I think we might be ready. I think I’ve covered everything that I should have before bringing you to our wedding day.
The rehearsal was the Thursday before. It went well. We walked through the ceremony and everyone knew what was going to happen. Even though there was a lot of commotion and people buzzing around everywhere, it went pretty well.
We decided to have a little get-together afterwards at our apartment. Mike and Dad did a great job putting an apartment in the basement of Mom and Dad’s house. We had a kitchen, living room, bedroom, full bath and LOTS of room. It was a big relief when Mom and Dad asked if we wanted to do this as I wasn’t working full time and it could have been tight financially. We talked a lot about respect and privacy and Dad did up a “lease” for us. We were charged rent, just like we would be anywhere. Hopefully, this will only be for a year or so until we get ourselves settled.
The following day was a busy one with last minute errands. A lot of our family started arriving from out of town and I was starting to get so excited! By the end of the day I was wiped! Mike and a bunch of family and friends were gone to the fire hall to decorate. This is where the supper and reception would be held. I arrived to see things going pretty smoothly only to have them kick me out! They told me to go home and relax. So I did! J
I got home to an empty house and ran the tub for the biggest bubble bath I could imagine. I poured a glass of wine and away I went. It was so quiet. I lied there for the longest time just relaxing and getting ready to start my life as a married woman tomorrow. I thought a lot about the last 20 years. I thought of Mom and Dad, I thought of my sister, my family, and my friends. All the good times and all the bad times were going through my mind like a slide show. I thought of my three grandparents who had passed away and wouldn’t be here to share in my special day. I was thankful that my grandfather and Mike’s 2 grandmothers’ would be there. That was special. I thought of Mike’s father and wondered what he must be thinking right now knowing that it was the night before his son was being married. He wasn’t invited to the ceremony. Was he regretful? Did he wish at this point in his life that he had made decisions differently? Who knows?
All of a sudden, I’m snapped back to reality by the sound of people out in our backyard going into our garage. It sounds like they’re breaking in!! That’s where Dad has all the alcohol stored for the wedding so my heart is literally pounding out of my chest at the moment. Do I yell out the window? Do I call the cops? Well, first of all I have to get out of the tub. The bathroom window faces the garage so I get dried off and peak out the window. I see Rubbermaid containers everywhere and hear one of my Dad’s cousin’s laughing and saying that this will be the perfect way to “get Dad back”. What are they up too?? My Dad and his cousin have this on-going battle of the wits. They live 4 hours away from each other and when they get together it’s just like having 2 kids around. They always try to out-do the other with their silliness. So now, here we are the night before the wedding and Dad’s cousin is hauling all of the Christmas decorations out of the garage and decorating the front yard of my parent’s house!! I shook my head and went back about my business. Men – lol! Mind you everyone had quite a chuckle when they got home and saw Santa and the reindeer sitting on the front lawn all lit up.
After I was finished with my bubble bath I did something that I had been thinking about for a long time. I took some paper, sat down with some sappy songs on the stereo and started to write Mom and Dad a letter. There were a lot of things I wanted to say to them and what better time than my last night in their house as a single woman? I wrote and I wrote and as I wrote, that slideshow continued playing in my mind. I talked about things that happened in my childhood. I talked about the terrible time I gave my mother as a teenager, I talked about how fortunate I was to have them as parents and I thanked them for everything. Everything they sacrificed for me, everything they taught me and everything they did for me. It was something that I’m very glad I did. I knew they were happy for me that I found the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with, but I also knew they had concerns. I was 20 years old and I was still attending university. I didn’t have a full-time job, we had nothing in savings and here we are getting married. I tried to explain to them that we knew every day wouldn’t be roses and that we weren’t scared of that. I had witnessed them go through many hard times, but one thing they taught me over the course of times was that nothing worth having came easily. If you have problems and hard times you didn’t just walk away from them – that was too easy. You had to work at things and talk and know that tough times don’t last forever and can be conquered if you want it bad enough.
I put the letter in their bedroom, on my Mom’s pillow where I would be sure they would see it. By this time it was getting late and I knew they would be home soon. I went downstairs and climbed into bed. I don’t think my head hit the pillow right and I was asleep. I didn’t hear anyone come in (including my best friend who was my maid of honour who crawled in bed next to me at who knows what time). What a snooze I had.
The following morning I woke at 6AM. It was my wedding day!! I crawled out of bed and put a pot of coffee on. Once that was finished I made a cup and took it out on the deck. It was so quiet, so peaceful. Not another soul was around. What a perfect way to start my day! I sat out there for about an hour and a half and then decided I better get a move on. It was going to get hectic pretty fast! In I went to meet Mom in the kitchen. She was starting to buzz around like a maniac as Mom could. The letter from the night before wasn’t mentioned and to this day neither Mom nor Dad ever said a word about it. I do know they still have it though, because many many years later I was looking for something in her bedroom and in her hutch I found it nicely tucked away. She doesn’t know I saw it, but I couldn’t help but smile. I’d love to read it again. Maybe someday.
My quiet peaceful morning disappeared in a hurry! Before I knew it, Karen (my maid of honour) and I were off to get our hair done, make a last minute stop at the mall and had to be back home in time to get our makeup done. Once that was done it would be just about time for my cousin to show up (she was a bridesmaid along with my sister). When she arrived her blood pressure was through the roof. There were so many people staying at my Aunt’s house that she jumped in the shower long enough to get wet and left. Her hair and makeup still had to be done. No problem. All I had to do was get dressed anyway, so I plugged in the curling iron and away I went. We were hiding down in the apartment tucked away nicely in my bedroom where no one could bother us. It was me, my cousin Linda and Karen. My sister was buzzing around doing her thing upstairs, popping down to check on us every now and again. We had lots of laughs and it was a very special time for me to be able to spend with them.
Finally it was time for me to get dressed (…getting excited now!!) When we walked upstairs the heat hit us like a ton of bricks! It was muggy and hot! I was going to melt! Everyone assured me I would but just fine, but I had my doubts. It was a hot, hot day.
Of course after getting dressed, the cameras started snapping. A good friend of ours took all the pictures. It was great! Mom and Dad weren’t as stressed as I thought they would be during all this, however, our videographer was getting on their nerves…lol
My uncle arrived with the car and said we best get a move on unless we wanted to be late. On our way to the church I was saying that I was hungry and he offered to go through the drive-thu at McDonald’s for me. I really should have taken him up on his offer!
When we got to the church I was in absolute shock. I have never seen that many cars at my church before – ever. There were people standing outside! There wasn’t even standing room left in the church, they said. WHAT??? I know we both have very big families, but good grief, I never ever dreamed in a million years there wouldn’t be enough room in our church.
I guess we’re ready. I can hear my friend playing the organ and another friend of mine started to sing. That was the bridal party’s cue to start. I looked at Dad, took his arm and he looked at me and said, “Are ya ready, kid?” That was it. I started walking into the church and I bawled like a baby. The whole time I was walking down the aisle with my Dad I was crying. I could see Mike down by the altar and I cried and cried. I have no idea why. Dad whispered to me to stop that I was going to get all blotchy just as we reached Mike. With a kiss on the cheek for me and a firm handshake for Mike, my Dad turned and took his seat next to Mom.
I saw nothing and no one when I was entering the church, so I was glad that we were facing everyone for the ceremony. I could finally be nosey and see who was there..lol. I was in shock. Over and above family there was a group of about 15 girls whom I went to high school with; there were people there from the radio station; there were people from the fire department. It was very overwhelming.
The ceremony was pretty typical. It lasted just about an hour. There ended up being a different priest who married us. My priest was officiating at his nephew’s wedding hat same day so an older priest who was a close friend of my dad’s family was gracious enough to officiate. It was nice. His sermon was very fitting and after the ceremony when he introduced us, he ended it by starting the round of applause himself.
Outside the church it seemed like the receiving line would never end. It was really amazing. Once we were able to see everyone we headed out for a quick drive through our community and then we had a few stops to make.
My grandfather ended up not feeling well that day, so we had to stop and see him. We had some pictures taken and he told me how happy he was for me and how proud he was of me. Our next stop was the hospital. The wedding car we were driving belonged to very good friends of our family. I had babysat their two children since they were newborn and now she was in the hospital after having her third child the day before. She was devastated that she was going to miss it, so we had to stop and see her too. We all had a good cry when Mike and I walked in the room. There were good friends of Mike’s grandmother’s, who were also unable to attend due to health reasons, which was another stop. Time was getting on and we knew everyone would be back at the house for pictures.
When we arrived at the house and I stepped out of the car there were about 40 people there cheering and clapping. In the 10 feet that it took me to walk from the car to the house, the unthinkable happened. Mother Nature decided to pay a visit! Impossible! I was on the pill and “thought” I had everything worked out so I wouldn’t see her until after the honeymoon. I whispered my problem to my maid of honour and it’s funny when you’re watching the wedding video, as you can hear her laughing uncontrollably. I’m glad she found it so amusing. I wonder what my husband would think? Understandably, he wasn’t quite as amused! Good grief! What else could we do besides laugh? If we got creamed by a semi going to New Brunswick for our honeymoon our marriage wouldn’t be consummated. How many times did he bring this to my attention??
After the pictures were taken and we spent some time talking with family and friends it was time to head to the supper. Was it ever nice to go to a wedding supper and be the first ones served instead of the last ones! It was a phenomenal meal and 250 people were served in less than 10 minutes. Big bonus points!! There were a few speeches and even Mike’s Mom decided to get up and say a few words, but it was my dad’s speech that will be most remembered from that night.
My Dad has always been a speaker, and a very good one. He never had notes prepared and talked impromptu very well. I couldn’t wait to see what he was going to say. He stood up at the microphone and pulled out a prepared speech. Everyone was floored. He started to read his speech by stating that up to this point, this was the most special speech he had ever given. My Mom would always give him words of wisdom, guidance or warning on what to say and what not to say. This time she gave him free reign. He wasn’t sure if after 22 years of married life she was thinking he could handle it alone or was she saying he BETTER handle it alone, or did she forget about it and now here he is up there giving the speech and she didn’t tell him what to say? He continued to say that he would have no problem standing up there talking about me and my many achievements but he didn’t think that was what he should do that night. What he wanted to do was give a father’s blessing. “God blessed me with Dianne and then He blessed me with two wonderful daughters. Over the years our group of family and friends grew and with love I’m sure Tracey and Mike’s group of family and friends will grow and someday they will be as proud as I am today to stand up in front of their family for an occasion such as this.” He continued stating that he read a quote many years ago and it had stayed with him ever since, and it read, “A son is a son ‘til he takes him a wife, but a daughter’s my daughter, the rest of her life. And so I would like to bless both Tracey and Michael with good luck and much love, always. Thank you.”
That speech will be etched in my mind for the rest of my life. It was beautiful and there was not a dry eye in the hall.
After the supper we had a little bit of time until the reception started and there was one place left where we wanted to go. We had to go back to the place where it all started. So into the radio station we pranced, wedding dress, tuxedo and all. When we got there the 2 announcers were on the air and darn near had a fit when they say us walking in. After the song was over, the announcer in one studio introduced us and talked with a bit on the air about our day. It was really neat.
We arrived at our reception shortly after 9:00pm, had all the traditional dances and then the party started. It was so much fun!! Even now, 16 years later, we’ll run into people who will say that they have been to many wedding receptions over the last 16 years, but none have even come close to ours. I don’t know what made it so special. We had a DJ who played fantastic music, no one sat down for a second and the place was packed from the get-go. When it was almost time for us to leave (and we stayed until the very end), the DJ called us up to the front of the hall (remember he works at the radio station with us as promotions director). We had planned on seeing Rod Stewart while in New Brunswick but for unknown reasons the show had been cancelled. Phil took 2 tickets for the Halifax show out of his pocket and was just wondering if we would be able to alter our travel plans a bit to attend? You bet we could!! I was on top of the world! Those tickets were impossible to get! What a great surprise that was!
After we said our good-byes to everyone we were off to the hotel. It had just started to rain. We arrived to a room filled with flowers, lingerie and wine. Some friends of mine found out where we were staying and decided to “set the mood” for us.
Here’s what happened……
I got a shower, went to bed and fell asleep before my head hit the pillow.
Mike sat on the edge of the bed watching the rain and drank a bottle of wine!!!
He was not amused!
Until next time…