The neighbour had a problem. In fact, by the look of her she had several, many unresolvable. But today’s problem specifically would be us.
When she had moved to the end of the dirt road on the hill behind Joshua Tree proper, it was the quiet life she sought. That’s why she had such yappy dogs and honking tortoises.
Alas, I had come as the bearer of bad news. Owing to a freak accident called life, her young and friendly foreign neighbours who spent most of their time living 120 miles away, had decided to get married and as such would probably go on to live happy, fulfilling lives.
Worse, the ceremony and celebration would be held on their property. And it would probably be a little noisy well into the wee hours – or as I put it, “10pm latest”.
“Huff. So there’ll be noise until 10pm?” She had the burnt-out, frazzled demeanour of someone either running from a life of crime, or running towards one.
She glared through the chain link fence, which thankfully distorted my view of her in shorts. If you’ve heard of mutton dressed as lamb, imagine carrion dressed as mutton.
I stood listening to her grievance in my most understanding way possible, meaning, I understood there was no reasoning with some people, and discreetly moved the bottle of “thank you for being a nice neighbour” wine out of view.
“Look, it is their marriage,” I tried to reason. “It’s a really special occasion, and they really appreciate your understanding.”
“I moved here to get away from the noise. Now they’re having a party.”
I reiterated: “I mean, it’s their wedding. This is literally a one-off, once in a lifetime party.”
(At least I bloody well hoped so, because I wasn’t going to be asking this neighbour for a favour again on their behalf).
She conceded with a grunt and an order that no-one park on her driveway (though realistically the only people who’d ever enter her property would be armed police), and that the sound should finish by 10pm, which I promised it would, cross my heart and hope you die (and if poss, before 10pm).
That final task done, all was set for the wedding.
The bride pair had bought the property a few years ago, a striking blue house with verandah (and which you can rent on Air Bnb!), nestled into a small hill.
They’d positioned some retro caravans around their sloping backyard, where guests were encouraged to crash instead of on the road, and a portaloo out the back, which was also preferably to using the road.
The handsome groom was dressed head to toe in a dashing Gucci chequered suit and beautiful loafers, topped with an enormous smile that almost stretched around the back of his head.
The bride defies description, in a dress I think may have been designed by Nick Cave’s wife but I’m sure she’ll confirm this in the comments section, so you can just marvel at her exquisite beauty in the photos.
At 4:04pm, guests sat on rows of pews made from hay bales, and the bridal party shimmied through a makeshift curtain of silver streamers, all dressed in their white, culty cowboy-UFO outfits. The best man had even gone so far as to wear an expression of pained surprise like he’d actually just been abducted.
There was a communal gasp when the groom suddenly bolted in a panic from the ‘altar’, though he reappeared only a minute later with the forgotten rings in hand.
Then the bride put the ring on the wrong finger, causing an excruciatingly funny sequence in which she had to spend a few minutes sucking it, in full view of everyone, on the most important day of one’s life™, until his finger was well enough lubricated to relinquish the ring. And that was honestly the only time I’ve seen something that sucked so hard be so gloriously good.
By night’s end, everyone had had a magnificent time, with the minor exception of:
- The trendy young musician that I offended and who as we speak is probably writing me a diss track;
- the mum I picked up and turned upside-down on the dance floor and twirled around pretending to drop her several times
- her husband who not only had to witness this but then lost against me in a pissing contest – figuratively and literally – on a prickly bush;
- and my pristine white pants, which were now stained a desert shade of yellow.
All in all a wedding to remember – and hey, what’s more the neighbour didn’t complain.
These photos are obviously not shot with my shit iPhone. Instead, I called upon fellow wedding guest Natalie McComas (insta: @natmccomas) who is a freelance editorial, commercial and documentary photographer based in Mermaid – which for people outside of the Sunshine Coast, means she works mainly around the Gold Coast, Byron Bay, Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, or anywhere really.
These photos, par contre, are mostly mine, especially the shittier ones, but not all, but I have no idea whose they are, so apologies if you recognise one of your shots and thanks for sharing.