Bryan and Petra
It was one of the most beautiful and scariest days of my life. There were far too many flowers and smells that confused the day. I had no idea what to expect. There was a rehearsal, but nothing prepares you for the big day – especially if you have never been to one.
The only two major references I had to weddings were ‘My Best Friend’s Wedding’ staring the wonderful Sandra Bullock, and ‘Wedding Crashers’. So you can imagine my delight in having Aretha Franklin, ‘Say a Little Prayer for You’, as one of the songs during the ceremony. And you could probably also imagine my delight in not having any crashers at our wedding.
I remember everyone started arriving, and I was terrified. I had to meet and greet everyone, kisses here, handshakes there. I was like the master of ceremonies without my partner by my side. I talked web development with a friend of mine – cars with another. What do you talk about before you get married? How you had some good chicken the night before?
However, the scariest part of the day, a major fault on my part – I couldn’t tie a bow-tie. I never had a reason to, I had never worn one. But with the many errands during the day, it came to two hours before where I was like, I need to tie this thing. I looked at many Youtube videos and tutorials, but was confused even more. I tried for an hour to tie this incessant thing, but to no avail. I told my Best Man, who was my best friend Kara. She managed to learn how to do it and tie it within 10 minutes, a whole 5 minutes before my bride was about to walk down the aisle. Guys, have a woman as your best man, for these types of circumstances particularly.
But then suddenly I’m waiting next to the celebrant under a rotunda in the beautiful botanical gardens of Adelaide. And waiting some more. Jane, the celebrant, is trying to engage in small-talk with me – which is quite relaxing. Then the music starts, and I see a person with a white dress and some other people with dresses. And I squint my eyes trying to see my fiancé – and I see her in a white dress with a hair-style that took a can of hair spray to stay put. I was almost like ‘who are you and where did Petra go’. Anyway she started to walk down the aisle and I’m getting a little bit more nervous. Am I smiling too much? Too little? Do I look at other people during this part? Am I supposed to clap hands as she gets closer? The many things that come in your mind are forgotten when you see her up close – with a massive smile on her face. Her mother spoke to give Petra to me, and I gave her a little twirl to get her in place for the vows and things.
Word of warning – don’t eat anything before a ceremony that has any chance of causing any damage to any article of clothing you are wearing at the present time. I don’t care if you feel hungry – better to feel hungry than to wreck your outfit.
I was wearing a dress white shirt with a blue collar and mustard pants. Yes mustard pants. I’m an aspiring hipster, and Petra picked it up so who was I to argue?
So the talking continued, and a few laughs and cries were had here and there. But before long, I was asked to say my vows (bring cue cards fellas). I said it well, then Petra did hers, then we exchange rings, and people clapped. Then I had no idea what to do. We had to do a signing and I was shaking so much that I had trouble holding the pen. The celebrant said it’s quite normal, and I’m like ok. I remember it being a very small table, and I’m quite large, so had trouble fitting under it. I was petrified I would break the wooden chair.
Then you get up and everyone kisses and hugs the bride, and for some reason I was left alone for a while. It didn’t help I had eyes that were staring into space – just trying to figure out that I was actually married. A few people tried to get my attention and ask quite silly phrases like “How does it feel to be married?” and which you reply either ‘It’s an experience’ or ‘I need some time to think ‘or my answer ‘where’s the rum?’. Then we huddled for a camera shot, and it was celebrations from there. An important reminder – never let your in-laws convince you of anything after the wedding has just finished, usually during the hugs and kisses. They can sprout some of the hardest questions and you frankly don’t have the brainpower to answer.
But the scariest thing about weddings is that you generally have a lot of people you don’t like there. We solved that by having quite a small ceremony (40 people). I don’t generally like people, but I like gatherings. And you have to think of small-talk. You fumble with such useless talk as ‘the weather is nice’, ‘these gardens are very green’ and ‘oh you’re moving to Canberra. Tell me about Canberra’.
If you are planning your first wedding, a few thoughts – the bride is always right on the day. No matter what she says – she’s right. Don’t argue. It’s her day. You’re there and you love each other – and it could be said it’s the couples day – but frankly, you want it to be special for her.
Drink generously – but continue to eat. I wasn’t hungry after the ceremony – because there was so much talking and working to do. But I started to feel weak later on.
Do not test a recent bride with a sudden excursion outside for 30 minutes saying goodbye to a friend without carrying your phone. I learned this the hard way.
The wedding car doesn’t matter. We were in a hatchback driven by a good friend and it was so fun parking next to the Crown Plaza in it. If you are going to write your own vows, do so many weeks before – and copy them on to proper paper way before the wedding. I did it 20 minutes before, and my handwriting is terrible (most of the time I can’t read it).
Photographers will capture the day better than most. Invest in one. They are very useful in many different circumstances on the day.
If you have never been to a wedding before – it’s kind of fun having the one you are getting married at be the first. Just don’t judge anything by movies, and pay attention to everything, and you’ll be fine.
And try and find a reason when you wake up the next day to have bacon. It somehow calms you.
Ms Gingham says: A beautiful wedding day story from the heart. Thanks to Bryan Harrell for sharing his experiences with us.
Bryan says: “I started writing in my teens, but got sidetracked by games and other misadventures. I then got part of an engineering degree, and a full marketing degree from the University of Adelaide. I now work as an IT Manager for a non-profit, and run a small freelance web/IT/wordpress business.”
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