Nine years ago today I stood under the bower of the most amazing mulberry tree I have ever seen, for a hand fasting ceremony that wed me to my best friend – a gorgeous man who supports me, inspires me, listens to my crazy and tells me I’m not so crazy, dreams with me, believes in me, infuriates me, makes me laugh, still loves me after I yell at him, holds me when I cry, buys me chocolates, brings me flowers, lets me watch all the sappy romantic films I want, reaches things that are too high for me, does all the ‘heavy’ work without complaining and attempts to laugh at my terrible jokes.
Woven into the gnarled trunk of this beautiful mulberry tree is the echo of something awe inspiring; countless years, generations of laughter, tears that have fallen on her leaves and numerous storms she’s weathered but survived – what didn’t break her only proved to grow her stronger. I couldn’t think of a better mascot for my wedding day. This tree stands in the quaint little garden of a 19th century stone Hotel – The Settler’s Arms Inn, Saint Albans.
As a young girl, I marvelled at the countryside on the drive down to Saint Albans. I’d often journey along this country road with Opa on his ‘school holiday drives’ he’d love to take us on. Saint Albans was a favourite destination. As I grew into a young adult myself, the nostalgia in me romanticised the whole area and I’d love to take drives there on a Sunday with my beloved, looking longingly out to the landscape, dreaming of one day living in such a place! We spent many a lazy sunny Sunday in that garden, snacking on ploughman’s platters and dreaming about our future together – while the mascot of the Inn itself who we’d named ‘Smokey’, sat in his usual chair out the front of the pub, puffing away with an ale in his weathered hands. The romantic in me loved and still does love everything about this historic little place. Therefore there really was no question about where the gathering that celebrated our wedding would be held.
Of course, the event had to be themed, if you know me there was always going to be something different about our day and I was never going to rock the white meringue with a neat french roll in my hair and the classic bridal baby face. Not that there’s anything wrong with that traditional ‘white wedding’ – they are beautiful, but just definitely not me at all. I’d fall over in the high heels trying to even get out of the car! My selection was a little more purple, a little more pixie and a bit more stardust! I also am not a big diamond ring type gal either. Luckily Graham knew me well and the engagement ring he had organised for me was from Fallers in Galway, Ireland. It is a simple gold band with a white gold triquetra in the middle. I love it. And the thought of another ring on my hand was totally not me – so I had a small little diamond (you literally have to squint to see it!) that was from my great-grandfather’s tie pin, set into the middle of the triquetra as my wedding ring. I love the symbol of the triquetra and have always felt such a connection to it. In the case of an engagement and wedding I think it is so perfect – to me I see it meaning the coming together of two life paths and creating this new weaving of one, this new life together, bringing the essence and energy of each of the two paths into one.
Our family and friends were invited to don costumes of the traditional era and journey to help us celebrate our Spring wedding. You know people like you if they travel that far to see you get married – you know people love you if they come dressed in costume – even those who swear they’ll never ‘do the fancy dress thing’! We had a town crier, Merlin, jesters, gypsies, maidens, masters, lords, ladies and knights. I didn’t like my chances of getting some of the bridal boys into costume, but in the end, with the promise of a real life sword – they agreed! Therefore there was also sword fights, tree climbing, a pumpkin carving and Havaiana thongs (silver of course!) for tired bridal girls feet! You’ll see in the pictures there was even a mock beheading between the middle and youngest brother! Quite ironic given the town we were marrying in! I’d love to call our homeschool after the Saint who is the namesake of the place we were wed in, but I’m still working through the ‘essence’ of Saint Alban – what do you think of this Saint, how did you name your homeschool? I think it’s lovely to have the place you married in, as part of your homeschool name (see, that’s the Romantic in me!) ‘Saint Albans School of Life’ but I’m still workshopping that one, I’m not sure how Saint Alban ‘sits’ with me yet. Oh and ‘Smokey’ who we found out is actually named ‘Gordon’ even graced us with his presence, which was such an honour! Hmmmmmm… Possibly our homeschool name needs to work in Smokey Gordon’s name as well!
The groovy, tribal beats of the day were provided by some great musicians who were a part of the group The Rhythm Hunters – one of which was an old high school friend. The amazing rhythm of the drums came echoing across the valley to the old court house where I was getting ready with the girls. When we were around 20 minutes late, my Uncle said to me “You really need to hurry up – the drummers arms are going to fall off”!
Here is a little story of our day in pictures, with a few of our honeymoon along the Great Ocean Road as well. Nine years ago today – I’m wondering if the first poppy might have bloomed in our garden today in honour of this day we celebrated way back in 2006.