This year, aged 27, I have reached peak wedding. Between April and August I’ve been invited to five of them.
Out of them all, from an island off Estonia’s west coast to a ranch one-hour west of Salt Lake City, no venue caused me as much logistical deliberation as Rory and Kate’s big day. The wedding and reception took place in the beautiful, small Yorkshire town of Stainforth on a bank holiday weekend. Nestled in the Dales of God’s own county at a peak time for accommodation, there was only ever one choice. And it had a built-in microwave.
While others fiddled with their confused National Rail app, checked-in to their pricey B&Bs or chartered a flight, I contacted my kind colleagues at Practical Motorhome to see if they had a spare vehicle. They did.
A couple of Fridays later I was presented with the keys to the Benimar, a quite lovely Fiat-powered motorhome. For those unfamiliar with what the Benimar Mileo 231 has to offer, it contains just about everything I would need over the next 48 hours. Apart from a tie. I had to drive to my house to get a tie.
Any nerves about navigating the motorhome through London, this being my first trip out in a 'van, evaporated as I put on the DAB radio and reclined in the velour-clad luxury of the 360-degree swivel chair. Now this is living.
After stopping in west London to pick up my friend Owen, who is a fun-loving and relatively short chap (the latter would prove useful), we set off on the long road to the deep north.
The Benimar is pretty quick, and I was no faster or slower than I would have been in a car. We arrived in England’s north west at about 10pm and spent the night in Chester.
On Saturday, we had enough time to take a leisurely breakfast and make the two-hour drive directly to a car park just metres from the church. As we put our suits on, the bells rang and we strolled over to sit in our pews.
As soon as the service climaxed (to the strains of the Champions League anthem played on an organ), we boarded the Benimar once more for a short drive to the country house hosting the reception. We set up home for the night in a deserted lay-by on the brow of a hill, surrounded by glorious green vistas.
After the party, made all the more fun by the most common greeting of, “so you’re the guys who came in the motorhome,” we shuffled back to the Benimar. There are few things funnier than fiddling with the stiff keys, or trying and failing to set up the second bed, after a few beers. Fortunately, Owen slotted neatly onto a bed of cushions between the back door and the wheel arch. And we woke to find we'd been joined by another motorhome – indeed, another Benimar. What are the chances?!
Going to a wedding in a motorhome was like everything I’ve ever wanted to be: efficient, luxurious and cheap. I miss feeling the absolute freedom (to drive, to shower, to sleep) and the light jangle of the microwave plate against the sink.
I can’t wait to go for longer, further and have even more freedom. First Yorkshire. Next, the world.