The bridal party stood between an old wind mill named the “Southern Cross” and the ruins of the Old Ambalindum station homestead. The reception was held at Hale River Homestead, 115km NE of Alice Springs, on the famous Binns Track.
It’s not very often I get excited about weddings. But Laurie and Nico’s wedding was an exception.
The guests drove 55km of the dirt and heavily corrugated Binns Track (4WD only) through beautiful but rugged outback country. On the drive there I was passed by a ute carrying lounge chairs (little pieces of their home brought along). Later I would sit in these with groups of guests late in the evening, under the stars, toasting marshmallows in fire drums.
The caterers also navigated this road, with a trailer loaded with a bain-marie and other catering equipment. That must have been a precarious journey indeed.
This was a true outback wedding with reinvented traditions reflecting the unique and beautiful people that Laurie (Laurel) and Nico are.
Both the bride and groom are part of the very vibrant Alice Springs creative community.
Apart from the obvious remote logistics of the venture, this was far from your average wedding. Besides being super relaxed, it was progressive and free from the constraints of old ideas about marriage.
The celebrant Dave wasted no time on the usual formalities of wedding etiquette and was funny and thoughtful.
The vows were delightfully heart-warming but also light-hearted.
Probably my favourite line would have been from the groom.
“You’re the chickpea in my hummus”
Myself and other guests joked about the ratio of beards to bare faces. A number of established rockers in group meant one of my favourite things (a good beard) was visible at every turn.
Whilst the preparation for this event was no doubt hectic, the wedding was far from hectic. It was all about the kind of love I aspire to – not judgemental, but authentic.
The reception. Oh my gosh…the reception.
The venue is a large woolshed with a bar and kitchen area in the back is a feast of fun history and artefacts of outback and remote life.
The rustic and romantic venue lit up with strings of lightbulbs and fairy lights.
The food ranged from roast pork to vegan and gluten and dairy free. Everyone was catered for without any major fuss or difficulty in how this was achieved.
Three awesome rock bands perched on the back of a truck, and rocked us into to the wee hours of the morning.
There was no formal (and usually pretentious) “first dance” song, just the bride and groom dancing with all of us, until all of us couldn’t dance anymore.
Laurie and Nico have what the rest of us in the world could invest in more often – both share a passion for an authentic, inclusive, creative and community minded life. The wedding was a telling demonstration of that philosophy.
We were a colourful and creative bunch. Most of us were combinations of performers, musicians, film makers, photographers, artists and writers. The conversations were lively and filled with laughter.
There were four of us gals with fluorescent hair colours, so I wasn’t alone with my vivid magenta and purple locks.
Throughout the night, cartoons were drawn, and tales told. I practiced some comedy material around the fire and made new friends. The people that Laurie and Nico are was reflected in the similar people that surround them, creative, interesting souls.
I felt very honoured to be asked to this wedding and I can honestly say it was the most enjoyable wedding I have been to in my 47 years of life.
To finish, here is a short list of things that made this event truly beautiful to my way of thinking (I could list many more but this just the main points):
- Arrernte country was acknowledged in the ceremony. The land on which the wedding took place has always been and always will be Aboriginal land.
- The celebrant stressed that under Australian law “marriage is between two people”. The wedding goers whooped delightedly. Australia has just been through legal changes recognising same sex marriage and many people present were part of that fight to have those basic fundamental rights recognised.
- Laurie’s aunt and nephews and nieces serenaded us at the reception in Maori.
- There was no “Mr and Mrs” assumed. They were just introduced as “Laurie and Nico”. They are married and no old-world names or ideas about ownership (such as ridiculous traditions about surnames and titles) needed to be applied.
This was a wedding for everyone (not just for the bride and groom), there was no pretensions, it was 100% about love.
Not only the love between two people, but love of life, music, community and each other.