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A civilised ceremony and crazy celebration matches the coupling of colourful characters.

AUSTRALIA | Wednesday, 19 May 2010 | Views [1200]

Didn't realise I could take such a good photo.

Didn't realise I could take such a good photo.

Exchanging vows always sounded like a great idea to me if it involved swapping a 'no drinking' vow for a 'no stabbing' vow. When it entailed a life membership to monogamous loving, I often felt the need to reaffirm my 'no stabbing' vow. Like the inside of a mysterious pie, we often fear what we don't know. Maintaining that level of ignorance is a task I leave to others who think adventurousness is wiping in the opposite direction once in awhile. I want to know what impels people to nearly bankrupt themselves in the name of stating what should be self evident anyway.

My sister has decided that my life needed more structure and is trying to slip a wedding of her own in around November. That will make 5 weddings for the year, and if I don't have a thorough understanding of them by then, I'll start wiping in the opposite direction more myself. My scepticism was largely removed by the beautiful day Trev and Abbie shared back in January, but expecting a more formal outing for Simon and Tanya's day in Melbourne, I felt old fears surface again.

Showing up late didn't really help my appreciation, but Tanya intended to make a fashionably late entrance and our own arrival was greeted with disappointingly little fanfare. The celebrant introduced himself more times than the bridal party, drumming up work like a used car salesman to help pay off the gold rolls royce we later saw him departing in. He controlled proceedings in a serviceable manner and restrained his ego long enough to help people remember who they were actually celebrating.

The indoor setting for the ceremony was simple, yet elegant. The first sunlight in days filtered through the stained glass of the chapel and we were given bubble blowers to help add to the colour dancing around the room. My big bubbles kept bursting on the wand and soaped my eyeballs to a helpful red and watery polish. Everything looked all dreamy and airbrushed to me after that and gazing around in a haze made me appear bent beyond recognition with blood red eyes.

Feeling the need to justify my appearance, a quick stroll around the garden was taken as an excuse to warm our lungs against the chilly mountain air. Our formal attire proved indispensable for holding out the elements although the heavy air would have infused the material with a large dose of the cannabis cologne being circulated. Before darkness descended we stood around and posed while the photographer gave every indication that he was actually hired to hit onto every pretty girl present.

100 or so people made their way to the reception area where designated tables, but not designated seats awaited. I don't like being told what to do at the best of times, and not being able to choose who to sit next to might have prompted some vague sort of thrusting gestures with my stabbing arm. I was singled out as the one difficult diner, but all animosity was forgotten when my food was brought out first and given to me by name. My entrée of a half an avocado sliced and folded fancy-like didn't disguise the fact it was still one of the least creative attempts I had seen at a vegan meal in awhile. Luckily avocado is God's golden egg and I could eat the stuff all day long if it didn't just go straight to my hips.

By the time the roast veggie stack made it out for mains, I was well ensconced on the bridal table as self-appointed Chivas Regal taste tester. A few short and funny speeches further strengthened my belief in quality over quantity, until Simon stood up with his half written diatribe devoid of a few missing pages. Ad-lib is a tricky way to go, but Simon did well and made sure he hadn't forgotten anyone by thanking everyone numerous times. Or perhaps my taste testing duties had been overly effective in making every name and grateful utterance sound the same.

Said duties had certainly been effective in removing inhibitions as I built up the courage to do my first ever slow dance. It was actually very romantic and rather sexual in its suggestive restraint. I would have loved to have found out how far my hand could have made it into forbidden areas while slinking around the dance floor in each others arms. The alcohol certainly wasn't a limiting factor for us but the fact that my dance partner was a dude lead to more than just confusion over who was leading. It was all done for the spectacle of friends but the filming of such behaviour might appear out of context if it shows up on youtube in the next few days.

Before long the celebratory spirit was prompting the staff to call it an early night or cut off every second person there. That sounded like the end of the fun for some people, but it was more like the start for others. Relatives were caught leaving with beer and wine bottles in pockets, and some choose to neck it on the spot rather than give up their contraband. Most had consumed more than enough by this stage, and any further ingestion was just speeding up the inevitable.

The younger crowd retired to one of the larger rooms to decorate it with empty bottles and reefer ash, and loudly let all the neighbours in on what was happening. Simon was keen to end the night the way your wedding night was supposed to be ended. Tanya was in full flight though, and wanted to set the night on fire, or drown it in champagne. Consummating the nuptials could wait. Simon disagreed and carried Tanya out in a romantic manner contradicted slightly by her being one frown away from resisting with some unladylike kicking and screaming.

I later found out that all Simon's effort amounted to very little as he passed out from that exertion, while Tanya spent the last half hour of consciousness wrapped around the toilet bowl. We wouldn't have noticed at the time as we were too busy endangering our health and reputation with boasts of consumption performance and party endurance. Three of us made it to sunrise and were rewarded with a solid three hours sleep before everyone else decided to get back up. Feeling shit to the power of 10, my mouth was a cement mixer, my eyeballs were cherry tomatoes and my liver had tended its letter of resignation. Further socialising was not an option so groomsman Gow and I made a break for it. With his caring wife waiting in the wings, we had made it home within the hour, and had scored a few burgers along the way. It wasn't a Penguin veggie burger, but the night had hit enough highlights to make my pleasure receptacles quiver at the thought of any more enjoyment being squeezed out of life.

Tags: friends, partying, weddings

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