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Charmed by the Irish at Maleny Hideaway

Maleny HidewayLISTENING to music reminiscent of the Irish dance party from the 1997 epic film Titanic was an unexpected bonus during our short stay at the Maleny Hideaway.

When booking the accommodation online, I couldn’t have imagined we’d be sharing the B & B guesthouse with Irish citizens from Dublin and Belfast who had flown half way around the world to attend a wedding, timed to fit neatly between two British & Irish Lions rugby tests in Australia.

Succumbing to the Wallabies in the second test failed to dampen the spirits of the Irish group, who partied into the wee hours of the morning.

Earlier in the night, we were kindly invited to join them for dinner. The conversations were many and included the sharing of information about local hair, beauty and transport services that we will need when we visit again for a wedding in September.

The group also generously invited us to join their after-dinner party but we didn’t want to intrude on their family celebration and politely retired to our room.

I was tempted to join them later, however, when renditions of Oh Danny Boy, Don McLean’s American Pie and many other favourite songs could be heard in the distance as I drifted to and from the land of nod.

Cobe, Ireland.

Irish turn out in the thousands to welcome the Titanic Memorial Cruise in April 2012.

Their wonderful music reminded me of my own  Irish ancestry, the Lowry family from Ballybogey near Belfast in Northern Ireland. A fond memory from the Titanic Memorial Cruise in April 2012 also entered my thoughts.

The first stop after leaving Southampton was the Irish town of Cobe (pronounced Cove and known in 1910 as Queenstown). Almost the entire county turned out to welcome our cruise ship, Balmoral. We felt as though we were celebrities with thousands of people waving and cheering as the ship docked.

Because rough weather had delayed our arrival, a previously arranged tour was cancelled. Instead, we enjoyed an impromptu evening, singing and dancing in Kelly’s Bar with the locals. That evening became a significant highlight of the entire trip.

Returning to the present, I drifted off for a relaxing night’s slumber.

In the morning, B & B owners Kerrie and Grant greeted everyone with a generous country-style breakfast, over which we again enjoyed the company of our new Irish friends.

We enjoyed our stay at Maleny Hideaway so much that a return visit is planned for our son’s wedding in September. With any luck we might get to meet more Irish visitors.

The Maleny Hideaway country bed and breakfast retreat is located just outside Maleny in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland and set in 20 acres of the beautiful Blackall Range.

For more details, click on Maleny Hideaway.

– Story and photos by JOCELYN WATTS.

Maleny Hideway

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Etch marriage vows in sand

By guest blogger TONI McRAE, Australian print and broadcast journalist.

Imagine exchanging your marriage vows in sand, billions of years old and rock solid.
Rock solid? Yes, because sand comes from rock, coral, shells – and the beginnings of time itself.
The Sand Wedding Ceremony symbolises unity and is growing in popularity as couples start their new life’s journey together.
In early sand ceremonies the couple tossed handfuls of sand together into the wind. The grains combined and could not of course be separated, thus symbolising unity and eternity.
Many of today’s sand celebrations honour both families and the vases are kept as a treasured reminder of eternal togetherness.

Here’s one way of tying the knot in and with sand:

Choose three beautiful glass vases. Place one coloured sand into one vase, a second colour into another vase. This is designed to represent the couple.
At the right moment in the service, the groom or male partner pours a portion of his sand into the third vase. The bride or female partner then pours a portion of her sand on top of the groom’s and into the third vase.
Finally, the couple jointly pours the remaining sand into each of their vases and into the central vase. Two symbolically then become one.

Here is an original selection of special words each and both can say at the combining of the coloured sands.

I wish for us these sands of time to unite, inspire, and heal.
I wish for us the continuity of the billions of years represented in these sands.
I wish for us the smoothness of these sands as we too move across the waters of life, together.
May our commitment, our love be as ever-lasting as these sands of endless time.

You can also include children in this beautiful ceremony by using more sand colours.

Why not engrave the vases with initials, names and the wedding date making them a moving keepsake for years to come?

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De-stress and save $ with a home wedding

By guest blogger TONI McRAE, Australian print and broadcast journalist.

Traditionally we associate weddings with stress, especially it seems for the bride although we know of many grooms who have also melted into cold sweats and grown butterflies in their bellies on their big day.

Your wedding day owes it you to be stress-free. You owe it to you! Certainly if you walk down your garden, church, park, or registry office aisle, you’ll feel better and therefore look a heap better free of stress.

Firstly, make a to do list and start ticking the items off as you work your way towards your big day.

Here are just a few simple thoughts and tips to help to de-stress your wedding – and at the same time to save you heaps of dollars.

A home wedding is an excellent option to save money and make you feel literally “at home”. Why not host the ceremony and reception in your garden, or your family’s?

  • Book your favourite eatery to cater for the occasion and opt for a buffet on the patio, or if need be under a marquee, which you can hire.
  • Waiters may come with the caterer but otherwise head for your local employment agency and check out who might be available.
  • If you decide on a hired venue for your reception, pick one that allows you to bring your own wine and champers. The venue will charge corkage but what a difference this will make to the overall price.
  • Choosing a luncheon reception rather than dinner is always a clever option and keeping to a buffet will allow guests to sit where they want – except for the official party of course.
  • Have you considered saving even more by holding a champers, strawberries and cream and cake celebration instead of a sit-down meal?
  • As for those favours we so often want to place at the table sittings for our guests to take away with them, consider buying flower seed packets from your hardware or garden store and wrap them in tulle, then tie with satin ribbon. Add a note that says something such as: “As our lives will from this day grow and blossom, may these little seeds bloom for you as you remember our happiest of days. Thank you so much for sharing it with us.”
  • Lean on your bridesmaids, sister, mother, aunt, friend to go to the market to buy flowers to decorate the house up to two days before the wedding.
  • Organise willing family and friends to create the boutonnieres for the groom, his best man and your bridesmaids – not forgetting the two mums and dads involved!
  • Why not get the girls to also make your own bouquet? Beautiful satin ribbon is so cheap at your local craft store.
  • Brilliant table centrepieces can be created out of crystal salad or fruit bowls. Fill them with perfumed floating candles and sprinkle the heads of seasonal flowers around them.
  • Your bridesmaids’ bouquets (hopefully home-made) can come in handy to adorn the cake table and place some tall candles at the corners of the table.
  • Thinking of cakes, here’s a great tip. Order an unadorned three-tier cake of your choice and an additional sheet cake of the same mix. Decorate it your self – or get the girls to work again! Flowers from your wedding theme can make an ordinary cake look stunning and romantic.
  • If you want the event to look immaculate, there are conscientious cleaners and cleaning agencies who will spruce up the house for you. Make sure you hire them to return after your big day to clean up!
  • So many of us arrange to be married on a Saturday. Many dollars will be saved it you choose to marry on a Friday, or even a Sunday. These are often down time days for hospitality workers, celebrants and suppliers.
  • For music during your reception suss out your family and friends’ musical or DJ talents. If you have a virtuoso violinist in your immediate circle, suggest they play and tell them you will accept this gladly as their wedding gift.
  • A friend may also be able to make an MP3 DVD that can be played from a computer or sound system. Totally free and you can actually choose your songs and music!

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