Finally! The Wedding Photos :D There are a lot (and this is only a small selection), so I've made them little, and you can click on them to see them bigger...
Our flight to Brisbane went smoothly - Dotter's first flight in 12 years, so it was a novelty for her. Boyfriend M is a more seasoned traveller, and on this trip has established a new travelling tradition, of needing a big bowl of hot chips and gravy before boarding! I like it!
We were met by my lovely host, Greg (of Puzzle Wizard fame, my only cruciverbalist colleague!), and renewed acquaintance with his lovely wife and step-daughter. The only blight on this otherwise restful afternoon was Dotter having a massive diabetic hypo (low blood sugar), and nearly passing out, unable to speak or move - her worst one to date, very scary. She was conscious enough to drink soft drink, thankfully, and was soon restored.
This is the wedding of my (adopted) brother Ben to Melissa, held in Brisbane on 1 December 07. It was held at the Catholic church Our Lady of Victories, in Bowen Hills. This photo shows Ben on the far right, then our brother Dave in the middle, and Ben's Best Man Bryan on the left - waiting for the bride!
She's arrived! This is Ben and Mel listening to the Father.... he got a little teary (my brother, not the Father ;)
The whole bridal party, with my niece Ruby (Dave's daughter) as flower girl...
Vows have been made, bride has been kissed, they're all married now! Awwwwww....
Very attractive couple, no? Ben's birth mother was Thai, in case you're wondering. Our family adopted him when he was 1 month old.
Choice moment - my 2-year-old nephew Ben (below) saying "Uh oh!" really loudly just after the priest had pronounced some solemn words about the sanctity of marriage in the eyes of God ;) Appealed to the atheists on our side of the family (ie all of us)! LOL!
There were hundreds of people at the wedding - Mel's family is a very influential and wealthy Chinese Australian family, and about half of the guests had come to Brisbane from interstate or overseas... here's young Ruby (nearly 6) and Mel outside the church, getting ready for endless photos! Plus you can see some of the crowd... thankfully it wasn't too hot or humid, the weather was lovely - warm, and only a bit windy.
My little sister Jen has a very funky sense of style - I just loved her dress (a little something she picked up in London, where she's a curator at the British Museum). She couldn't take her eyes off her son Ben (we share names in our family!) ... he's the recipient of the Sherwood jumper soon, and is a little dynamo - gets into trouble at the drop of a hat! He's trying to make a get-away here ...
After the wedding there was a few hours before the reception, so Mel's parents very kindly invited their new in-laws (ie all 20 of us) and other family and close friends back to their place in New Farm. Did I mention they're fairly well off?
Dotter and I are sitting on the marble floor / steps of their family room...
The back of their place... yeah, there's a pool. And a jetty with a boat, on Brisbane River.
To get to the reception, we walked to the end of the street, and got the CityCat, which was surprisingly cheap and great fun. Boat rides being a novelty for us Canberra types, Dotter, Boyfriend M, and I sat out the front and enjoyed the ride to Brett's Wharf!
The huge marquee had seating for around 220! All festooned with white fabric and fairy lights - really beautiful. Hard to photograph, too, most of my pics are fuzzy and a bit crap... the woman sitting down on the left is my mum, and the man on her right is my step-father.
Mel and Ben made all the centre pieces on each table ... there were orchids everywhere in this wedding... !
The cake was elegantly simple , with these cute sugar figurines on the top, Mel and Ben (spiked hair included!) :
The reception ran very smoothly - Dave was the MC, and did the job well. There were stories of Ben and Mel as youngsters, a Power Point slide presentation, with a nice selection of photos. The Best Man's speech was suitably cringe-making. The food was very good, if a bit sparse... it bucketed down rain right in the middle of Ben's 'Groom's Speech', but he carried on regardless! And the Bridal Waltz was impressive - Ben was worried about his dancing prowess, so they had taken dancing lessons, and had a whole routine worked out.
By this time it was late (11pm, which was midnight to us Southerners' body clocks), so we bailed at this point. I'm sure the dancing and loud music went on for some time!
And what did I learn from the day? You can use chewing gum to stick an artificial nail back on - for a while at least ;)
On Sunday we headed back to Mel's parent's home, and participated with her large extended family in a traditional Chinese Wedding Tea Ceremony, where the bride and groom offer tea to the members of their families, as a mark of respect, and then we give them either a gift of jewellery or a red envelope of money. I'd brought the Elegant Lap Rug to give them, so I put a token amount in my envelope. The mood was quite relaxed, but also serious.
Then lunch was on! There was a whole pig, roast on a spit - another traditional wedding fare - the head is chopped off first, and would traditionally have been presented to the groom. The rest of the pig was then chopped up - and it was really delicious! The food was plentiful and pretty straightforward - chicken, salads, curry, bread, and so on.
Here's Ben, Mel, Dotter and me... Mel's red dress is very symbolic - red is THE wedding colour in China, it signifies love, joy and prosperity. And yes, they loved the Elegant Lap Rug :)
After this, we headed to the house my brother Dave and sister Jen and their families had rented, and had a 'just our family' dinner ('just' 18 of us....)! Another late night, but good fun, and great to catch up with long-lost cousins, Uncle Toes, Aunty Libby, siblings, nieces, nephews, and parents.... Boyfriend M handled the crowds and mayhem pretty well, it's pretty overwhelming for someone from a small family (I'm the eldest of 6 kids)!
On Monday Ben & Mel left for a month travelling through Asia, [lie mode] no, no, I'm not the slightest bit jealous; and me and the two teens flew back to Canberra. It was a great trip, and an amazing wedding experience, but really pretty full on - it's good to be home - I missed my boxes (oh, did I leave lie mode on?)... ;)