You might like this little story if you are thinking of having a Blue Mountains Wedding. The weather this early summer has been unseasonably cold, yet for today it was perfect. Not in fact too cold, it contributed to the perfect stillness of the setting at Evan’s Lookout. Not a leaf moving, not a ray of sunlight to impose on the majesty of the cliffs and the bush. Just a collective awareness of nature and man, a reverence, quiet and pervasive. Around 50 guests of all ages assembled at the lookout, silently, silently grouped, catching glimpses as the bride and her mother, not a young mother, carefully wound their way down the stairs toward me and the groom. No grandiose music or the pomp of a bridal party – just the sweetness of John Lennon’s “ Oh My Love” on a single guitar.
We started by acknowledging the traditional owners – how could you not? This was a borrowed space so completely ours for the time, and so appropriately invoked in the introduction: “… Pulpit Rock where Loretta and Dan go with their Irish friends to explore the glorious depths of the Grose Valley; the Blue Gum, sitting at the fulcrum of three valleys, as close as we get to a sacred site…; Mt Hay, where they went for their first walk… the beginning of many journeys along the beautiful trails of our beloved mountains…”.
Many weddings take place in magnificent settings, which remain a backdrop. But the setting was essence to this wedding, and fittingly articulated in the ceremony. The reading of Denis Kevin’s poem captured the spirit and silent mystery of the bush and the timeless indestructibleness of true love. About life, and joy and heartache, it was perfect.
Other weddings will have music to fill the space when the signing of the documents is taking place – after the vows, after the marriage, in fact. People will chat and celebrate through it. However at this wedding, the guitarist sang before the vows were taken, his song “Hallelujah”, an integral part of the ceremony. More than this – guests were caught up in the event: I recognized the disintegration on the face of a stranger and knew her bereavement; as if the song were not moving enough, someone joined in to the chorus, starting a reaction of spontaneous choral singing I have never before experienced at a wedding.
No church or cathedral could have brought such an atmosphere of awe and connectedness. The hearts of the couple would have been full to bursting. All of this, for them.
When I told my mother about this she said “And did you sing up too, darling?” I said, “No Mum – I have to stay composed, but inside I was singing. People need you to keep it together as the celebrant, you can’t clap your hands with joy or burst into tears, but you can still feel it.”