The heavens opened that day over Halifax, thundershowers rolling in over the Atlantic. At our venue - a boat house on the ocean's shore - I watched the rain flow in sheets across the grey water and hardly cared if it didn't let up when our party started that evening. I was in a state of wedding zen (read about it here). Even when things went wrong, nothing felt wrong.
Of course, it helped that I was warm and dry (and already married!) inside, spreading metallic gold tablecloths and throwing pink streamers everywhere, while my amazing team of helpers braved the weather to transport our party supplies in the storm. (Thanks again, guys, especially to our brothers Jere and Tim and my dad.)
Fast forward four hours and our top-to-bottom-DIY wedding party was ready to rock. The decorations had been hung, the easels were up and the art was out, the balloons were bobbing around the cavernous room, the drinks were chilling, the music was on, and I hadn't even raised my voice once.
All of those worries about letting my inner Type-A out, bossing people around and working myself into a Level 10 anxiety attack had been for nothing. (I consider it a little victory against the bridezilla label.)
And then the skies parted in the dramatic way they only do on Canada's East Coast, and the sun shone bright and warm on our wedding party just before our guests began to arrive. Our sparkly, metallic decorations came to life, we threw open the windows and doors, and let the last of August's warm breezes blow our heart shaped balloons around the room. We queued up our iPhone playlist and the party got started.
Our party was held at a municipal (public) boat club, so while we celebrated on the building's upper level, at water level below us people popped by to fish and paddle. As I had at our ceremony, I took great satisfaction in seeing our wedding unfold as real life unfolded all around us.
As the last paddlers pulled into the boat house and the final lines of the day were cast, the sun began to set on the Atlantic. In a brilliant stroke of luck the sky blazed with pinks and oranges and golds that matched our wedding decorations. You know it's a great sunset when everyone stands outside with their iPhones, snapping away.
I have a very vivid memory of standing in the middle of the party when the last of the sunlight flooded the room and thinking I couldn't have planned it to look this beautiful if I tried. It was surreal.
Then, after the sun went down, the music went up.
It was so special to see, for the first and last time, our friends and families mingle. It's a heady mix of surreal and satisfaction when your worlds collide like that.
We ate, we drank, we laughed, we danced. We danced. I don't even like dancing, but I danced at my wedding (must have been the endorphins...or the champagne). I danced like (in the words of that awful song) no one was watching. There is - to my embarrassment - photographic proof.
We couldn't wipe those sickening we love love! smiles off our faces that night.
Let's blame it on seeing the business man, the small child, the parent, and the childhood friend play a life sized game of Jenga together. The sparklers our photographer brought for us and the group photos we took with them. The three tables full of cheese. The desserts two generations of mothers had made for us. Our parents and siblings, our oldest and youngest relatives, our best friends breaking it down on the dance floor, and that dance floor literally shaking beneath our feet as the party wore on. The silly photo booth pictures. The maple gin punch. The wonderful, surprise, and impromptu speeches our parents and friends gave for us. (Thank you.) The tears. The champagne.
Our wedding party fit us like a glove. It filled us up with all kinds of warm fuzzies. And above all, it was fun.
Until I have a Pensieve I will hold on tightly to the best gift we received that night: the memories (a word which seems inadequate to describe the impressions that I carry from that night). I will collect them in photographic and written form and share them here. I will replay them over and over with my husband in an effort to preserve them. Because life isn't always zen and sugar cookies and glitter and dancing, but that night was. Life isn't always perfect, but that night was.
Life isn't always fun, but that night was the funnest.
(There was even an inflatable, remote-controlled shark. So how could it not have been?)
Giant Jenga - Thanks Dad!
Decorations - Thanks for your help and patience Mom!
Food - Chicken burgers, lamb burgers, beef burgers & tabbouleh, garden and Caesar salads, Italian potato salad, coleslaw - Thanks to our moms and everyone who washed and chopped!
Dessert - Brownies and butter tarts - Thanks MIL! / Sugar cookies - Thanks Grandma! Spice cookies - Thanks Mom!
Set up - Thank you siblings, cousins, and parents! You guys made it all possible. We owe you big time.
Tear down - Thank you to each and every friend and family member who stayed - without being asked to - after the party and helped us tear down and clean up. It went much faster and smoothly than we expected (except for throwing Mike's iPhone into the trash...) and was a beautiful reminder of the helpful, loving spirit of the Maritimes. We also made some great memories, even while picking up garbage, because of all of you. You will forever have our gratitude.
Guests - Thank you to everyone who traveled - down the block or across the country - to celebrate our marriage. We were blown away that you took time out of your summer to support us at this strange and wonderful party. It meant so much to us. Thank you.
Photography - Thank you Evan, for being fun and calm and understanding and everything we wanted our photographer to be. And for these, my favourite photos ever.