Back in the Alps: It's wedding season in Chamonix / by Harriet Dedman

I'm in Chamonix, France this weekend for the wedding of a great friend. I'm currently sitting on the balcony of my bedroom at the ergonomically delightful Hotel L'Heliopic, deep in the Chamonix valley. Mont Blanc looms large on the horizon. 

This is a weekend of full festivities. Yesterday, after the dedication of the glorious Riley-Kate, we all headed up the Télécabine de Planpraz (the 'Brévent') to a mountain-top restaurant to enjoy champagne in the sunshine. After a casual evening in the centre of town last night (featuring all of the pejorative French cheese essentials: onion soup, fondue and salade de chèvre chaud), we pottered back to our hotel (nightmares, inevitably, imminently ensuing). 

The wedding is this afternoon, in the Les Praz part of town. Anna and I will be singing at the ceremony, which is providing us with some stirling focus in our down time (I feel for our neighbours in this hotel, who must also now know the lyrics to various Ellie Goulding songs by heart). 

With a day to explore we are going to put on our hiking shoes (a new neon purchase from a mountaineering shop close by), and head up the Midi for a bit of a stomp. 

At 5.45am this morning the Groom and his Ushers (allegedly) embarked on a 7 hour mountaineering adventure with ice-picks and crampons. They have not been seen since. 4pm approaches with trepidation.