Those who have been in the wedding industry as long as I would be forgiven in thinking they probably have seen it all when it comes to things that can go wrong. I personally do not have this opinion because of an incident that occurred about eleven years ago.
In fact it is such a weird and unusual tale, that when I am attending a party with friends who are familiar with the story, will inevitably by the end of the night say “Oh Sarhn, tell everyone your wedding story with the duckling”.
So here we go……… real wedding day story number three…….the wedding and the duckling story.
The story starts for me at Athol Hall; a little cottage restaurant in ‘Middle Harbour Sydney’, which boasts one of the best views of Sydney harbour and the city.
As planned I arrived before the ceremony to photograph the groom with his family and groomsmen. The groom asked if he could get a photograph taken with the Kookaburra he spotted sitting in the tree. “Sarhn, Kookaburras are my favourite animal. I just love them”. For those who are not familiar with the Kookaburra, let me fill you in…….it is a medium size Australian native bird that makes a very loud laughing noise, as if it is mocking your every move.
After taking the photographs with the Kookaburra, sitting in his old gum tree (sorry… promise not to quote from any more Australian children’s songs), we headed back towards the location for the ceremony.
The ceremony was beautiful as was the bride as she walked down the aisle. Once the ceremony had concluded, family photographs captured and the guests thanked, we headed down towards the beach of Athol Hall. This spot is a little secret beach in Sydney, which generally means you will have it all to yourself.
On the sandy beach I was photographing the bridal party candidly as they opened the champagne and laughed while swapping stories from before the ceremony. It was around this time, that a very small duckling waddled out towards the bride. Upon seeing the little, fluffy, yellow duckling the bride gushed “Oh Sarhn, can you take a photograph of the duck. I just love ducks they are my favourite animal”.
This really was a photographer’s dream; a very happy bride, smiling and laughing bridal party and flower girls, amazing soft light with the backdrop of Sydney’s harbour. Everything appeared perfect as I thought “these photographs are amazing”.
Unawares to the bridal party, looking on directly above in another gum tree was the Kookaburra. Then before anyone could do or say anything, the bird swooped down, grabbed the duckling by the neck then flew back to its tree perch.
“I thought Kookaburra’s only eat leaves” yelled one of the groomsmen as we all listened in horror as the duckling squawked from having its head and neck trashed against the tree. “Oh mummy what is the Kookaburra doing” screamed one of the littlest flower girls, as I was thinking “oh how horrible we need to move away from here before the girls start crying”.
My thoughts were not fast enough because right at that moment the duckling’s body went limp as blood and features fell like rain upon the bridal party.
It is usually around this time when I have been forced to share this story at a party; someone will ask “What the hell did you do then?”
With that I say “I did the same thing as everybody else…………..I stood frozen in time for what must have only been a couple of seconds but felt like a very long, uncomfortable amount of time”.
It is interesting that it wasn’t immediately apparent but many days after the wedding that I thought about the irony in the story. Is it ironic that the groom’s favourite animal killed and consumed the bride’s favourite animal?
Some may say it was a bad omen; others bad misfortune but I think the bride and groom looked at it as a really entertaining story to tell the grand kids (with the blood and guts taken out of course). J
These photographs were taken around Athol Hall but were not from the wedding ducking day story. 🙂