A Springtime Wedding

A very good friend of ours married a few weeks ago.  We were thrilled to be invited to share in his very special day.

Elkington Park, Balmain.  The bride and groom arrive together

Elkington Park, Balmain. The bride and groom arrive together

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.

A kiss before the cermony

A kiss before the cermony

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.

Saying their vows

Saying their vows

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.

Just married

Just married

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.

Dancing up the aisle

Dancing up the aisle

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.

Riverview Hotel, Balmain

Riverview Hotel, Balmain

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.

Adriano Zumbo's croque en bouche

Adriano Zumbo’s croque en bouche

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.

Candles and flowers

Candles and flowers

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.

Pretty lighting

Pretty lighting

And then I saw the wedding cakes; three croque en bouche from Adriano Zumbo all decorated in his signature, gorgeous glass-looking butterflies.

Very pretty with the butterflies

Very pretty with the 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.

Juliette balcony

Juliette balcony

Sunset over Balmain

Sunset over Balmain

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.

Sliders

Sliders

Spinach tarts

Spinach tarts

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.

Lamb curry with a crispy lamb rib

Lamb curry with a crispy lamb rib

Chorizo and chicken skewers with saffron aioli

Chorizo and chicken skewers with saffron aioli

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.

School mates.  I'm all scrunched because the guy next to me is inappropriately tickling me

School mates. I’m all scrunched because the guy next to me is inappropriately tickling me

May they have every happiness.

Dancing up the aisle

Dancing up the aisle

 

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Comments

  1. oh this looks like such a happy and wonderful event charlie. isn’t it lovely to see people being so happy? and that food looks yum.

  2. i hope that croquembouche was full of delicious custard!

  3. I love weddings like this when it’s all about the couple and not about how many people you can cram into a ballroom. It looks like it a beautiful, heartfelt day x

  4. Hi Charlie, that is so interesting that you have so much in common, looks like a beautiful wedding!

  5. Inappropriate tickling, dancing up the aisle, and beautifully done passed around food sounds like a perfect Australian wedding 😀

  6. What a happy event, and it looks like you had a lot of fun. Great food too.

  7. It looks like s wonderful wedding. Haw fab to have Adriano Zumbo’s croque en bouche. I love the idea of dancing down the aisle. GG

  8. What a beautiful occasion and thanks for sharing – no need to apologise for pics – we food lovers would all rather see the food than review the quality of great shots.

  9. What a gorgeous couple!
    I always like to see how other weddings are organized and the most important part is always the food of course. The neighborhood where your friend lives reminds me of french towns. The houses are squeezed in.

  10. how lovely to go a school friend’s wedding! and nice that you could meet the wife to be and have time to get to know her before the wedding – the food looks fantastic and they look like they had fun

  11. What a beautiful wedding. The newlyweds look incredibly happy. What a delight to connect with the bride based on your shared mutual past.

    And the food does, indeed, look mighty tasty. So different from the food served at the Minnesota weddings I’ve attended.

  12. Lovely! How can a wedding not make you smile, whether you know the people or not. Just lovely.

  13. That must have been some conversation with Fiona as you discovered how much you had in common! It really is a very small world. I love the simplicity of this loving wedding, the happy, smiling couple and small touches to make this a romantic, upscale event.

  14. I love weddings and it looks like you had a fantastic time!

  15. It looks like it was a beautiful event start to finish. Amazing how much you and Fiona had in common too! Small world.

  16. May they be happy ever after . . . well it began with weather smiling on them . . . for me a lovely Saturday morning ‘hello’ – tho’ I am an Eastern Suburbs gal bred if not born, this is the area most of my friends live . . . love that sunset!

  17. How fun to find that your friend has married a woman that is such a kindred spirit to you. 🙂

  18. Its great when you meet someone and then find out how much you have in common, especially with the history that you and the bride had. It really sometimes a small world :). Oh and found your comments and a few others in a spam folder, so will check that more regularly now :). Have a fantastic weekend 🙂

  19. Awww…nice, pretty and simple. I love intimate weddings like this. Especially the croque-en-bouches!

    Gourmet Getaways

  20. What a gorgeous wedding! And hehe I hope the guy that was tickling you was Carl and not the guy on the other side! 😉

  21. I love all your connections with the bride! It’s so fun when that happens. Best wishes to the lovely couple!

  22. What a perfect wedding, congratulations to the beautiful couple! 😀

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

  23. What a beautiful wedding!! Sounds like a fun party.

  24. Wow so many incredible coincidences! And congrats to the happy couple 😀

  25. What a sweet and happy wedding, Charlie! How fortunate to have such a wonderful friend. The bride looks lovely and the food looks delicious 🙂

  26. How lovely to be able to share their special day! What an amazing coincidence that you and Fiona lived such similar lives and experiences, yet your paths never crossed until now. You guys definitely must have some interesting stories to swap 🙂 xox

  27. What a beautiful friendship and a beautiful wedding! Such smiling faces all around and the joy exudes. And food looked spectacular, too! i love outdoor weddings, but you’re so right about the potential risk. I’m so glad this wedding fulfilled the couple’s expectations–and cheers to a happy future.

  28. What a gorgeous couple! Looks like a fabulous party too. It’s amazing that you have so much in common with Fiona too. I wish them all the best from Canada!

  29. Fiona Donovan says:

    Back to work now after a beautiful honeymoon with my gorgeous husband Shinji. Just like to thank Charlie for her amazing account of our wedding! We consider ourselves extremely lucky to have such great friends and families who surrounded us with love and happiness. The spirit was shared by all.
    I also loved discovering that Charlie and I had so many shared experiences and look forward to fun times ahead. Seems as though I’ll need to search through my recipe books first!

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