Tag Archives: wedding

Remembering The Things That Matter

6 May

I am participating in the 2012 Wordcount Blogathon, which means one post every day for the month of May.

Walking down the aisle with my brother

This week, my first wedding anniversary came and went without me really posting anything about it, other than a status update on Facebook, in which I tagged my beloved.

For about three months before my wedding I was fraught with stress. Had I sent out the invitations with enough time to spare? Would we get a DJ? Would the venue be OK? Where would I get shoes that were comfortable?

I worried about whether a wedding would be too overwhelming for a child with autism. I had a falling-out with the lady who was supposed to make the cake. We couldn’t afford to pay for decor and we hoped that what the venue was providing would be sufficient. My intended and I had silly little arguments over nothing.

My bridesmaid, speaking from the comfort of her decade-old marriage, assured me that no-one would care about the details. When people looked back on our wedding, they would not remember what colour the napkins were or the fact that I hadn’t been able to pony up the cash for chair covers.

To tell the truth, I barely remember those details myself. The stuff I do remember seems so much more important. Like the fact that my friend Fran, who was doing the music for the ceremony, arrived a few days in advance and along with my mom, helped me wrap the guest favours and take care of final details. Or the fact that her friend, who was accompanying her to the wedding, arrived two nights before and in spite of  being a complete stranger to me, cheerfully rolled up his sleeves to lend a hand.

I remember the fantastic respite worker who took charge of the kids for the day and helped them have a wonderful time. And my maid of honour and bridesmaid, who showed up on my wedding day and whisked me off to get my hair and makeup done.

I recall the humour in the fact that the only time Jehovah’s Witnesses have ever come to my house, it was on my wedding day. And how funny it was when various people had to take turns doing up the buttons on my dress.

And I remember – with such fondness and love – walking down the aisle on the arm of my brother, who looked so proud (and possibly relieved to finally be marrying me off) as he ushered me in to my future.

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A Friend Who Saved The Day (And My Sanity)

12 May

I met my friend Fran about fifteen years ago. We met more or less by default: my boyfriend and her boyfriend were old high school buddies. We always got along well enough, but we didn’t really become firm friends until just over two years ago, when Fran emailed me to tell me she was moving to Canada. By then both of us had long split from the boyfriends who had been responsible for us meeting in the first place.

Despite living on the other side of the country, since Fran came to Canada she has visited me in Toronto several times. During her first visit we ran a race together. I did the 10km race and Fran – running in her first race ever – did the 5km. During that same visit, she assembled an outdoor grill that I had been given and that had me stumped. This is why you have friends who can put helicopters together. Seriously. That is what Fran does for a living.

During Fran’s visits, we always seem to go through an inordinate amount of wine. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Most recently, Fran came to my wedding. I can safely say that if she hadn’t been there, I would have been lost. She arrived three days before the wedding, when I was roughly halfway through a week-long nervous breakdown. By this point, she had already helped immensely, having offered to play flute music at the wedding ceremony (Fran can fix helicopters and play the flute like an angel).

On the day she arrived, Fran and I went driving all over the place, picking up the guest favours, sorting out a camera for the as-yet unconfirmed photographer, buying crafty stuff to make the guest favours look pretty.

The following day, while I was running around like a chicken with its head cut off and doing frantic last-minute shopping, Fran calmly took charge of the guest favours. She spent the day wrapping them, putting ribbon around them and even adding a bit of hand-written calligraphy to finish them off. They looked gorgeous.

I have to pause at this point to give credit to my Mom. She helped with the guest favours too. Enormously. For a day and a half the two of them – Fran and my Mom – were at it, working hard to make everything look perfect. If it hadn’t been for them, I honestly don’t know what I would have done.

Fran also helped keep me from unraveling completely at the seams. During the day, she was offering practical help with all kinds of things. During the evenings, she kept me supplied with wine, good humour and great conversation.

On the day, she drove back and forth to the reception hall with her friend Corrigan, dropping off things that needed to be dropped off and helping keep everything in line.

And of course, there was the music at the ceremony. It was beautiful, it was personal, it made the ceremony complete in a way that some random organist could never have managed. The musical interlude continued at the reception, where Fran and Gerard’s cousin Liam played a wonderful set of Celtic music. They played together effortlessly, despite having met and practised together for the first time the previous day.

Then there was the photography. We had a number of people present with cameras, many of whom are very capable photographers, and Fran was one of them. She took hundreds – literally hundreds – of fantastic pictures that are a wonderful record of a perfect day.

Fran, if you’re reading this, thank you does not begin to be enough. You came through for me in so many ways at a time when I really needed it.

Next time you’re coming to town, let me know and I’ll stock up on wine.

A Special Moment In The Light

10 May

As Gerard and I made our way down the aisle towards the church exit as just-newlyweds, we shared a special moment. It was one of those moments that succeeds in being private and public all at the same time – and we were lucky enough to have it captured in a series of photographs.

As we walked down the aisle, we saw a ray of bright sunshine breaking through the stained glass windows and landing directly on the aisle, like a beautiful natural spotlight. When we reached the light, we paused and took our moment…

A Final Goodbye

9 May

One of the guests at our wedding gets a special mention today: our wonderful friend Ken, who was there with his equally wonderful wife, Jo-Anne.

I’m not sure exactly how Ken and Gerard met, but it was over thirty years ago. In years gone by, Gerard spent many Christmases with Ken and his family, and for the last several years, I myself have been on the receiving end of Ken and Jo-Anne’s kindness and hospitality. They have been great friends to us. We have shared meals and laughs with them.

Many, many laughs. I have always referred to Ken as the only guy in the world who is as weird as Gerard.

Ken and Jo-Anne’s presence at our wedding was truly a blessing. The day just wouldn’t have felt right without them. When I said goodbye to Ken that night, I had no idea that it would be for the last time.

Six days after the wedding, Ken died suddenly at his home, taken by an aneurysm.

The news has been a tremendous shock to both Gerard and myself. But among the shock is pure gratitude that Ken was there to share an amazing and special day with us. Our final memories of Ken are fine ones indeed.

May Ken rest in peace. May his wife Jo-Anne and his son Will find themselves surrounded by strength and love.

If there is such a place as heaven, it has become a very, very funny place.

Goodbye for now, Ken. Your friendship and laughter will be sorely missed.

I Made It Down The Aisle!!!

9 May

Just married!

I tried, really I did.

I had the best of intentions to keep posting every day during the time leading up to my wedding. I thought it would be easy. Reposts. Pictures. A few sentences thrown together for the sake of getting something published.

Little did I know just what the final week of wedding planning would be like.

There was stress. There was much driving around getting things finalized. There were late nights spent at the computer finishing seating charts, printing place cards and drawing up itineraries as friends and family members helped wrap guest favours and keep me supplied with wine.

There was chaos, there were arguments, there were final negotiations with vendors.

What there wasn’t, was time. Not a scrap of it. Every second counted in that last week. The night before my wedding, I was still printing place cards at midnight.

So much for going for de-stressing runs.

So much for relaxing and going for a manicure on the final day.

Do you know what, though? On the day, everything came together perfectly. I had a beautiful, beautiful day. The flowers were lovely. The kids were absolute stars. I felt like a princess, sitting in the limo sipping champagne. The people surrounding me all day snapping pictures made me feel like I had my own paparazzi.

Even the weather cooperated. We got one perfect day of sunshine, that my Mom says was ordered by my Dad.

Best of all, most amazing of all, is that at the end of the day, I had the most amazing husband a girl could wish for. Every now and then, my heart flips as I look at my man and think, “I’m married to him!”

I feel like the princess who got her prince.

If This Is A Dream, Don’t Wake Me

21 Apr

Today, I have had several moments of realizing just how damned lucky I am. And I found myself wondering, do I deserve all this?

This wonderful man who accepts me for who I am, who knows all kinds of stuff about me, and who loves me anyway, warts and all.

These two beautiful children who run – yes, RUN! – to hug me when I get home from work, and who crawl into my bed at night and wrap their little arms around me, just because they want to be near me.

My friends and family – both far and near – who genuinely want me to be happy, who are doing everything they can to make me feel like a princess as I lead up to my wedding.

People who are getting onto planes and traveling halfway around the world, just so they can be with me and Gerard on our wedding day. How amazing is that?

The generosity and support of my co-workers, who today presented me with a beautiful card and a wedding gift – more than I could have ever expected.

This wedding day that is coming up – a day will be filled with love and joy as Gerard and I embark on the next phase in our journey together.

There is so much bad stuff that happens in the world. Three months ago, a dear friend’s baby passed from this world to the next. Now, a close family member of someone important to us is about to do the same. I have witnessed the tragedy of parents burying their children, I have seen bad things happening to very, very good people.

Sometimes I wonder if I deserve everything I have, when there is so much sadness and suffering in the world.

My mind casts me back to a very dark time in my life, when I did not think I deserved anything.

And I am afraid that at any second, I will wake up and find that all of this has just been a dream.

If it is a dream, please let me sleep, because I don’t want it to end.

Things Are Getting Hairy

19 Apr

You know that your wedding planning is entering its final stages when you start using Flight Tracker to see where in their journeys your out-of-town guests are. As I type this, my Mom and my brother are en route from Johannesburg to New York (a brutal flight that keeps you cooped up in a plane for 18 hours – I do not envy them). I will see my Mom on Thursday; my brother will arrive in Toronto from New York next week.

Things are coming together. There is still a lot to be done – so much so that thinking about my to-do list puts a knot of anxiety in the pit of my stomach – but most of the little crises that have arisen have been resolved.

I have not had a nervous breakdown. I came close last week, though.

It was all about the hair. I had booked a hairdresser to come to my house and do hair for myself, my maid-of-honour, the bridesmaid and the flower girl. To be fair, the hairdresser had told me ahead of time that school commitments might get in the way and we might have to make other arrangements. That was a chance I took when I booked her. And sure enough, she called me a short time later and told me that she would not be able to help out.

I got in touch with another hairdresser, one whose rates seemed reasonable. The problem was that every time I spoke to the guy there, I was given a different quote. Each quote was progressively higher than the previous one. Eventually Gerard spoke to the guy, and he was given a much higher price than anything I had been told.

It was clear that we could not use this hairdresser. At this rate, we’d have to sell our house to pay him by the time the day of the wedding arrived. What this meant, though, was that with two weeks to go, I still had no hairdresser.

Any woman would agree that hair is kind of important on a wedding day.

I lost it. I started to have this weird little meltdown, ranting to anyone who would listen about how I was never going to find someone to do my hair, and how I would have to persuade my makeup artist to wing it and do it for me (this was before the makeup artist bailed on me with no warning).

Gerard was trying to calm me down but I was just so stressed. I was making these high-piched supersonic noises that only dogs can hear.

Gradually, the pitch of my voice lowered enough for my noises to loosely resemble speech. I was tearfully saying stuff like, “My hair is very important, you know.”

Gerard, in a kindly and patient tone, said, “Of course it is.”

I think he was doing that thing where you agree with everything a hysterical person is saying, no matter what. I could have said that mulberry trees were falling out of the sky, and he would have agreed with me.

In the end, Gerard told me not to worry about it. He said he had a plan to make it all better.

Sometimes, when Gerard tells me not to worry, I have the sense to trust him. This was one of those occasions. And true to his word, by the time I got home from work the following day, he had found and spoken to a hairdresser. The day was saved. Relative peace could reign once more.

Despite earlier threats to shave my head and put a tattoo of a butterfly on my scalp, I will be able to walk down the aisle with beautifully styled hair.

It’s a good thing. That tattoo would have hurt.

(Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/25559122@N06/3811393733/)