“I hope you don’t think I’m going to stop reviewing your work”, I said in my speech at our reception in East Melbourne’s St Peter’s Church. “Harshness is a cornerstone of marriage.”
To my left sat my new husband, playwright Anthony. In front of us in the church hall was everyone who had come out on that blustery Melbourne autumn day to see us married. I was probably half a bottle of champagne in, buoyed by nerves, and impressed with my ability to make a joke. Still, given the chance I scurried back to my seat to again giggle with my maid-of-honour Naomi and have another glass of champagne.
I was giddy. It’s the only word for it. I held a manic grin on my face all afternoon. All of these people had come out to celebrate us! There was so much joy in the air, I was wearing a beautiful dress, my nails were freshly painted navy blue to match Naomi’s dress, my make-up was done. I was married! This was my wedding day!
And yet, it wasn’t. Not really. Oh, I began to panic part way through the ceremony that perhaps it was my wedding. Perhaps I was actually going to marry Anthony. Were they going to ask us to sign a piece of paper? Could they arrange something like this for real? Could I refuse? Would that ruin the show? Or would I keep on saying yes just to play along with the rules of the game?
I certainly hadn’t intended to get married that day – or any day in any foreseeable future. It was the final day of Melbourne’s Next Wave Festival, and I had been eagerly awaiting No Show’s Shotgun Wedding. I’d met one of the directors, Bridget Balodis, the day before at Breakfast Club, and I’d thought of course it would have come up that I was a critic. Apparently not.
As we waited in the courtyard before the ceremony, Bridget asked if I would be interested in playing a role in today’s wedding. Sure, I said, thinking they’d pull me up to be a bridesmaid, perhaps. Mother-of-the-bride, maybe. But bride? It wasn’t until Anthony was pulled up to be the groom that I realised it would just be the two of us.
I was getting married.