Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Henry and Joanne's Wedding

The second wedding is of my fiance's sister, Joanne Melmoth. She is marrying Henry Halder from Bangladesh. Henry managed to become the talk of the town in tiny West Wyalong- the little country town where Joanne grew up in with a population of around 3.500. It wasn't because Henry is not Australian, but more of because their relationship had been a long fierce battle to finally reach this wedding.

Henry met Joanne when they were both studying to become missionaries. Weeks before Henry had to go back to Bangladesh for good, he got together with Joanne. Anyone would think that this decision is completely mad, but they successfully went through 2 years of long distance relationship and finally got married. Thank You God for Skype.

The Melmoth family is very involved with the community church. Before they were married, Henry had been having a lot of problems in getting his marriage VISA to Australia. They’re wedding was postpone from June 2009 to October 2009 and now it’s finally happening on February 2010. It was a long horrible wait, and the church was praying for Henry for so long! I was there when Greg’s dad announced to the church that Henry’s VISA finally got approved. Everyone instantly applaud, and they've never even met the guy! I love West Wyalong...

They've decided to have the wedding in West Wyalong which is a 3 hour drive North West from Canberra). Greg had the honor to be the driver for Jo and Henry, while I had the honor to do the flower arrangements for the church. Their color theme were red and white. Earlier during the week, Greg and I actually did a one night trip to West Wyalong just so that I can have a second look at the church, vases, also a garden that a lady from church is offering for me to just pick any leaves, berries and flowers that I want.

Back in Canberra, I went straight to the flower wholesaler and bought some giant red roses, red carnations, white alstromeria, white lisianthus, pink and red lilies and pussy willows. In the arrangement I also add a little bit of Australian flowering gum which are intense red in the flower arrangements- and that was a good move because I had a lot of positive comments on them. They looked like they’ve been commercially grown, but really I’ve just picked them off a tree at the side of the road. The flowers had to travel for 3 hours with us, and there were a couple of sharp turns in the car… (which caused a tiny bit of drama and excitement) but they managed to survive.

When arranging, I can't start without drawing a little sketch of what I think they arrangement is going to look like. I did 4 arrangements in the end. 2 for either side of the church, one for the church alter and another one for the welcoming table. O, and a vase full of gum flowers and leaves to decorate the morning tea tables, which is fast and look really good. Joanne's hen's night was held the night before the wedding. Us girls went out to get some chinese, walked around town to get some ice cream and then hang out at some random spot to have a chat. I stayed up late to finish my arrangements afterwards.

I was staying at the Melmoth's house, and the whole time, I was treated as part of the family. I shared a room with Martha, the maid of honor and when I woke up in the morning, it felt special. Today my future sister in law is getting married to my future brother in law. I feel like my own family is expanding even though I’m not married to Greg yet. It was a surprisingly relaxed morning. There were times when we were all just standing around wondering what is there to do. Greg and his younger brother Luke helped me move the flowers to church while the band was rehearsing. When I came back, Greg’s cousin Jess was doing Joanne’s make up at last minutes notice because the original make up artist pulled out. And, maybe I’m over- reacting, but I’m so psyched that I was there to help Joanne and Martha put on their dresses so that I get to be the first one to see them in their dresses and become all smitten at how pretty they look.

I loved the church service, it has a real community feel to it. Our grandma did the prayers and Joannes mum and her sisters did a performance. Being a little country town, a lot of people contributed to the morning tea after the church. Some anonymous people had also cleaned the church, washed some banners to decorate the church and did some minor things that I wouldn't notice if nobody had point it out to me.

A quick family shot after the ceremony:

They had their reception at the local country club. There were round tables but nobody was seated so that everyone can move around and talked to different people. I had so many people come over to talk to me that I barely got off my chair which is unreal. I felt like the shyest person in the room because I couldn’t bring myself up to talk to any strangers! Some people approached me to give me actual cards and gifts because they heard that Greg and I just got engaged. I was so embarrassed because I couldn’t remember half of those people are. A lot of them came to complement me on my flower arrangement, so much that it made me feel like a pro for once!

My favorite moment on the reception was when they had some of their friends performing music in between the meal and speeches and also when Jo and Henry were about to drive away on their honeymoon, the crowd spontaneously started singing . It sound so amazing. It was an incredible night and everyone was happy, which taugt me something. A wedding doesn't have to be expensive to be great. To celebrate love, you just gotta have love... Period.

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