A very good friend of ours married a few weeks ago. We were thrilled to be invited to share in his very special day.
While I’ve known the groom, Shinji, since I was 16, I’d only met his fiance once and that was at his daughter’s wedding where, because of the volume of people, we didn’t have much of an opportunity to get to know each other.
However, about a month ago when we went to the Mosman Rowers for dinner, Shinji came along with Fiona. She and I had a great chat and found out we both did our nursing training at the same hospital, that we both lived-in at the nurses’ accommodation in Vindin House, and that we both spent time working for the horrid and nasty charge nurse on the paediatric ward where no student nurse could do a thing right.
Then, through sharing more of our nursing stories, I found out that Fiona was working in the spinal ward when a 33-year old married father of four was admitted after a helicopter crash that tragically resulted in him becoming a quadriplegic. Fiona looked after him for a few months but later, after he’d left hospital and gone back to work as a solicitor, I worked for him for five years. By the end of the night we discovered we had so much in common it was as if we’d known each other for years.
Two weeks later and we were at their wedding. It was held at Elkington Park in Balmain which leads to the water and to the Dawn Fraser Baths which, when years ago they were called the Balmain Baths, is where Dawn Fraser, one of Australia’s most famous Olympic swimming champions, learned to swim and now the baths have been renamed in her honour.
Fortunately, (because outdoor weddings always make me nervous), the weather was beautiful and it was a lovely warm evening with no wind and dry ground underfoot.
The bride and groom walked down the aisle together and then there was a simple but elegant ceremony where his two daughters and her three children all played a role. The bride loves to dance and so after they were introduced as husband and wife, the music came on and they danced their way up the aisle.
Conveniently, it was a short walk to the Riverview Hotel where the upstairs restaurant was booked for the reception. The Riverview Hotel is a gorgeous and beautifully restored building dating back to 1880. Head Chef, Brad Sloane who used to work under Marco Pierre White believes in nose to tail cooking and in simple but well executed dishes that are produced with seasonal ingredients.
As I walked into the restaurant the first things I noticed were the candles, pretty fairy lights and and low lighting. There was definitely a romantic feel to the room.
And then I saw the wedding cakes; three croque en bouche from Adriano Zumbo all decorated in his signature, gorgeous glass-looking butterflies.
With a glass of champagne I made my way to the opened doors of the Juliette balcony that looked out over district views of Balmain, a suburb that years ago was built to house the working-classes but today, with its proximity to the city and its water frontage, is one of Sydney’s more expensive suburbs.
I knew the food would be good because Shinji loves to eat well and so I was really looking forward to the pass-around menu. I’m very sorry about the quality of the images; it was very dark and very crowded and I didn’t want to hold up the waiters passing around the food by dithering with my camera.
These shots have definitely be taken ‘on the fly’ as I was in party-mode rather than blogger-mode but I wanted to share the food with you because for pub food, this was a really exciting menu.
We had so much fun celebrating with Shinji and Fiona. It was a beautiful wedding from start to finish. From the happiness of the bride and groom, to the wonderful setting, from the interesting and plentiful food to the gorgeous wines, and from the mingling with their family and friends to the emotive, funny and heartfelt speeches, it was a very memorable evening.
May they have every happiness.