Wedding Reflections

Wedding sunrise, Manly Beach, Sydney

New Jersey, U.S.A.

Life moves so fast. Some say writers — and bloggers — are doubly fortunate because they get to experience things twice: first, they live them; then, they write about them.

Even for those who don’t choose words as their artistic tools of choice, I think there’s a lot to be said for pausing to reflect upon and process the events and experiences that make up our lives. Sometimes we actively cause them to happen; other times, they’re outside our control but still happen to us, or have a significant impact on us.

Le Penseur, The Thinker, by Auguste Rodin, Paris, November 2010


It always seems such a challenge, to take time to just be. In recent months, this goal has been particularly elusive for me and Clive, as we’ve experienced a great deal of change in our lives.
Even on our Paris honeymoon sojourn, we found ourselves mostly exhausted and recovering, rather than thinking and reflecting about our wedding.

Today marks four weeks since that day in Australia.  As wedding days should be, it was a memorable one for us, so I wanted to share a little more about it, if only to take a few moments myself to reflect upon and relive those hours in time.

Before: It Took Us a While to Get Here

Early days - at West Head, Sydney, November 2005

I’ve written at length about the challenges of a global family. Most if not all families find challenges in getting everyone together in one place, especially as children grow up and begin their own lives. When you add the international dimension and geographic distance, it’s yet one more factor that complicates the equation.

Four years ago, in December, 2006, Clive and I exchanged rings as a symbol of our commitment to each other, and became officially engaged. As months and then years passed, our families at some point stopped asking, ‘When’s the date?’ We had always replied we felt we were married anyway, and would figure out a date sometime when our three adult children were all in the same place. We knew from the start we wanted a small celebration.

Finding a time when our children would all be together proved more difficult than we anticipated. My son was last in Sydney in August 2008, and for the past two years we were unable to be together at Christmas, either. There didn’t seem to be much hope for a Sydney wedding any time soon.

Ian and Lesley's home, Sydney

Then, this year, in the midst of planning for our new adventure and a new grandchild, and traveling to the U.S. to visit my dying father, the stars aligned. My son’s schedule would permit him to travel to Australia for three short days; a weekend in mid-November would suit Clive’s children’s work schedules and give us just enough time to meet New South Wales legal notification requirements; and the marriage celebrant we chose was available on the afternoon we requested. With a final look at the calendar, we got back to them all and said, ‘Book it.’

Our friends Lesley and Ian offered to have the ceremony at their home, and we gratefully accepted.

The Day Before

Rainbow lorikeets, Sydney

A pair of rainbow lorikeets graced us with a morning visit the day before our wedding. These beautiful birds often travel as a couple, and their visit was especially meaningful to me since not only do Clive and I love them, so did my late husband, Gary.

Also that morning, my son arrived from the U.S. Regular readers here know we’ve visited him a number of times in Washington, D.C., where he now makes his home. His return to Sydney after more than two years away filled me with great joy.

with my son at Manly Beach, Sydney

That afternoon, I had my first and only bridal meltdown. When I began to iron my wedding dress — just a touch-up was needed — a few drops of water fell through the holes in the iron onto the purple silk. Afraid I’d ruined it, I burst into tears and ran into the bedroom (such a mature act), leaving the dress with Clive who had, as always, jumped to the rescue. Within a few minutes he had saved the day and the dress, carefully ironing away the wet spots and drying my tears as well.

The Big Day

Wedding ceremony, Sydney, 14 November 2010

On the big day, when we walked into the lobby of our former apartment building, a bouquet of flowers and a ‘Congratulations and Best Wishes, Clive and Carolyn’ sign greeted us.

Inside Ian and Lesley’s home was a magical setting, pictured above, with flowers, candles, music, hors d’oeuvres, and champagne. We enjoyed an hour of visiting with all our children and grandchildren present, then welcomed our celebrant when she arrived to conduct the ceremony.

Our ceremony was short, about twenty minutes in total. We wrote our own vows, and also asked our children to give us away and to each do a reading and say a few personal words.

My son reading at our wedding ceremony

Exactly two weeks earlier, my son had given the eulogy at my father’s funeral. What a change, to then speak at his mother’s wedding. We were touched by all our children’s words of love, acceptance, and positive wishes for our life together.

After

Sometimes you just get lucky and everything comes together exactly the way you hoped it would. Except it’s not really luck; it’s thanks to the love and caring and effort people take — to make travel arrangements, to fly or drive long distances, to make their home beautiful for your special occasion, to get young children dressed and ready, to plan ahead so they have games to play and things to keep them busy during a long adult dinner, to bring extra baby items so you can stay out later than usual with a newborn, to simply be there and by your presence make a bride and groom very happy.

So the evening continued at our favourite Sydney restaurant, Whitewater, where we enjoyed good food and, more importantly, great company.

Our wedding group

Life has moved on since our wedding day four weeks ago. Little Ebonie has almost doubled her age; she’s now almost two months old. Our adult children are back at their respective homes and work lives. Ian and Lesley are busy planning their upcoming trip to the Middle East and Europe. And now we are in the U.S., where different kinds of activities occupy our days.

For now, if you’ve read this far, thank you for sharing a few more of our wedding memories with us. And happy one month anniversary to my husband.

at the end of the evening - tired but happy groom and bride

Cheers and more soon.

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6 Responses

  1. Hi Carol and Clive,

    A lovely combination of text and pictures–you presented your story so attractively. The day before was stressful wasn’t it, but so often there is someone to make things right. I hope you’re enjoying your visit in New Jersey with your family. I’m sure your mother has been glad to see you both.

    I hope you both aren’t minding the cold too much in the northern hemisphere!

    –Eleanor

  2. I bet you can’t believe that the four years have already passed. Lovely photos. You two look happy.

  3. What a lovely reflection. And, typical you, you reflect on the thoughtful things that OTHERS did to ensure your special day. I never would have dreamed you could have a bridal ‘moment’, and I looooove that Clive saved the day with his special silk ironing skills!!!

    loved your previous post about Ian and Lesley hosting you; you certainly had the perfect setting. And I’m so happy it all came together as it was supposed to. I’m so happy for you two and sorry that my stress levels and activity levels didn’t allow me to see you this visit. But hopefully next time!!!

    Congratulations mille fois to a MOST lovely couple!!!

    xxoo

  4. Beautiful Post Carolyn .. I had tears in my eyes .. thoughtful , caring and such a wonderful family .. …

    WELL DONE to Clive .. for saving the day .. ♥

  5. Carolyn – it has been a very long time since I popped in to read your blog..imagine my surprise and delight to read about your marriage. Good on ya!

    Reading about the loss of your dad and your subsequent wedding brought tears to my eyes. Thank you so much for sharing your day with us.

    Wishing Clive and you all the love, happiness and peace that life has to offer You so deserve it!

    Much love, Mary

  6. Hi Mary! A belated but very heartfelt THANK YOU for your lovely wishes.

    I’m so glad to ‘see’ you here and appreciate your stopping by 🙂

    Hope all is well with you and your hubby too – cheers and a big hug your way.

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