This has been a really big week for me – and it’s only Friday! On Saturday my sister got married up at Mount Maunganui. I was the chief bridesmaid, which meant I was able to get in on all the fun. She and her husband bought a gorgeous place between the Mount and Papamoa, where we all stayed (Colette and David, Aart, Jeremy, myself, as well as the best man, Mick, his wife, Jill, and their wee boy Jack…oh and Hamilton). But – they were all booted out the night before so the girls (& Hamilton) could have the place to themselves.
Shanelle (the other bridsmaid), is a professional triathlete, and was supposed to be doing a whole triathlon in the morning, until her sister asked her if she was quite mad! She opted instead for joining a team (which incidentally beat all the girls and most of the guys), where she would do the first part – the swim. So she got up at 4am to eat (3 hours before the race) and then did the swim (she was first out of the water!). All the roads were closed (because of the triathlon) so she had to run 20km to my sister’s place. As the woman who sat next to me at work back in Dublin (Siobhan) used to say – “she’s some woman for one woman.”
Then there was Hamilton. By the end of the day on Saturday, I think every single woman there was besotted with him. There was just something about him that made you feel fantastic. Him being an incredible hair & makeup artist might have had something to do with it – he did Kylie’s makeup on her last tour. And he packed a little bag of things with him when he came with us to the wedding and did touch-ups on us for the rest of the day. Fantastic! Anyway, I think I am in love with him. He’s gay, of course, so it will have to remain a one-sided thing. Sigh. So we woke up at about 7:30 on the day, and I had a shower and then made breakfast for everyone (french toast with bacon and bananas), and then Hamilton got to work. He’d pull out some moisturiser and say “OK, this is for your feet,” or “put this on your shoulders and decolletage”. We did our toes, he did our hair and makeup. It was so fun. I think at that stage I was more excited than anyone. The flowers arrived – dropped off by a guy with shaved head and jandals in a purple mustang convertable. We put them in water and Hamilton continued on with us. Then my parents arrived, and that’s when Colette started to get nervous. The car arrived (a light blue rolls) and Colette said “It’s too soon! I’m not ready!” He took Mum, Hamilton, Shanelle and I first, and then went back for Colette and Dad.
And the wedding itself, well, it was lovely. It was a beautiful day – hot. (I got sunburn on my back.) They were married down from the reception area, about 50 metres away, on the grassy bank right at the beach. There was a string trio that played “here comes the bride”, and it was beautiful. There were four little flowergirls, all with flax ketes with rose petals inside, throwing them everywhere (and wandering all over the place). Amy (my cousin Louise’s daughter), who is about 3, kept going back to where my sister and father were, following up the procession, saying, “Come on, Colette!” – Trying to get Colette to hurry up and walk with the flower girls! (She also kept pointing at Colette through the night, saying “Colette’s the BRIDE!”)
So we walked up and they stood inside a circle of rose petals. The minister was waiting for us (next to a nervous-looking David, and Mick) wearing wrap-around sunglasses with his suit. I held Colette’s bouquet, and as the ceremony went on, I started getting these really huge bumblebees landing on the flowers! It was so funny (and Shanelle and I were high on the whole thing – especially how good Hamilton made us look) we couldn’t stop laughing. Colette got really pissed off at one point and shot us a dirty look, then realised what was going on. The bees were so cute! And there were people everywhere watching – people sunbathing on the beach who got up and cheered, and there were these three little girls in matching wetsuits (common kids’ gear over here) who kept creeping closer and closer to the ceremony – Mick said he got a brilliant photo of my sister and David looking intently at the minister, with these little girls peeking up over the bank at them. (There are going to be so many photos – both David and Mick are photographers – though David does advertising and Mick does rock stars – and Hamilton had a broadcast-quality DV camera, then there was Aart (as usher) taking pictures of everyone who came inside, as well as the disposable cameras on the tables!) Once they were married my uncle Arthur let off a string of firecrackers – in memory of my grandpa – incidentally also starting a small fire in the dry grass.
Then we walked back towards the Bluebijou (the reception spot), and stood under a tree outside, and drank punch and listened to the trio while we chatted with everyone. Then Hamilton gave us a last minute check-up and we had photos taken back at the flower-petal spot. I must say here that the whole approach to the photography was brilliant. Someone else was telling me about a wedding where the bride and groom had to go back to some photographer’s studio for three hours – ridiculous! The photos for the wedding party took about 20 minutes (including the ten minutes it took to organise the flower girls and to try to convince Jack, the ring bearer, to sit with them). Then there was perhaps another thirty minutes for the photos of Colette and David. And you just knew they were going to be fantastic. Just goes to show.
Then there were speeches – dad was the MC for the night too. Dad spoke, then I made a speech, then David and then Mick. Then we ate – a beautiful meal, light and tasty, with this amazing tuna. I don’t know how they made it, but it was fantastic. And there was chicken, and beef, and pasta…everything. I don’t think I really ate that much. It was just too exciting. Then dancing – at first not many people danced, but by the end everyone was out there! People sang – my aunty Jan, plus David and Shirley Skinner – wicked jazz numbers. The band was a jazz band, and it was brilliant – no nasty tacky 80s numbers, for example. Then at the end my sister sang – the song that she and David had originally had their first dance to – Billie Holliday’s “You Go To My Head”. (Which my mother originally thought was “Can’t Get You Out Of My Head” – dear god.) It was beautiful. Uncle Arthur (same as above, with firecrackers) was dancing on top of chairs, then Jeremy was, and there were cameras everywhere. Guaranteed to be some embarrassing moments there.
After the party finished, Aart, Jeremy, Katrina (my cousin) & I decided to head down to the beach. The boys went skinny-dipping and we stole their clothes! Infantile, I know! Still, it was fun watching them wander around, Jeremy with just his hat, and Aart in his underwear, while we hid in the long grass. Eventually we revealed ourselves…
Still, just thinking back, it was such a damn fun wedding. Everyone seemed to be having such a great time – it really didn’t have any sense of “oh god, there’s so-and-so.” Everyone seemed so happy to see each other!
And then the day after there was a big BBQ round at Colette & David’s and they opened their presents. It was hot and sunny, and everyone was in excellent form. Bloody brilliant weekend.