A Country Wedding

 

They were a little different to most young couples.

The bride-to-be - in her mid-thirties - had two teen-age children from a previous marriage. The groom was in his mid-twenties but not previously married - a football hero in the local Aussie Rules competition - tall, strong and athletically built.

The wedding was planned to be held in the bride's parents' country garden, under some old oak trees, a location which obviously held special romantic significance to the couple. The area, in the Otway ranges, is renowned for it's wet weather, but they hoped for a fine day for their outdoor ceremony. However, as fate would have it, rain commenced early on Friday morning, and it rained all day and all night and on into Saturday, their big day. So the emergency plan had to be activated, the wedding could not be held outdoors but would now be held in the machinery shed behind the house, which was large enough to accommodate the sixty or so guests invited to be present for this special occasion.

So the celebrant and the 'roadie' arrived, parked in the temporary car park - a paddock next to the house - then walked through the wet grass and mud to the shed which had been emptied of machinery. A new hession screen had been suspended around the interior walls and was decorated with streamers and balloons to create a festive atmosphere. Trestle tables had been covered in white napery. Sparkling glassware, gleaming crockery and cutlery was set out on the tables in readiness for the wedding reception to follow the ceremony.

Despite a lack of some amenities, an earthen floor etc, the venue was great for a real country wedding, and the wedding guests were all assembled when we arrived, standing around inside the shed chatting whilst waiting for the ceremony to commence.

There were no doors to the shed, it was open to the weather at the front, but faced away from the direction from which the rain was coming. A table and chair had been set up under cover within the open entrance and it was here that the ceremony would take place. The groom, resplendent in black tie and jacket, was standing among the guests, not speaking to anyone but lost in thought and gazing into the distance, a look of profound reflection upon his countenance. Appropriate for a young man's wedding day I thought! At the risk of disturbing his meditation, I approached him to say 'hello' and wish him well. He briefly acknowledged my good wishes, but continued focussing his gaze into the distance, so I discreetly moved on to speak with other guests.

I was then introduced to the bride's mother, looking resplendent as one might expect on her daughter's wedding day, and we chatted for a short while about this happy event and the unfortunate change in the weather. She then excused herself saying that she needed to speak to John, the groom. She quickly walked two or three paces, looked searchingly up into John's face (he being well over six feet tall), and I heard her ask "What won the third?"

It was then that I realised that the fairly inconspicuous plug in his ear was not a hearing aid, but was connected to a radio in an inside pocket of his jacket. His intense concentration had nothing to do with the significance of the occasion - he was busy listening to the races! So much for my previous perception of profound wedding day meditation!

The ceremony duly commenced, but it wasn't long before the first disturbance. The family dog had been locked up in the house, but somehow found its way out and wanting to be part of the action, came racing up to the shed and then proceeded to run around the feet of the celebrant and the couple - wagging its tale in joy! A temporary halt was called to the ceremony, whilst a family member took the dog by the collar and returned it to the house, this time to be successfully secured. No more dog interruptions! Whew!

So on with the proceedings! The ceremony re-commenced, but just as the couple were taking their vows, another interruption occurred. Running alongside and reaching beyond the front of the shed was a wired enclosure - a 'chook run'. And for some unknown reason at this crucial moment the rooster started crowing energetically and very loudly. This in turn inspired all the hens to become agitated and start clucking furiously - the noise was unbelievable! So myself and many of the guests nearest to the chook run couldn't hear a word of the couples vows!

But the ceremony continued on in spite of this noisy little interlude, and the bride and groom were duly joyfully pronounced husband and wife. We finally took our leave at the conclusion of another happy wedding, with only one regret. That we hadn't captured these events on video - what a marvellous film it would have made, the classic Australian country wedding!

roadie.jpg (4035 bytes)

Peter Cowden
'The Celebrant’s Roadie'

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