Monday, December 12, 2005

White Wedding

It's been a jam-packed weekend. Another wedding has come and gone, this one being #9 for me. My duties are done.

I arrived on Thursday with SIL picking me up at the airport. We ran a couple of errands and then busted the cleaning ladies who left early. They were supposed to have stayed 3h and it appeared they had only stayed two. That evening we had supper and started to decorate the second tree. Yes, second tree. In the more formal living room (now full of the furniture my brother was repainting, and it looks terrific) has a more formal-looking, 11ft tall tree which is full of SIL's decorations. In the family room, my brother had a smaller tree and took that one to decorate for himself. Brother and I decorated most of that tree that night, while SIL and her mother prepared gift packages for the wedding guests staying at the hotel.

Friday was basically full of setup for the rehearsal party. They decided to hold it in their house and have it catered, with a couple of servers. We cleaned up the house from the night before and set up for the party. Friday was also my Dad’s birthday, so my brother & fiance had decided to get him a cake. It was covered in saran wrap and left on the counter. At some point that afternoon, there was a big cat-sized dent on the cake. The cat was not everyone’s favorite animal for the rest of the night, and got sent to the basement for the rest of the night.

We were late getting to the church for the rehearsal, and then my younger brother & gf fell behind and got lost. Since my younger brother was the best man, we needed to wait for him to get there. He arrived and we got straight to work on the rehearsal. The priest seemed really nice and funny. His health hasn't been the greatest, having had a quad bypass not too long ago, but he made out fine.

The rehearsal party went well, but I was admittedly feeling a little lonely being there by myself, most everyone else was coupled and knew each other. I stole away a couple of times to just be by myself and check email. I've also been having problems with my eye being red the last week or so, and it got to bothering me that night, so being in the dark and resting it helped a bit. The bride and groom presented gifts to the bridal party and parents. I received a really nice silver bracelet, and SIL had also gotten me a snowflake pin that she said her sister was going to wear in her hair, so I thought I’d see what I could do with that as well. I went to bed earlier than my brothers since I had to be up earlier in the morning.

At 6:30am on Saturday, my alarm went off and I got up to get ready. A short shower and packing of a few things and I was ready to go by 7am. SIL and her mother showed up to pick me up from the house (SIL stayed in the car so she’d keep the not-to-be-seen-by-groom tradition). We headed off to the hair salon for our 8am appointments. Ugh. 8am!! I had a stylist who did speak English, but I don’t think she was all that comfortable with it, so we didn’t chat a whole lot, but she did a great job with my hair. She asked where I was going, what I wanted (didn’t have a clue, really, except for the fact that I needed some volume.) She also asked if twists were ok, and I said sure. I was pretty easy-going about it, since my cut doesn’t lend itself to doing a whole lot of styling options. The stylist did compliment the cut though, so I will have to make sure to pass that on to my regular stylist. The salon, Samuel Augustin, was pretty large, likely around 30 stylists, separate colorists, manicurists. Shampoo sinks that they could actually stand behind and wash your hair. Very nice spot. They are moving in January to no doubt a better spot.

At the end of my appointment, the stylist tried to work in the snowflake pin, but it was too heavy for my fine hair. So, I ended up buying a clip there that worked well and I had to tell the bride that it wasn’t the same (she would have noticed eventually, she’s pretty detail-oriented.)

We left the salon and headed back to the hotel, where the bride stayed the night before the wedding, and where the reception was to be held. We ordered some lunch and then the makeup artist arrived to work on the bride, maid of honor, me and the bride’s mother. She asked what I wanted done, I told her I never wear makeup so to keep me fairly light on the amount. It came out looking great – so great in fact the bride revised her opinion of what she wanted done to herself. It was a strange day for that really, I had many people coming and telling me how great I looked, but I felt kind of embarrassed by it because it wasn’t “my” day. Tell it to the bride! Don’t think about me.

While we were all getting the makeup done, the flowers arrived. Small calla lilies were our bouquets. The bride’s was to be red, the other two were to be off-white. When the box arrived, they were all red. The bride was pretty mad, so she called up and ragged them out and they agreed to send over replacements. The bride’s bouquet can’t match the maid of honor and the bridesmaid – what kind of florist is this anyway? She had a bad feeling about the centerpieces so she went downstairs to check on those – the look on her face said it all when she came back. They screwed those up too. They were supposed to be pointsettias in a low, oblong dish so people at the tables could see one another to talk. They ended up being tall regular pontsettias in flower pots. The florist got another phone call and another ragging out, but there was no time to replace the centerpieces. Just one of those things that inevitably go wrong at a wedding – there’s always something.

With that crisis dealt with, we got dressed. The photographer had arrived early, so we kicked him out of the room so we could dress when there was another knock on the door. 3 of us were half-dressed and the bellman had arrived to move the luggage from that room to the bridal suite. We hid in the bathroom while the maid of honor let him in and took the luggage away. I got into my dress for the first time since I had it altered, and it fit fine, but for $70 I was kind of hoping the seamstress would have at least cut the loose strings off at the bottom where she had hemmed it. *rolls eyes

Once dressed, we headed down to the bridal suite for pictures. They took some beautiful shots of the bride standing in front of the window. I was in a few of those with the bride as well. Also her mother and her uncle, who was the one to walk her down the aisle (her father passed away a few years ago.)

Timing went really well all day, so we finished pictures and headed downstairs to the limo to get to the church. It was snowing a bit, but we decided it was dry enough on the ground to wear shoes and not mess with boots. It was just enough snow to make for a pretty, white wedding. In the limo and away we went.

We arrived at the church right on time, just waiting a few minutes until we were told it was safe to come in. The way the priest had organized the entrance was having my brothers stand in the aisle at the back, and not to turn around. Then the parents, then the bridal party, then the bride & uncle. We rushed in, took off coats, and away we went. The wedding itself ended up being smaller than they thought, with 57 confirmed guests. With the wedding being in December and being a fair distance away from our side of the family, most of them couldn’t make it. We had one aunt (and cousin) and one uncle out of a family of 9 on my mother’s side who were able to come – thankfully. I understood why most weren’t able to make it, but it was still a little sad to see that more weren’t able to. My grandfather on Dad’s side was able to come, which was great. So we had a few from each side of my family, at least.

With the bride & groom both being Catholic, we had a full mass, but it was no longer than a usual mass, really. Technically it likely didn’t “count” but I told myself it did, as I had no car and no opportunity to get to church for the rest of the weekend.

The wedding began, and quickly we realized there was a problem. The first reading, which was done by the bride’s best friend, wasn’t actually on the podium to read. There was a misunderstanding around those of us who were reading – we assumed the readings were being provided, but the priest assumed we’d be bringing them… please hold while the priest went to his office and grabbed the file with copies of the readings. He came back without the correct first reading (which was just a poem) but at that point we just needed something, so she read what the priest handed her. My reading was 1 John 4:7-12, straight from the Bible. Since I was going to a church, I assumed I’d be reading from an actual bible. That assumption proved wrong, so the priest had also grabbed a bible when he went to his office. I read from that with no problem. Thankfully I’ve been to mass enough times that I knew how to properly end the reading. I also read the intentions, and remembered not to say “N. and N.” instead of the actual names of the bride and groom :)

The music was provided by a 3 string trio. There were also two singers who worked with my brother. Little did we know they couldn’t find a piano accompanist so they substituted guitars. This may ring a bell to you from my numerous comments on how much I hate guitars in church. These ladies were completely out of tune for one of the songs. When the priest motioned for them to sing the Lamb of God, they just stood there shaking their heads. Uh, ok, guess there was a little miscommunication there.

The priest did a couple of neat things. When preparing the eucharist, he brought the bride & groom up with him at the altar and gave them their bread and wine. He also brought all of the bridal party up at the altar for the signing of the registry – granted there was only one groomsman and one bridesmaid in addition to the best man & maid of honor. I think it must have made for a nice picture. The priest also just let my nephew sit on the edge of the altar, and he remained relatively well behaved. A few episodes of looking like he was talking to himself and lying on the floor looking at the ceiling, but all in all normal behavior for someone who is 5 1/2.

After the signing of the register, a man quietly came halfway up the aisle. It was a cousin of the bride, whose main source of income is as a professional bagpiper. His gift to the bride & groom was to play at the wedding. They both thought this was a nice idea, and my brother insisted that only one song was to be played, even if it had to be played over & over again, it had to be that song. So, everyone was piped down the aisle to Scotland The Brave. It was pretty cool. Outside we all gathered for one large group picture on the church steps.

The bride & groom headed back to the reception in a rented Hummer (my brother’s idea, of course). We headed back to the limo, myself, the mother of the bride and her mother, as well as my younger brother (the best man.) They took us back to the hotel, where we seemed to take forever getting all of the pictures that were needed. The wedding guests were also getting mushed in with the attendees at a couple of Christmas parties, so I couldn’t tell who was there for which event. Anyway, with the pictures finally done, the bride and groom started the receiving line (which they did by themselves, I liked that) while the bridal party waited until the end when we were introduced by the emcee/DJ.

While we were waiting outside of the room, the DJ and assistant came over and talked to my brother. Turns out this was the owner of the company, who normally only does really expensive events, but his wife (who was his assistant) and he had decided to come to the hotel and make a weekend out of it. So he had the services of a normally very expensive DJ. My brother was quite happy with that.

Now we were ready to be introduced and I had been told it was going to be to “special” music. The wedding party was introduced over the Indiana Jones theme, and the bride & groom to the Star Wars theme. Go figure, for those of you who know my brother!!! The maid of honor had to be introduced by herself, because her husband, the other groomsman, suddenly got sick and had to go upstairs to one of the rooms to spend the rest of the evening in the bathroom. Their son had been sick that past week and that was where they had caught it from. Thankfully they didn’t get sick until after the pictures.

The wedding reception was one of the most classy I’ve ever attended. The music during dinner was all rat pack-era and swing music, mixed with some classy versions of Christmas music to suit the season. Very nice, and very non-Maritime. Nothing hokey about this wedding *at all*. The meal was 5 courses, we started with a mushroom pastry, then leek soup, then a pasta and roll of something, then mixed greens (aka Lawnmower Salad), then main course of very tasty chicken with peppers and one small roasted potato, then a crepe with vanilla ice cream and strawberries inside. Then later there was the wedding cake to eat. I had some even though I wasn’t hungry because it was the wedding cake and I wanted to try it. Very delicious. So yeah, a lot of food, most of it I didn’t really like because I am a plain eater, but it certainly fit the tone of the wedding.

Amongst all of the courses of food there were various speeches. My younger brother made a great speech as best man. He didn’t have anything written down, but just spoke from the heart about how much he looked up to his brother. The maid of honor made a nice speech, in between having to check on her sick husband and then later getting sick herself. The bride’s uncle, who had walked her down the aisle, made a speech about the couple, and my Dad also got up and spoke about how happy he was and how much of a great time he was having. Last speech was my brother, thanking everyone for coming.

Once the food was done, the bride took an opportunity to go to the bathroom. In the middle of this very classy wedding, all of a sudden the music changed and this reindeer mascot came in with people in red jackets that said “Security” on the back of them. The DJ played “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer” and the reindeer danced with a few people while “Security” handed out these little business cards and very quickly told us all something in French. I just sat there in consternation, not knowing what in hell was going on, why someone had crashed the wedding, and kept watching the door to see if the bride was going to come back and freak out!! We found out after the reindeer & entourage left that it was a Don’t Drink & Drive campaign called Operation Red Nose, a volunteer service where they will drive you home in your own car after a xmas party or holiday event. Made a lot more sense after I found that out, but at the time I was like, why in hell is there a reindeer crashing this wedding reception? I had never heard of it, but it’s a great idea. It’s in use in northern NB and Oromocto, but none around here.

The DJ asked the bride & groom if they wanted to open up the music a bit after the meal was over and so people could dance. There were the usual wedding stereotypes of the “couple who can dance” and the “clown”, who also posed for a picture with the reindeer.

After all of that, I was pretty wiped. I then had my Maritime moment, which consisted of me in my bridesmaid’s dress, driving home in an SUV. Did I mention I hate going to weddings by myself?

The next morning I got up and cleaned up a bit around the house. I vacuumed, washed the sheets on my bed, fed the cat, did a load of towels from the bathroom we had used, and put the kitchen table back in place. My hair didn’t survive the night, so I hopped in the shower and then headed over to the hotel for brunch. My younger brother had a 9am flight out, so he was already gone, and my Dad dropped by for a minute before his flight out. Brunch was again full of fancy food, most of it I didn’t recognize except the calamari which I had a little bit of. I did manage to get a few dessert pieces and a croissant at the table. My brother came by while we were standing in the buffet line and asked where the eggs & bacon were… an expensive fancy brunch really isn’t my family’s style. In the end, the bride’s mother treated us all to brunch, which was extremely nice of her and I was also hugely thankful that I didn’t end up paying for a brunch I hardly ate *embarrassed look

After brunch, we packed everything up in the car and truck and headed back home. I spent the afternoon packing and watching some football. I used Air Canada’s web check-in for the first time, that was nice. I arrived at the airport in plenty of time; we had left early because it was snowing and the roads weren’t great. The flight was delayed because we had to be deiced, so I didn’t end up getting into the airport until 11:30pm, then by the time I got home and unpacked and got into bed, it was 1am. Needless to say I’m a little tired this morning, but all in all very happy to be a part of the wedding and also glad it’s over!! Now I get to focus on xmas and John’s visit – he arrives a week from tomorrow. I need to get wrapping presents!!


canadianicewolf said...

one word - hectic!!

No wonder you're exhausted, but it sounds like it was a great wedding and a great time overall!!!

Thanks for sharing!

John said...

We'll work on the "going to [fill in the blank] alone" problem.

Cyn said...

Wow sounds like a fantastic wedding!

Operation Red Nose is out in full force here in Halifax too. Actually there's a couple of groups here that are also doing something similar to that. I think it's a fantastic idea!

mare said...

yeah, "nez rouge" has been around for years in quebec. when the people came here for the exchange, they were surprised that we didn't have such a progamme.

i'm not surprised it was gorgeous given the location for the reception! what a place!

Lisa said...

Sounds like a wonderful wedding! I can't wait to see the pictures. ^_^

For The Loft Report, I'm Pete Jones. said...

Hi Liz,
reading your post i saw, grandma got ran over by a reindeer, which reminds me of a joke i heard... wanna hear it? ;-)