By Sally Hughes, Melbourne Marriage Celebrant
The most stirring processional I have ever witnessed occurred on a Saturday afternoon in October at The Dome at 333 Collins Street. For those of you unfamiliar with the venue, it's one of Melbourne's most breathtaking landmarks. Built in the late nineteenth Century, the building boasts Baroque-inspired pillars and grand arches, a beautiful mosaic tiled floor, a very long aisle (brides-to-be, I've measured 97 steps) and at its centre, a most grandiose domed ceiling.
My heart well and truly began to race as I watched Shaun and his father stand at the top of the long aisle together, their backs to the guests, awaiting Channari’s arrival. I couldn't help but draw parallels between the pair and the way Princes Harry and William stood awaiting the-then Kate Middleton's arrival at the altar.
Several metres away seven groomsmen, dressed in suitably British morning suits, took their positions under the clock by the entrance to the chamber. And then the most arresting music filled the space.
One Republic’s ‘Secrets' as realised by The Piano Guys was a perfect choice for the elegant venue - and I insist that you click the link and play this music at full volume before you read any further! I had chills running the length of my spine as, one by one, the groomsmen swiftly escorted the bridesmaids along the cream carpet aisle. The sense of drama rose to a perfect climax as the final attendants took their places with Shaun. And then, as silence descended upon the grandiose space, all eyes were fixed on Channari at the end of the long annex.
At that point Shaun's Dad shook his son's hand, told him that his bride had arrived and encouraged him to turn around.
Slowly and gracefully Channari entered to Daniel Jang’s interpretation of John Legend’s 'All Of Me’. As I looked at Shaun, who fought back tears, I wondered if I would shed one too. The perfect combination of the elegant venue, the arresting music and this beautiful couple, made for a very emotional processional. And that was just the beginning!
After I had introduced the “cast of thousands” standing alongside Channari and Shaun, we were treated to the most animated rendition of Edward Monkton’s 'A Lovely Story’ (complete with character voices and gravelly dinosaur growls!) and a sensitive interpretation of Robert Fulgham’s ‘Union’. I continued with a mix of humorous and romantic relationship stories and shared some of the loveliest relationship reflections I have ever received from a couple.
With tears in their eyes, Channari and Shaun exchanged intimate vows, offered each other the gift of a ring and then received the loudest of cheers as they were declared husband and wife. Arm in arm, the newlyweds danced down the aisle to Pharrell Williams' 'Happy', prompting all guests, their celebrant included, to join in. The sense of celebration was undeniable that day.
Congratulations to the very kind and very accomplished Channari and Shaun. Thanks for the Skype chats from London, your hospitality in Melbourne and for such an emotion-filled afternoon. I consider myself privileged indeed.