processed in last.  It worked really well with the music.  The girls looked so pretty in their outfits and flowered head garlands.

Jazz spoke very clearly and had a brilliant delivery we thought.  She lead us through the service which I had put together from different ceremonies I found on the internet, incorporating bits I liked.  The girls and Bob had added and amended bits.  It felt very personal.  Jazz got us through with many smiles and no one fell over, knocked anything over or collapsed through nerves.  We even managed to fasten the yin-yang bracelets without dropping them which was a miracle because our hands were absolutely soaked in sweat.  It was sooooo hot still…. Poor Bob was particularly suffering in his silk top.

It took about half an hour I suppose.  The candle ceremony was a bit challenging in the breeze, but the candle was like one of those magic ones (it wasn’t) that you get for children’s birthdays.  It would almost go out and then suddenly spring back to life!!!!

After the ceremony, we all got cold drinks from the bar and there was much mingling and chatting for about an hour while we waited for the sunset.  It was a spectacular one and in such a spot too…..  we watched from the rocks and terraces.

At about 7pm we sat down to dinner on a long table decorated with lanterns and orchids.  We had the food sent from Dropadi, our favourite restaurant, and they sent a chef over to help the Sundowner chefs serve it.  All was yummy.  We had chicket tikka masala, prawn masala, palak paneer (of course!!!), rice, roti bread and aloo gobi.  There was a lot.  I managed a large plateful but was a bit afraid I’d get it on my dress.

For dessert we had Bob’s birthday cake, which wasn’t a cake but was instead a huge Tarte au Citron, from Jaali Café.  Tabitha had got a 70 candle and put on top.  I carried it in to him and we all sang Happy Birthday and he blew his candles out!!!!  The tarte was very good.  There were a couple of short speeches.  Bob thanked everyone for coming and helping it be so special with their company.

At 9pm it was time for the entertainer.  We had an amazing fire dancer.  A French chap and he was very spectacular.  He danced, whirling firey lances around to music.  All very energetic.  At one point, he got Bob and I up and danced closely around each of us whirling the fire.  I tucked my dress right in and kept very still!!!!!!  All was well though.  He was really exceptional.

Tabitha put various playlists through the sound system and we all danced under the stars, and in between drank and sat in chairs around the firepit watching the lights of Palolem across the bay.  The evening ended with a firework display.  Quite a few very large fireworks right over the sea in front of us.  It had been a wonderful, wonderful day. Even better than we ever anticipated.  I can’t praise and thank Tabitha and Jazz enough for all they did, and the whole team at Sundowner.

Those that were not staying had to be ferried back to Palolem Beach by inflatable boat (punted) because it was high tide by then and Beachcomber is totally cut off other than at low tide (which it was when we arrived).  This proved a little tricky for some parties…. well… I think everyone got a bit wet to some extent, some more than others.  We smug “overnighters” giggled a lot and compared our departing friends to certain parties at Calais and Dunkirk…. it was not at all appreciated 🙂

One last nightcap around the firepit and then we all turned in.  Very tired but very happy.  A day we will never forget.  Wish we could do it all over again!

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