Yesterday I visited a lovely location south-east of Dubbo where I will conduct a wedding ceremony in the near future. Just outside the township of Wellington in central west NSW is a lovely location for ceremonies - the Osawano Japanese Gardens.
The Gardens are a picturesque delight - beautifully manicured lawns, carefully pruned trees and hedges in the Japanese tradition, leafy arbors to walk beneath, ornamental ponds with large fish and lily ponds, decorative bridges and walking paths around the venue. There is also a Japanese-style rotunda overlooking the largest pond.
Taking nine months to construct, the gardens were a gift to the community and donated by Osawano Town Council in Japan. Wellington Council undertook the design and construction of the gardens which feature 1,500 individual plants comprising 126 different species. The Mayor of Osawano Maachi, Mr Tadao Nakasai, officially opened the gardens on 21 November 1999 together with Wellington Mayor, Mark Griggs.
"The gardens are designed to give spring cherry blossom colour, autumn leaf colour and provide shade during the summer months with a most impressive blend of exotic and Australian plants." (www.visitnsw.com)
The Gardens are a tranquil place, and, if needed, the perfect place for quiet reflection. In a busy, non-stop world, a quiet place like this reaches out and encourages you to stop and stay a while.
There are many options for ceremonies in this location. The rotunda is the central focal point of the gardens but it is by no means the only spot in the gardens where ceremonies can be conducted. There are sections of the gardens with open lawns and beneath trees that may serve equally well.
Bespoke ceremonies in this location can utilise processionals crossing the ornamental bridges and trailing down the winding paths and through the leafy arbors. I was very taken by the many possibilities I saw while walking around the gardens. I also thought about whether couples marrying in this location might like to incorporate Japanese rituals and readings into their bespoke ceremony.
Traditional (non-western) Japanese weddings feature a purification ritual and prayers to the gods, and the couples shares three symbolic "nuptial cups" of varying sizes, all of which contain the famed drink "sake". Words of commitment are spoken and then concludes with symbolic offerings to the gods. Many modern Japanese weddings do include the exchange of rings, a tradition borrowed from the west.
If couples are looking to incorporate Japanese wedding rituals into their bespoke wedding in this location, they can certainly do so. Couples may prefer to include western rituals instead that involve water or earth, rocks or plants, and indeed, some people may not choose to include any rituals at all. That is the beauty of the modern Australian civil wedding - it's pretty much about what the couple wants to do and my role is to deliver it.
Should you wish a Japanese reading for your ceremony, this beautiful one by Ryunosuke Satoro may be of interest:
Where Art I Bound?
He says to the Journeyman,
"Where art I bound?"
"Lift your leaden feet and walk
where your heart directs you,"
replies the Journeyman, "and
your gait will become light
and your heart more assured."
"But wait Journeyman, now I
must act for two and no
longer just one. What shall I do?"
To which the Journeyman
replies, "If you truly love,
give away your heart to make half
of a greater whole, and follow It
for the rest of your days."
- Ryunosuke Satoro -
Whatever couples decide, this location is breathtakingly beautiful and will inspire a beautiful, bespoke wedding.