Aramcons Dana 
and Mary Dana and Mary
Photograph Submitted by Mary McNeill

The doorbell rang. I snapped my suitcase shut and ran downstairs. The limousine driver arranged by British Airways had arrived exactly on time. This was the start of one of the most important journeys of my life. I said a fond farewell to my house rabbits, Rufus and Ginger, and left them in the capable and caring hands of the house-sitter. Of course I felt guilty leaving them but I had to go - June 21, 2003, was going to be my wedding day.

I had met my husband-to-be, Dana, in Dhahran two years earlier. Actually, Dana and I had already got married in Dana’s home town, Pine Mountain Valley, Georgia USA in February of this year. But just like the song, ‘New York, New York’, the wedding was so good, we decided to do it twice. This time, we were going to ‘tie the knot’ English style. The wedding blessing was to be held in St. Margaret’s, an 11th century church in my home town of Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire.

My friends were, however, somewhat surprised to hear that I was getting married for the second time in six months, and were relieved to hear it was to the same person. I had waited 37 years to get married so chose the longest day of the year, midsummer’s day, to make the most of it. Also, I figured this day was the best chance of getting nice weather in the UK.

I flew out from Bahrain on June 12th to finalize the arrangements for the wedding. I have flown British Airways for the past five years – in fact all the time I have worked for Saudi Aramco. I always feel that my holiday begins the moment I step on board the plane. So, naturally, I chose to fly with British Airways for this important trip. One of the main benefits of flying BA is the reliability of the service. You can always depend on high quality and excellent care. Also, safety is a top priority with BA. The cabin crew are so welcoming and are always pleased to assist you in any way. British Airways also takes great care to look after your luggage and make sure it arrives with you. This was particularly important to me as my carefully packed wedding dress would be in the luggage hold!

As it was a special occasion, I decided to spoil myself and fly Business Class. This was a first in a lifetime treat. My husband, Dana often flies Club World with British Airways on business and he had often told me how enjoyable it was. So, I decided to experience it for myself – I was to be impressed. I also wanted to feel relaxed and refreshed when I arrived in the UK as I knew I’d have a busy week ahead. Another advantage of traveling Business Class is the limousine service provided by British Airways. This saves having to worry about organizing a ride to and from Bahrain airport.

Now, back to my trip. The limousine driver greeted me and politely carried my suitcases to the waiting car. The drive from Dhahran to Bahrain Airport was smooth and we arrived at the airport in good time. The driver wished me a good journey and congratulated me on the forthcoming wedding.

In the airport, the check-in at the British Airways desk was extremely efficient and I was soon perusing the duty-free shops in the airport. The time soon came to board the flight. The cabin crew welcomed me on board and guided me to my seat - 63 J. I was sitting in the upper deck of the Club World cabin. A flight attendant helped me place my hand luggage in the overhead locker and I set about exploring the surroundings.

The seats in Club World are amazing. They are spacious and extremely comfortable. The seat reclines at the touch of a button and there is a footstool which can be lowered so you can stretch out fully during the flight. Each seat also has a fan-shaped screen which can be opened to form a cocoon of privacy. I couldn’t believe how luxurious it was!

A flight attendant offered me a wide selection of current newspapers while another brought me a handy travel pack containing a toothbrush, toiletries, eye-shades and other useful items for the flight. I could see that the flight was going to be a real pleasure.

The captain welcomed us aboard and after the safety briefing we took off on time. I took the menu from the seat pocket and was delighted to see a choice of tempting meals and desserts. I chose chicken pasta with flakes of Parmesan cheese. It was truly delicious. I can still remember how good it tasted.

After a refreshing cup of tea, I browsed the wide selection of in-flight movies. I have a habit of playing with gadgets which drives Dana crazy – he constantly reminds me of the time I broke the air-conditioning unit by fiddling with the remote control on our first holiday in Sri Lanka. So, I made the most of flicking through all the movie and radio channels and adjusting the seat to my heart’s content. Finally, I decided that I really should get some rest. I put on my eye-shades, lowered the foot stool, reclined the seat and settled down but for a good night's sleep.

I woke several hours later to the smell of fresh coffee. Breakfast was being served. I enjoyed a tasty plate of eggs, sausages and fresh bread rolls. A flight attendant then brought me a hot face cloth which helped me start the day feeling refreshed.

We touched down at Heathrow at the scheduled time. I collected my luggage and left the plane. The cabin crew waved me off and wished me good luck for the wedding. The flight had been wonderful and I arrived feeling relaxed and ready for the busy week ahead.

The next seven days were truly hectic so I was glad that I’d had a really pleasant journey to the UK. I proceeded to book hotels for the wedding guests, organize flowers, finalize meals for the reception and buy up all stocks of tissues to make sure that my mum would have enough hankies to get her through the wedding day. My husband had wisely decided to stay in Saudi Arabia for this busy week and fly out from Bahrain on June 19th. Of course, he also flew with British Airways. We had to be sure that he would arrive on time for the wedding rehearsal on June 20th . I met Dana at Heathrow Airport at the scheduled time and he booked into a hotel in Henley-on-Thames. We spent the rest of the day making any final arrangements for the wedding.

The next day came and the wedding rehearsal went very smoothly. Dana returned to his hotel and I spent the night at my parents’ home. I went to bed feeling both nervous and excited and prayed for a sunny day. The next morning I woke up and raced to open the curtains. The sun shone in – it was a beautiful sunny day. The wedding was to be at midday. The photographer arrived at 9:00 AM and the flowers shortly afterwards. Guests soon began to fill the house and garden, including my friends Kathy and Hazel from Saudi Aramco. At 11:30, the wedding car arrived - a Rolls Royce Silver Cloud - with a white ribbon tied to the front. This was the second time I was to travel in luxury in a week!

Aramcons Dana 
and Mary Dana and Mary
Photograph Submitted by Mary McNeill

I set off in the car to the church with my parents and bridesmaid. When we arrived, my mum went and stood at the front of the church. The organist began to play the bridal march and I took my dad’s arm and we walked up the aisle. The service was wonderful. Dana read a poem by W. H. Auden called ‘Tell Me the truth About Love’.

My parents stood next to me as Dana and I said our vows and exchanged rings. The church choir sang a hymn then Dana and I walked down the aisle together to the sound of church bells peeling. Everyone gathered outside the church for photographs and friends and family threw handfuls of confetti as you can see in the photograph. I don’t think Dana was expecting it!

We then left the church for the reception in a local golf club. We enjoyed an excellent meal in splendid surroundings. Dana and I then cut our wedding cake and speeches were made. It was the end of a perfect day.

After the wedding Dana and I set off on honeymoon to Portsmouth on the south coast of England. My prayer for sunny weather on the wedding day had certainly been answered. Dana spent the entire honeymoon rubbing after-sun lotion onto my lobster-red shoulders. Actually, there were three of us on the honeymoon - my mum came with us. Dana must have the dubious distinction of being the only groom to be able to say that he went on honeymoon with his mother-in-law!

In Portsmouth we stayed in a traditional English bed and breakfast on the sea front. It was run by Bob – an old salt. On our first night there, the rain came down in buckets and there was a tremendous thunder storm. In the morning we awoke to find the lower floor of the house completely flooded. Luckily for us we were staying on the top floor. Bob, though, didn’t see anything lucky about it. He greeted us with a grunt and said, ‘I hope you’re going to have a better day than I’m going to have’. With those cheery words we went to explore the town.

That day we visited the Historic Dockyard and toured sailing ships such as Lord Horatio Nelson's ‘Victory’. We also saw the impressive ‘Mary Rose’, King Henry VIII’s 16th century flagship, which sank in 1545 and was brought to the surface in the 1980’s.

That day we visited the Historic Dockyard and toured sailing ships such as Lord Horatio Nelson's ‘Victory’. We also saw the impressive ‘Mary Rose’, King Henry VIII’s 16th century flagship, which sank in 1545 and was brought to the surface in the 1980’s.

On June 28th, Dana and I parted company at Heathrow Airport. He flew on to the States to visit his parents and I flew back to Bahrain. Of course, we both flew with British Airways. Flying Business Class, I was able to take advantage of the British Airways lounge in the airport. It is an extremely civilized way to spend time before a flight away from the bustle of the busy airport. I relaxed in a comfortable armchair and enjoyed a light breakfast of fresh croissants, tasty muffins and of course a cup of hot tea. I was also able to check my email on the computer terminals available in the lounge which was an added bonus.

The flight to Bahrain boarded on time and once again I settled into a luxurious seat in Club World. During the flight, I enjoyed watching a selection of programs and playing computer games on the in-flight entertainment system – content once more to be in sole charge of the remote control. We landed on time in Bahrain and after collecting my luggage, I went to the British Airways transport desk. The waiting driver thoughtfully carried my cases to the limousine.

I arrived in Dhahran on June 28th after an exciting holiday, eager to tell my friends about my marvelous journey and wonderful wedding. In fact, I am looking forward to doing it again soon - flying British Airways, I mean, not getting married!

Note:
Congratulations to Mary McNeilly who has won a pair of World Traveller Plus tickets to any British Airways destination in the East Coast of the USA. Mary and her travel companion have the opportunity to travel in World Traveller Plus, our premium economy cabin, and feel the benefits of a more spacious cabin with wider seats, extra leg room and more seat recline, meaning they can enjoy a relaxing journey to arrive in better shape.

Join us in congratulating the couple for their wedding.