I do love a garden wedding.
This one was special as it was set in a stunning Adelaide Hills garden complete with various rooms of ponds and hidden tables and stools and towering natives and ornamental scrubs. The ceremony took place in an amphitheatre just behind the house with the wooded hills and Gorge Wildlife Park presenting as painterly backdrops.
Occasionally, emu and deer would wander up to the fence like silent but welcome wedding-crashers.
It was also special for it was the wedding of my wife’s youngest brother, Rich and Jasmine.
The week beforehand had been typical of spring- berserk temperature fluctuations, insane wind gusts and weather patterns as fickle and daft as a Trump tweet.
Saturday was warm and gentle and affirming; ideal for late afternoon matrimony. We were in Cudlee Creek by both name and nature.
For Alex and Max it was their first family wedding.
They’d chosen suits to wear and Max picked out an orange tie. I later showed him how the tie matched both my glasses and Coopers Mild Ale label and he enjoyed this new symmetry. I’m sure that if he’d been offered a cravat, he’d have happily donned it instead. He enjoys being a provocateur, even in a fashion context.
Alex had on a slick grey suit, something Arthur Daley from Minder would’ve called a “nice drop of cloth.” He also wore a red-checked shirt, one like those preferred by his Dad, and a pair of Converse sneakers that suggested a young fella on the cusp of teenage hood.
I was in the black suit that I had worn nearly sixteen years ago at my own wedding – on the day Northerly won his second W.S. Cox Plate- although I dared not do it up in case a button pinged off into someone’s eye like a pebble catapulted from a slingshot and an ambulance was required. I didn’t need the bother.
The ceremony was compact and elegant with vows and photos and tears and laughter and applause. At its conclusion I found myself on the blub. There was no specific trigger; just generalised gratitude and goodwill at the event and its assembled, happy meaning.
A highlight was when the bride, Jasmine arrived and her beautiful dog, Simba was trotting alongside too. Who can resist a dog at a wedding? It’s a twin threat. Max told me Sunday night that Simba was now, “his third favourite dog, behind (our two) Buddy and Angel.” I agreed.
There was a cubbyhouse for the kids as well as a roundabout, sandpit, and slippery slide, and I happily sat in the sun on a chair and watched the colour and movement and innocence.
Over near the grand home was a marquee for the reception. Early on in the evening, I sat for a while next to my other brother-in-law’s partner, Robyn. Along with my Uncle Des and Aunty Claire she’s one of the few people who calls me Mickle. Having dispensed with talk of footy and work and our boys she said, “So what do you think love is, Mickle?”
I offered her a list including shared hope and forgiveness and admiration and awe and respect. I then moved to the idea that George Clooney’s character, Matt King, suggests in one of my favourite films, The Descendants: “You try to make your partner’s passage through life easier.”
The speeches were excellent. Both the parents of the bride and groom were generous and optimistic in their observations and all in the marquee nodded and smiled too, as if a tuning fork had been struck and we were in harmony with this splendid song.
The groom, Rich, spoke with sincerity and thankfulness at how, seemingly, the universe had allowed all these terrific things to happen at just the right time, to him. Being astute in these matters, and of course, his big brother, my wife remarked that she could tell half a minute out, the point at which he’d become choked up.
Music and singing and dancing followed and the father of bride, David and father of the groom, Darryll concluded the celebration at midnight with a port each and I went down the hill to our sleeping campervan.
Sunday awoke to fog and mist but cleared to a sunny morning, and the promise of bacon and eggs and chat, and then late lunch and wine with our Queensland relatives.
It was a wonderful wedding.