And so begins a short series on my sister Shannon and her wedding to my new brother-in-law Brendan in November last year.
Too much happens around a wedding to condense it into one single post, particularly a ‘destination wedding’ like this where people flew in from all corners of the world to attend.
To kick things off in real style I’m starting off with the coverage of the bucks night with the help of a very special guest author – my dear old Dad, Durham!
Here we go…:
I was quite chuffed when Brendan invited me to his bucks party. As well as being an ideal opportunity to meet my future son-in-law’s friends and family in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere, it was also a great way to study first-hand how the buck’s party has evolved over the last 35 years … (I felt like David Attenborough about to observe lowland gorillas in their natural habitat, forgetting that I might actually be perceived by them as an old silverback trying to protect his family from a raiding party of rogue males)
The last buck’s party that I can recall attending was my own back in 1978. Buck’s nights in the 70’s were a very basic affair – 20 blokes would turn up with huge quantities of long necks and cans … (back when VB tinnies were actually made of steel and could be consumed in under 2 seconds by ripping the ring pull from the can, inverting it and quickly piercing the base with a can opener) … and everyone would just drink themselves blind. To lighten up the night, someone would do party tricks like removing the tops off beer bottles with their eye socket, and then when things got boring the groom-to-be would get his balls covered in toothpaste – (an old boy scout trick). In the morning (and with scrote still burning), you fought the urge to either barf or squid yourself as you cleaned up the flat which was almost as trashed as you were. All quite simple really …
The modern buck’s party has become a major logistical (not to mention expensive) exercise involving multiple sessions of organised fun and acts of blokey bonding … (but still observing the time-honoured tradition of consuming excessive amounts of alcohol). The plan for the day involved a 7:30am start (in reality it was closer to 8:30am!) for a bus-ride beyond the burbs to play paint ball, back on the bus to go to a nearby pub for lunch and a couple of beers, followed by another bus ride to play nine holes of Supergolf and visit a micro-brewery, then back on the bus to Brendan and Shannon’s place for more beers served by novelty beer-maids, before moving on to the “Paddo” for dinner and more beers … and did I mention that we had a couple of eskies filled with beers for all the bus legs?
For anyone who has contemplated playing paintball but not got around to it yet – it REALLY hurts! The rules are simple, if you get shot anywhere on the body (except in the head) you are officially out of the game and are supposed to put your hand up and leave the field of combat until the next game. Unlike real warfare, head shots don’t count! You can get hit in the head as many times as you can stay un-concussed and keep on firing at the other team (or occasionally “killing” your own team members with some poorly-aimed friendly fire!) Before even one shot had been fired, I was betrayed by Brendan and Michael (my son) who both waited for me to pick a side so they could join the opposing team and shoot me wherever and whenever possible. They didn’t necessarily want me out of the game, so took great delight in shooting me in the head as often as possible – a cowardly act, as I have an undeniably large head and make an extremely easy target.
My only chance at revenge against my future son-in-law was the “buck’s run” – where the groom, best man and groomsmen are forced to run without cover in front of a firing squad. Tempted though I was to obliterate Brendan’s wedding tackle with rapid-fire paint balls, I had to be satisfied with shooting him in the lower back in order to maximise pain without reducing my chances of having a grandchild one day.
Supergolf is an interesting game – but unlike paintball, it is relatively pain free. As someone who sucks at normal golf, I enjoyed playing a game that is such an equaliser. Brendan and Michael may have managed to beat me on almost every hole, but I was seldom more than 2 shots behind them. When teeing off, it was tempting to take a long run-up (Happy Gilmore style) when belting the crap out of the large plastic balls with a colour-coded set of Mickey Mouse’s golf clubs.
At the end of a hard day of physical activities and sitting on the bus, it was clearly time for another beer. So the buck’s party relocated back to Brendan and Shannon’s place to finish off the afternoon. In order to make the experience more enjoyable, Glen (Brendan’s best man) had booked a couple of girls to fetch us beers for the afternoon. There is something about scantily clad girls handing you a beer that forces you to make strong eye contact and pretend to engage in intellectual conversation … all the while wondering whether we had really evolved very far from our primitive gorilla relations? (Eat your heart out David Attenborough!)