I lay next to my friend Lottie on a handmade quilt, under a majestic tree. Looking up we could see fairy lights entwined in its branches, and its jagged leaves were silhouetted against the dark, clear sky. The backs of tall London houses surrounded us, their solid brickwork broken only by the pools of warm light that spilt from their windows onto the deep green of the large communal garden.
The bass from the sound system was leaking into the earth and the laughter and chatter of people united in love and celebration was saturating the air. Lottie turned to me and said, “I feel like we’re in a film.” I grinned and said “What, Notting Hill?” We were in fact in Notting Hill, witnessing an epic love story that stretches over many years and several continents.
Today Fran got married in the garden at the back of the house in which she, her mother and her grandmother had all grown up. The day was gorgeous in every way, perfect for Fran and her husband Luke. They’ve known each other since university and theirs is a story of deep friendship, of courageous declarations, of bad timing, of good timing, of openness, trust and determination.
I felt so lucky to be part of the community of people that had joined them for food, dancing, ceremony, speeches, and ice cream. Fran’s dad and Bunny gave deeply moving speeches full of humour and love.
I sometimes feel nervous at events like this because I worry about the impact of my tics. But this didn’t even cross my mind today. It was such a relaxed environment and I was surrounded by so many great friends and people I know.
The accessibility of every moment had been carefully thought through so I felt free to be myself. And I’m confident everyone else will have felt a similar freedom, which is a testament to the incredible space Luke and Fran create wherever they are.