The Story of Amanda and Anthony’s Wedding

(The Double A Wedding)

Written by Rick Coxhill (with help from Amanda)

Main Characters.

Anthony Flint – Groom

Amanda Coxhill – Bride.

Sarah Smith – Maid of Honour and helper.

Kirsten Grummisch and Samantha Ladner – Bridesmaids.

Alan Flint – Best man

Brian Thomas and Geoff Ladner – Groomsmen.

Rick and Ann Coxhill – Bride’s Parents.

Judy and Alan (Dec.) Flint. -Groom’s Parents.

Monique Cook and Matt Williams – Ceremony readers and helpers.

Engagement Party

This is where it all started. Anthony, after going with Amanda for 6 years, must have decided it was time to ask the question. He obviously asked Amanda, but he never asked me. She must have said yes because they informed us they wanted to have an engagement party which I was to pay for.

The party was held in The Basin Progress Hall on 5 Feb. 2000. About 140 guests attended. Extremely hot night. Most people sat outside. We went through 14 slabs of beer.

A lot of Cousins were invited and young children were welcome. Got home about 2.30 p.m.

Next day we opened all the presents and they did very well.

Where to have the Ceremony

Amanda and Anthony did not want to have a religious service and decided to have the ceremony in a garden with a civil celebrant.

Amanda, Ann and Sarah spent one Saturday looking for the perfect place. Ann had learnt about a place called “Cloudehill” Nursery and Gardens when she worked at her sister’s shop in Olinda. Cloudehill has extensive lawns and manicured gardens and appealed to Amanda. Ann, Amanda and Sarah dropped in and had a look and agreed that this was the ideal place. There was a particular lawn area used exclusively for weddings.

Where to have the Reception

I was keen to have something different for the reception and favoured an outdoor setting. I knew of a place called “Doongalla Homestead Site” in a National Park near The Basin. It was the site of a magnificent home built in 1892 that burnt down in 1932. The Government purchased the site including 100’s of acres around it and converted it into a National Park in the 1950’s.

I suggested the site to Amanda and she was interested. We all went and looked at the site, decided this was the place, and booked it around Jan 2000.

Just before we left the site, a kookaburra shit on Amanda’s head. This is supposedly a sign of good luck.

A Park Ranger lives on site in the old servants quarters behind the old homestead site. Access to the park is restricted to daytime hours via large gates that are locked and unlocked by the Ranger.

The site is isolated with no electricity or water and can be hired for about $150. I was informed by the Ranger that there are about 6 weddings held there a year.

We also wanted to ensure that guests could go directly from the ceremony to the reception. I have been to too many weddings where there has been a long period between the end of the ceremony and the start of the reception and/or the ceremony site has been a long way from the reception site. Having the ceremony at Cloudehill ensured that we were close to the reception and we could also arrange to go straight from one to the other.


I knew a caterer from my work as the booking manager for The Basin Progress Hall. Overton catering had a base directly across from the Hall for over 15 years. I got to know the proprietor, Garry Overton, as he catered for many functions at the Hall and often negotiated through me for Hall bookings. It turned out that he had already catered for dozens of weddings at Doongalla and was therefore a wealth of information on what needed to be done. He was an obvious choice and we never regretted it.

We decided to have a buffet as this gave people more choice and there was less waste. Many people commented on the excellent food.

Garry cooked all the food on site. For the meat he had large gas ovens. The savories and other things he prepared off site, but cooked them on site.

Garry asked us to bring up lots of large plastic containers and he gave us ALL the left over food from the reception. We gave a lot away and ate beef, pork and various cakes and sweets for the next few weeks.

Doongalla is in a National Park and the rule is that you must take away all your rubbish. Garry brought up a large trailer, collected all the rubbish and took it away. Apparently, he normally does not provide this service for others.

Garry had two staff to assist him throughout the night. I had to pay extra for two drink waiters from 5.00 to 12.00 and they did a good job.

After the reception, Garry and his staff did not have to wash and dry all the dishes on site. All the glassware  was hired and Garry just collected it and packed into the boxes they came in. The hire company collected it the next day and they wash it. The crockery and cutlery was taken back to Garry’s base and washed in an industrial dish washer.


We needed to arrange to hire everything and work out where to place things on the site, Garry Overton help us with this. Amanda checked out various hire firms and we went and looked at a few. We finally decided on a local hire firm called “Ace Party Hire” in Boronia. They proved to be very good as they had everything we needed, were competitive, prompt and very helpful.

We hired a large portable toilet to place near the marquee. There are toilets near the site, but they are about 100m from where the marquee would be placed.

I also had to arrange for the hire of a generator to be delivered on the morning of the wedding.

Amanda arranged through a friend of a friend to hire some white chair covers for all the chairs at the reception. Her and Anthony had to pick the covers up from Leongatha, a town about 150km away. They did this a few days before the wedding.



Ann purchased a new dress and I had to hire a suit. I got the suit from a place in Boronia. It was only $56 and included a shirt and bow tie. I picked it up on the Thursday evening before the wedding. I also lashed out and purchased some new dress shoes.

Amanda arranged for the hire of suits for Anthony and his groomsmen. On the day that he intended to pick up the suits, it turned out that he had his BIG BIG boss, Peter Simmon, with him. Peter wanted to travel around with a sales representative to see the ropes and talk to some clients. Anthony mentioned to Peter that he had to make a detour to pick up some suits for his wedding this Saturday. When he went into the store, Peter came in with him and insisted on paying the hire fee as a gift from the company.

Amanda chose a dress design by visiting a number of bridal shops, and trying on many dresses. After finding the perfect dress, she decided that $1600 was too much money to pay. She arranged to have her dress made by a friend of Anthony’s Grandmother, which would only cost about $400, not $1600. The lady making the dress was 85 years old but could still sew very well. She came up to the wedding ceremony. The dressmaker went to the shop to have a look at the dress selected by Amanda and from that one look somehow figured out how to make it.

Amanda’s dress was ice blue and the bridesmaid’s dresses were various shades of blue.

The three bridesmaids were Samantha Ladner, Sarah Smith and Kirsten Grummisch.

Amanda became friends with Samantha and Sarah when she moved to Cockatoo in 1995 to live with Anthony at his Mother’s house. Samantha and Sarah were partners of two of Anthony’s best friends and they both quickly became friends with Amanda.

Kirsten has been a friend of Amanda since they met at Kindergarten and followed each other through Primary and Secondary school.

Ann volunteered to make the three bridesmaids dresses. The material was purchased in the middle of 2000, the three girls were measured and Ann made an early start.

One problem was that Samantha found out she was pregnant late in the year, so there had to be allowances made. Sam informed Amanda of the pregnancy amongst many tears and promptly decided she shouldn’t be in the wedding, Amanda told her she couldn’t care whether she was pregnant or not, she wanted her in the wedding.

Ann produced Sarah’s dress very quickly but there were some problems so she did not do anything more for a few months, deciding instead to start a large jigsaw puzzle on the sewing table.

About one month before the wedding, the dresses were started again and were all finished well within time (one was finished with an hour to spare). Ann’s sister Karen helped out by hemming the chiffon, using her vast experience in costume making.


Amanda and I did the invitations, deciding that it would be fun to create them ourselves. Amanda experimented with lots of ideas, passed them all by various people eventually selecting the paper and a method of putting them together. I did the typesetting and printed them out on our printer.

A friend of Amanda’s, Monique Cook, wrote the names on the invitations in calligraphic writing. She also did the writing on the places names for the tables. We also created and included with the invitation, maps of how to get to both the ceremony and the reception.

In the envelopes, Amanda threw in a handful of tiny silver hearts. On opening an invitation, tiny hearts would spill all over the place much to everyone’s annoyance.

All invitations were distributed by early in December allowing 6-8 weeks to reply.

As expected, many had not replied to the invitation by the allotted day. We gave them an extra week and many had still not replied. Ringing around resolved who was coming and who was not, but many still never bothered to formally reply.

After being through this experience, I resolve to reply instantly to any wedding invitations.

Amanda and I also did the Thank You notes which we probably spent too much time on. As someone said when we were discussing the formatting options - "they will take one look and throw it away, so don’t spend too much time on them".

Invited Guests

1.      Judy Flint – Anthony’s Mother.

2.      Sophie and Glenn Rozenboom – Anthony’s Sister and her Husband.

3.      Alan and Nicole Flint – Anthony’s Brother and his Wife. Alan was best man. Nicole did not attend because she was just out of hospital after the birth of their first child.

4.      Elena Simmons - Anthony’s Grandmother on his Mothers side.

5.      Michael and Helen Simmons - Anthony’s Uncle and his Wife on his Mothers side.

6.      Alva and Lyn Simmons- Anthony’s Uncle and his Wife on his Mothers side.

7.      Margaret and Jeff Welch - Anthony’s Aunt and her Husband on his Fathers side.

8.      Brian and Judy Rooke - Anthony’s Mother’s friends.

9.      Bruce and Beverley Clarke - Anthony’s Mother’s friends.

10.    John and Maureen Baker - Anthony’s Mother’s friends.

11.    Pam Giles - Anthony’s Mother’s friend. Declined invitation, due to moving house.

12.    Vera Betts - Anthony’s Mother’s Aunt. Declined invitation, due to ill health.

13.    Rick and Ann Coxhill. Amanda’s Parents.

14.    Toby, Corey and Troy Coxhill – Amanda’s Brothers.

15.    Rebecca Corn – Troy Coxhill’s girlfriend.

16.    Francis Middlebrook – Amanda’s Grandmother on her Mothers side.

17.    Sandra Merrit, Margaret Middlebrook, Karen Middlebrook and Kevin Middlebrook - Amanda’s three Aunties and Uncle on her Mothers side.

18.    Rachael Wellard – Amanda’s cousin (daughter of Margaret above). Amanda and Rachael are the same age and have been very close all their lives.

19.    Shirley Poole and Karl Gunther. Amanda’s Aunt on her Mothers side and her partner. Declined invitation.

20.    Peter and Jenny Marsh - Amanda’s Cousin and his Wife (son of Shirley above).

21.    Merl McArdell – Amanda’s great Aunt on her Mother’s side.  Declined invitation, due to ill health

22.    Ron and Jenny Coxhill – Amanda’s Uncle and his Wife on her Fathers side. Declined invitation due to Jenny’s work commitments near Ayers Rock.

23.    Karel and Mary Coxhill – Amanda’s Uncle and his Wife on her Fathers side.

24.    Carla and Richard Gates - Amanda’s Aunt and her Husband on her Fathers side.

25.    Jan and John Flowers – Amanda is Jan’s second Cousin on her Mothers side. Accepted but did not attend.

26.    Allan and Chris Grummisch – Long time friends of the family.

27.    Lauren Grummisch (Daughter of above) and her fiance Michael Closter.

28.    Kirsten Grummisch (Daughter of above) and her partner Trent Chevalier – Kirsten was a bridesmaid.

29.    Arthur and Dianne McCarthy – Long time friends of the family.

30.    Anna and Peter Chiera – Amanda’s work friend and her Husband.

31.    Taryn Lupton and Chris Dillon. – Amanda’s work friend and her partner.

32.    Maxine Berrigan – Amanda’s work friend.

33.    Karen Harvey  – Amanda’s work friend.

34.    Shirley and Mick Gutteridge – Amanda’s work friend and her Husband.

35.    Paul and Corrine Dew – Amanda’s work friend and his Wife.

36.    Charles and Jenny Gregory – Amanda’s work friend and his Wife. Charles accepted invitation, but was unable to attend.

37.    Pam and Mark Burnett – Amanda’s former work friend and her Husband. Both accepted but Husband did not attend due to work commitments.

38.    Adam and Mary O’Brian – Anthony’s work friend and his Wife.

39.    Adam Watt and Jodie Hook – Anthony’s work friend and his partner.

40.    David and Mary Ruskin – Anthony’s work friend and his Wife.

41.    Rory Drennon. – Anthony’s work friend. Accepted but did not attend.

42.    Gary and Dianne Wade. – Anthony’s work friend and his Wife. Declined invitation.

43.    Brendon and Debbie Nolan – Anthony’s work friend and his Wife.

44.    Kelley Deane and Matt Ivan – High School friend of Amanda and her partner.

45.    Monique Cook – High School friend of Amanda.

46.    Karin Dobson and Mark Vowles – High School friend of Amanda and her partner.

47.    Michelle and Stewart Gibson – High School friends of Amanda’s.

48.    Sally and Adam Lewington – High School friend of Amanda and her Husband.

49.    Brian and Melissa Thomas - Anthony’s and Amanda’s friends. Brian was a groomsman.

50.    Geoff and Sam Ladner - Anthony’s and Amanda’s friends. Geoff was a groomsman and Sam was a bridesmaid.

51.    Nick Porter (Brother of Sam Ladner above) and Narine Arnel his Fiance.

52.    Sarah Smith. - Anthony’s and Amanda’s friend. Sarah was the maid of honour.

53.    Wayne and Raelene Corbett - Anthony’s and Amanda’s friend.

54.    Gary and Karin Santini - Anthony’s Football Club and Cricket Club friends.

55.    Geoff and Kay McIntyre - Anthony’s Football Club and Cricket Club friends.

56.    Steve McIntyre and Sonia Makrygiannakis - Anthony’s Football Club and Cricket Club friend and his partner.

57.    Tony and Kim Walker - Anthony’s Football Club friends.

58.    Liam Meggerell - Anthony’s Football Club and Cricket Club friend.

59.    Shannon Richardson and Donna Baguley - Anthony’s Football Club and Cricket Club friend and his partner.

60.    Danny and Chiloe Thomas - Anthony’s Football Club friends.

61.    Matt Williams – One of Anthony’s Best Friends, meet through the electrical trade.

62.    Wayne and Melissa Banks - Anthony’s Cricket Club friends.

63.    Mick and Belinda Mills - Anthony’s Football Club friend, also Amanda’s old family friends.

64.    Christian and Claire Ferris - Anthony’s friend that he met at school and his Wife.

65.    Paul McKerr - Anthony’s Football Club friend. Accepted but did not attend.

66.    Rob Walker - Anthony’s Football Club friend. Accepted but did not attend, hadn’t received invitation.

67.    Cameron Whiting and Renee Burns - Anthony’s Football Club friend and his Fiance.

68.    Cameron Dalglesh and Ann Conquest - Anthony’s Football Club friend and his Fiance

69.    Mark Wheatley - Anthony’s Football Club and Cricket Club friend.

70.    Andrew Meggerell  and Linda Cramer - Anthony’s Football Club friend and his partner.

Family Dramas

[Section removed to protect the guilty].

Ann damaged her hand on the Monday before the wedding. We had purchased a new bed for our Son Corey, which was delivered on that Monday. The delivery truck drove up our drive and had difficulty turning around. Ann was directing the driver and somehow managed to squash her hand between a tree and the back of the truck. A later X-Ray did not detect any breakage. Nevertheless, it was sore and was a liability for a few weeks.

The Buck and Hens Day

Amanda and Anthony decided to have a combined Buck and Hens event. With the help of a friend, Sarah Smith, they organised a double-decker bus to transport a group of people to the Balnarring races. After the races there was to be a BBQ at our house.

The bus picked up a group of people at The Basin Progress Hall and then at Emerald. On the return journey people were dropped off in reverse. There were about 45 people on the bus. The bus arrived at the races at 12.30. A few drove to the races and met us there.

Most people took a picnic lunch and plenty of grog to wash it down. It rained a few times at the races and was very humid.

We stayed for 5 races including the “Balnarring Cup”. It was a hick race meeting – one race only had 3 horses. Ann was very successful picking 4 winners. However, she forgot to place a bet on one race. The last race had a horse called “Cool Groom” running. Nearly everyone in our group bet on this horse and it won!

We left the racetrack at 5.00 p.m. and there was plenty of drinking on the bus. Rachael, Amanda’s favourite Cousin, informed us coming home that she and her brother had won $900 on some race. She was over the moon.

The bus stopped a few times on the way home for “pee” and “buy grog” stops. At one pub stop the bus zoomed off leaving a few behind. It was only luck that someone looked out the back and saw some people waving frantically. Nobody actually noticed anyone missing when the bus left. I felt a bit guilty because at the time I was having an in depth conversation with a guy whose girlfriend had been left behind.

The trip home was good fun. I had discussions with lots of Amanda and Anthony’s friends, some whom I had never met before.

The bus dropped us off at The Basin Triangle about 7.30. I was pissed. Sandra (Ann’s Sister) had Corey’s car and came down to pick us up. A few others that did not come on the bus joined us for the BBQ.

Matt Williams and myself fired up the BBQ and started cooking the food.

After the food was consumed, we lit a fire and sat around it. During some in depth, grog stimulated discussions, I found out lots of information about Amanda and Anthony’s friends.

After most people had left, Ann, Monique Cook and Christine Grummisch danced for us on the balcony. We also danced around the fire they tell me (although I don’t remember it).

Despite it being Anthony’s Buck’s night, he ended up being the soberest person there. He drove everyone home! Amanda, on the other hand, was pissed!

It was a good night.

The Cake

Amanda’s Brother, Toby, said very early that he would make the wedding cake and Amanda was happy for him to do this. Amanda decided to have a Croquembouche. I don’t consider it a cake but it is quite common for weddings. It consists of many small round pastry puffs called “profiteroles” stacked around a mould in the shape of a cone. Toffee is poured over the profiteroles to hold them together. Rather than the normal tradition of guests taking a slice of wedding cake away in small cake bag, the Croquembouche is broken up and served for desert at the reception. The Guests must have liked it because there was not much left after the event.

Toby decided to start making the cake early in the week before the wedding. However, it soon became apparent that things were got going well because the profiteroles kept falling down and the toffee melted. We discovered that the profiteroles needed to have custard inside them and the cake should not be left in the refrigerator, which we had been doing because it was very warm all week. The cold causes the toffee to melt.

Early on the day of the wedding, Toby filled all the profiteroles with custard and restacked the cake. Amanda’s brother Corey and myself successfully transported the cake up to Doongalla and into the hands of the caterer at about 1.30. Considering it was by then 35 Deg and the road into Doongalla is gravel with lots of bumps we were very pleased with ourselves.

The Presents

Amanda and Anthony arranged for a bridal registry with 2 companies – Myers and Bunnings. The idea of a bridal registry is that Amanda and Anthony go to the company, pick gifts that they would like, and these are then listed on a registry held by the company. Included with the wedding invitation were the names of the companies involved in the registry. Guests go to the company, pick a gift from the list, pay for it, and all gifts are delivered (gift-wrapped) to a chosen location the day before the wedding. Guests can also choose to take away the gift (as it costs them a bit less) wrap it themselves, and bring it to the reception. About 15 people brought the gifts to the reception, which was a nuisance, as I had to cart them all home after the wedding.

Myers were a pain for two reasons. They did not have some of the gifts selected by Amanda and Anthony at the time that guests visited them (we were told this later) and they mucked Amanda around in the delivery time.

Bunnings were better than Myers according to reports we received.

Many people pooled their money, and bought the one gift together. One group looked at a BBQ selected by Amanda and Anthony and decided to buy a better, bigger and more expensive one somewhere else.

I resolve to always use the bridal registry and not take gifts to the reception if this system is used on any future weddings I attend.

The Drinks

We had to supply all the drinks. The Caterer advised me of what to get and the relevant amounts. He also advised going to a local grog shop and arrange for them to supply and deliver the lot. The Basin grog shop did not deliver, so we ruled them out. The manager of another local shop in is the son of a woman who pressed an assault charge against Ann a few years ago (another story) and supported his mother. We could not risk him deliberately stuffing up the order so we also ruled them out.

In the end we decided to buy the grog ourselves from Liquorland in Boronia (where we can get a discount), store and cool it in the large fridge at The Basin Progress Hall, and take it up ourselves to the reception site on the day of the wedding.

I asked the caterer about water and he said he would bring a couple of large bottles used for office drinks machines. He told me later that both were used and he had to fill another with ice water.

Judy, Anthony’s Mother, gave me $200 towards the drink costs, which was much appreciated.

As the day got closer, the weather predictions indicated a very hot day, so I upped the amounts.

This is what we bought:

·        5 case of red wine – 1 case left

·        5 cases of white wine – 2 cases left

·        10 doz. bottles of heavy beer – 1 doz. left

·        10 slabs of heavy stubbies – 2 slabs left

·        3 slabs of light stubbies – none left

·        24 x 2 lt bottles of coke  - 4 left

·        9 x.2 lt bottles of lemonade – 2 left

·        6 x 3 lt bottles of orange juice – 2 left

Early into the Wedding reception, I was informed by the drink waiter that we would soon run out of coke, lemonade and orange juice. Richard Gates, my Sister’s Husband, overheard the conversation and volunteered to go down and get some more. This was much appreciated.

The Band

Amanda selected a band that played regularly at a hotel near where she lives in Emerald. She got to know the band members during her frequent visits to the Hotel. The band were called “the Guilty party”.

The band consisted of a husband and wife duo. I did not meet them or hear them play until the reception. However, they were OK. Plenty of people danced. At one stage I was outside the marquee behind the band. There was Amanda standing between the band members wiggling her bum back and forth. I learnt later that she was playing the Tamborine. Apparently, Amanda and Anthony also did a duet to a Meatloaf song.

The Wedding Video

Anthony arranged with a Cricket Club friend, Wayne Banks, to take a video of the ceremony and reception. He had taken a video of their engagement party, which was great.

Amanda didn’t want anything too formal, just the memories of the day. I remember Wayne swanning around with the video at the reception, but I did not see him anywhere else.

We viewed the video about a month after the wedding and it turned out that he did the ceremony as well as the reception. It was a good laugh.

The Master of Ceremonies (MC)

I suggested that my Brother, Karel, be the MC. Karel knows Anthony very well because they often fish together at a place called “Sheepyard Flats” where we go camping at Easter. Amanda and Anthony agreed, asked Karel, and he was pleased to take the role.

We all went to Karel’s house the Wednesday before the wedding and worked out his role.

As it turned out, Karel’s role was difficult, but he did a good job. The problem was that reception setting was large and people were sitting everywhere. A number of times he had to wander around and muster people for the important events.

Amanda and Anthony gave Karel a bottle of gin for his troubles.

The Transport

Amanda was keen on having horses with carts transport the wedding party. The problem was that it was a bit far from the ceremony to the reception for horses, and it would take too long to travel the distance. Also, she was not sure if the horses would be able to get up the last steep section of road (gravel) into Doongalla. We discovered later that horses with carts regularly go into Doongalla, but because it turned out to be very hot they still may have had trouble or even cancelled at the last minute.

In the end she got a better offer. A close friend of Anthony, Matt Williams, is a Hot Rod enthusiast. He offered to organise a couple of Hot Rods using people from an old Hot Rod club he once belonged to. They would transport the wedding party, complete with drivers. The drivers provided their services free, but Anthony gave them each a bottle of Jim Beam for their troubles.

Anthony and Matt spent many many hours cleaning 2 the Hot Rods on the Friday night before the wedding. They discovered that one of the cars was short of petrol, so a quick trip into Emerald solved that problem

On the day of the wedding, it was arranged that two cars would pick up Ann, myself, Amanda and the bridesmaids at our house.

Two other cars had already taken the groomsmen to Cloudehill. One of these cars stopped a number of times on the way. The next day it was discovered that ignition switch was not connected properly.

One of the cars arrived to pick us up on time. The other was very late. Next thing, two other cars arrive (these cars are VERY loud), one driven by Matt Williams who I knew drove the groomsmen to Cloudehill. Matt explained that the other car arranged to pick us up had overheated and when he found this out via a mobile phone call, they raced from Cloudehill to our house. The problem was these were both open top cars and the other closed top car could only fit 4 people, so either one of the bridesmaids, Amanda or Ann had to go in an open top. Amanda offered instantly and the bridesmaids and Ann agreed and promptly got in the other car (which had air conditioning) I went in the other open car.

The Photographer

This was one of the large cost items.

Amanda spent quite a lot of time choosing the photographer, being that photography is her hobby, She visited a couple of photographers before being put onto “Romantic Events” by Lauren Grummisch (the hairdresser for the wedding party). Apparently, the photographer was her ex-boyfriends new girlfriend and she had heard she was very good. Lauren got the number for Amanda and she rang the company.

Amanda arranged a time to meet the photographer whose name was Leesa. Anthony was also supposed to go, but got held up on a job site, so he never met her until the day. Amanda was impressed with her photos and also her friendly and happy personality.

Leesa proved to be an excellent choice and due to the extremely hot weather, her job was more difficult. She continually had to pull the bridal party into line and convince them that “it would be worth it in the end” and “you will thank me tomorrow”. Considering the conditions, she took 213 photos and Amanda and Anthony had added 7 pages to the 10 already in their wedding album. The photos were very good and she was professional. She also spent all her time yelling at me to smile.

One thing that Amanda did regret was that she didn’t give the photographer a list of any special photos she wanted. She did ask for one special one of all her girlfriends from high school, which was taken. Most of the photos she wished she had asked for, she only thought about after the event.

The Ceremony Rehearsal

The Sunday before the wedding, we all had to attend the ceremony rehearsal at 11.00 a.m. About 30 minutes before we left, Ann had a phone call from a friend who told us that Brett, the son of some friends of ours, had died whilst on holiday in Thailand.

Both Ann and I were very upset. Amanda noted that Ann acted strange at the rehearsal, later describing her as acting as “freaky”.

We meet the celebrant, Ron Thomas, and rehearsed the ceremony. We had previously agreed that both Ann and I should give Amanda away. I believe the idea of the father only giving away the bride is a bit old fashioned.

Matt Williams controlled a small CD player to play the tunes that Amanda wanted whilst the wedding party were walking down the aisle. The celebrant noted that the volume was a bit low and said that he would bring along a small PA system of his to use on the day. I wish he had brought the system to the rehearsal so we could have heard it first, because on the actual ceremony day it was worse than useless. The sound was so distorted that you could not understand it (I noted later on the wedding video that the system was OK at the start, but got worse later. I suspect the heat got to it).

Afterwards, most of us went back to Doongalla for a picnic. We left early. Anthony, Amanda and a few others stayed until 6.00p.m.

The celebrant provided the information required for Amanda and I to create a ceremony program to hand out on the day. We did this in the week before the wedding. Amanda asked Monique Cook and Sally Lewington to hand out the programs on the day.

The Day Before

I had this day off. It was predicated to be a very hot day – 38 deg. Ann and I cleaned up the house in the morning.

At 11.00, we left to go to a memoriam service at 11.30 held at Aura Vale Lake. The son of Don and Maureen Jewel, who are friends of ours, died in his sleep whilst holidaying in Thialand. The service was held on the banks of the Lake and light refreshments provided afterwards. We stayed for the service, some refreshments and were home by 1.30.

In the afternoon Anthony, Amanda, Sarah, Alan Flint & myself went up to Doongalla to set up a few things. The hire company had set up the Marquee and delivered everything else. Inside the marquee was a 4m x 4m wooden dance set up by the hire company.

The caterer was there setting up some of his stuff.

We had to position the tables and chairs, fit the chair covers and partly prepare the tables. Amanda had previously prepared a gift box for each guest, a blue candle with poem on a piece of paper wrapped around the candle for the girls and a small box of chocolates for the boys and the guest place names. Amanda negotiated with the caterer about how to put these things on the tables when he did the final setting on the Wedding day.

Matt Williams, Anthony’s friend arrived with his apprentice to set up the lights and power. They ran extension leads from where the generator would be located to the caterer’s tent, the lantern lights in front of, and the pea lights behind, the silk lining in the marquee. They also set up spotlights above the main steps to the site, the grassed area and the driveway to the toilets. A few pea lights in the trees and carefully placed spotlights under some shrubs were fitted to add some atmosphere. Matt also ran power to where the band would be located and a light for the toilet we hired.

Matt ran out of leads and we decided it would be best if he came back tomorrow morning after the generator arrived so he could test all the lights and power and check that none of the extension leads were drawing too much power.

I originally thought that we would have to provide lights in the on-site toilets, but the Ranger informed me the day before that there are electric lights in and outside the toilets. They are powered by a small hydroelectric motor in a nearby creek. He would turn them on at 8.30.

We left about 5.30 happy that everything was set up. Everything would be secure as the Ranger locks the gates into the park at 6.00.

I had ordered some more wine and was told it would arrive today in the afternoon. I rang up to check if it had arrived, was told it had not but was due the next day in the afternoon. I told the girl this was too late and either I got it in the morning or I did not want it. She said to leave it with her. She rang back shortly after saying it would be ready first thing Saturday morning. I found out later that she left work and went around to a few other stores to make up the order and brought it all to work with her in the morning. That’s service for you.

The Bridesmaids were staying overnight at our houseas there was a lot to get ready on the Friday evening and Saturday morning. Our bathroom had never had so many beauty (ugly) cases in it.

Ann had arranged to obtain the bouquet flowers from the Florist near where she worked. Amanda had chosen to have Gerberas. They are like large daisies and come in very bright colors. Ann, Sarah and Amanda went down about 7.00 to get them.

Peta Deane, a friend of Kirsten Grummisch, arrived at 8.00 to give all the girls a massage. She spent a few hours doing this and did not charge for the service.

I decided that we should sample the wines I purchased. Ann and I had a couple of bottles of White wine and Kirsten sampled the Red, Sarah and Amanda tested a bottle of Champagne, I then had a few Jim Beams. It was 2.00 before we got to bed.

Anthony stayed at Matt Williams house on Friday night, along with Brian (groomsman) and Geoff (groomsman) who walked home at 2am.

The Day

Up at 8.00. Feeling a bit seedy so had a couple of aspirin.

Ann went down to her work, a local bakery, and bought croissants for everyone for breakfast. 

I went down to pick up the wine I had ordered and took it up to The Basin Progress Hall fridge with the rest of the grog.

Amanda and the bridesmaids started putting the bouquets together and discovered a hidden talent of Kirsten and it was decided she was to be the chief bouquet putter togetherer. Amanda had only wanted bunches and this took the girls about 40 minutes to put together, also saving a considerable amount of money.

At 10.00 Ann and I drove over to Bayswater to pick up an 8 seater vehicle to use on the day for transport. When I got back, Amanda informed me that the guy delivering the generator was nearly there and wanted to know where to put it.

By this time the house was filled with people. Lauren Grummisch and her work partner were doing the girls hair. Amanda had arranged for a make-up person to come up and she was hard at work.

Toby was remaking the wedding cake.

Monique Cook had brought up a platter of fruit and nibbles and some champagne for the girls.

I raced up to Doongalla to show the guy where to place the generator and met the generator towing truck on the way out. I stopped him and asked where he had put it. He said some guy directed him where to put it. When I got to Doongalla, the caterer was already there and he said he told the guy where to put it.

Matt Williams had arrived with his apprentice. They finished running the electrical leads and tested that everything worked OK and none of the extension leads were overloaded.

I raced back home to pick up Corey and Troy and then went to The Basin Progress Hall to pick up the grog. We managed to fit it all into the 8 seater vehicle and took it up to Doongalla. We had to go slow as the vehicle was heavily loaded. Troy drove another car to Doongalla with 18 bags of ice on the back seat.

At Doongalla we packed some of the beer and all the ice into 6 large tubs we had hired and placed them and the rest of the grog in the back of the caterer’s refrigerated van. The caterer told me that we needed more ice.

Back home and the cake was ready. Corey and I got some more ice and very carefully and slowly drove up to Doongalla and delivered the cake into the hands of the caterer.

Back by 1.45. Quick lunch, shower and got ready.

The girls in the meantime were all ready.  Ann had finished of Sam’s dress only half an hour before and they had all had a vegemite sandwich for lunch.

The photographer arrived just after 2.00 to commence the photo shoot.

We spent about 1.5 hours taking photos in the garden of the house next door. Maureen Bolsta lives next door. She is an elderly widow who moved there about ten years ago. In that time she has transformed the garden into a magnificent showpiece. Amanda decided 6 months ago that she would like some photos taken in the garden and asked Maureen who instantly approved. In the 6 months up to the wedding she has spent much time getting the garden ready.

It was getting very hot and everyone kept hiding inside with the air-conditioning when they weren’t required. Due to the heat and the sun, we couldn’t use a lot of the garden, so that was disappointing. During the photo shoot I had trouble keeping up a smile.

After the photo shoot we went inside to cool off and waited for cars to pick us up. See elsewhere for a description of the car problems we had.

Anthony was up at about 7am and they all had bacon and eggs for breakfast. They also stocked up an esky with grog to use for refreshments when they were having photos taken (it was later revealed that some of the guests raided the esky).

Anthony had to pick up the buttonhole flowers for the groomsmen and corsage for his mum.  Back at his mum’s he showered and shaved and then up to the pub for lunch with the groomsmen. They all got dressed at Matt William's house and had a drive around in the hot rods before driving up to Cloudehill to meet the photographer at 3.30.

The Ceremony

We arrived at Cloudehill only 5 minutes late despite the car problems. The guy I was with planted the foot and did burnouts whenever we went through a town causing most people to look. This was his thrill for the day.

When we arrived, most of the guests were inside except for a few latecomers who came rushing past us.

Amanda guzzled half a litre of water before getting out of the car, Matt jumped out and quickly changed into a shirt and tie and then we were back on track.

We all moved down to the top of the ceremony lawn area and prepared ourselves for the walk down the aisle (grass). Matt Williams was supposed to be handling the music. However, Matt got caught up in the Hot Rod problems and was busy. Anthony had to set up the CD player.

The bridesmaids were to walk down the aisle to the tune of “I do, I do, I do”. The music started and off they went. Each bridesmaid walked down the stairs in turn and were met by the respective groomsman at the bottom of the stairs. They then both walked arm-in-arm to the bottom of the lawn area where Anthony and the celebrant were waiting. When all the bridesmaids were at the bottom, Ann, Amanda and myself emerged from our hiding place and waited at the top of the stairs.

We were to walk down to the tune of “St Elmo’s Fire”. We linked arms and waited at the top of the stairs for the right cue and down we went. The music was very soft and we could barely hear it. It was very hot. I could feel the sweat running down the sides of my head. I tried to appear composed but it was difficult in the heat. We joined the rest of the group and Anthony came to meet us and took Amanda away giving me a little shove as he did.

On the rehearsal day there was a small gazebo where the ceremony was too take place but it was not there on the day. A pity, because it would have provided some relief from the heat.

The celebrant asked who is giving Amanda away. We both said “we do” and then moved away and mingled in with the audience.

The celebrant gave an introduction and then Monique Cook read out a poem.

Amanda and Anthony exchanged vows and Matt Williams read out a poem he had composed (we found out later the poem was written by Matt and Sarah Smith) for Amanda and Anthony. We tried to get a copy of the poem before the event to include in the ceremony program but Matt would not provide the text, he wanted it to be a surprise and it was very good. I heard later that Matt and Sarah provided Anthony and Amanda with a framed copy of the words after the wedding.

The celebrant then declared Anthony and Amanda man and wife and they moved over to a small table to sign the marriage certificate.

It was very very hot during the ceremony, but halfway through a cloud came across and gave little relief from the hot sun.

People crowded around offering congratulations and throwing rose petals and blowing bubbles. Some time ago Amanda had found out that Cloudehill only allows rose petals to be thrown or blowing of bubbles. No confetti or rice is allowed. On the Friday before the wedding, Amanda remembered about the rose petals and wondered where she could get them at such short notice. Ann remembered that Kirsten, her bridesmaid, worked at a place that supplies such items. A quick phone call and we had 30 packets that night. Amanda also bought some small bottles of bubble solution and blowers. Monique and Sally handed out the rose petal packets and bubble solution with the programs at the ceremony before the bridal party arrived.

Ann had also ducked out in the morning and purchased a 5 litre box of water and plastic cups for the guests before and after the ceremony. At the ceremony, this was gone very quickly and the bridal party filled water bottles from the taps within the gardens to try and cool down.

We then had the family photo shoot within Cloudehill gardens where we all had to force our smiles.

After the photo shoot, Ann and I, Toby, Corey, Troy and Rebecca and Ann’s Mother piled into the 8 seater and drove down to Doongalla leaving the Bridal party to endure another hour of photos.

Toby was driving. He dropped Ann, myself and Ann’s Mother at Doongalla and went back home to get changed.

The Reception

The reception setting could best be described as “magical” The site was well grassed with plenty of grass around the marquee. Flowered garden beds bordered the grassed area. The gardens are maintained by the Ranger who lives in the old servants quarters at the back of the old house site. A few BBQ tables are also spread around the perimeter of the grassed area.

The flowered garden beds in the background, fairy lights in, and spotlights under, some selected shrubs, candles on the tables, lantern lights inside the marquee, pea lights behind the marquee silk lining and the balmy evening all contributed to creating the magical atmosphere. The only thing missing were Flame torches which were not allowed because the day was a Total Fire Ban.

The marquee was initially set up with no side flaps on one side and transparent flaps on the other. During the course of the evening, the transparent flaps came down, completely opening the marquee.

A drinks table was set up outside the marquee near where the guests first arrived.

After the wedding ceremony, we had to stay back for some photos so we did not arrive at the reception until about 6.00 p.m.

When we arrived about 6.00, things were in full swing. Savories were being served and the drinks were flowing. I made a point of talking to as many people as possible.

Amanda and the bridal party arrived about 7.00. The three Hot Rods making their presence known.

The main meal food was set up on some trestles on the grass near the marquee and was served almost immediately on the bridal party’s arrival. Each table was called up in turn to get their meal.

Karel managed to muster everyone into the marquee by about 8.30 to commence the speeches. At this time our Son’s had not yet arrived back from getting changed and Ann’s Sister, Sandra and her Brother, Kevin were also not back from taking their children home. Luckily, they all arrived back in time.

I gave the first speech and was easy on Anthony. I only told them a few bad things like when he stole a car and drove to Queensland and how he was asked to leave school at year 9. I invited everybody back to our house after the ceremony and gave a hint that Amanda and Anthony would be there.

Anthony’s mother, Judy, said a few nice words and conceded that it was her that introduced Anthony and Amanda, so the wedding was her fault.

The Groomsmen were next reading out the telegrams. The telegrams were something that Amanda only thought of two days before the wedding. Sarah and Amanda had to quickly create some telegram sheets and arranged to leave one on each table which were filled out by the guests at the table.

Samantha was next to speak. Poor girl, she was extremely nervous and started crying but composed herself when Amanda came up and stood with her. I recall one of her statements that showed her feelings.

“Amanda has such a wide circle of friends that we feel privileged that she picked us to be her bridesmaids out of all of her friends”.

Anthony was last and he gave a good speech without giving me a hard time.

After the speeches and cutting of the cake we had the bridal waltz. Anthony chose the bridal waltz music decideding not to have a waltz but something a bit more up-tempo. Karel asked Judy Flint to dance and Toby asked Ann’s mother to dance. Both nice gestures. Ann and I danced and then swapped around with the bridal party.

Later, sweets were set up and still later cheese and biscuits. I never saw the either the sweets or cheese and biscuits, but others told me later that they were very good.

The next few hours passed very quickly. Ann and I wandered around and talked to many people. We danced out on the lawn area. The dance floor was inside the marquee and it was very hot and crowded. I also danced with Rachael, Sandra and Karen. Margaret and Rebecca (Troy’s girlfriend) refused to dance with me. It was so hot and balmy, that my dress shirt was dripping wet. No wonder some did not want to dance with me.

Amanda and Anthony also spent most of the night dancing and chatting to friends and family, they appeared to be having a very good time.

The guests were scattered everywhere. Groups sat around the BBQ tables in the lawn area. Others sat on the grass. A few sat inside the marquee. Some of the spotlights were teeming with little black insects.

I observed that some of the seasoned drinkers were drinking directly from the large beer bottles which they called “long necks”. They liked them because the thick glass kept them cold and the large size meant a longer time between refills.

Next thing it was time to have the bridal circle. Karel did his mustering trick and got them into a circle and everyone said their goodbyes. Allan, Anthony’s brother, used the 8 seater van I hired to take Amanda and Anthony back to our house. He then came back and picked up a few others guests and drove them to various places and then he drove the van to his house.

Ann and I packed the presents and left over food into our car and took it home.

I arranged with Arthur and Dianne McCarthy, some friends of ours, to take some of the left over alcohol back to our house.

Afterwards at Our House

Not many people came back to our house. Nevertheless, we had a good time and the last left about 2.00.

Toby took a couple of young blokes to the Royal Hotel in Fern tree Gully.

Matt Williams used a Hot Rod to transport Amanda and Anthony to a Motel in Fern tree Gully where they stayed the night. Sarah Smith also went in the Hot Rod so there was 4 passengers. The hot rod broke down only metres from the hotel and Matt and Anthony had to push it off the road into a service lane. It had stopped dead and they couldn’t work out what was wrong. They knew it was an electrical problem, but couldn’t find it. While they were stopped, a car stopped to see if they were OK. It was actually guests that had just left our house. Anthony informed them they were fine and they left them to work out the problem. Matt and Anthony moved and pulled about every wire, until Anthony decided to touch the ignition and it suddenly roared to life again. They were off again. Matt and Sarah then drove the Hot Rod to Emerald where they live (It only stopped twice more on the way home). Brian, Anthony’s groomsman, stayed at the same Motel with his wife Melissa.

The Day After

Up at 8.00. Needed to go to Doongalla and clean up, as the site was booked for another function. Got there about 9.00. The Ranger was there and helped me clean up for half an hour and then he went off and cleaned out the toilets. He told me he found a couple of full bottles of red wine and I said he could have them.

There was not much to clean up, as Garry and his team had done most of the work directly after the function. I found some broken glass, cleaned up the cigarette butts (there were lots around where the Middlebrook clan were sitting), stacked the chairs, cleaned the candle holders, removed the place cards and folded up the table covers. Garry had already removed the chair covers and put them into garbage bags.

I pulled down all the electrical gear except for some wiring and lights in trees which I needed a ladder for. I also cleaned out the portable toilet.

A guy from Ace Hire came and took away all the smaller items. They come back on Monday and remove the marquee, chairs and tables. The company I hired the generator from also come back on Monday to pick it up.

I had previously arranged with Alan, Anthony’s brother, to meet me at 11.30 at the place where I hired the 8 seater van so I could return it. I also asked him to fill it with petrol and wash it  (which he did). No damage to the van was detected, so my bond was returned intact.

Brian and Melissa Thomas had left their car at the Motel they stayed at and they drove Amanda and Anthony to our house after lunch.

Anthony, Amanda, Brian and Melissa, met Matt up at Doongalla to pull down the rest of the electrical wires and had a couple of beers, reliving the night.

We then opened all the wedding presents and Ann took a record of who gave what so that the thank you notes could be done later.

Brian and Melissa took home a stack of the left over food.

Gary the caterer and his wife arrived in the afternoon to deliver the left over grog. He kept a few loose bottles of red which was OK with me.

By late afternoon Ann and I were getting weary. I estimate that we had only 4-5 hours sleep on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. To make things worse, on Thursday morning we had to pick up our son Corey from Melbourne airport at 3.00 am upon his return from England.

The Day after the Day after

I had this day off work. We slept in until 10.00, finally catching up on our sleep.

I had to return the suit I hired and return a drinks tub to Ace Hire that somehow ended up at our house. The owner told me that no hired items were missing and there were no significant breakages so the full deposit would be refunded.


I estimate that the reception cost approximately $80 per person. This cost includes all hiring, caterer, grog and the band. Some of the costs are fixed, so up to a point, it does not matter how many people you have and the cost per person reduces. For example, we catered for 120 people. If we had 150 people, I estimate the cost would have been $60 per person.


A few days later we had a call from Alan Grummisch, a friend of ours. He wanted to let us know that his family thought the wedding was fantastic. I also recall that someone said to me at the wedding that “it was the best wedding they had ever been too” (and this person has been to lots of weddings).

I observed that many people had a lot to drink including many who are usually quiet and don’t drink much. I conclude that the atmosphere got to them. Of course, there is the usual crowd who always have a lot to drink.

We will always remember that magical setting on a balmy summer evening.

Was it all worth it? All things considered it was worth every penny spent.