"Where there is great love, there are always miracles." - Willa Cather
This is my favorite picture of us from the wedding. It says a lot about the day that in every single picture of us we are either smiling or laughing (except some of the ones of coming down the aisle!) It was amazing! It started on Thursday night with our "fake rehearsal." It was fake because it wasn't at the place, we didn't have music, and some of the wedding party weren't even there! But it was a great night full of laughter and delicious food and loved ones.
Friday night we went up to the hotel early and went out with some of our friends who had come from out of town. (One even flew in from Manchester for the weekend!!) We went out for delicious Italian food and had cocktails and laughed all night. This was the first time ever that all of these friends had been together at once, so it was the perfect night-before evening. We could almost forget what was happening the next day.
On the wedding day, I slept in until 9:00 and was just waking up when my friend Sean knocked at the door and came in to see me. We sat on the bed and watched the Weather Network (good news!) and then the day began. Hair, make-up, 4 Teddy Grahams for lunch (see the last picture) and a lot of nerves and hairspray later, it was time! (While I was doing that, the groom, groomsmen, my parents, Mark's parents, our friends Bonnie & Alex and Ron & Elaine, my aunts and uncles and cousins, and others I am sure I have forgotten to write about here were madly decorating and carting and festooning and lighting and generally making the day one I will never forget - thank you from the bottom of my heart!)
Everything ran like clockwork until the stroke of 5:00pm when we were supposed to be walking down the aisle and my niece decided to fill her diaper. With one groomsman dispatched to tell the groom I hadn't run away, we started a little later and with a good story to tell at HER wedding!
The wedding was perfect! It was outside under the trees. My Dad walked me down the aisle and then also did the ceremony. My Mom and Oma and Mark's parents were in the front row. My sister-in-law and brother were standing up with us, as were some old friends. My friend Mike played music for us to walk up and down the aisle, and my aunt and two uncles played a beautiful song while we signed the register. We used "Union" by Robert Fulghum, and a passage from "The Velveteen Rabbit" and a piece written by Mark's sister as our readings. And a lot of the women (and one of the men) got into the English spirit of the day and wore hats. My aunt said that she kept expecting Robin Hood to come down the path behind us.
After the service, we had pictures taken and our guests had drinks and cocktails. The reception was inside this beautiful building that was made up of glass and beams. There was already grapevine and candles and we added round paper lanterns and more candles and so with the white linens, it looked like a fairyland - exactly the look I wanted!! Instead of tinking glasses to make us kiss, we gave each table of guests a challenge to complete. From the first table to do it, the reception then went completely bonkers. One aunt and uncle had to sell all of the pears at their table (the centrepieces were glass bowls filled with pears) to raise money for cancer research, another table had to construct a balloon arch, and others had to make up songs or poems about different things. It was spectacular and perfect chaos!
I must admit that it was also freezing cold. FREEZING. The challenges helped people to get warm, but stupid us had asked for salad as a starter and ice cream - ICE CREAM - crepes as desert. People were wrapped in blankets by the end of the meal, but everyone said it was one of the best weddings they have ever been to. One dear guest said she loved it - that every detail was perfect!
The speeches were heart-felt and wonderful. Everyone (particularly my brother and my parents) made me tear up. But the big tears came with Mark's speech. He won over just about every woman in the place with his words. There wasn't a dry eye in the house. Just after that, my Uncle Jim (the MC) told everyone that they could go inside where it was warmer to dance. They were inside in seconds and then we danced the night away! (Largely because there wasn't anywhere to sit so people just shrugged their shoulders and danced.)
You forget sometimes how much you love people. I've not spoken much about my parents here because they are going to get another whole post to themselves. But the wedding just filled my soul to the brim with love for all of the beloved faces who were standing there smiling as I walked down the aisle. The love we were a part of that day and in the days since from those dear ones who couldn't attend or who we couldn't invite, humbles me. It was truly the best day of my life - so far!