It was a cold, wet and windy day for Chris and Tony’s wedding last October. Fortunately The Mandalay in Northcote have a lovely cosy Sherry Room with an open fire and Chris and Tony were quite happy to hold the ceremony indoors. It turned out to be a great decision and a very jovial ceremony with plenty of interaction from the guests who were getting into the spirit of the atmosphere and happy occasion, and added to the joy of the celebration!
The following are excerpts of their marriage ceremony.
………..Today is a celebration. A celebration of love, commitment, friendship, family and of two people who are in it forever.
…….The marriage ceremony has been an important feature across nearly every culture, religion, generation, and society. We have thousands of important moments that happen throughout our lives, but this one is regarded as one so critical, we acknowledge its special status by sharing it with others. Why this moment?
Because despite all of our differences love is what we all share. It’s the great unifier – our one universal truth. That no matter who we are, where we have come from, what we believe, we know this one thing: love is what we’re doing right. That’s why you both are standing here.
That’s why everyone is here to be with you today. ……
All of us here today have our own love stories. Some are short, others long. Some are yet unwritten, while others are just getting to the good part. There are chapters in all of our stories that are sad or disappointing – and others that are exciting and full of adventure.
……….Today is a time to pause, look back, and smile at the moments that brought you here. And a time to look ahead at all the moments that are still to come. And even though this experience is so incredible, words fail us when we try to explain it. That’s just the way it is with love – it’s meant to be felt, not described. Even though love can look different from one person to the next – we all know it when we see it, and we see it here.
I asked Chris and Tony to tell me the story of how they met.
Just before I went overseas with my best friend and Maid of Honour Suzie, both Suzie and I had our hair done by Gracie, Tony’s youngest sister. Suzie had hers done first and as it happened Tony was there as well. Suzie seemed to think that the pair of us would hit it off, so she suggested to him that he should come to the Passport Office Christmas party to meet me. For my hair appointment, I wasn’t so lucky Tony was no longer there so I had to wait to meet my so called “perfect match”.
Well Suzie and I went on our trip to LA and Hawaii and I was reminded about the casual meeting that Tony and I would have at the Christmas party. I was told repeatedly that I should give him a chance and it wasn’t going to kill me. OK Suzie, I thought I got it, be nice, give him a chance, don’t screw my face up at him, talk to him, be myself and make an effort!
We met December 5, 2014, it was very casual as planned, we both said Hi and that was it, I didn’t have time to make small talk with him at that moment.
Tony had apparently complained the whole trip to the party that he didn’t want to go and both Anna and Peter wanted to give him the flick as soon as possible. Later in the evening Peter asked if I could spare a smoke for Tony, sure no worries I thought, I will go and find him, and find him I did.
We, just the two of us spent the whole night talking and laughing. I don’t know who was more excited that we were getting along, us, or all the people who had been on the boat!
No phone numbers were exchanged that night, but Tony did go to Peter who went to Suzie to get my number! Peter then went back to Tony and Tony sent a message! He could have gone straight to Gracie but I think to get the approval of my best friend Suzie first – and clearly Suzie approved!!
We organized our first date a few days later and from that day forward we have never been apart. Within the first two weeks Tony said that if we were together in 6 months’ time, he was going to marry me! Six months and three days later we were engaged and we have never looked back and our love has grown ever more stronger.
Their favourite memory is the same here is Tony’s version:
My favourite memory of Christine was when I was in hospital with kidney stones. It was only a few weeks into the relationship and she rushed me down to the hospital. I was in so much pain, I wasn’t trying to be brave and show it was nothing, I showed her how bad it was because I knew she wouldn’t judge me for being weak.
For 14 days Christine barely left my side. She could have got up and left me there but she didn’t. She kept in contact with family and gave them all updates on what was happening, even to my Mum who she was still yet to meet. It was like we had been together forever when she talked to them. It was like she was part of the family already.
She sat there with me and held my hand the whole time and only ever let go when she went home to pick up a few things for me. I was taken back by the fact that she stayed with me the whole time. It was also the first time that she said she loved me, I said it back and meant it, it wasn’t the drugs talking it was me talking. Right at that moment I knew she was going to be the one and we had only been together a few short weeks.
In Chris and Tony’s words: ..if love is…then marriage is…
Love is finding a person with whom you have an immediate connection the moment you meet. A connection so strong that you are drawn to them in a way you have never experience before. As this connection develops over time, you experience a love so deep, strong and complex, that you begin to doubt that you have ever truly loved anyone prior to this.
Marriage for us is about taking our love and connection one step further. We are ready to spend the rest of our lives together because the love we have today is so strong, our commitment is so deep, that we are ready to become a team. With marriage we know that we have chosen the right person to be by our side no matter what life brings us because as a couple we bring out the best in one another.
The Key to Love: read by Jazmin Brooks (Christine’s sister) author unknown.
The key to love is understanding
The ability to comprehend not only the spoken word
But those unspoken gestures,
The little things that say so much by themselves
The key to love is forgiveness
To accept each other’s faults and pardon mistakes,
But with remembering what you learn from them.
The key to love is sharing
Facing your good fortunes as well as the bad,
Both conquering problems,
Forever searching for ways to intensify your happiness.
The key to love is giving
Without thought of return,
But with hope of just a simple smile,
And by giving in but never giving up.
The key to love is respect
Realising that you are two separate people,
With different ideas:
That you don’t belong to each other,
That you belong with each other,
And share a mutual bond.
The key to love is inside us all
It takes time and patience to unlock all the ingredients that will take you to its threshold:
It is the continual learning process that demands a lot of work…
But the rewards are more than worth the effort..
And that is the key to love.
Dawn and Frank and Pina, on behalf of your families do you give your love and blessings to Tony and Christine? We Do
It saddens both Tony and Christine that they could not share their special day with Tony’s Dad Giovanni. Giovanni should have been with us today to celebrate this joyous occasion, but God had other plans for him. We are sure that he too would give his love and blessings for Tony and Christine to be married. Right now he will be looking down on you both with a beautiful smile on his face and his beloved accordion on his lap ready to crank out a few tunes in celebration of this day.
Tony do you take Christine to be your lawful wedded wife, will you love and respect her, and stand by her through whatever may come, so you can openly share your life together?
Tony : I do
Christine do you take Tony to be your lawful wedded husband, will you love and respect him, and stand by him through whatever may come, so you can openly share your life together?
Christine; I do
Vows (written by Tony and Chris)
Tony (read from card)
……I love you Christine. You are my best friend, today I give myself to you in marriage.
I promise to encourage and inspire you, to laugh with you, and to comfort you in times of sorrow and struggle.
I promise to love you in good times and in bad, when life seems easy and when it seems hard. When our love is simple, and when it is an effort.
I promise to cherish you, and to always hold you in the highest regard.
I promise to be there when you need me, to fill your days with sunshine, to comfort you, to help you reach your goals, to be your best friend for ever and to love you with all my heart.
These things I give you today and all the days of my life.
Christine (read from card)
…….Tony, you are the most important part of my life
It seems like my life was just waiting for you and it was worth the long wait.
You are a rare combination of so many special things and if I were to list them all, we would be here forever and I want our forever to start now. With you here by my side, I want you to know that I have never been so happy, never been so much in love, there are not enough words to express just how much I love, appreciate, and need you in my life.
I promise to be your loving friend and wife. To give you support, to comfort and strengthen you, to laugh and cry with you, through life’s joys and sorrows.
I promise to always be open and honest with you, encourage you to live your dreams and conquer your fears and be by your side every step of the way. I take you, with all of your faults and strengths, as I offer myself to you with all of my faults and strengths. I choose you, my best friend as the person with whom I will spend my life with.
Declaration of marriage
Marriage is having your best friend by your side for the rest of your life, it’s about becoming a team, a team of two people so in love that they want the world to know and want to show everyone that they are making that commitment to be there for one another.
It’s about having someone there with you to share life’s trivial day to day events, both the good and the bad, having someone to laugh with and to cry with.
………..As you walk hand in hand into the future, cherish each moment as a gift to strengthen that bond between you.