It had been raining for weeks and days before. Mid-June seemed to be one leaden downpour after another. It got to the point ten days before the wedding when it was possible to look up he long-range weather forecasts for the day. They varied from "Showers" to "Rain" to "Light Rain". Not even "sunny intervals", whatever weather site I went to.
Then there was the Photographer Who Controls the Weather........ Not a man given to modesty, he proclaimed, "It will be fine on the day. It will not rain".
"Oh?", I said.
"Yes", he said. "I've done over a hundred and twenty weddings. And it's never rained on any of them."
"These things are not in our hands", I said. I thought an overt religious allusion might be too much even for him. But it flowed straight over his head.
"It will not rain on the day", he said.
Friends of ours had a wedding the Sunday before my daughter's. At each point when I knew the ceremony was happening, I thought about them and hoped the weather would hold out. It did. For about the first twenty minutes. Then there were bits of cloudburst. I just hoped they wouldn't be at key bits of the ceremony.
I had plan A, plan B and plan C for my daughter's, all of which revolved round the central commitment to trying to hold the chupah in the traditional Jewish way-- out of doors, under the sky and the heavens.
Plan A was full sun and variants of it. Only problem: how to get enough suncream for up to 300 guests who might not have thought about the likely result of sitting an hour or two in even British sunshine.
Plan B was light rain. Put the chupah where it was meant to be, in the middle of the beautiful courtyard, but cover it with plastic till just before the wedding.
Plan C was heavy rain. Put the chupah right next to the metal canopy outside the hall, cover it with plastic and have the guests huddle under the metal canopy or watching it from inside the glass outer wall of the hall.
It got to the day before. And three am on the morning of the wedding. I did the round of all the detailed online local area forecasts. The ones that do hour by hour through the day. They all said, "Light Rain". They don't seem to tell you what Light Rain is. Is it better or worse than "Showers"?
Judging by the torrential "Showers" we'd had in the week before, it seemed it was better. Under Light Rain, you could probably manage with Plan B.
The friends who had the wedding the week before had ended up with a Plan C. Even so, given the showers they did have, that had its tricky side. "I've never seen the rabbis huddling so close to the women", said the mother of the groom.
My daughter was more cheerful on the morning. "I've found a forecast for Barnet", she said. It says it will be clear after twelve noon. The chupah was to be at four thirty.
"But the wedding's in Brent", I said.
"Brent's next door to Barnet", she said. She was determined to be optimistic.
It teased us right through the morning. First a burst of heavy rain. Then, very briefly, a little glimpse of sun. After a quarter of an hour of seemingly set sun, back to more heavy rain. It began to get more intense in the later morning. The wedding organiser that morning had said, "I'm really worried". The first time I'd heard him talk like that.
It stopped raining and got sunny not long before she was in her dress and ready to say the pre-wedding prayers, which in the orthodox tradition are the same as those you say on Yom Kippur.
We put some white sheets on the sodden floor of the deck and she stood under the vine leaves saying her prayers, looking absolutely stunning.
The car arrived.
It was still bright. It stayed bright. Right through the journey, the time of receiving the guests before the wedding
Through the beautiful time of walking her to the chupah between me on the one side and her 91 year old grandmother on the other, just recovered, only a week after she'd collapsed and been rushed to hospital.
Through the drinking of the wine
and the listening to the reading of the marriage contract in which the man makes all the commitments and the woman agrees that he will.
And through to the breaking of the glass, and the joyful shouts of "Mazeltov!" and the looks of ecstatic happiness on her face and his....
So where does that leave me with the Photographer Who Controls the Weather? Are the arrogant rewarded? Does he really control the weather?
I don't know the answer, but I can tell you this. If he does, he must have done very few Jewish weddings over the last three weeks. And certainly none in the week before my daughter's wedding.
On the other hand, I'd like to think that the merit of the young couple; their integrity, patience, modesty and dignity in waiting the long four and a half years from deciding within days of meeting each other that they wanted to spend their lives together might, just might have had something to do with it.
That evening, a guest, who came late to the wedding meal because she was visiting her sick elderly mother in the Norwood Jewish old age home in Wandsworth, told me it had rained in south London all afternoon.
And it's rained on both days since. Some dry bits, but no clear, crystal sunlight like on that afternoon....