After nearly 10 years in my dream job, I’ve done lots and lots of weddings and events. I’ve met so many amazing people and have so many incredible memories, but sometimes, something – or someone blows me away – or renders me speechless.Or moves me to tears. Or makes me laugh out loud (even more than normal).
I thought I would share a few of them with you.
This is Carol. She is beautiful and vibrant and funny and deeply loved. She also has Cerebral Palsy.
The most emotional Father of The Bride moment – ever.
I have asked hundreds of Dads (and mums) for their wedding day blessing, over the years.
I have never seen it as a passing of ownership, or anti-feminist. I don’t see it as a “giving away” because that’s ridiculous – who would ever give away their daughter? For me, the tradition is simply an opportunity to honour the relationship between them all – and the love they share.
I have seen dads delighted and excited, and always proud as punch. I’ve seen some that jumped out of their seat, some that struggled with English, but smiled, instead. I thought I had met every kind of dad – until I met Sandra’s lovely dad, Gary.
Just as I normally would, I asked him for his blessing; to tell us that he believed in the love that Greg and Sandra shared. And then it happened – he teared up – and started to sob. He was so overcome with happiness for his only daughter that once he started, he couldn’t stop. Sandra started crying then – and I encouraged her to go over and give her dad a hug. Now they were hugging and Greg’s eyes were misting over and I would be lying if I told you that I didn’t tear up, too.
It was the most beautiful crying love fest ever – and this is one of the most beautiful wedding photos I have ever seen.
Last year, a simply lovely – but quite shy – couple in the UK, contacted me about their elopement. Nicky and Ron were coming to Sydney for the holiday of a lifetime – would I marry them? Of course! I gave them homework for one of my Secret Ceremonies – and asked them if any of their friends and family would like to send a special message for them? I would read them as part of the ceremony. I was flooded with messages of love and offers of support.
The day came round – the hottest, most un-British-traveller-friendly weather possible. It was almost 40 degrees – and I was grateful that our tiny little wedding would not begin until 5pm. But then – it happened – the wind picked up – the temperature dropped 20 degrees -in about ten minutes and our beautiful little wedding by the harbour, at Captain Henry Waterhouse Reserve at Kirribilli, was about to be ruined. The photographer, my dear friend Nattnee, and I jumped into her car – and started looking for a new location, out of the gale force winds. We went back and found Nicky and Ron, looking very lost and very worried – and we packed them into the back of my car and drove to Wendy Whiteley’s Secret Garden.
The ceremony itself was beautiful – in a way that only an elopement can be. We all laughed – and cried (even me) – and at the end, I started to read all of those messages. I had more than 10 of them. And 1 song. One of Nicky’s friends had written them a song- to the tune of a Christmas carol. Eight choruses…..
There’s just about nothing I won’t do to make my couples happy. I certainly wasn’t going to let them down – or their dear friend that had spent so long writing it. I couldn’t just read it. I thought – ok – here goes – and I sang….
Ding Dong Merrily on High, It’s Ron and Nicky’s wedding, I’m so happy I could cry, And so these tears I’m shedding
Tra-la-la-la-la-la-la, La-la-la-la-la-la, La-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la, La-la-la-la-la-la
It’s Ron and Nicky’s wedding!
All eight choruses. Every single one.
It is always a special thing to have a grandparent at a wedding – and I try always to make a fuss of them. In Asian cultures, in particular, the elderly are the most revered, most honoured and most precious guests. I try always to address them in their own language – and let them know that their presence is so important – and appreciated.
This wedding was a stand out, though. At Aimee and Ray’s wedding, there were 7 grandparents. That’s the most grandparents I have ever had at a wedding. They all had different names – Ah Ma, Ma Ma, Po Po, Ah Gong, Gong Gong. Half of them spoke Mandarin – the other half spoke Cantonese. I wanted to welcome each one, individually, in their own language – by name. It ws never going to be easy – I walked around for an hour before the ceremony saying (in my head) Po Po is in purple – she speaks Canto, Ma Ma is in green, Ye Ye is in mustard – he speaks Mandarin – over and over again.
When it came to the beginning if the ceremony, I took a deep breath – thought, I’ll ever nail or fail, they’ll laugh with me – or at me- but at least they won’t be angry…. and off I went. Seven times. Fooonying Po Po. Huanying Ye Ye……
I did it! ( and as I did, I saw Aimee and Ray’s parents look at them – and at their own parents. They were literally swelling with pride. They’ll never know it was my idea. They’ll never know how worried I was about getting it wrong. They were so proud.
For many of my couples, my TLC does not end with the ceremony. More and more, they ask me to be their MC, host, co-ordinator, hand to hold – everything – all night long – and I have to say, I love it.
What I hear all the time is “my parents don’t dance” and “you’ll never get my parents to dance in” or “I bet they won’t”. I just nod and say “we’ll see – you wait”.
What I have learnt is that everyone needs encouragement – and sometimes, a little inspiration and someone to follow – so I lead my receptions from the centre. I don’t just stand there and tell them what to do and then disappear. If I want them to dance, I’ll dance too. If I want people to get excited and energetic and embrace the party, then I better show them how.
I’ll never forget this evening at Curzon Hall. Patricia, the bride, had no idea what was going to happen in her evening – until she pulled me in to take charge.. She said that none of her friends and family were dancers – all weddings were a bit dull – and that she was over it all, already – and “no matter how hard you try, Robyn – you will never convince my Mum and Dad to dance their way in for their entrance”
Take a look – right there behind me is Dad- bouncing his way into his daughter’s wedding – with all the energy and excitement in the world. And mum? She hit the dancefloor with me – all night long. She loved it – and so did everyone else.
I hate to say I told you so…..
The Goodbye That Made Me Cry