NZ Woman's Weekly

I do… clean up

Why didn’t you tell me? If I’d known getting married was so much fun, I’d have done it years ago. Apart from the birth of my daughter, Kate, I can honestly say our wedding day was the happiest day of my life.

It was everything I’d dreamed of, right down to the perfect weather, and I only had to give up one of my visions of the way things would be.

A Coromandel-wide fire ban meant I couldn’t have the fireworks display I’d planned as a surprise for my guests. It was shockingly indulgent anyway, and my Irishman – my husband! – had been dubious about it.

“Why don’t you just take hundreds of dollars down to the beach and burn that instead?” he said dryly when I broke the news to him. However, he has promised to provide fireworks for my 50th birthday and I’m hoping he means that in a literal, as opposed to metaphorical, sense.

At 1am, I found myself packing away bottles and clearing up the last of the plates with the groom and my indefatigable aunt, mainly because I didn’t want the day to end rather than out of any cleanliness compulsion.

After the last bottle had been put into the recycling bin, we sat and enjoyed a nightcap, while watching the waves roll in. Then I had the brainwave to grab a couple of duvets and spend the night under the tent, lulled to sleep by the sound of the sea. It was the perfect ending.

I woke up bright and chirpy to find my husband had retreated indoors in the middle of the night after the mosquitoes launched an all-out attack on him. I remained unscathed, possibly because the mossies knew they’d never be able to fly in a straight line if they were to mainline one of my champagne-fuelled veins.

The weather changed for the worse the day after our wedding and, by 6pm that night, it was hosing down. “Wouldn’t have mattered,” said my other lovely aunt, who had given us the use of her beautiful beach house for the wedding.

“I’m a farmer and we celebrate the rain. We’d have just put up another marquee, moved the barbecue inside – it would have been fine.”

I love her resolute spirit but I much preferred the warm, dry night we were blessed with.

The day after, I received phone calls and messages from friends as we enjoyed the post mortem of the day. Half the fun of parties is talking about what happened on the night. While we all agreed we’d had a fabulous time, we conceded that the hours of dancing had taken a toll on the middle-aged members of the party.

The Irish band was brilliant and had everyone up on the dancefloor. When they stopped, Kate put on her compilation of dance music ranging from Neil Diamond and Abba (for her grandmother) to Florence and the Machine (for herself and her young friends).

My calves were more sore from dancing than they’ve ever been from marathon running, and Wendyl said her knees were giving her gyp for days afterwards. The only thing I thought when I saw the wedding photos was that it wouldn’t have hurt to lose a few kilos before the big day.

A friend was right; the photos will be around for a long time, but the memories will last longer. The fact that I had such a beautiful time, surrounded by the people I love, makes a big bum and enormous hooters pale into insignificance.

I have loved being Kerre Woodham; now I look forward to the next 50 years being Mrs McIvor.


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