When you and C set the wedding date it was a special moment for the families. Unfortunately, my inner mother-in-law zilla surfaced as well and my mantra “You’ve got to have this, you’ve got to have that … it’s a wedding after all!” became the norm for me. You were patient and eventually had to curb my enthusiasm in a steady, quiet voice, “Mum, it’s our day, the best gift you could give is be happy for us on the day”. You went on to add the wedding you and C had in mind, was one of fun and laughter and one that represented you as a couple best. You had been to many weddings before and did not want a ‘cookie cutter’ event. We reached a compromise on the food and drinks and you and C and your ‘bridal committee’ took over the rest.
You let me organise the rehearsal. I was going to have a champagne brunch at home where I had carte blanc but I had to squeeze in one last work trip, so we decided to go to Crowne Plaza for a meal instead. It was such a lovely lunch and I got to meet some of your friends I had not met before. Everyone decided to have a small bet as we walked through the casino. I got caught up in the moment. I fed the machine $20 and it sang ding, ding, ding. It was the joke of the day because you know I loathe gambling. I was so embarrassed that I refused to go to the cashier and carried the coins in my bag. Foolish me! Fifty five one dollar coins is a heavy load and I ended up with a cramped arm that night!
I’m not sure why I was concerned about the wedding plans. You and your friends were part of the anime and cosplay community since university days. You had planned big conventions before including organising everything for visiting international stars. After considering all the usual wedding venues, you and C wanted the reception at Perth Zoo. The private lawn area is beautiful and under the boughs of tall trees with constant birdsong. With all the green, you decided to surprise your bride with a floral backdrop. It was just the right choice instead of all white flowers. You declined the offer of a professional photographer because it was “a plugged wedding” and everyone was invited to take pictures and upload to a special social media hashtag. There was a Bridal Bingo for the photographs uploaded. There were selfies galore at the wedding and much laughter. You chose to have an Instamatic corner and invited guests to take a polaroid picture and pin it on a board with a personal message. I watched the fun your friends had with the polaroids pics. I have looked at all the pictures and selfies online and read their remarks. You and C knew best. Judging from the comments, your guests are still raving about your wedding, how unique it was and what a fun time they had.
The choice of celebrant was a bone of contention between us. I saw the solemnity of the moment. You and C resisted having a stranger step into the role. You both wanted the moment to be inclusive and reflect who you are as a couple. The celebrant was your friend and former roommate who knew both of you best. Yes, he was hilarious and perfect for the tone of the wedding. Your friends roared with laughter, clapped and cheered as you both took your first steps into a new journey. It was what your friends expected. You knew this better than me!
Indoors the only white material at this wedding was the table linen and overhead canopy. The only formality was the bridal table. The rest of the evening was as you planned it. It was perfect. It reflected the fun child like spirit you both enjoy.
This was one of the compromises you as a couple graciously allowed me. The food was a mix of cocktail canapes and high tea, with a generous drink tab. I’m still baffled how we all felt so satiated despite everything being miniature. I am even more baffled how a very young crowd consumed less than 10% of the drinks tab and still had the best time! Your friends are awesome! I have never seen such a big crowd of twentysomethings enjoying themselves while taking selfies, dancing, videoing, and thoroughly enjoying being in the moment, cameras in hand. It left your father feeling and looking bemused.
When you stated it was everything fairy tale. I envisioned something quite different! The stickers and giveaways were funny and made by your talented artist friend. I was confused and could not envision what C had planned for the centre pieces. Each table centre piece was a theme from childhood favourites – Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, Winnie the Pooh, Frozen, Beauty and the Beast etc. It was such fun that the guests went table to table to check them out instead of staying seated. All made by C herself, sourcing items from vintage shops. They were better and more fun than the baby’s breath and peonies I had envisioned.
As C lost her mother at a young age and was raised by “Granny”, I thought we would go shopping for a dress without a budget and enjoy ‘Say Yes to the Dress’ moments. But no, C wanted to make her own dress and wanted something she could recycle. Her dress was vintage lace that she unpicked entirely and created her own. She wanted to be a princess for a day. She did and it suited her personality. No one would have expected her to wear anything else. Her hair tendrils were in her late mother’s favourite colours. I cried when I saw her walking up the aisle to you.
I won the round with the cake! “You can’t have a wedding without a cake!” I lamented and you two resisted saying no one eats cake these days. In the end C made her own cake and refused a conventional one that would have cost me $$$. I’m so glad you had one. The crowd roared when you cut it.
C’s tears flowed freely in the arms of an internet friend from Sydney. A surprise you kept secret. This moment of joy, is yours too.
So it is all over now. Life begins for you and your wife.
As I cut the apron strings there are a few things you ought to know. I learned to be a better mother because of you. Never wanting to be separated from me, was a challenge for us both. Then came the fussy choices about food, another challenge for a mother who loved to cook. I dug deeper and deeper and found a special joy in being a mother to you. I found a reservoir of patience, understanding and love that I never knew was there and I access it to this day. Raising you on my own should have been a bigger challenge but it hasn’t been. You exemplify what is good about youth. You are forward thinking, inclusive, community minded, mindful about resources and have a vision for a better world. And above all, you value family. Your dad, sister and I have been privileged to share life’s journey with you. The lead up to your wedding and on the day itself, I realised, there are times when a parent needs to step back and let your children be who they are. This realisation was a joy equalled to watching you take faltering steps in your first pair of shoes.
If your wedding is anything to go by, may your journey in life as C’s husband, be filled with laughter, love, fun and surprises. Be happy. Be together. Be forgiving. Be healthy. And, may you both always be surrounded by the love and laughter of family and friends as you did on your wedding day.
Your loving mum
a dawn bird