Australia journal - June 1999

The wedding day

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It was raining in Brisbane when we went down the hall for breakfast at around 9:00 on Sunday morning.  Lara and Andrew's wedding was scheduled for 2:45 at a park in Yeronga, a 15-minute cab ride from the Marriott.  "It's in a building in the park," we were reassured.  But it would be nice if the sun would come out, I thought.  From our room on the 26th floor we could see the sky thick with clouds, and a dark gray column of heavy rain was visible a few kilometers to the southeast - beyond which I could actually see some sunshine, so we thought maybe this front would exhaust itself by showtime.

No such luck - but it takes a heap more than a pissing rain to dampen the partying instincts of Australians, and the celebration was a great success.

The wedding took place at a riverside park a few kilometers upstream from downtown Brisbane.  A motorboat went by, prompting the bloke I was chatting with to speculate that it would be fun to see a pyramid of water skiers go by during the ceremony - but alas, 'twas not to be.  The ceremony was held on the patio, next to a nice garden a few meters up from the riverside.  The rain was pouring down, causing a terrible racket on the patio roof, until just a few minutes before the ceremony began.  And when the rain stopped, a chorus of cockatoos started ranting at each other on the other side of the river; I was afraid they might scream right through the wedding, but they calmed down in time for us to hear what was said.

After the ceremony, there was a lot of paperwork to complete.  Three different documents had to be signed by the bride, groom, witnesses and celebrant.  This all took place right there where the ceremony happened, with the assembled guests standing around watching.  Then the bride and groom were taken away for formal photos, with various groups of guests, attendants and family members summoned to pose.  Rita and I were brought in with the "overseas guests" group.  Fortunately, during that time the staff began to circulate with hors d'oeuvres and beverages, which made the very long time between ceremony and wedding dinner much more convivial.

The dinner was excellent, the cake-cutting and toasts and all that were warm fun.  Lara and Andrew has asked me to sing a song when they cut the cake, so - playing a nylon-string guitar borrowed from Andrew's mother - I sang "In My Life," which was sung at my wedding, and which made Lara's mother cry.

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