A call to the bride's father (who has merchant marine experience and has thus forgotten more about the weather than either of us will ever know) established that it wasn't going to let up, and it was therefore time for Plan B. It is worth noting at this point that Patrick is the sort who always has a Plan B. Phone calls commenced shifting the venue from the Harold Boas Gardens to a relative's house in East Fremantle.
An inspired choice - there was a balcony with a stunning view and a long driveway for Clare to make a stately approach up. Even better the rain cleared just in time for Clare's arrival. I indulged in a little best man bastardy by making Patrick face away from the window - after all the groom isn't supposed to see the bride until her official entrance. A big thank you to nevryn and vegetus for backing me up on this. I did throw in a comment about her beautiful dress (it was!) as she passed by to the left. :)
The ceremony was beautiful although I was often prevented from seeing the details by my position to the left and behind Patrick. A cellist provided lovely music before and during the signing of the documents. Afterwards our hosts put on drinks and whilst the guests were mingling (and photos were being organised) I did some minor behind the scenes organisation bits. The celebrant has married some other friends of ours and was wisely selected by Patrick and Clare on that basis - she did a wonderful job.
Then it was off in the limo to King's Park and South Perth for the photos. The photographer spiced up the formal shots with a sense of humour by asking for some livelier (OK, sillier) poses and I think this was a very good idea. It kept a sense of fun in the proceedings and I'm sure that in years to come seeing those photos will bring smiles to faces as the fun of the day is remembered. I'm looking forward to seeing some of them.
Thankfully the weather remained clear throughout and it was funny seeing all the wedding parties (ours included) queueing up for the same photo spots. Even funnier was the quiet conversations Marcia (Clare's bridesmaid, technically matron of honour) and I had on the fashions inflicted on some of the bridesmaids in the other parties...
The reception was at the Bluewater Grill. The Bluewater Grill has a very good reputation when it should have an excellent reputation. The staff were fantastic, the food was better, and they quickly and quietly adjusted menus to deal with food allergies. My performance as MC was well received and helped by the fact that all the speeches were short (and with one exception) funny.
First up was the proud fathers and their toast to Patrick and Clare. Then came Marcia's beautiful speech about how Patrick and Clare met. Patrick responded in a gentlemanly and gallant fashion and then it was up to me to round out the speeches.
This was the exception: the toast to absent friends. I've never done one of these before and I didn't realise how hard it would be, especially with Clare's mother being one of the absent friends. I got through it somehow and then proceeded to lighten the mood by embarrassing Patrick with the truth, remarkably easy to do when you're talking about such a gentleman.
And that brings us more or less to the end of the evening.
It was an honour and a privilege to serve as Patrick's best man and I hope that he and Clare have a wonderful life together.