An Aussie Wedding

When we first moved to Australia, we were immediately adopted my mother's long time Australian friend and therefore her family.  They took me in for a couple months when I first arrived and helped me get used to driving on the other side of the road, the Aussie accent, and various other intricacies of learning to live in another country.  Since then they have included us in family events and Christmas lunch every year, and we have come to consider them our Aussie family.  Growing up, my extended family would always end up adopting in-laws, exchange students, and various distant relatives to the point where they became the family that I always considered part of certain holiday traditions.  Being on the other side of the fence now, I really appreciate how nice it is to be included in such an extended family. 
The matriarch and patriarch of our Aussie family
Last weekend the youngest from our Aussie family got married and we were honored to be there to celebrate with them.  It was cute to see how giddy and excited the bride and groom were, but it was also really interesting to see how Aussie weddings differ from American weddings.   

To start, I brought their present over a couple weeks early.  In the US, it's considered proper etiquette to send a gift purchased from the gift registry in advance so the couple doesn't have to deal with the logistics of how to get them home on an already crazy day.  When I handed them the present, they said, "But we thought you were going to the wedding?"  Three times three different family members said this, and then it dawned on me that things might be a bit different here.  I explained how it was different in the States and we were all a bit confused. 

The ceremony was held in a beautiful park near the Melbourne CBD.  The celebrant announced that the wedding was about to get under way and introduced the paige boys.  Well that was a term we hadn't heard before - apparently that's what they call ring bearers here.   

The paige boys (nephews)
 The rest of the ceremony was basically what we were used to, with the father walking the bride down the aisle, the vows, and the signing the marriage certificate. 
The father and the beautiful bride
The wedding ceremony with the city as the backdrop
The happy newlyweds
The reception was held in the Docklands, a newer area in Melbourne overlooking the bay.  Before the bridal party arrived, two friends introduced themselves as the MCs for the evening.  Usually in Australia the couple asks good friends to serve as speakers for the evening, where as we were used to the DJ doing this.  The first dances and cutting the cake were the same, but the bride and groom played a fun game where they sat back to back and took turns raising a shoe based on answers to cheeky questions.  I also really enjoyed the photo booth, this is something done on both sides of the pond now but back in my day we put disposable cameras on the tables to capture goofy guest pictures.  I was also interested to see if people brought presents to the reception, but was confused to realize that I didn't see presents anywhere.  Was that not done here?  It took me towards the end of the night until I spotted a suitcase filled with cards.  Apparently here it's normal to have what's called a wishing well where people give cards/money to the couple instead of presents. 
Picture time
Cheers little ears!
Photo booth fun
It was fun not only to share in such a memorable day for them, but also to experience the cultural variances in such a tradition.  It was quite unexpected considering the cultures are, at first glance, rather similar. 
Pretty sunset to cap it off


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