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Sharon & Gregory
Historic Ascot House Wedding
8 December 2012
Until recently, I never knew how capable Sharon is as a self-appointed wedding planner. She has done me proud with her planning ability and “good buys”, right down to the little personal touches that made her wedding day such a memorable one.
For me personally, the “fun” began with the fantastic hen’s party which was expertly organized by her bridesmaid, Andrea. My only input for the occasion was making the satays and sauceand even the task of skewering the meat wasn’t left for me to tackle alone. My good friend DeArne willingly gave up her morning to lend a hand. You can imagine my surprise when Andrea came bounding in late in the afternoon and started handing out all sorts of “goodies” from a Sexyland bag! Soon after all the ladies had arrived, a pleasant young man named Corey appeared to be our topless waiter for the evening. What a hunk! He helped me cook the satays on the barbecue in between waiting on the ladies and he was so nice that before the evening was through, I adopted him! Just when I thought there couldn’t possibly be any more surprises in store, a male stripper showed up to entertain us. When the show was over, most of the ladies left while a handful of us waited for Simon (the designated driver for the night) to arrive so he could take six tiddly women to continue partying at O’sullivan’s Irish Pub. Judy and I didn’t last the distance and called it quits just before 1a.m. Oh what a night it was!
On the wedding eve, Andrea, Sharon and I enjoyed a couple of drinks… oh ok, several drinks – to unwind. By midnight, quite a few caterpillars had pupated and turned into butterflies in Sharon’s tummy. The poor darling was as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs so out came a bottle of bubbly to provide some comfort. We finally called it a night at around 2am to catch a few hours’ sleep. I went to bed but did not go to sleep until I was positive that Sharon had drifted to slumberland, just in case her nerves got the better of her and she decided to pull a ‘Runaway Bride’ stunt.
An alarm clock was set for a 5.30a.m. wake-up but with Nathan around, we could have easily left the clock untouched. He was up at 5a.m. and almost drove us nuts with his demands to know the time of day at 5 second intervals. By 5.15a.m. we had poured a second cup of coffee down our throats and by 6.30a.m., the caffeine finally kicked in. Make-up artist and hair stylist Adrienne fronted up at 6.30am and immediately began working her magic with heated rollers and comb, prior to the skilful application of assorted war-paint. Nathan remained on tenterhooks until 9.30a.m. when he was given the okay to get changed into his smart outfit. I was just about ready to step into my shoes when Nina arrived a bit after 10a.m. to take me to the wedding venue. She was closely followed by the chauffeur of a dark blue stretch limousine that had been hired to transport the bridal party to Ascot House (compliments of Deej & Gen), complete with a bottle of champagne to calm any nerves.
After a few photos with the bride in one of the many historic rooms, I beat a hasty retreat to find the ushers, Mike and Jacob, who guided me to join family and friends who had gathered near the gazebo where the bestman, Trevor and the groom stood nervously kicking their heels. We didn’t have long to wait before Nathan, the ring bearer, came sprinting down the red carpet. He was soon followed by Andrea, the bridesmaid, who looked a million bucks, before another vision of loveliness walked down the red carpet, clutching Wayne’s arm as she smilingly released the proverbial butterflies in her tummy.
As the bride and groom gazed lovingly into each other’s eyes, Wendy Dalton, the Celebrant, made her welcome speech before inviting me to say my piece. Not being very eloquent when it comes to public speaking, I nervously stood up and took a few steps forward before I battled against the wind to make myself heard. This was what I said, as loudly as I could:
Thank you one and all for joining us on this joyous occasion. Not being very good at public speaking, I decided to express myself by reciting a short poem by Patience Strong. Dedicated to my soon-to-be son-in-law, this comes straight from my heart.
She now belongs to you,
Be kind to my lass. Take good care of her,
for I still love her too.
My daughter always— yes, I know.
My daughter, but soon to be your wife.
I knew she’d have to go some day.
I don’t complain. That’s Life.
The only thing that matters is that she is going to be —
loved and happy.
That is all that really counts with me.
So upon this day of days when hearts are in a whirl —
I want to say just this once more:
Be good to her, my girl.
Next on the agenda was the exchanging of vows, followed by the wedding rings business before Greg’s mum, Margaret, recited this poem:
You’ve vowed today to be a loving wife.
Always remember this, my dear,
for marriage is for life…
The first bright flush of happiness
is bound to fade away…
But never forget the pledge you made
upon your wedding day.
There are times when men need understanding.
That’s the test.
So learn to speak the wise and kindly word,
and do your best —
to make your home a centre of contentment, peace and joy —
to which his heart will always turn…
Be good to him, my boy.
~ PATIENCE STRONG ~
Once the marriage documentation was completed, Mr & Mrs Greg & Sharon Minnis were presented to a round of applause. We then wandered over to the front garden for a photo session as the gusty wind blew. Photo session over, we re-grouped and mingled in the Tuscan-inspired courtyard while sipping champagne and enjoying the super yummy canapï¿½s of prawn dumplings, crispy flathead tails, summer rolls and various delicious fare. By 12.30pm, we were seated in the intimate Chandelier Room to raise our glasses a few minutes later in a toast to the bride and groom after the cake cutting ceremony. We then sat down to savour an entree of delicious Greek Lamb Salad before the bridal waltz to the song, “Come What May”. Guests joined the bridal couple on the dance floor and soon we were grooving to specially selected songs played by the attending DJ during the first dance session before sitting down to enjoy the main course of Mushroom Eye Fillet Steak or Baked Atlantic Salmon with all the trimmings. We returned to the dance floor for a bit more dancing in an attempt to allow the main course to settle. While the guests danced, Sharon did a disappearing act but soon rejoined us wearing a different outfit. We returned to our respective seats as the desserts were being served. I was thinking to myself that I couldn’t possibly fit another thing in when a tantalizing Tasting Trio of Crï¿½me Brï¿½lï¿½e, Warm Hazelnut & Caramel Pudding and Mango Ice Cream appeared before me. One small mouthful led to another and it wasn’t long before the super delicious trio joined the eye fillet steak in my tummy!
Greg’s dad, Graham, did a splendid job as M.C., first calling on Wayne, then Trevor and followed by Andrea to make their respective speeches. As promised, Wayne did a great job in his humorous account of a few of Sharon’s escapades during her younger years without causing any great embarrassment, much to Sharon’s relief. Trevor started by commenting that his 16-year friendship with Greg is longer than most relationships he’s had, before continuing on to tell us how the happy couple first met almost five years ago. Unaware that she would be called upon to make a speech, Andrea kept her cool and made a short and sweet impromptu speech. Good job, girl! Graham then took over the microphone and recounted how he spent 7 hours during a roadtrip singing nursery rhymes to a cranky toddler in a vain attempt to get him to sleep. He continued on with a few more recollections that had Greg turning red with embarrassment before handing the microphone over for the groom’s input. Greg expressed his thanks to everyone from bridesmaid to parents for their support and participation and to the guests for their attendance. A greatly relieved Greg was quick to hand the microphone back to his dad before hurrying back to his bride’s side.
Wedding cake and coffee were served before the removing of the garter tradition was carried out, followed by the single ladies eagerly waiting to catch the bouquet. It was then time for the reception to end with a last dance before the departure of the newlyweds. The wedding guests went their separate ways while a few of us – Wayne’s brother, Kerry and his wife, Louise, Simon and Andrea, Wayne and myself met up with the newlyweds at the North Suburban Sports Club for “winding down” drinkies. A perfect end to an almost perfect wedding day.
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