Enjoying life, off the hamster wheel
For your reading pleasure, here’s the story of our wedding weekend.
Friday was quite a stressful day. I had gone over to the Sunshine Coast on Thursday with my car full of stuff, and Neil stayed down in Vancouver so he could drive around like a chicken on Friday morning to do pick-ups: salmon, chairs, tent, beer, lights and audio, and then wait in the ferry line-up forever.
Pat, Norm and Derek, Neil’s parents and brother, also arrived on Thursday afternoon with stuff, so on Friday morning we all met at the hall to start setting up. The day started with putting together the favours. We had tea and honey that went into chinese take-out boxes wrapped with 4 colours of curling ribbon. We got a production line going with Norm, Derek and my neice, Rachel, while Pat ironed the table runners Vicky and I made, and Mom started sweeping the walkway outside, picking up discarded cigarette butts and making the exterior look better. Eva had gotten up really early to pick flowers and greenery and came back with a trunk-load of stuff for all the table centres and flower decor. By mid-morning Duncan and Geoff showed up, and then my other sister Kjerstin, who flew in from Nanaimo.
Eva and Kjerstin started an assembly line making the table centres, and then Pat and Norm washed the floor of the hall to give it that nice clean sparkle. Our caterer arrived mid-morning and started to set up in the small galley kitchen in the hall. We didn’t have room in the hall’s fridge for alcohol, so I made arrangements with a nearby pub to store our stuff in their walk-in cooler. They were so nice and helpful and pushed things aside for us to make room! I was so blown away by their kindness.
After lunch the rentals arrived… tables, dishes, barbeque, etc. Vicky arrived with our nyckelharpa player, Deborah. Cheryl and Steve came up with the wedding cake. Neil’s Auntie Olga and Uncle Jack arrived. Ann and Rob and their kids dropped in to say “hi”. Then Neil arrived and everything kicked into high gear as flowers were being finished and the girls went off to pick more, the tent was put up, and the room began to take shape as the tables were put up and chairs put out and decor added. Our rehearsal was that evening, so by 5 or so we closed up and headed over to the church.
At the church, our entire crew was jacked up on adreneline, and all I can tell you is, the crazy energy generated by a group of actors PALES by comparison! Our pastor, Ray, deserves a medal for his patience.
After dinner, we took everyone for dinner at the Old Boot Eatery, a casual Italian restaurant in Sechelt. There were a lot of us, and it was fun telling stories and unwinding before “The Big Day”. Eva and Kjerstin didn’t join us, however, as they continued making the bouquets, boutenniers and corsages, and the gorgeous wreath for the church. Vicky, Neil and I headed back to the hall before calling it quits for the night, opened all the doors and windows to cool it somewhat for the flowers, and putzed around decorating for a little while longer.
When we got back to our B&B we were pretty tired, but we still had to get a few things done that night. We finalized our vows, and I put together a rough “production schedule” to distribute (better late than never). There were a few things that absolutely had to be done by a certain time, and it was good if everyone knew about them. Especially Greg, our MC!
The morning of the wedding, we had a delicious breakfast of “Norwegian French Toast” (!), coffee and tea, and sat and took it easy for awhile and listened to the waves lap against the rocks below our balcony, and felt peace and tranquility settle in. The stress had vanished overnight, and was replaced with a feeling of anticipation.
Neil then left to meet with the others at the hall to finish the final touches. I picked up my dress and Rachel from Eva’s, ran down to the hall to drop off the production schedule and vows for Neil, and see how everything looked, when I noticed the ugly pots from the planters hanging above us. “Oh…” I said, and Cheryl noticed my frown. She asked what the matter was and I told her I didn’t like the plastic pots, so ugly. “Don’t worry,” she said in that tech voice that we use with high-maintenance clients, “I’ll take care of it. I’ll make them disappear.” (And that she did. Later that day when Neil and I walked into the hall after our photos, the pots had disappeared, and the pretty flowers were focal point.) Then Rachel and I went back to the B&B and started getting ready. Vicky joined us and it was really peaceful, the three of us getting ready at the B&B. Rachel did such a gorgeous job on my hair, and Vicky took some fabulous pictures. When we were ready to go, Michael picked me and Rachel up to drive us to the church, Vicky following in her car.
By now I was getting nervous, and it started to settle in what was actually happening! I was getting married! Wow!
In the meantime, Duncan, Geoff and Neil were getting ready at the hotel where the boys and their families were staying, when Geoff discovered that his shirt didn’t fit and went racing off to buy a new one. Then Duncan discoverd that his shoes weren’t packed, so his wife Bev raced off to buy a new pair! Then, they realized that they didn’t have a vehicle to get to the church in, as my sisters had mine, Duncan and Geoff had both ridden their motorcycles up, and they couldn’t take Neil’s truck. Luckily, Geoffery, our intrepid photographer had his car there, so they all piled into Geoffery’s car and drove to the church, now with Geoff wearing a new shirt and Duncan still wearing his Blundstones boots.
They arrived in time, and had started seating the guests, Duncan in his boots, when Bev arrived with a new pair of shoes she had found in the mall in Sechelt. They fit perfectly! Bev to the rescue!
When I arrived, I was met by the pastor, and looking at the church, I almost started to cry. Tears of joy! I said something and Kjerstin heard me and ran up to me, grabbed me by the arm and said, “Now is NOT the time to start crying. Wait until you get inside. You’ll ruin your makeup!” That makes me laugh! So, I said “Ok” and blinked away the tears. But I was soon distracted, because she then asked me where my bouquet was. I said, “don’t you guys have it?” “No,” she said, “didn’t you take it from the fridge at Eva’s.” No…. Oh well, it really didn’t matter to me! I was so happy nothing mattered. I didn’t need a bouquet.
But my sisters insisted that I should have a bouquet, so they grabbed theirs and gave them to me. They had blue hydrangeas and baby’s breath. I was also supposed to borrow a pair of earrings Kjerstin has that was our grandmother’s, but they were also left behind. They are blue aquamarines. Instead, I borrowed my sister’s bouquets (something borrowed, something blue), and wore a pair of diamond studs Neil’s mom had given me as a pre-wedding gift. Around my neck I wore a beautiful necklace my mom had given me which delicately picked up all the colours of my dress.
Waiting in the foyer to go in, Mom and I planned which foot we should start walking with. It was a good distraction, as I was excited, nervous, happy, and full of anticipation. Then the nyckelharpa and accordion started, Vicky pulled open the door, and in we walked.
I can’t possibly describe how I felt. The one moment I had been hanging onto, to lock eyes with Neil as I turned the corner, there it was! And it was even better than I had imagined! Happiness flooded through me, and I saw tears in my darling Neil’s eyes and looked around at all the smiling faces and experienced pure joy! We walked down the aisle, and Mom placed my hand in the crook of Neil’s bent elbow, and we took a few moments to compose ourselves. Oh, tears of joy!
The pastor began, read from Corinthians, read a passage from Kalil Gibran’s “The Prophet” which we had requested. At one point, I remember a handkerchief from Geoff, who handed it to Duncan, who handed it to Neil, who dabbed his eyes, who handed it to me, and I dabbed my eyes, and I heard the sniffles from my sisters to my left, so I passed it off to them to dab their eyes. We all laughed as Geoff’s handkerchief made its rounds. I wonder if Geoff ever got it back… We spoke our vows, exchanged rings, said a prayer, and were then declared married! After the world’s happiest kiss, the pastor made some further announcements and we walked back down the aisle, together, to sign the registry.
I noticed Bev and little Sadie in the back of the church as we exited to sign, and waved at them. It was so nice to see Bev’s smiling face.
We signed the registry with Eva and Geoff as our witnesses, at a little table with a garden umbrella and a backdrop of dark pink climbing roses. Geoffery, our photographer, took pictures, and then we waited to exit the church, under a canopy of digitalis that the guests held up. We walked through the canopy, into the waiting car, and Michael drove us through forests and up the mountain for a short while to give everyone except the wedding party time to leave for the reception hall. We returned to the church for a few pictures, and it was then that we noticed a ladybug in the wreath above our heads. She was at with us at our wedding the whole time.
Then we drove to a beach near the reception and took photos. The weather was perfect, high overcast, a bit of a breeze, and not too hot. Then we drove back to the reception, where the nyckelharpa and accordian players played a tune for our entrance. It was so great seeing our friends and family all standing and clapping as we walked in. What an amazing moment.
Poor Greg, though. Before we went in, he came over to us and pulled out an envelope that I had gotten to him with payment for the surprise singers for Neil, and he was asking me about the DJ, but I thought he was talking about the surprise, and I kept grabbing his wrist to make him stop pulling out the envelope, and I was a bit ticked that he was ruining the surprise when he should have known better. Oops! Thankfully no one was the worse for it, Neil didn’t know what was going on, and Greg let it wash off him like water off a duck’s back. Greg’s GREAT!
We were served some appetizers when we came in, but I was overwhelmed and too excited to eat! Apparently they were delicious!! When we sat down, the floor was all Greg’s, and I’m so impressed with him because we never really sat down and hashed anything out together, we just told him a few things we did and didn’t want said, but that was it. He basically just followed the schedule and winged the rest! We owe a great deal of gratitude to him for his hard work and excellent MC-ing. Thank you, Greg!
The surprise singers came in when we had settled. Greg announced them by simply saying who they were and that this was a present from me to Neil. They began playing outside, Paul playing an acoustic guitar, Trudy singing, and slowly walked in to stand by our table. Neil was totally surprised! The song was “More Than Words” by Extreme, which has been “our” song for as long as we’ve known one another. Neil played it for me when we first started dating, and I instantly loved it. I was so happy to give him this little gift. He also was happy, and turned to me to thank me with tears in his eyes as our troubadours gently slipped away, singing as they had when they came in.
We were treated to elegant, eloquant and brief speeches and toasts, and after the first round of speeches, we had a most delicious meal prepared by our fabulous chef, Alan Barnes of Ricolan Chef Services. Highly recommended!
After dinner we had a few more speeches, which included a song by Isabell, my neice, and then we cut the cake, tossed the bouquet and did our first dance.
Our dance was a little different. Neil and I decided that we wanted to perform for our guests, after all, we’re in the entertainment business! I have professional dance training, but never learned ballroom, and I also knew that we needed a third party to help Neil with getting comfortable with dancing. So we signed up for dancing lessons with Arthur Murray Dance Studios with the express purpose of choreographing a full routine to “Seasons of Love”. We practiced for about 4 months, and our final class included performing in front of the instructors and a few other students. We had a blast! We also spent about an hour or so in the hall on a rainy spring day, when no one was there, practicing to our heart’s content, getting a feel for the space, and imagining people, tables and chairs all around us.
On the way to the reception in the car, Neil and I verbally “marked” our dance, “walk, walk, foxtrot, night club 2 step, transition, inside turn, outside” etc., and Michael peered at us through the rear-view mirror with a puzzled look on his face.
When it came time for the dance, we were so surprised how it all clicked and fell in place! And it was smooth! With Neil’s gorgeous suit, my beautiful and flowing dress, our dance was like butter and our feet barely touched the ground. The room erupted in cheers and applause when we finished with a dip, an outside turn, then an inside turn, a kiss, and a graceful walk off the dance floor. We were the embodiment of Fred and Ginger!
With that, everyone who had to catch a ferry home took their leave, and following brief good-byes, we danced with our parents and then opened the floor. We are really happy with our DJ, Peter, who kept it hopping from about 9pm until 1am. Neil and I had a blast, dancing like crazy with each other, ourselves, and anyone who wanted to dance! Heck, even the shy people were out there cutting a rug!
Unbeknownst to us, Steve took on the role of bartender after the bartender was cut. He kept things tidy, cool and poured wine and beer for whoever came around. Thank goodness for the help of good friends!
Neil and I left at around midnight, and while some die-hard partiers kept going, other friends and family cleaned up. Our tech friends made short order of the strike, taking everything down from overhead and striking tables and chairs in minutes. Again, thank goodness for the help of good friends.
The next day we went back to the hall, did a final clean-up, packed our vehicles and drove to the Gumboot Restaurant in Roberts Creek, where we had brunch with about 30 friends and family before we all went our separate ways. Neil and I were so happy to spend this casual time with people, chatting and laughing and swapping stories from the night before.
Brunch slowly peatered out, and Neil and I went back to our B&B where we sat on the balcony soothed by the surf below lapping over the rocks. We ordered-in a yummy dinner from a local restaurant, lit candles left over from the wedding, enjoyed the remaining flowers and looked at each other, starry-eyed, in love and very happy. What a terrific way to start this new chapter in our lives together!