I was thirty-five when I tied the proverbial knot and so had attended many marriages and yet this one continues to stand head and shoulders above the rest.

Not simply because it was my marriage, which no doubt adds its own weight of bias, but I imagine regardless of whose ceremony I was attending that day, I would have still been blown away.

Purple-haired, black suited, I waited nervously for my bride to arrive.

Upon receiving word that she had arrived, I grabbed my djembe drum, sat centre stage and began a simple drumming beat.

SLAP SLAP BOOM

SLAP SLAP BOOM

drumpre

The beat and rhythm resonates out from the front where I am sitting and emanates through the amphitheatre shaped room and suddenly everyone’s attention is on me.

Then Gavin, whose drums we are using, joins me and establishes a base beat that is informed by my rhythm and which will give direction and form to everyone else.

SLAP SLAP BOOM

SLAP BOOM BOOM

drumhands

Suddenly three more drums come to play as my three best men, sitting together in the front row, join in to this beat which is now starting to build.

SLAP SLAP BOOM

SLAP SLAP BOOM

drumdunc

My younger sister who is one of my best friends and two other women who are spread around the room take up the beat. Eight drums playing in unison. Singing together. Daring each other on.

SLAP SLAP BOOM

SLAP BOOM BOOM

drumtblur

One more. And then another. Two from the back row. One from the edge of the left hand side. Another from somewhere near the front. The beat has become like a hungry beast that is slowly striding around all areas of the room, picking up pace and strength and rhythm. Suddenly there are 18 drums in total pounding out this ever present beat.

SLAP SLAP BOOM

SLAP SLAP BOOM

The anticipation is growing. The emotion is overwhelming. We all know the moment is soon. The drums tell us so. Any moment now my beautiful bride is going to burst in from the back of the room and slowly make her way down the aisle to me.

SLAP SLAP BOOM

SLAP BOOM BOOM

drummike

But time passes, and the beat is allowed to grow. To surge and move and create and invite. Every single person in the chapel is now completely caught up in this sound, this music, this invitation. Call to marriage.

SLAPP SLAP BOOM

SLAP SLAP BOOM

I am struggling to hold back the emotion. The day itself brings enough of its own, but now with this wild beast of percussive engagement pounding at my heart, my mind, my emotions, it feels like everything is about to let loose. And still the rhythm grows.

SLAP SLAP BOOM

SLAP BOOM BOOM

drumwide

Was it two minutes or maybe ten? It is hard to tell any more. All that I know is the beat has taken us all prisoner and is holding us in its mesmerising grasp, readying us for that moment which is imminent. The moment that surely must be about to happen.

SLAP SLAP BOOM

SLAP SLAP BOOM

And she arrives.

valarrive

Those without drums rise to their feet, but the drum beast is not finished yet. Surging in rhythm as the father walks her down to the front, towards me. And then says his final goodbye. The beautiful Valerie has made her entrance, and my blown awayness has a new source, and her being next to me has sucked all of the power out of the beat of the drums.

SLAP BOOM

The moment has arrived.

beatoni know people may think i’m biased, but that remains by far the best opening to any wedding i have ever been a part of and it is great to be reminded of it as we head towards our 6th anniversary – 11 July – which incidentally we will be spending celebrating the marriage of two of our good friends MJ and Ash and so i thought i would get this gem out a little earlier as that weekend there will be a huge focus on them.

[Marriage takes a lot of work and i have been privileged to share a whole bunch of different thoughts, ideas and stories from a number of different friends of ours who are in good marriages, and you can see a lot of those over here]

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