We got married in a Bondi cafe, between starter and entree

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We don’t usually blog much about food, but two weeks ago we had a great lunch at Sean’s Panorama – a North Bondi institution that’s been serving residents of Sydney’s most famous suburb delightful dishes for more than twenty years. Against a backdrop of sand and waves, we supped fantastic wine, munched fresh sourdough, enjoyed a delicious beetroot and goat cheese salad followed by creamy pasta and rounded it all out with nougat for dessert.

And somewhere between the bread and the salad, we got married.

It was remarkably low-key, spontaneous and tonnes of fun. Despite hardly any planning, it ended up being special in its own Brad and Mesi way. Or maybe that was because there was hardly any planning.

The ‘ceremony’ – if you can really call it that – was held at the table by the lovely Tami, who managed to tune perfectly into our flowing, relaxed vibe. Noticing the chardonnay already on the table, she improvised a short wine ceremony – getting us to drink from the same cup while mentioning the symbolism of the gesture. She even prepared a Hungarian saying that roughly translates to: “Life is good when things are flowing”, which describes our relationship quite aptly.

We were smiling and laughing all the way through – even when the waitress interrupted to take our order. I’m pretty sure it was the first time that the waitress had been told ‘I’m sorry we’re not quite ready, can you come back after these two finish getting married?’.

Thanks to the patrons of Sean’s Panorama for giving us a round of applause when the whole thing was finished – it was one of those silly but cute movie moments that would’ve fit well into a Richard Curtis film.

And we also couldn’t have done it without our two good friends and witnesses Silvia and Bridget. Thanks for being there and for being flexible enough to show up with two days’ notice.

– Brad and Mesi, now husband and wife, according to the law in Australia.

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P.S. We are planning a larger, proper do in Ubud in the summer with our friends and family from around the world. However, in planning for this wedding we discovered that to get married legally in Bali the couple not only needs to nominate one of the four major religions (Hindu, Buddhist, Christian and Muslim) they have to nominate the SAME religion. We have no interest in being a part of this.

We toyed with the idea of getting married in Bali, spiritually and energetically, but without the formal recognition of the law. But at some point we accepted we needed to get ‘officially’ married, mainly because things are just so much easier when you have a piece of paper that makes you legally married. Sean’s Panorama felt like as good as a place as any to have it done.

The things you own end up owning you

Some of the great fin possessions during our cleaning spree

Some of the great finds during our cleaning spree

After two years away, I returned to Sydney to clean my room.

Of course it wasn’t planned that way. No one returns back to their home town after a long absence thinking, y’know what sounds like fun? Cleaning! Forget catching up with friends, enjoying the warm weather, let’s get tidy! But looking back, I can definitively say thats what I devoted most of my energy towards during our month in Sydney. I banned myself to my room and cleaned out.

This post needs a backstory: When I was a teenager, my mum purchased a house and we – mum, my brother and I – upgraded from our small apartment, and I got my own room. Over the years, I accumulated a teenager’s worth of things and then a university student’s worth of things, and finally left home at 22.

I moved four times during my 20s. While the biggest purchases occurred on my first move out of home, I didn’t just transfer my possessions from one share house to the next. I kept accumulating more things, sometimes leaving the pieces unwanted in the next move, back in the room I grew up in.

I left the country at the end of 2012 and because there was no new house to put it in, I had to cram everything I owned – four homes, and a lifetime’s worth of stuff – into my childhood room. Ironically, despite being full of my life, the room became totally devoid of life: It was dark, dusty, cluttered and heavy with the past.

And it was this heaviness that I returned to, with Mesi, when we arrived in Sydney a month ago. Three months on the road in such uplifting places as India and Bali, and we found ourselves living in a space that was the antithesis of everything we had experienced.

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