After proposing to my long time girlfriend, I thought my duty was done. In the movies, the man gets down on one knee, the girl says ‘yes’ and the credits roll. Having never had my own wedding before, I had always assumed it would be a pretty straightforward affair like a graduation party or a surprise 90th birthday for Granny. I am around weddings a lot with my business Romance Outsourced, writing custom songs for brides, grooms and speeches. But up until now, I always came in at the easy part – the celebration. What I came to learn is that the actual wedding is just the beautiful destination on a long, tumultuous journey!
Let me start at the start. I came to study in Sydney from Ireland ten years ago and met Lauren in the last month before my visa ran out. The romance took off like a rocket so we stayed together and moved between Europe and Australia to make it work for years. We both had a lot of adventuring around the world to do before ‘settling’ so there were bumpy times but strangely there never seemed to be any doubt we would end up together. In 2014, I finally made the commitment, paid the required squillon billion dollars for a Visa and moved permanently to beautiful Sydney to be with my beautiful girl.
If I’m being honest, I had only just started Romance Outsourced come proposal time and after forking out for the engagement ring (who knew there were so many shapes and colours of diamonds?!) I was flat broke. I did have one big trick up my sleeve though – surprise. At home, divorced, dramatic families surrounded me and the idea of getting married made me a bit nervous. I had always been very vocal about this, much to Lauren’s chagrin who comes from a very happy family. One day, however, I woke up and felt different. I looked at Lauren and realised that making her my wife was exactly what I wanted.
The day of the proposal was a disaster in a funny way…kind of. I took her up to the Blue Mountains where we had one of our first dates. The plan was a hike; give her the ring under a waterfall, champagne, etc. What actually happened was the worst torrential rain Sydney had seen for years. We got a flat tyre on the way and being the modern man that I am – all I could do was call NRMA road side assistance only for them to tell me I hadn’t renewed my membership! We waited in the car in Woolworths’ car park for two hours unable to see through the windows because of the rain, drinking the good red wine I had brought in cheap plastic cups.
In the end, we went for a walk in the pouring rain, accepting our sodden fate. It was actually quite romantic as there was no-one around except cavernous mountains peering through mist. She said ‘I do’ after 15 minutes of saying ‘is this a joke?’ and we got rip-roaringly drunk on rum!
Before The Wedding
And I thought that was the end! The most stressful part was the logistics. With family and friends coming over from Ireland and the UK, I had to try to ensure everyone had accommodation as well as arrange the suits for the groomsmen at a distance. Considering I only arranged about 20% of the wedding (probably typical for a groom) I can only imagine how it must have been for Lauren.
Because I was waiting for my Dad and friends to come over from Ireland for my buck’s night, I only had five days between my weekend away with the boys and the wedding. Big mistake! On the morning of the wedding, I left my room early at Tuscany Wine Estate in Hunter Valley and went for a long jog by myself to clear my head. Unknown to me – so had Lauren. Luckily we chose opposite routes!
The curse of the rain had continued to follow us and it poured down just as the ceremony had started. In a way though, we were blessed because our brilliant photographers, Waterfield, were able to get some extraordinary shots in the rain and the rainbows that followed. Also it felt just like home for the Irish! The venue was amazing too. Considering how many weddings they do, they made us feel like we were the first.
I had one last surprise for Lauren when the party started after the dinner and speeches. Having written wedding songs for so many other people, I convinced Lauren that I thought it would be cheesy if I did the same for her. Secretly, however, I had written a special song just for her and the band was kind enough to let me borrow their guitar and play it for her and our guests. Finally, I was actually able to pull off a romantic gesture!
So for the grooms-to-be out there, if I could offer one piece of advice – it would simply be don’t be naïve like me and think that the proposal is the end of your duties – it’s just the start – and it’s worth it. Also never forget to renew your NRMA membership!
Ms Chinoiserie Says: Congratulations John and Lauren on a romantic wedding day – even in the rain! The rainbows that follow are truly special….
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