Living on Lord Howe Island


An island wedding

Posted by Pinetrees Lodge – Thursday, February 26, 2015

Island wedding on Lord Howe Island

Contributed by Lena Thompson
Until the 11th January 2015, I had never been to a wedding. For the past 21 years of my life, I kept finding myself at funerals, over and over again. So I started wondering what I was doing wrong to be at funerals, instead of weddings. It turns out that there’s an aging population on Lord Howe and funerals just happen more often.

So my first wedding last month was my Dad’s second wedding. Does that make sense? He’s 52, and got married to a young Estonian called Anna in front of our friends and family (pretty much the entire island population) at Neds Beach.

My Dad’s a very simple man. He first met Anna at Neds Beach, and they got married at Neds Beach. Despite the wind and rain, it was a beautiful ceremony with Dad wearing the same ensemble he wore to my Year 12 graduation. Dad reckons he’ll get buried in it also, so we’re calling it the ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’ suit. Men on Lord Howe don’t wear suits very often.

The bride, however, went all out and wore a traditional Estonian outfit with a beautiful wreath of local flowers in her hair. It’s not every day that Lord Howe Island locals get to see a traditional Estonian outfit. It was stunning.

Lord Howe weddings require guests to ‘bring a plate’ to the reception, and this was taken seriously. It was amazing to see the beautiful island produce and recipes on display at the reception venue (the Neds Beach shed). It looked like the Royal Easter Show with Banana Cream Pie, Nobbs’ purple potatoes, spinach pies, quiches, fresh fish, beautiful salads, dips, breads and even ‘Just Married’ cupcakes. Who needs a 4 course meal when you can have a couple of plates of that food! Made with love.

An island wedding with the entire community makes me feel so warm and fuzzy! It gives you the chance to see everyone – young and old – at once. You’d think that we see each other all the time, but other than a friendly wave as we drive or ride past each other, small communities of busy people can be a bit distant. During summer peak season, you can go for months without talking to friends.

It’s so great to be able to celebrate the union of two people with family and friends. Marriage is about bringing people together, and in a friendly place like Lord Howe, this often includes the guests who pop in for a sticky beak and end up with a drink. Booze was definitely the bonding agent of the evening, with three kegs, multiple cases of red and white wine, and a Gatorade container full of vodka punch.

I can safely say, now with experience, that weddings beat funerals any day.

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About Dani Rourke

HELP! I have 2 children, 25 staff and up to 75 guests. I was a lawyer for 10 years, but escaped. My husband and I moved from Sydney to beautiful Lord Howe Island to run Pinetrees Lodge, which has been in my family for 6 generations. I'm writing about family business, island life and the whole work/family disaster. Did someone say balance? When I'm not writing, my lovely staff do it for me - they see more of the island than I do.

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