Wedding at a Country Restaurant

 

This Western Victorian restaurant - now closed - won many awards for fine cuisine. Just one example being the Good Food Guide's 'Finest Country Restaurant in Victoria' award for 1999. So its reputation was built around quality food in a peaceful rural setting, reason enough for many people to undertake the two hour drive from Melbourne to dine at the 'old timber cottage out in the paddock'. A quaint addition to the country ambience was the cemetery almost next door, a restful place not many metres from the restaurant.

The restaurant became a favourite wedding venue for many people, for Western District couples and also for many Collins Street professionals who became 'addicted' to the dining experience here. So why not have the wedding here too and continue the good times?

Anne conducted many weddings at this venue, mostly out-of-doors in the garden behind the cottage, where you can see for kilometres around - sometimes rather warily watching for signs not only of the bride's arrival but also of approaching rain. To add further to the rural atmosphere a herd of thoroughbred dairy cattle on the other side of the post and wire farm fence would often poke their noses over to see what was going on. Then after the ceremony the wedding couple and guests could enjoy a pleasant time outdoors with drinks, chat and music before strolling into the house for a lovely meal experience.

From our memory bank of these happy occasions one in particular stands out because of an amusing incident during the ceremony.

The groom was a music lover who had carefully selected some classical favourites to be played before and after the ceremony, with a special piece to be played whilst the couple signed the register. Two large loudspeakers had been set up in the garden area and one of the groom's trusted friends was put in charge of music to ensure that the right pieces were played at the right time. All the guests enjoyed the high quality sound reproduction in this idyllic setting before the bridal party arrived. Then the ceremony followed in perfect rural quiet, the vows were duly completed, rings exchanged, then the ceremony halted briefly for the signing of the register prior to the formal presentation of the wedding certificate.

As the signing of the register commenced, the music swelled in dramatic fashion beginning with a loud fanfare. Cattle were quietly passing a few metres away on the other side of the fence. Obviously unaccustomed to such loud musical interludes, the nearest animal stopped in its tracks, turned and looked accusingly at the wedding party, then raised its head to the sky and emitted the longest, loudest "Mooooooooooooooooo" one could possibly imagine - which effectively drowned out the music!

The startled guests were unsure whether this was a protest or a way of giving a blessing to the happy couple, but it was accepted as the latter! The timing was impeccable - a stroke of genius, almost as though it was stage-managed - and after their initial surprise all the guests broke into great laughter and huge applause! It was just one of those unpredictable happenings which made for a memorable day. Everybody present will recall that little incident and forever associate it with their friends' wedding day.

And Anne and I will always have fond memories of the restaurant that once was and the many happy weddings conducted there. A special one-off place, a quiet oasis away from the usual hurly-burly associated with many people's lives.

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Peter Cowden
'The Celebrant’s Roadie'

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