Whew! Getting married is a big deal. I know that now because my younger son did it yesterday.
It was a wonderful event. The ceremony was in the relatively new Ballast Point Park, formerly – as the name suggests – a source of stone for use as ballast, and until recently a site dominated by oil storage tanks. Now parts of the largest tank have been used as a sculpture, an iron crown floating over the park, with a line of Les Murray’s poetry punched into the rusting iron. The park itself is pretty stark so far, dominated by a bare sandstone cliff, but indigenous plants have been planted there and promise that in time it will be a softer, kinder place. It provided us with a fabulous site for a wedding: a grassy lawn enclosed by rock, hacked into circular shape, presumably to accommodate an oil tank. (The only photo at this link shows the exact spot, though you’ll have to imagine the flowered arch and hundred people.)
The reception, at the bride’s parent’s home five minutes down the street, was just as fabulous. It was on a sloping lawn in front of a block of townhouses, right on the edge of the Harbour. We built a symbolic fence of bamboo flares to warn little children (of whom there were four) and people whose judgement might be impaired by alcohol (of whom there were potentially many) of the danger of falling over the edge.
I’m not going to attempt a full report. There were vows, beautifully pragmatic as well as romantic. There were poems, Pound, Shakespeare, Philip Larkin (‘This Be the Verse’!), and some written for the occasion. There were speeches. One running theme was that my son was taking a different path from his parents, who have never married. This theme peaked in the opening line from the Best Man, brother of the groom: ‘Liam and I are bastards.’ If only my mother had lived to hear the accepting laughter that rolled like thunder at that line! The competitor for best line of the day came from the Best Woman, sister of the bride: ‘I pre-emptively love your children.’
There was loud music but no dancing, except for my little nieces and, according to the photographer, me. There was enough excellent non-alcoholic drink among the beer and wine to save non-drinkers such as me from dehydration.
Today the Art Student and I spent most of the day helping with the clean-up, post-mortemising, attending on the Opening of the Presents. We had tickets for Geoffrey Rush in Diary of a Madman at 5 o’clock at the Belvoir, but we were so done in by our weekend excitement that we gave them away, with hardly a qualm.