By Sally Hughes, Melbourne Marriage Celebrant
Meet Elenor. She's a most beautiful dancer, singer and actor. She's known as "Miss Elly" to my daughters and a ridiculously brilliant tap dancer to my tap class buddies and I.
Meet Alister. He's talented too. He's also a triple threat (an accomplished singer/dancer/actor to those of you unfamiliar with the term), however he spends most of his time directing theatre shows and running one of Melbourne's most respected independent theatre companies.
Elenor and Alister met at drama school fourteen years ago. Elenor was very distracted by Alister's good taste in shoes and his dazzling smile, while Alister remembers a shy Elenor who caught his attention with her beautiful big eyes. Their secret courtship commenced whilst rehearsing the roles of Gerta and Gilda, Aryan Nazi girls, in their first year cabaret project. It continued during Monday evening tap rehearsals and late night pizza. Over many months they discussed their love of dance, especially classic song and dance numbers by Gene Kelly and Ann Miller.
They graduated, moved in together, made a musical theatre pilgrimage to New York, performed in national tours together and, of course, became engaged to be married.
Alister proposed to Elenor at her favourite place in Melbourne, their local park, so there was no doubting where they would hold their ceremony. Together they strolled from their Prahran home to the beautiful Victoria Gardens. They were met by their parents at the entrance and to Gin Wigmore's rendition of Somewhere Over the Rainbow they together made their way along the winding path toward one of the most vocal and excited group of guests I've ever observed. I'll never forget the cheers they received when they came into view.
Music played a large role in Elenor and Alister's ceremony. I wouldn't have expected less, given their passion for musical theatre and cabaret, and seeing as though a significant portion of their guests were professional performers. Locals out for an afternoon stroll could have been forgiven for thinking they'd stumbled upon the latest "Melodies in the Park" concert.
The talented Andrew Kroenert sang the first of three "promise songs"; songs carefully selected by Elenor and Alister for their special meaning. His performance of Bob Dylan's Make You Feel My Love gave me chills.
Actor Tim Paige delivered the most engaging interpretation of Edward Lear's The Owl and the Pussy Cat, I've ever witnessed.
Sheridan Harbridge sang Arlen and Mercer's Come Rain or Come Shine with such joy.
Under the large canopy of old oak trees Elenor and Alister continuously cuddled and laughed. Theirs was undoubtedly a ceremony of unabashed joy and celebration.
The mood changed slightly when the happiest of couples exchanged sincere and heartfelt vows. Elenor was however very quick to wipe the tears that fell from Alister's eyes. Her energy and excitement during the pronouncement of marriage was so endearing.
During the signing of the certificates we were treated to two fabulous a capella performances. Emma Clair Ford sang Hill's The Glory of Love, while Jennifer Robinson performed Hawker and Raymonde's I Only Want To Be With You.
And to the music of the Puppini Sisters, we celebrated with cupcakes, champagne and much, much laughter.
Congratulations Elenor and Alister. Your garden ceremony was unforgettable, as are you both. May you continue to pop across to the Riv for a Monday matinee, watch old black and white MGM movies musicals on your couch and captivate and inspire people with your kind and joyous hearts.