S&B Wedding – Part 1, The Bucks Party

29 01 2013

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.

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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.

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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.

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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!)

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Perf

27 08 2011

Im told that you can determine if someone originally comes from Perth by asking them to pronounce it. If they say “Im from Perf” you know they are born and bred there. If they are from elsewhere and have moved to Perth they will pronounce it correctly.

My sister is now from “Perth”, she will have to work on her pronounciation if she wants to convince the locals there. Also based in Perth is my soon to be brother-in-law, Brendan.

Jetstar were having a flight sale in February of this year. I had seen Shannon over Christmas, and loved spending time with her, so when I saw the very cheap tickets between Singapore and Perth I got booking. Of course to get the cheap tickets you have to book a long way off, so I selected the weekend after Shannon’s birthday. A surprise visit, first time she would have seen her big sister in 8 months.

When I went to Melbourne a couple of weeks ago to see the rest of the family, who should pull their own surprise visit but Shannon? So my surprise 8 month reunion had quickly become a ‘I saw you the weekend before last’. Talk about disappointment.

But still, Brendan and I kept going with the surprise plan. Might as well, even if it was going to be anticlimactic.

2 days before I was due to jump on a plane to see her, I get a phone call from Shan screaming out “Im Engaged!!!” (see previous post). So now, im excited about the surprise again.

From Perth, august 2011

Brendan picked me up on the Friday night without shannon knowing – claiming to be ‘on call’. Diligently, shannon acted like the loving wife to be and stayed up waiting for her fiance to return safely to her side went to bed. I snuck into the house and suprised the empty living room, and unsatisfied with that, jumped on shan’s bed. She slept talked to me a couple of times (“yeth, yeth..” while patting my hand) then woke up and told me off for surprising her.

In the morning she was happier to see me and after she and Brendan had spent some time gardening and I sat in the sun on the front porch admiring Austrlian Suburbia (for my non-Australian friends, it really is just like it looks on neighbours) I demanded that Shannon and I go and try on her first wedding dress.

We went to the Oxford Rd shops and tried a couple of boutiques. The first one Shannon was in complete denial and walked straight past the white dresses to the coloured bridesmaids ones at the back and started talking cuts and styles. Oh-No, that can wait. Wedding dress, now. The next boutique we visited said that the majority of their dresses were out of the shop, all down at the big bridal fair. We thought ‘oh well’ and went to head out, but the woman at the boutique plead with shannon to go to the fair ‘ its the last one until February!!!’. To appease the lady, and also to buy Brendan some more time to pull together a surprise BBQ for shannon, we set off for the Perth showgrounds.

It was really good fun to hang out with Shan – the two of us were a bit creeped out by the sheer scale of a bridal expo – but glad to have each other there. It was funny to see the first stall as you walked in belonging to fitness first, almost a ‘you are getting married, so lose weight before you even think about choosing a wedding dress’.  We threw ourselves into one stand with four or five dresses – a variety of styles – for Shan to get into. This one ended up firmly on the ‘no’ pile:

From Perth, august 2011

We tried on a number of dresses and got some notes for shan about what she does and doesnt like, and then decided that we were both really completely over it and what we really wanted was a strip-sub combo from Red Rooster.

When we got back to Shannons place, she was surprised to find her backyard over-run with friends. Actually, not surprised, annoyed that Brendan was having a BBQ with them and didnt invite her. Im not sure she caught on that it was supposed to be a surprise for her. Granted, no one yelled ‘Surprise’, so I can understand why the confusion.

But the champagne was on ice and a lovely toast was made by Smorsey (Sp?), then I said some words on behalf of the family. Shannon later admitted to being disappointed that Smorsey and I didnt continue on trying to outdo each others speeches a la the ‘Bridesmaids’ movie, but I dont know any Thai, so I guess there was a limit to that…

From Perth, august 2011

It was nice to sit outside in a backyard and have a BBQ in the sun. Shan and Brendan have some really lovely mates there and have built a real home for themselves.

From Perth, august 2011

After an early morning next-day clean up, we set out to check out Freemantle Gaol. Partly because its interesting, but also because there are no other tourist attractions in Perth.

I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. It was built for the early convicts and used right up until 1991. None of the cells were ever plumbed and a bucket was still used up until closure. Gross.  Certainly not a place I’d like to be spending 20-life in!

From Perth, august 2011
From Perth, august 2011
From Perth, august 2011