Having just celebrated 20 years of wedded bliss, I’ve been thinking about weddings, especially now that we are in what is traditionally the most popular month in which to get hitched.
My own wedding was one I consider perfect, from the food to the music, to all of my loved ones gathered in one place.
Now, with two decades of marriage under my belt, I still believe in the institution but wonder about the wisdom of shelling out thousands of dollars (or hundreds or millions, depending on where you fall on the economic scale) for a one-day event.
When it came to my big day, I wanted it all. It was a bit tricky because at the time, I was living in Revelstoke and my family was back in Vancouver, where the wedding was to take place. My mom and I spent hours on the phone, and the fax machine was put into heavy rotation, spitting out potential menus and invitations.
The only mother-daughter bridal experience we enjoyed in person was a weekend home so we could get a few things we needed. We headed to The Bay downtown where I picked out shoes and lipstick. And then it was time for the time-honoured tradition of the gift registry. In those days, it wasn’t computerized. You were given a print-out that contained everything in the housewares department and then you marked down the item number. I already knew the china pattern I wanted, as I’d picked it out years earlier. But after about 10 minutes of perusing the aisles and marking down numbers, Mom and I looked at each other and agreed that this was a boring way to spend the afternoon, tossed the sheet aside and got ourselves to a bistro where we enjoyed a few glasses of wine.
In the end, people gave us lovely and personal gifts, things we still use today. Family friends who weren’t sure called my mom and asked about china. I’m happy to say that we now have three complete place settings; it doesn’t work for a dinner party, but for our family of three it’s perfect. And I still love my Petite Fleur pattern.
On the day of the event, I turned into a bit of a bridezilla. I was determined to get my wedding mani-pedi but in those days there weren’t nail salons on every corner so I had made an appointment at a salon on the other side of town, which entailed two bridges and a lot of traffic. When my mother questioned the wisdom of an appointment so far away, I apparently replied, “Don’t I deserve a day of beauty.” I actually have no recollection of uttering those ridiculous words, but my sister is always happy to remind me.
The ceremony was scheduled for 7 p.m., so I had plenty of time. In the end, it was a beautiful event with 50 close friends and family members. I didn’t get married to the Phil Collins song I had picked out when I was in my 20s (cringe) but went for Canon in D by Pachelbel. Yes, it’s a piece that has been played ad nauseum at weddings, but a piece of music I still love. And during the reception, my brother performed a beautiful piece of music he had written especially for us.
We were married by my dad’s best friend, a justice of the Supreme Court who enthusiastically agreed to perform his first wedding. Besides wondering why two writers weren’t writing their own vows, Ross also questioned the poem we had selected to be read, feeling it was a little hackneyed. I’m glad we kept it because all these years later, when I watch our wedding video on a dusty old VCR, I cringe with embarrassment at hearing the words from Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet.
Because that’s half the fun of a wedding: to look back years later and wonder, “What were we thinking?”
My groom, bless him, went along with everything I wanted. That included not throwing my bouquet and not throwing a garter. I had been to too many weddings where women had ripped the bouquet to shreds in their haste to catch it. Of course, the summer before I was engaged, I had caught a friend’s bouquet so maybe there’s something to it.
And as for June being an auspicious month for a wedding? I wouldn’t know: we were married in May.