A Sydney Summer Wedding

It’s like rain on your wedding day. It’s not a bad omen, it’s just rain.

Getting married is a little hectic.  The day itself has visitors flying through doors at the drop of hat, hugging, messing your makeup, touching your dress and generally getting all teary-eyed at you even though you’re the one that everybody is going to look at.  It appears to be, well, a little overwhelming…

As a guest at a wedding, and a destination wedding at that, it’s nothing but frivolity.  There’s champagne in the morning, leisurely swims, a late breakfast and a bunch of your friends in a room doing hair and make-up together while dancing to the 90s best rhythms on the hotel television.

In Sydney, in December, all of those worlds collided and it nearly spun off its axis.  Dancing in hotel rooms, champagne and petit-four morning teas, hair straighteners and hunts for wrapping paper that ended up with two of us on Oxford Street finding studded bra tops in a cheap shop couldn’t be further from the stress of what was happening upstairs.  The morning was fun – it was spent with love and laughter, with a bride that was part of our tribe and by that afternoon we were going to see it grow by one.  There wasn’t anything that could go wrong.

Billie and Gareth were getting married.  I was going to marry them and the wedding was filled with people that we all loved.  There was absolutely nothing to be nervous about.  Standing in the foyer of a very fancy hotel we waited for a cab.  It was taking a while, but it’s Sydney.  That’s ok, plenty of time to spare.  Standing on the footpath with our tribe of seven plus a mini, we watched the sky blacken and the wind whistle through the trees of Hyde Park.

The wedding was in the Botanic Gardens, under the trees and meant to be in the glorious Sydney sun.  With a wedding at three and a radar that looked dangerously like the white caps of an angry Pacific ocean, this wedding had to be fast.  I got nervous.

Rain on your wedding day is apparently an ominous sign.  Many an outdoor ceremony has been thwarted because the fluffy whites have turned to angry black clouds in the blink of an eye.  A cab ride later and the sky is still threatening to pour at any minute.  “How fast can you talk?” Gareth asks. Not fast enough I think.

The Bride arrives, the ceremony begins and the weather is no longer important.  It wouldn’t have mattered if the heavens opened up that very second, the moment Gareth spotted Billie, the moment she walked in looked at her husband to be, the world could have collapsed and none of us would have noticed.

Before getting married brides, grooms, families and wedding planners do nothing but worry about the small details.  The small details make sure you get the wedding you’ve always wanted but in that moment, in front of your tribe, the details are unimportant.  As long as you stand with those you love, all that matters is that chance to say ‘Yes.’ To say ‘I do choose you’ and the rest of the world becomes irrelevant.  Even if just for a moment, not even the rain or the threat of a wild summer storm makes an ounce of difference.


PS:  The rain did hold out long enough – just long enough to clap and cheer.  Then it rained.  A lot.  Enough to swim in on the very wet walk back to the hotel.  Billie + Gareth?  Dry as a Middle Eastern Desert.

Rob and Jenny

My last two weddings have been for strangers.  These couples I had not met before their first text message asking me for my services.  Like all times, meeting new people can often be awkward and a little nerve racking and when you’ve only communicated with people via phone, meeting face to face brings a whole plethora of new anxieties.  I am a wedding celebrant and meet new people all of the time but the anxiety attached to meeting brand new couples face to face doesn’t go away even when you do it all of the time.

I had only spoken to Jenny on the phone.  We had texted and talked but not actually met in person.  Breaking the ice with your celebrant is by far the most important thing you can do.  Once we both moved past the apprehension of first time meetings and hellos our relationship and their wedding took on a totally different feel.

The white gazebo of I do’s

From the moment I met Jenny and Rob, they welcomed me into their home with a cup of tea and their middle child crawled onto my lap to say hello and we drew while we talked. From the first four seconds of spending time in their presence, they were no longer strangers but people I shared tea with and people I talked to about the everyday goings on of life.

When four months later I stood with Rob under a beautifully white decorated gazebo, I was not at his wedding as a stranger.  I was at his wedding as someone he knew.  We had laughed together, shared cups of tea and talked about Jenny’s ongoing DIY projects long before the day they would both say ‘I do’ and now this wedding was about all of us.  The guests, the family, the lady from next door who rushed down a bouquet or some other forgotten necessity and me.  I was personally invested in making sure this day went perfectly and watching Jenny walk towards us, I was genuinely happy to see her and Rob so happy at the thought of what comes next.

At the end of their ceremony my cheeks were so sore from smiling and my happiness so severe that it took a lot out of me.  Giving Jenny and Rob a great big hug as Mr and Mrs Watts was truly a moment of happiness and joy that they let me share with them.  Jenny and Rob, it was a privlege and an honour to spend the day with you and I thank your beautiful friends family for making me feel so included in your special day.  (Someone needs to share that punch recipe immediately and tell that lady she needs to start selling her cupcakes!)  Rob and Jenny I can’t wait to see a photo or two of your day!


When she’s all grown up

Getting married young is not so common anymore. If your relationship is ready and you are then sometimes knowing is more than enough.

My baby cousin, (the second littlest) is getting married!  It’s an exciting time for all of us when someone you love is going to tie the knot and it’s twice as special when you love them like a sister.  Girls in our family are a rare species.  I grew up with a broomstick and a purple mask being a Ninja Turtle in the backyard.  (Of course my mask was purple – I was a girl and I certainly wasn’t allowed to have a cool weapon.)  When my cousin was born when I was twelve I thought all of my dreams had come it once.  She was mine!  I was going to get this one.  She would watch Disney Princess movies with me, we would dance and sing and I would cover her in make up.  The fact that she was just as comfortable outside with the slingshots, motorbikes and sandpits is irrelevant.   There was another girl and she was on my side.

Just last month, she sent me a picture of a diamond and it was on her left hand.  She is young, twelve years younger than me, and my left hand is decidedly naked of adornments.  On a bad day, it could have hurt a little but it didn’t and this was my little girl.  She’s been a grown up since the day I let her dance to Sweet Transvestite so many years before she should have.  She’s been a grown up since the first time she had to pick me up from an unspecified location in the city.  She’s been a grown up since I treated her like one when she was still a tween.

Her other half is gem.  He’s been part of our family since his mid teens and it’s hard to imagine life without them together.  Unlike many couples I know batting twice their age brackets they have this weird ability to complement each other.  He knows when to ignore her tantrums (she gets that from me) and she knows when it’s best not to ask.  I look at them and hope to high heaven that at some point in my life I will find myself in a relationship that as just as grown up as theirs.  So in September… of next year… I will marry them.  I will be the one that gets to say ‘husband and wife’ and start her next journey into a grown up world she belongs in.  I’ll just stand and wave from the edge and hope that if I still ask nicely enough she’ll pick me up when I can’t find my cab money home.

I am not the grown up (the one on the right)
I am not the grown up (the one on the right)
They go alright...
They go alright…
Decorations from Event Illusions Toowoomba
Decorations from Event Illusions Toowoomba

Spread your happiness! Anyway you can!

Getting married is a big deal.  Strolling with a friend today, sinking in Tenneriffe’s pretentiousness, we stumbled across a wedding.  Walking along the river walk in a Kmart shirt and a Lorna Jane hoodie I only felt part the pretender I actually was but was happy to bask in the same sunshine as the rich and not so famous.

On the boardwalk, in front of the giant metal sheep, stood a whole bunch of people in all of their finery.  Three men and very nice suits and a celebrant in sensible yet trendy shoes. We continued our walk, gossiping shamelessly about how much the whole hoo ha of an event would cost and how it could be possible to spend that much money on a single day.

As we turned right, instead of left, the limo arrived.  The bridesmaids stepped out and so did a bride.  Covered shoulders in ivory lace and hair in a perfect french roll.  But apart from that, irrespective of her beautiful dress and expensive wedding, the crux of our conversation moved to the people at the wedding.

Nobody is sad at a wedding.  The amount of money you spend and where you have it is irrelevant.  The thing that is always the same is that the two people getting married are happy.  The happiness that they share is then spread like a virus through your loved ones.  It’s something worth catching and definitely something worth spreading – not only to your loved ones but those on the footpath basking in your happiness.

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