Sunday, February 03, 2008

The best Day of my life Part Two: The reception.

Des and I like breakfast. It's a meal suited to a casual occasion, and suited to a nice buffet. Part of the attraction of a morning wedding was the ability to put on a really good buffet breakfast. When we got inside the hall, we found that the caterers had put on an excellent one. Also, Darren Hanlon was setting up to play a few tunes. At this point we need to make a detour to explain how significant this is.

In the mid nineties I saw a band at a music festival in Byron Bay called "The Simpletons". They were a good folk-rock band, and they just embodied everything I liked - I became a massive fan immediately. For the next few years I followed them around like a bad smell. Their label signed The Lucksmiths, so I bought Lucksmiths CDs. I went to all of their Sydney gigs (a big effort living in Windsor) as they had moderate success on Triple J, but the music got heavier as the lead singer and creative force Shane Gelagin got further into the drug habit that eventually killed him.

Darren Hanlon was the multi-instrumental lead guitarist in this band, and in 2000 he released his first CD containing one of my favourite all-time songs - "Falling Aeroplanes", a song about a girl restoring a boys belief in himself and his worth. I started following Darren Hanlon around like the same bad smell, and when I burnt a CD for Des our first few months together I put "Falling Aeroplanes" on it. It quickly became our song, with the twins initially thinking I sang it.

So when one of my colleagues at work told me of her ambition to get Guy Sebastian to play her wedding I thought "Hmmm - I wonder if Darren Hanlon would play our wedding?", I sent an email to his management.

A month before the big day I got the email saying "yes" and could I put a list of songs together. We flipped out. We put a seven song set together, with no Simpletons songs on it because I thought that would be rude. But several days before the wedding Darren rang me (how cool is that) and when I said I was a Simpletons fan he said "Do you want me to play a couple of Simpletons songs?". I picked two and got even more excited.

So Darren started playing as the meal started, but we soon realised that he would be finished before we were ready to do our bridal waltz, OK who are we kidding - it was a bridal "blue light disco shuffle" to Falling Aeroplanes, so we asked Darren if he wanted some breakfast. Then he sat down with me and we talked for twenty minutes about Des and I, his plans for the coming year, some weddings he'd played before and some other stuff. Yes Tesso, he is exactly the sort of bloke that comes accross in his songs. It was a treat. I knew I'd never get a better opportunity to fulfil a folk-rock & roll fantasy, so I asked him what key one of the Simpletons songs I'd asked him to play was in. He replied "G", which was a key I knew I could play it in so I asked the question - and yes, he would play "Buzz Aldrin" with me. It was his second last song and the highlight of my musical life, but it would soon be eclipsed by a far more special collaboration.

We danced to Falling Aeroplanes and it was beautiful. We thanked Darren and got some great "Fan shots" and then it was time for Des's surprise.

The girls and I had been working on a version of Ben Lee's "We're All in this Together" for several months. We had divided the lyrics up and chose certain bits to sing together and personalised it a bit.

I knew it was going to be a bit special, but the effect was awesome. I barely managed to hold it together for the whole song, and whenI sang the line "I saw you crying, I started crying" I looked over at Des and I nearly lost it. Most of the guests had tears in their eyes.

From here we started the speeches. My sister got married in Denmark, and one thing I picked up from that wedding was that the Australian tradition of proscribed speeches was stifling. We let all of those close to us know that if they wanted to make a speech, they were welcome.

As a result we had great speeches from my dad, Des's uncle Michael, Sharon and my sisters together. And then Des spoke.

She made a beautiful speech about our relationship and the beauty thereof. Again I felt so lucky to be married to this amazing woman.

And then I spoke. I managed to hold it together for most of the speech, but when I started talking about the twins I lost it. I never had any right to expect that they would even accept me. As most long term readers would know. these girls have brought me some of the best memories of my life, and by the end of the speech every person in that room knew how important that was to me.

With the speeches over we cut the cake which was another hippy creation: a tree trunk layered chocolate, caramel and white chocolate mud in the shape of a tree trunk.

After the informal formalities the rest of the day was given over to socialising and fun. The adults talked and the kids played tennis, had a water bomb fight, bashed up a pinata and generally ran amok. It was great to see the way the kids from our various social circles just ran off having fun together.

In the afternoon we had a BBQ with potato bake for the vegos. After the BBQ our guests spontaneously started packing up the hall. This was fantastic - we left knowing there wasn't much to do at about 5:00PM. One of the unforseen benefits of a morning wedding is that Des and I were able to have a quiet dinner together with just the two of us. Not many people get that on their wedding night.
Since then I've been running a bit. I'll tell you about it later.


Blogger The Owl said...

I have tears in my eyes remembering the speeches! Your post has bought it all back to me. :-)

7:01 am  
Blogger Jen_runs said...

Oh wow. I've got tears & goosebumps reading your post Ben. What an incredible day you had. While all weddings are special, I particularly love those who 'break the mould' and make the day their own. It certainly sounds like you did that!

12:09 pm  
Blogger TA and the Gnome said...

'Twas a top day Ben, no doubt about it and you've captured that really well in these posts. Beauty! :-)


7:11 pm  
Blogger Tesso said...

Just as the green was starting to fade I read Part 2 :-) Man, what an amazing amazing amazing day. You must feel like all your dreams have come true.

I'm not at all surprised Darren is such a great guy, he'd have to be special to be able to write the songs he does. And after reading I just had to play 'Falling Aeroplanes'. Such beautiful lyrics.

Every time I hear DH now I will be reminded of you.

PS If its not too much hassle I'd like to know what the other six songs were.

5:13 pm  
Blogger Simlin said...

Sounds like you had a great wedding Ben. I hope mine is half as good.

10:59 am  

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