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Television: A Match Made in Survey Heaven – Watching The Edge Wedding

Calum Henderson spends the morning watching two strangers get married on The Edge TV’s thrillingly shambolic live stream.

While other radio hosts have been running around binge drinking, getting divorced or floating across lakes on bouncy castles this survey period, The Edge’s finest purveyors of horseplay – Jay-Jay, Mike and Dom – have been suspiciously quiet.

It turns out that they were just playing the long game, and have kept busy marrying off a couple of strangers for the last few weeks. Ah yes, that old chestnut. This morning the stunt reached its climax as the mysterious couple were joined in holy matrimony by celebrant Dominic Bowden(!) at the very popular wedding time of 7:30am.

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In a weirdly punk broadcasting move, the event was streamed live from what I’m guessing was an iPhone on The Edge TV (Sky channel 114). The A-team of Jay-Jay, Mike and Dom had their hands full making a radio show and managing a wedding, so the job of hosting the live stream fell to ‘Workdays’ host Megan, and Stephanie from the 7-10pm ‘SMASH! 20’ show.

The coverage begins mid-sentence. They’re talking about the hors-d’oeuvres. Looks like they might be broadcasting via Skype? The sound is terrible and there’s no lighting to speak of – the pair are sitting in near-darkness. Their first interviewee is the cameraman, an excitable bloke called Hamish who says “I don’t actually really know what I’m doing?”

This is great. Why isn’t more TV like this? Mike Puru shows up and shines his cellphone in their faces in a futile attempt to provide lighting. “Are we streaming?” asks Dom Harvey, making distrustful eye contact with the camera. He stands in the midst of the shambolic operation like a deer in the headlights for a couple of seconds, and then leaves.

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The man getting married today is called Aaron, although he has been known to listeners and his soon-to-be-wife for the last few weeks as ‘Brad’. At first glance, he looks like a veteran provincial cricket player – maybe a Central Districts opener or a Canterbury slow-medium bowler. He wrote his vows earlier this morning.

He has never laid eyes on his wife, Sade, and won’t until she walks down the aisle. She was chosen from a shortlist of contenders and proposed to live on air last week. So far the pair have courted solely on the radio.

Remarkably, all three couples previously married by the Edge are still together. One pair, Paul and Chantelle, are here today as life members of the Edge Marriage Club. When asked about her makeup, Chantelle responds, “I’m really hungover and I don’t know what I did.” Perhaps getting wasted on a Wednesday night is the real key to a long and happy radio marriage. Whatever works for you.

Megan and Stephanie talk, and talk, and talk. “I left my peanut butter and jelly toast on the bed,” Megan suddenly remembers. Finally, a tall figure emerges in the background from beneath an arch of flowers, and a muffled but familiar voice begins addressing the crowd. It’s none other than Dominic Bowden, an actual wedding celebrant who has done ‘about 25’ weddings.

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Almost as soon as the ceremony gets under way, the cameraman begins slipping in and out of consciousness. Poor old Hamish. It’s been a long morning and now that there’s something to actually film, he’s lost all control of his motor faculties. We get the back of a man’s head and the bleak white ceiling of the marquee. For a tense period, the bride and groom are fully decapitated by Hamish’s severe framing.

It’s thrilling television. We don’t really hear the vows, because Hamish has positioned himself right at the back of the room, but it doesn’t matter. We see what we need to see: the two strangers get the job done and share a long, intense pash under the watchful gaze of Dominic Bowden.

Avalanche City serenades the couple while they sign the marriage certificate, then Aaron carries his new wife out of the venue. This, it would seem, is her life now – being carried everywhere by her husband.

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How did this all play out on radio? Nowhere near as good, I’d imagine. After the ceremony, Megan and Stephanie keep wandering away from the camera to try and get in Paul Henry’s shot. Guy Williams lurks in the background trying to get in their shot. It’s a really special and organic moment of MediaWorks cross-branding.

As the venue is packed down, Megan and Stephanie continue their guerrilla broadcasting tour de force, interviewing anyone who wanders within arms reach. Eventually they snare an exclusive with Dominic Bowden. “I played Mouse Trap the other day,” he reveals, “it was old school but still enjoyable.”

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