There are moments in life that can be planned for and colour coded. Others seem to fall into place as if by magic.
Our big day had begun with MBH (my better half) and I feverishly working our way through a meticulously organised ‘to do’ list on a spreadsheet that my partner, a product manager, had spent ages colour-coding; rings, check; speeches, check; plenty of alcohol at hand, check; spray tan, check – you didn’t expect us to walk down the aisle as pale as Madonna, did you?
The seating arrangements had changed more times than a game of musical chairs and the chart was beginning to resemble a Quentin Tarantino script. Everyone was accounted for thanks to MBH’s excel rainbow creation.
Our bridesmaids looked amazing in their long, flowing red 1940s dresses with vintage hairdos styled with enough hairspray to withstand a tornado.
“Don’t get too close to anyone holding a ciggie,” warned our hairdresser, Wade. The thought of two human candles bolting for the loo to extinguish their heads in a toilet bowl wasn’t a party trick I’d thought of adding to our colourful spreadsheet. Besides, third degree burns and bandages wouldn’t mesh with the bridesmaids’ dresses and could upset young children attending the wedding.
As the stretch limo arrived to pick up the bridal party, we all piled into the vehicle with the help of a shoehorn and some lubricant. The interior sported a protruding bump covering the axle that had to be climbed over to reach the back seats. This wasn’t as much of a problem on the way in as it was on exiting the limousine.
Captured for posterity is a shot of me falling head first out of the vehicle on arrival at our first stop, the location of our photo shoot, and I’d only had one glass of champagne by then. We had opted to do all the wedding photography before our ceremony so that guests could make their way from the service to the reception without any delays.
Our hyperactive photographer showed up decked out in several cameras outfitted with lenses big enough to put paparazzi to shame. Herding us to the waterfront, he began snapping away while keeping us and passers-by, including some puzzled-looking fishermen, entertained with a non-stop flow of instructions flavoured with a fake French accent.
“Closer togezer. Oui, oui. Don’t look at ze camera. Now kissy, kissy, kissy. L’amour, l’amour. Step backward but not too mush becoz you will fall in ze harbour!”
In a blink of an eye, our frenzied photographer had captured every possible pose, angle and composition. We headed back to the limo with our lips slightly chapped, happy to get out of the hot sun and looking forward to the next and final destination, Araluen, the venue of our commitment ceremony.
MBH and I had expected a dozen singers at our ceremony and were delighted when over 40 members of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Choir turned up and lined the back of the quaint, non-denominational chapel where the service was taking place. As part of the ceremony and to surprise my partner, I had pre-recorded my singing of Peter Allen’s I Honestly Love You and had the choir perform the backing vocals. The combination of setting, choir, and having the man I love by my side, exceeded the magic I had hoped for.
What I hadn’t anticipated was the reaction of the crowd. Those who know or work with MBH, the man who is always prepared and not a fan of surprises, took great pleasure in seeing the look on his face when the non-colour coded moment was sprung on him. Some things in life require planning and preparation. Others are best left to fate.
There isn’t a spreadsheet out there that could have made this moment any more special.
By LUKE BRIGHTY