...to the backyard wedding of my husband's 40 year old high school friend (whom we've seen once in the 10 years we've been together and who was the 'cool' kid that sat at the back of my school bus) and his 26 year old fiance (whom we'd never met!). We didn't get an invitation...only an email earlier on with sketchy details saying the invitation was in the mail...it didn't arrive. It was a big effort for us, three hours drive each way, two small children, one frazzled me...if they couldn't even bother to send the invitation would we bother to go?? The night before (after talking to another school friend that we do see somewhat more regularly) my husband thought we should go, so go we did!
And it turned out to be a crazy, bizarre day. I've been tossing up whether I should blog about it or not because a wedding is a very solemn and serious occasion and I don't wish to make light of someone's special day...and because that is not my intention...and because the day is just so damn blogable...I am doing it!
The wedding is in our home town. My parents live on a farm 18km out of town. We are staying there and leaving the kids with them (the first time we have ever left the two year old with anyone!)
The drive is uneventful...just annoying...turning around every few minutes to pass something to someone...I'd rather be a flight attendant, at least they don't have to twist their backs for 3 hours!
There is nothing like that feeling of "we're here!", turning off the highway, driving over the cattle grid. But this time we see Mum & Dad's car coming down the track, we stop as we pass, Mum is visibly upset, my unwell Grandma who wears an emergency button has pressed the button and cannot be raised. Mum is rushing into town, the ambulance has been called, this may not be good. We arrive to find Dad on the phone, trying to let my sister, who is coming with her kids, know what has happened...and then we wait for a phone call. Fifteen minutes later Mum calls, Grandma is fine, she collapsed but had come around by the time Mum got there...we can all breathe again and stop crying.
My sister arrives a little over an hour later with her four kids so the cousins (who love each other to bits) can play and hopefully it will make it easier for my two year old who we are about to abandon for the first time.
As it had been so long since we'd been out anywhere child free I ask Dad to be our taxi so we can
Another of my husband's school friend's parents live across the river from my family, and after calling him we arrange to go into town with them to save Dad one trip. Mum drove us over...we leave with the vision of our two year old standing on the step, sucking her bottle, waving bravely. Mum tells us we are not to call...they'll be fine...she'll call us if something dire happens. Cool! Mum has got it all under control.
We arrive to mayhem at the friend's place...his mother has just ironed a hole in his pants...oh, did I mention he is a groomsman? Yes, a nice big hole at right about the butt line. Did he have time to go into town and buy some new ones? Would the shops still be open this late on a Saturday (it was 2pm, the wedding was to start at 3pm)? Could they be patched? Did they need to be stitched?? It was finally decided that a patch would have to do, fortunately the shirts were to be worn out and it almost covered it...not quite...but almost! So patched they are, into town we all drive...and as he steps out of the car, the patch falls off!! Ooops!!!
The wedding is not as casual as I had expected. All of those who actually received invitations knew it was semi-formal dress. I am wearing thongs...nice thongs with some sparkly bling...but thongs generally are not actually regarded as semi-formal...oh well.
Just before the wedding starts massive, black, menacing storm clouds appear. Followed by the bride and bridesmaids...not at all casual...looking gorgeous...attended by two flowergirls (the groom's daughter & the bride's daughter) and a pageboy (the groom's son). And I am well aware that this is going to make me sound incredibly snobby, but one of the bridesmaids was also accompanied by a massive tatt on her arm and another right across her back. I hate huge tatts, there I've said it! It totally ruined the look of her lovely, single shouldered, Grecian draped, silk, old silver dress.
As they stand waiting to walk down the aisle the bride loses it as do half the guests...someone makes the comment, "The drought has broken." During the ceremony raindrops fall, the celebrant is hopelessly confused by her out of order pages, the bride cries so much you can almost feel the gathering willing her through it, but as yet the hole in groomsman's pants is nowhere to be seen. It is a beautiful, touching wedding. I don't know the bride or groom but they seem completely in love...a good sign at a wedding.
After the ceremony the rain stops, the bridal party disappear to local locations for the standard wedding photo session and the man with the key to the esky on wheels (it was like a small shipping container with bull's horns!) had also disappeared to get the BBQ. Visions of being handed a crystal flute full of bubbly delight from a silver platter evaporate. Sadly, there is no bubbly stuff all night...oh sorry, yes, there was beer.....lots and lots of beer. A friend (the groomsman-with-the-hole-in-his-pants' wife) and I work up the courage to visit the back of the 'esky' (after a good 45mins has passed and there is no wine in sight)...we are handed a bottle of ice-cold red. Again...my vision (of the young man disappearing into the cold storage room and reappearing with a glass of wine) evaporated! That's OK, we have wine...we have plastic goblets...it's all good.
And then an ambulance pulls into the driveway. One of our group of friends is a paramedic and his wife is a nurse and yet none of us have noticed the elderly man, looking a sickening shade of grey, sitting on the grass clutching his chest with a small crowd of concerned relatives gathering around him. He is wearing a corsage, he is the groom's father. The bridal party return shortly afterward. After a hug from his son, the man is taken away in the ambulance...and an eerie quiet has fallen over the wedding guests.
Next was the regular wedding lineup (I've been to 36, I know the drill). Find a table...no place settings (very, very smart bride!) Wait to be told to go and get your own meal. Lovely salads and BBQ steak & sausages (shame I don't eat steak..but the salads were nice). Same over again for dessert...except I don't eat dessert either...wine is my dessert and by this stage I had swapped from red to white...because that's what was on the table at the time. The rain is really falling heavily now, which makes pretty waterfalls from the marquees and it's kind of fun having to dodge them on the way to the food tables. There are lovely heartfelt speeches (including an update on the groom's father who is OK) and the MC (the groom's brother) says that their other brother (who is engaged to the bride's aunty) might be next. To which he 'sneezes' *bullshit*...as you do in this town where I grew up. Then the cake (which the groom made!) is cut, they dance...it is beautiful. It is all beautiful because as you may know from a previous blog, I am a sap and I love weddings!! We have a fabulous time with my husband's old school friends, their wives and families, who we don't see nearly often enough.
It approaches 9pm...the time I have organized for my taxi/Dad to pick us up. My husband's friend/groomsman-with-the-hole-in-his-pants' wife says she's fine to drive...and we decide to go home with them. I call Mum to let her know...the kids have been asleep since 7:45pm, no dramas, no tears, it WAS all fine...phew!
As we are leaving the wedding I discover the bride is 16 weeks pregnant...now the tears make more sense!!
We go to the friend's parent's place for some more drinks...because for some reason we think we haven't had enough by then. At 11:30pm, they drive us back to my parent's via the old country hall and lights are on...there are people inside...there's a dance on! The kind we hadn't been to in 20 years!!! The old time country dance. We go in, why not? Four drunk (well three, the driver wasn't, obviously) seemingly strangers stagger in to see thirtyish faces looking at them agog. We recognize a few...they are much older than we remember and are much much older than us! We dance, we laugh, we can't believe we are doing this. It is the biggest spin-out ever. (Especially waltzing after a few more than a few wines, I'm talking a literal spin-out!) People recognize us, we talk, the dance ends at midnight...with the National Anthem of course.
We get home at 12:30am, sleep fitfully...thank goodness children sleep through (the two year old never does that) and wake us at 6am (after the frogs, the dogs, the cows, the train, the motorbike (my Dad milks at 5am) and numerous other peaceful country sounds wake me all night!) And you can imagine how much we are just dying to jump out of bed and play eagerly with our kids who we missed so much. Yeah, not much! But I was so proud of them and the two year old looked so proud of herself for surviving a night without Mummy & Daddy.
And so ends a rather eventful day. I swear, everything I have written is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth...I couldn't possibly have made all of that up if I tried!!