Monday, December 31, 2007

what a wonderful wedding weekend!

"I think it's only fair to warn you that today you may see a side of me that you don't approve of. However, please don't judge me. Everything I say or do today will have a purpose."

I then hopped out of the car to meet our passengers at the airport.

Somehow we found each other without the aid of my nifty sign. Disappointed, I asked if they wouldn't mind if we re-staged the meeting so I could use the sign.

G. and L. Baulch (G. being a founder and coordinator of a film festival in which films from different worldviews are presented) were more than happy to indulge my silly, odd request.

When Mike pulled up in the car, we all piled in, ready for the drive down to Port Arthur.

A number of weeks ago, I was asked to be the rehearsal coordinator for my friends Christina Sonnemann and Peirce Baehr. This was to be the wedding of the season. Friends and family from all corners of the earth were to be present.

The festivities began this past Thursday with a kitchen tea with Christina's friends all donning hats and gloves. At the party I was able to meet Christina's Matron-of-honor, Rachel and her sweet baby girl Elenore (who has the most lovely little elfin ears). At Rachel's own wedding, she honored Christina by directly placing her bouquet in Christina's hands rather than the traditional haphazard toss over the shoulder to all the desperate single women present. Rachel is a lovely, tall woman and we became quick friends.

On Friday, I was called to duty at Hobart's St. David's Cathedral. Arriving early, I sat there quietly waiting for the others to arrive for the rehearsal. I thought that my title of rehearsal coordinator was entirely honorary holding little actual responsibility, but still quite happy to be a part of everything. But the moment the bishop arrived it dawned on me that my role was much larger than I began to imagine.

Essentially, I became the bride's advocate other than just making notes of where people needed to be, when they needed to be there, and what they needed to do once they were there. During the process of the rehearsal, there were numerous breakdowns in communication. Christina and Peirce had a clear vision of what they wanted their wedding to be ... some present were having difficulty "hearing" that vision so it was up to me to communicate the couple's desires so they did not feel trampled on.

During one particular breakdown, Peirce seeing that Christina was visibly distressed took her by the hand and simply began to dance with her, effectively taking her mind off of the situation. While chaos surrounded them, there they were in their own world practicing the steps to their dance for the wedding reception. Rachel and I looked at each other and knew that the sight before us was yet another example of why Christina and Peirce were so wonderful for each other.

During the drive down to Port Arthur the following day for another brief run-through and rehearsal dinner, I warned Mike that my methods of organizing people might seem a bit militant ... but then again I am Maj. Hnat's daughter.

It was a lovely drive with wonderful company. The Blauchs were a marvelous older couple passionate about the gospel and reaching our culture with the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ. They were incredibly encouraging to Mike and me.

As we arrived, Mike admitted to feeling a bit squeamish. He had not been to Port Arthur since the massacre.

Port Arthur's event coordinator team was fabulous. As I kept the wedding party punctual and organized, they were always 5 steps ahead having each event ready and waiting for us. I was so pleased that Christina and her mother, Margaret, had asked me to take this responsibility off of their shoulders so they could relax and enjoy themselves.

(I highly recommend having a wedding coordinator if you get married! The advice I've given to multiple brides-to-be after my own recent wedding [6 months and 2 days ago] is: DELEGATE DELEGATE DELEGATE!)

Sunday afternoon, I arrived at the cathedral early to take care of minor details as well as to make some minor changes on behalf of the bride and groom (which involved my removing the unity candle from the stage which may not sound like much to you but there's a long story behind it).

All in all, the wedding went smoothly. My job was complete and I enjoyed getting to know some of the interesting guests that had come from long distances for this joyous occasion. Many I now call friends who I never dreamed that I would have had the opportunity to meet until Heaven.

The charming Douglas Gresham was not only a dairy farmer in Tasmania for a number of years but is the step-son of the late C.S. Lewis and co-producer of the 2005 Narnia film, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. This classic fellow was incredibly easy to talk to. Unlike others who never hear a word you're saying and always seem to thinking about what they are going to say next, Mr. Gresham is a genuine listener and marvelous conversationalist. His wife is easily one of the sweetest women on the planet.

Dr. Ted Baehr, (snicker) the father of the goom, is another man known for taking Christianity to the surrounding culture. Based in Los Angeles, he ministers to those in the world of media. Dr. Baehr's personailty is larger than life and his wife, Lily, is beauty and glamor personified.

Following the ceremony, invited guests were welcomed on The Peppermint Bay II for a cruise down the river to the location of the reception. We were entertained by a traditional bush band that led the guests in traditional bush dance throughout the evening.

My heart leaped inside of me when I noticed the old copy of the book Blue Castle (can be read online here) on our assigned table. It is that very book that essentially brought Christina and I into friendship when I decided to test this young woman on the extent of her love for all books by the Canadian author.

"If you're as much of a fan of L. M. Montgomery as you say you are, tell me the plotline of Blue Castle." I was sure I had her. Few people had even heard of that fabulous book.

Heard of it?! Christina had written a screenplay for it and was delighted that I loved it as much as she did.

Late in the evening, Peirce whisked Christina Baehr away to a secret honeymoon destination and the guests boarded the ship to return to Hobart.

What a fun whirlwind this past weekend has been!

More pictures here at Mike's blog.


gina said...

Sounds amazing. I wholeheartedly agree about having a wedding coordinator, as I recently witnessed a poor trampled bride and groom be forced into meshing the classical guitar with a pipe organ in their ceremony. (scary) Glad you were there to prevent such a tragedy. Love the picture. Those hollyhocks make me hungry for springtime.

Pryderi said...

"The charming Douglas Gresham"... :)

mike said...

That dude was totally classic.

Renae said...

Wow, the stepson of C.S.Lewis. What a brush with fame!

Port Arthur is a beautiful place for weddings. The pic of you at the Commandant's house looks kind of eerie, lingering at the top of the stairs like that.. was that the desired effect, being Port Arthur and all?? ;)

I spent countless days sitting on that verandah, watching the ferry go back and forth in the harbour, looking at the beautiful blue water and occasionally sweeping the steps, when I worked at Port Arthur. We used to have to "house-sit", as well as taking tours. The Commandant's house has the most gorgeous view by far!

Anyway, glad the two of you had such a fab weekend and good to see you're blogging again. Oh, and happy 2008.

GloryandGrace said...

Ah, The Blue Castle...that was a favorite between me and my college roommate :)

Has it really been six months already??? Hard to believe! 4 days to go here!!

mike said...

Tell us about the Ghost tour Renae...

Renae said...

What about them, Mike? When I was a ghost tour guide I used to scare myself more than any of the people on the tour! But the daytime stuff at Port Arthur is way cooler. Don't you think?

Christina said...

Wow! Peirce and I really enjoyed reading the inside story of our wedding (and the Unity Candle plot)!! Thanks so much for all your help and for writing this fun post. I'm glad you liked the book I chose for your table. ;)

Laura said...

Erm... seriously, how often am I going to have to nag you about this blog? This is practically the only way SOME of us can keep up with your life (guilt, guilt, guilt)!

I had another dream that I came to visit you... only this time I was flying first-class with Matt Damon. I think that's the way it's gonna be.

J. C. Ashby said...

CHRISTINE, my sweet! How ARE you?

I have thoroughly enjoyed catching-up on your blog, and I must confess:

You have inspired me to resurrect the blogging days of my recent past! :) I confess that Donna and Lisa are attempting to do the same.

I added you onto my blog page, dear one, and I miss you like the deserts miss the rain. Much love!

Laura said...


sajini said...

You really do love green, dont you???