UNIQUE | Bride

mailife - - Contents - By SEONA SMILES Pho­tos by SUPPLIED


Sur­prise par­ties are noth­ing new. A sur­prise wed­ding is some­thing else again. A sur­prise bride must be rare in­deed. Per­haps shocked and as­tounded bride would be more ac­cu­rate, as bride­groom Nathan Hilde­brand of Suva tried to ex­plain to a group of con­fused guests. Al­most all of the 60 or so guests thought they had rocked up on Satur­day af­ter­noon, 21 July, to at­tend a 40th birth­day party. The theme was ‘oceans’ and the dress most peo­ple wore were sea con­nected in some sense, ei­ther aqua coloured or marine printed or even beach­wear. Float­ing pa­per jel­ly­fish sus­pended from the roof of the large white tent and swathes of aqua fab­ric along the ta­bles were nudged by white flow­ers… and more con­fus­ingly, what ap­peared to be a bower with masi and mats. All was soon to be ex­plained. Hilde­brand wel­comed ev­ery­one and launched into a ram­bling story about how he had promised a friend that he would wed his part­ner, Martina Lee, by the time she was 40. It didn’t quite hap­pen – her birth­day had been about a week pre­vi­ously, but she was too busy to cel­e­brate. So a party was set for the next Satur­day un­der a mar­quee in the gar­den of their friends Jo­hanna Mitchell and David Philp’s Lami home and the birth­day girl told to take a re­lax­ing day, that oth­ers had the or­gan­is­ing in hand. Hilde­brand and a very small num­ber of oth­ers who in­cluded the party host­ess and Martina’s 21 year old daugh­ter Tracey, were thrown in a frenzy of se­cret plan­ning. All the myr­iad de­tails that go with a wed­ding were fran­ti­cally sorted, selected, or­dered, col­lected and stashed in se­cret places. On the Fri­day night, mere hours be­fore the wed­ding day dawned, Hilde­brand fi­nally pro­posed. “For­tu­nately, she said yes,” he told the flab­ber­gasted ‘birth­day’ guests. “Then she said ‘when?’ I said to­mor­row!” There fol­lowed emo­tional phone calls to a very close few …. “not that we could un­der­stand her at first, she was cry­ing so much, we thought some­thing was ter­ri­bly wrong. Fi­nally she sobbed out ‘I’m get­ting mar­ried’.”

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