I have just spent a 4-day weekend on the Sunshine Coast, QLD, culminating in the much anticipated wedding of my friends Michelle and Richard in Caloundra.
From the moment I stepped out of the front of my building at home to the moment the taxi driver returned me 4 days later, I was treated to smiling faces and, like a Cheshire cat, I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face either.
Thursday dawned too bright and too early for my liking – I’d had a huge night on Wednesday night without meaning to go too overboard, but alas, the lack of dinner proved to be a huge mistake when the beers kept hitting the empty stomach. The construction site inside my head made moving a little more difficult than usual, but the lovely man from the airport shuttle was helpful and the ride to the airport was swift and smooth.
The flight to Maroochydore was relatively uneventful, if you discount the little kid in the row behind me who screamed and kicked during the entire trip. Fortunately, iPods can drown out ALL noises, and for the only time that day, I was thankful the hangover came with a bit of fatigue. Before too long, we were descending into Maroochydore in 35 degree heat.
When I set out to book my flights and accommodation 3 weeks ago, I had made sure there was a seat on a shuttle bus to get me from Maroochydore Domestic Terminal to the Rydges Oasis Resort Caloundra. Upon landing, I was greeted by the friendly folks from Sun-air Bus Service and was soon sitting in a plush air-conditioned bus on my way to the resort.
The Rydges Oasis Resort Caloundra was beyond my expectations – so gorgeous and huge! My home for the next 3 days was allocated a massive room with 2 queen size beds and a spa bath, just a hop step and jump to the pool, restaurant and bar. The first order of the day was to change into my bathers and head on down to the pool for a much needed cocktail to chase away the cobwebs from the night before.
With my massive 3-in-1 book in tow, I lounged by the pool with a spot of lunch and a truly awful cocktail (one of the worst I’ve ever had), soaking in the rays and going for a dip when the sun got too stinging. Michelle and Richard were due to drop by at some point in the afternoon, so the next order of the day was a luxurious soak in my personal spa.
After catching up with Michelle over some yummy Cold Rock ice-cream (while Richard had a nanna nap on one of my beds), I turned in for the evening and had an early night.
The hard life continued the next day, Australia Day, with a lazy buffet breakfast that had everything. Just after 9am, my friend Daniel arrived at the resort from Brisbane to spend the morning with me. I always love catching up with Daniel – we can talk about anything and everything, and it’s always a chilled out affair. We went down to the beach, and then up along the main street. We did a tour of all the shops that were opened and air-conditioned, and eventually ended up in a café for a quick bite and a coffee. Our easy conversation and rapport provided quiet entertainment for the folks seated at nearby tables, which amused us greatly.
With Daniel due back in Brisbane for an afternoon engagement, we wrapped up our catch up with a quick stroll to take in more of the main street, and to continue amusing ourselves with the whimsical Walk of Stars. Just as LA’s Hollywood Boulevard has a Walk of Fame which pays tribute to Hollywood stars, so too is Caloundra’s Bulcock Street with its Walk of Stars, sporting plaques commemorating the legends of the Australian music industry. We saw tributes to Johnny Young, Kamal, Marc Hunter and The Bee Gees, and were very excited when we found the star honouring Savage Garden. So much so, Daniel happily posed while I took the happy snap.
After such an exciting morning, the only thing I could face was more time by the pool. I tried another cocktail from the limited range offered by the bar, and found it to be just as bad as the first one. More of the wedding guest were arriving at the resort on Friday, and after a time, Daniel and Samantha (groomsman and bridesmaid) joined me for some refreshing Riesling. Soon, we were joined by more guests and Michelle and Richard, and plans were made for a few drinks and some dinner later that evening.
The group split into two at around 6pm – the guys were heading to the local tavern for a few beers and some dinner, and the girls were congregating in my room for a few drinks before we too head out for a meal. Badly misjudging the “surprisingly Cosmopolitan” claim, we soon found the only kitchen still serving dinner resided in the Caloundra RSL. The meals were cheerful and plentiful, and with the big day ahead in mind, we retired to our beds for an early night.
The Wedding Day dawned bright and clear. With the ceremony scheduled for late afternoon, I again took myself to the poolside to soak up more rays before taking advantage of a private spa one last time. Before I knew it, it was time to head down to Shelly Beach where the ceremony was to be held.
The site was beautifully set up with bamboo frames, draped with chiffon and flanked by two tall flags printed with frangipanis. The heat from the day was starting to subside as the bride made her way down to the beach. On the arm of her parents, Michelle made her way down to an emotional Richard, who beamed proudly whilst wiping tears from his eyes. The ceremony was gorgeous – the celebrant spoke of Michelle and Richard’s love for one and another, and the journey they took together from the time they met to exchanging vows. It was very apparent to all how in love they are, and we were all so lucky to be able to share the very personal and warm day with the happy couple.
The ceremony ended with a flurry of photos, and we all headed back to the resort for pre-dinner drinks and the reception dinner. Heartfelt speeches were made by the groom’s mother and the bride’s father, with Dean the Best Man slaying them in the aisles with his speech – among other stories was Richard’s one act of love involving hair removal. Megan, Michelle’s niece and bridesmaid, made a gorgeous little toast and thanked everyone for attending the wedding, before a Freudian slip almost saw her calling Richard by a different name. Richard concluded the speeches with a very emotional poem that left not a dry eye in the house.
The cutting of the cake and the bridal waltz signalled the start of the mad dancing session. Song after song, the young and the old rose to their feet and bopped the night away, with a large contingent migrating back to the bridal suite for a nightcap prior to officially retiring for the night.
Six hours later, I was to bid farewell to the beautiful resort that hosted me so cordially over the four days. It had been a terrific little getaway, made that much more special by the chance to attend the very special wedding of my good friends in a gorgeous part of the world.
To Michelle and Richard, thanks for the invitation and the opportunity to be part of your day. Wishing you both a lifetime of happiness, laughs and love.
Click here for the photos from the weekend.