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The wandering wedding specialist.

AUSTRALIA | Friday, 8 October 2010 | Views [1046]

Weddings don't come much more picture perfect than this!

Weddings don't come much more picture perfect than this!

Through a whirlwind of flights and near misses, love and vows, fights and make up kisses, I come out the other side wondering what happened. Not that memory went up in smoke the way it normally does, it was just too much in two weeks to savour every moment. The spare moments I had to myself were spent resting in preparation for the next time I had to say how lovely the bridesmaids looked, what my travel plans were, or how do I get my hands on more free booze.

I was obligated to fly to Port Macquarie for Adam, my friend from Asia and fruit picking times, to be a grooms men for his nuptials with Kiara. That was pretty much where my obligation ended. I've seen jigsaw puzzles completed with more formality than their wedding. Not to say it was simple, as a lot of planing had gone into what turned out to be a very beautiful wedding, a large part of the beauty being how relaxed it was. I expected the wedding cake to be laced with valium, but it wasn't really necessary.

The ceremony and reception was held at Douglas Vale vineyard, a volunteer run winery that was nearly down one volunteer after she chewed everyone's ear off during set up the previous day. First order of that day was the wedding photos which were taken in various lush locations, including an amazing 40 year old grove of giant bamboo. Kung fu panda had cleared a circle within the middle perfect for photos, but missing lanterns, noodles and a wise old man with moustache hair longer than my own.

80 odd people witnessed Adam and Kiara exchange beautiful vows they had penned themselves, and repeatedly kiss inappropriately like the vineyard was a private hotel room. All the while us grooms men stood sternly trying not to give away the fact we had already drank a cartoon of beer with the groom already. The reception was equally laid back, and the only speeches given were by people who really wanted to give them. I was more interested in stretching out and making myself comfortable, a fact shared with everyone not seated at a bridal table I mistakenly thought was concealed by a table cloth.

After the cutting of the cake, everyone was free to do what people do at weddings and get absolutely smashed. After 12 hours of beer, we were already there so we sampled some mushroom tea that was saved for a select few. It turned out to be decaf as well, or it might not have been as who would trust my judgement at that point in time? The same select few partied on till the wee hours of the morn while the newly weds broke one last tradition and spent their first night married sleeping soundly.

The next day I pulled out my signature move and nearly missed another flight. Through no fault of my own, other than being Fate's provocateur, Asia didn't nearly happen. If anyone has ever been to Asia, they would know all the sounds, sights and smells that make it what it is, would continue 24/7 even if I wasn't there anyway. A computer malfunction, my other signature move, brought Virgin down in a non-penetrative way. It wasn't the best way to start a 4 flight-25 hour extravaganza of boredom, made unique by one painful abnormality. It wasn't my hymen breaking, but a bum boil. I checked numerous times to make sure it wasn't just a thumb tack or burr stuck in my ass, cause that's exactly what it felt like. It disappeared soon after arrival, its presence as mysterious as its remission. Cheers body! Great way to deal with the longest time you've had to spend in transit.

4 days after the last wedding, it was time to suit up again. Thankfully, my grooms man duties had earned me a snappy looking informal ensemble perfect for a wedding in Ko Samui. Only the setting would differentiate the photos, as I wore exactly the same get up right down to the socks, even though I was a non participant for this one.

And what a setting! Think old Gothic cathedral, stained glass windows casting an ethereal glow over a solemn minister looking seedier than my moustache. Now think the opposite. Golden sands, towering tropical clouds and a celebrant in bare feet. That was far more appropriate to what my old Melbourne friend Elliot had decided on with his wife to be, Mel. 26 people had been forced to inconvenience themselves by coming to such a tropical paradise to marvel at the setting as much as the situation.

Rose pedals lined the sandy walkway that lead to a bamboo altar constructed at the edge of a calm, azure sea. To fend off the heat, hand held fans came with every seat aligned along the walkway to heaven or hell, depending on your opinion of marriage. Banana leaf cones filled with rose pedals were attached to the seatbacks to throw at the newly weds upon completion of their vows. Everyone considered it, but only the mother of the bride launched rose pedals and cone like a rioting dissident.

The wedding was infused with a few other Thai elements beyond the divine food and broken English of the staff. Four traditional Thai dancers lead out the grooms man then inexplicably did an alluring dance of seduction in front of them, possibly highlighting all that Elliot will be missing out on. With all grooms men already married, there was a lot of fingers in collars, nervous coughing and sly adjustments.

Some loud and impressive firecrackers were let off to the ooohhs and ahhhs of the masses. Having any old pyromaniac set them up like a rank amatuer meant that wind direction was not accounted for and most of the simmering waste landed in peoples hair. Not content with just keeping Ashley and Martin in business, some glorified garbage bag lanterns were sent off into the night sky, to end up in a dolphins throat or around some monkeys neck.

The heat and humidity was Thailand's biggest contribution to proceedings and made drinking copious amounts of beer all the more challenging. Before long it was too uncomfortable to do anything but just lounge around. Some die-hards continued to dance but I was sweating up a storm just watching them. That probably appeared as seedy as it sounds, so it was a relief to call it an early night and trim the moustache off the very next day.

With my sister postponing her wedding due to her fiancée's father passing away, my wedding obligations are done for the year. After experiencing all the relaxed and informal proceedings and parties, my opinion of weddings is completely turned around. Not that I'll be hosting one any time soon. You need a willing collaborator for that, but perhaps that might be easier to find now I no longer look like a cross between Salvador Dali and an extra off 'Almost famous'.

Tags: beaches, friends, weddings

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