Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Every bride deserves fireworks on her wedding night

It’s been a day of Weddings. It began with a quick scan of Bettina Arndt’s headline-grabbing article about Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s de facto status and how it makes her a poor role model for other women. (For the record, 77 per cent of 29761 respondents to Arndt’s piece on smh.com.au disagreed with that particular piece of thinking.)

It ended with a job that entailed me writing about a wedding and function centre, involving much use of words such as ‘dream’, ‘special’ and ‘blissful’ (but not ‘unique’, never ‘unique’).

Which got me thinking about weddings.

I love a good wedding. I am known to shed tears at weddings. There is something about bright, shiny, happy people wearing bright, shiny new gold bands that fills me with hope and optimism.

Admittedly, I have been to weddings in my life that have not filled me with joy. They were mostly in my younger years and generally involved two people who couldn’t seem to work out how they’d got to the top of the aisle.

But, for the most part, weddings have a great vibe and there’s no better day out. Even when you’re paying for it.

The Builder and I got married on a building site on New Year’s Eve, 2002. Admittedly, the site in question was Wharf 2/3, right on Sydney Harbour, within spitting distance of the bridge. Spectacular.

The bride wore brown. Well, caramel. But according to all the ‘wedding books’ any shade of brown does not bode well. “The Bride who wears Brown will never live in town”, say the old wives. Those old wives had clearly visited Fibrotown.

We had lunch with our family afterwards, complete with sentimental speeches, in one of Sydney’s oldest pubs, in The Rocks. Afterwards, we were joined by 100 or so of our nearest and dearest to party on into the wee hours on the roof of said pub.

It was hot. It was windy. But the fireworks on the Harbour still went ahead at midnight. With us standing below them, holding hands, open-mouthed in wonder. It was magical.

The whole thing was organised in 10 weeks, with minimal fuss and a distinct lack of bonbonerie. My position on weddings, if you’re interested Ms Arndt, is that they’re often focussed on to the exclusion of the marriage.

Treating the wedding like a party puts it in perspective. One night. Not your life’s work.

And if you can’t live without the Stunning Champagne Fountain, you might want to reassess.

{image: yumsugar.com}


  1. I got married in a navy blue Liberty suit, put the food in the oven and strolled down to the church in Hampstead High Street...

    I still don't understand wedding fever!

  2. Sounds like your wedding was unique ... Oh, wait, no, I mean ... Just kidding. Sounds like a blissful night. => Ours was organized pretty quickly, too, with minimal fanfare. Just as you said, it was a fun party, not a spectacle. There was a kick-ass chocolate fountain though ...

  3. Treating the wedding like a party puts it in perspective. One night. Not your life’s work.

    And if you can’t live without the Stunning Champagne Fountain, you might want to reassess.

    I believe most men agree with these points wholeheartedly. Still, we are criticized as being "typical males" with the slightest resistance to the champagne fountain.

    My sincere question - Why do females in the West dream of momentous wedding ceremonies and receptions? I'd rather take the money to be spent and elope to an exotic island. This would result in less stress and more fireworks.

  4. Brilliant post. I can't believe the judgements being made on Julia Gillard. Leave her be I say. My wedding 15 years ago was so simple, elegant and perfect.... under a marquee, beside a dam of croaking frogs, on a hot February evening. It cost nothing. But it's true... it's the marriage that's the most important.... gets better every year. A-M xx

  5. Your wedding sounds dreamy and spectacular! Caramel - how gorgeous. I love the shade and the word. Ca-ra-mel.

    Mine was a small affair in a British winter. Although it was a beautiful crisp day. It was in an arts and literary club with roaring fires and I wore a £50 quid (that's cheap) dress I loved. I had almost black roses and snow berries and a white (fake) fur wrap. He proposed in the May and we got married in the November. Not quite as quick as you but I agree - who needs to plan it for 2 or 3 years!

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  7. It sounds fantastic!

    I agree wholeheartedly - weddings can become so over-the-top and lose focus of the real reason you're there in the first place.

    My husband and I had a small wedding - about 40 guests, because we wanted to celebrate with the people who would continue to be part of our lives, not everyone we'd ever met. We were married in a beautiful garden not far from home, here in the hills, on a little 'island' in the middle of a lake. We then had our reception at some local tea-rooms, with balloons everywhere and yummy food and drinks.

    We wanted it to feel like a party, a celebration, and for everyone to be able to relax and enjoy themselves. And the one comment everyone made afterwards, and still say to this day (7 yrs late) is how relaxed and genuine it felt. That puts a big smile on my face.

  8. So agree - the wedding is only one day,the marriage is forever (or so you hope!). Less emphasis on the party, more emphasis on building a relationship that lasts.

    If I ever get married (HA HA HA HA HA! *SNORT*), then my plans are for a clifftop wedding at the Showground, then the reception at the Bridge. I reckon I could throw that together in 4 weeks max and still make it special.

  9. If Julia was married with children she would probably be criticised as well, for being a poor role model for mothers, as the PM position would be demanding! It doesn't matter what she does, she will be criticised for it! Poor love.

    Great writing by the way!

  10. I got married on a 46 degree day in Adelaide and promptly bought a farm (future hubby was negotiating the price, just before I got to the church!) He thinks he was pretty clever - bought a farm and halved his debt within 24 hours of each other.

    Hence to romantic honeymoon never took place - a quick stop at the head of the Great Aust Bite at about 5:30am, as the sun was coming up, was it!

  11. I love a good wedding. Might have to wait for peoples second ones, none on the horizon. Me so cynical. xx Great post and ours was hastily put together too. Shotgun wedding anyone? Teehee

  12. Your wedding sounds fantastic. I got married in the garden of an old folks home.

    I adore my husband, but as far as we are concerned now (in the wisdom of our own dotage!), that day was just a party and a piece of paper from the government. There was no signing over of life and soul. We did that in the weeks and months that followed the day we met, long before we got married.

    When I got married my good mate and bridesmaid had just returned from her sister-in-law's wedding in the UK. It was all very very. Mine was a reception centre package deal affair (gal on a budget, hate organising). The package included an ice sculpture (of dolphins!), which cracked me up no end. I pointed it out to my friend, and asked if her toffy wedding the week before had had one. "No. No" she replied, then "Mate, she had fireworks."

    Bet yours were better. :D

  13. What has got in to Bettina Arndt...that's all I can say! Turned into a crazy woman. Clearly. And I very much like the sound (and sights) of your wedding. Good one!

  14. So with you on that! My hubby and I got married on Millenium Day...at the local Registrar's office in Maidenhead (complete with leftover sparkle confetti on the grey/brown carpet from the night before). We got dressed up, but each had only 1 best man (yep, I decided to let my guy BFF do the honours) and our "reception" was a barbie on the smokey joe with some snags and South African sparkling wine as the rain began to pour down (it was the UK in winter after all)! I wouldn't change a thing as I got to concentrate on the fact I was saying Forever to a man I'd only known for 6 months! ;)

  15. Your wedding sounds wonderful - full of fun, laughter and friends, just how it should be.

    My wedding was also full of fun, laughter and friends, but I was also herding camels in my wedding dress 20 minutes before the ceremony.

    You see, I took India (my love) to Wine Country (my husbands love).

    The theme was Indian Summer. My dress was adorned with Rajastani mirrors & antique sari material. The boys arrived at the ceremony on camels. I arrived in a traditional Indian wooden bridal carrier. We said our vows under a beautiful jeweled tent by the river. We did a blessing to Ganesh (my husband had no idea it was happening so was in fits of laughter), and the guests had a steady flow of Pimms on their arrival so were pretty smashed by the time they got the reception!

    This all happened in country NSW in the 40 degree heat. A wonderful, magical, memorable day, but would I do it again?


    I'd elope to Kashmir like we originally intended and stay on for the honeymoon. And of course we didn't even get our honeymoon to Kashmir, as what I thought was a hangover was actually morning sickness, our baby conceived on a steady diet of post-wedding celebration tequila and no-sleep :)

    Ah weddings - you gotta love 'em :)

  16. We organised our wedding in six weeks. We already had the house, and the child, and wanted to fit in with sister- and brother-in-law's visit from England. We were married with only our parents and daughter as witnesses and then dropped invites in the mail for our reception/party the next month for 70 friends and family at our house.


  17. Loving my blog friends. :-) Fantastic stories - even an ice sculpture and a chocolate fountain. Thanks for sharing everyone.

  18. Loved the blog and the comments! To add my 2c...

    Got married on Australia Day (a Thursday that year) so my husband didn't have to waste a Saturday that he could be playing cricket. Had the big event at a winery an hour out of town, and put on two buses to take our guests there and back. Best parts of an amazing day ( Igot married at 9:30am) were the trips there- everyone all happy after the ceremony and looking forward to the party- and on the way back- everyone all, ah, pissed and singing and made the driver stop by a lake where we drank the champagne we'd bought earlier and danced and laughed in the January twilight, wqhile fireworks exploded over the city (yep, I got them too!). Beautiful memories.

  19. That article by Bettina Arndt was pure rubbish. I think the Herald only published it to get a bit of a brouhaha going...

    Nice work with your wedding, though. Simple, festive, and no caged pigeons. As an ex-muso who played his fair share of weddings, I get a shiver up my spine when I hear of the overpriced cliches that pass for weddings.

  20. @Noel - LOL. The pigeons, the butterflies... how could I have forgotten those fabulous details.

  21. Sounds absolutely perfect!

    Hubby and I weren't for fuss either. Altho we were engaged 6mths, we left the planning until very last minute. 50 guests joined us as we married in our local church, a friend took he photos down on the harbour, our reception was more like a backyard party held at the home of relatives, there was no cake, we mixed our own music on Mini Disc (very 2000), and only Hubby gave a speech. I've always enjoyed the smaller, more relaxed weddings than any others. They're personal, and gorgeous.

    Sounds like yours was just like that!

  22. I think it's great that Julia is who she is and makes no apologies. She's not married, her boyfriend is a hairdresser and she is not religious. That sounds like a lot of girls I know.
    How handy would it be to have a hairdresser on tap every morning? Go Julia.

  23. Wait for me.....I only just got on the computer (it's 6:30pm) and I wholeheartedly agree with your wedding sentiments!
    I had the early twenties experience of getting engaged to the completely wrong guy, organizing the full palaver and then breaking it all just before the invites were printed...swore I'd never focus on the day again at the expense of the life!! When I met my husband we decided to get married (were living in Toronto) so eloped to Monterey (south of San Fran) had my best friend and her husband (who were living in SF at the time) as our witnesses and have never regretted it! We had a blast, got drunk on margheritas after and I ended up attempting to upstage an actual bride in the full meringue in the hotel restaurant by standing up and announcing "I'M the bride" (stress on I'm!!!!). Fabulous experience and have never regretted doing it that way.

    Love your blog Allison!!

  24. Groan, that silly Bettina Aren't (stet) is so obviously provocative that I refuse to rise to her drivel.

    Of course, I agree that your wedding day should never be the focus of the relationship. However, provided the couple don't enter into debt (wedding debt, shudder), I reckon it's the one day where you can truly go to town if you wanna. Where's the real harm in that?

  25. Hoping over from the weekend rewind...
    I love the sound of your wedding.
    I eloped (should have already blogged about that for this rewind!).
    I'd elope again given the option to re-do my wedding.
    It's about the ever after, not the day!

  26. I do love a wedding too, although not ever been hitched myself. Something about not wanting to be the centre of attention. But they are always fabulous fun good or bad. Nice to be playing along, not sure if I am doing it right?

  27. Once it is all over you quickly realise that it was indeed just one night.

    Thank you for giving us all the opportunity to rewind...

  28. It was brown but it was stunning and you looked awesome. I admire you for organising it in 10wks!!

  29. Oooh, that sounded fantastic - I got goosebumps. A Wedding. Fireworks. The Rocks. Awwee..

  30. I agree...it seems the bigger the wedding the worse the marriage. The wedding is just the beginning and making that a fun relaxed affair is starting a life long journey out on a happy vibe! Love it!

  31. "the bride who wears brown will never live it down" reminds me of the other quote...."if its brown, flush it down"

  32. Your wedding sounds wonderful. I don't understand all the fuss and cliches either.

  33. Wonderful post. I've read this before and it still gives me tingles.
    We got married in our garden, next to the pond, then had a marquee reception with fairy lights, delicious food and wild dancing in bare feet. I loved it, but IT WAS A LOT OF WORK!! We spent the next day rinsing 100 plates, 100 bowls, 200 glasses ... we had set it all up ourselves. It was a good start to the marriage, because marriage and kids are hard work too.
    If I did it again, I'd just have a party on a roof of a pub. :)

  34. Where was I that I missed this the first time around?!

    Lovely, just lovely. You echo my thoughts on weddings and marriage so very well.

    Your wedding sounded perfect.

    And that there were fireworks is yet another strange similarity between us...we did too.
    (Halloween ones...somewhere nearby...)

    As I mentioned last night, I have never blogged about our wedding day. I might just get around to it now...

  35. Loved this post. And as we all reflect on all things wedding, I was thinking that your wedding to the Builder was actually one of the best nights of my life too. It was just magic! x

  36. We had a teeny tiny wedding but I wouldn't change it for the world. We needed all the cash we could muster in those days. Now we could afford something different but, would I? No.

    Rewinding with you this weekend. :)

  37. Lovely post, thanks for the invite to your wedding rewound.

    I haven't had one... it's an amazing thing really. Not one fella has EVER proposed to me... and trust me, I had loads of boyfriends... am I just not the type of girl one marries??

    My Intn'l Man of Mystery has also never been keen on a wedding tho' what we have sure is a marriage. He'd turn up if I planned the whole thing, he says. That's a comfort. My little girl is ever so keen... she might yet persuade us!

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