Wednesday, November 10, 2010

moving house

Hey guys,

Thanks for following along our wedding/moving abroad journey. Now that I'm a respectable married woman I think it's time to lay this blog to rest. But if you want to keep up with our adventures you can find us at The Porters' Lodge. Posts will be up soon, including a fantastic honeymoon on the west coast of Canada (complete with BEARS) and a trip to Oliver Cromwell's house.

LeAnna & David

Monday, November 8, 2010

Wedding Day

I woke up at around 6am on my wedding day, first to a feeling of excitement followed by a slight feeling "ye gods" as I realised the sound I was hearing was rain falling through the evergreens outside my window. By the time I left the house at 7 it was still pouring, and I made the decision to move the reception into my parents church. Considering I had spent the past 20 months planning an outdoor picnic style reception, and had spent the last three weeks organising a bunch of details which centered around that theme, I should have been worried. But to be honest I just couldn't, and didn't, care. Rain was beyond my control, and after the decision was made I just concentrated on praying it would stop in time for my photos.

The morning was made up of rushing slowly through the elaborate process of dressing. I admit to having my only bridal freakout when I realised we were going to be late to the ceremony. I wish that I had been more relaxed, but I really do hate being late and knowing that everyone and everything is waiting for my arrival doesn't help! At least it kept me from thinking too seriously on what was about to come, and I trust my friends & family gave me some leeway as my nerves expressed themselves in this way. Then I was at the church, rushing up the stairs, having my veil put on and the music was starting, and I was just praying that the sound would work, and the first lines of The Wedding Song started and other than a vague appreciation for the music my senses started blurring into one predominant emotion--joy.

The whole day is a blur, with bits of events coming into focus. I loved our wedding ceremony—it was so perfectly us, from the blend of music (folk, latin, & hymns) to the long and somewhat controversial homily (which, for the record, we loved). What more can I say? Our ceremony felt very private and personal. To be honest I did not even really notice our guests until communion. I loved that Paul, Tara's husband, went up for a blessing which sparked most of our non-Catholic guests to go as well. I loved teasing the priest under my breath (he gives as good as he gets). Most of all, I loved whispering to David, and loved how I felt like we were alone.

Photos followed the ceremony, and I am so glad we organised this the way we did so that by the end of the photo sessions it was just us alone with our photographer. We didn't say much, but just basked in the glow of pure joy. It gave us both a chance to relax and just enjoy the moment. Meanwhile our hardworking wedding party was able to eat and rest.

I am a bit odd in that I never really wanted a wedding reception. It was more a notion that people coming from far away needed to eat that prompted me to have one. Because we had to move our reception indoors and I had no idea what to expect I was almost dreading going to the church...but our reception was probably the best surprise of our wedding day. Some very dedicated, wonderful people (Gail, Theo, Paul, Jonathan, my dad and probably others I don't even know about) had been working since 8 that morning to transform my parents' church 'hall' into our reception venue. David and I were both speachless at the beautiful job that was done, because with all our plans for an outdoor reception we really didn't leave anyone much to work with! And, considering that until I converted I had always thought I might get married in that church, it was nice to have my reception there. Arrowsmith still feels like a second home, and it was fitting.

So the bride reluctant to have a reception actually enjoyed hers. We did an open-mike for speeches and were both taken away by all the wonderful things people said about us. We had a beautiful woodsy cake decorated by one of my second-moms, and a lovely first dance (to the Princess Bride theme-song) in the same spot my mum always used to yell at me for dancing in. We got to visit with friends we hadn't seen in a long time, and we had so many people participate in our potluck-feast that there was more food than anyone could possibly eat. We both feel that the relaxed familial atmosphere we wanted was present, and in the end it was more like a giant reunion rather than a wedding reception. For me that was perfect. I felt like I was at home.


It's three month's later to the day as I write this up. It was a long road to the ceremony, but looking back that road was only so long because of all the little details we feel are important. In the light of the big day they really didn't matter. I think all the little pieces of planning help more to keep the festive mood alive up to the wedding, because on the day of I hardly noticed anything, and all the thought I had put into little details paled in comparison to the awesomeness of what David and I were doing. This isn't to say that planning isn't important, for those details set the underlaying mood, but I think the levels of stress us brides can push ourselves to are completely unnecessary.

Our wedding was certainly not expensive, nor did we try to create an atmosphere of expense on our limited budget. It was not formal, and it was not planned within an inch of its life. It was what it was—a collection of our family and friends coming together to celebrate and witness the most public declaration of our love & committment that we have ever made.

The End

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Rehearsal Day

On Friday morning I was hit with the reality that I was getting married the next day. I was feeling pretty excited, as well as overwhelmed with last minute details. Fortunately Madeleine was taking me for a manicure as a treat, so we went off and spent the morning getting pampered. The rest of the day passed in a blurr of last minute meetings and errand running, while Tara helped my mum with a bunch of cooking at home.

Before I knew it, it was time to get ready for the rehearsal and following rehearsal dinner. We were really lucky because our photographer decided to scope out the church while we had our rehearsal, which meant that we got rehearsal pictures included in our package free of charge. We were also able to snag her assistant to help us with stuff.

I saw David for the first time in three weeks right before the rehearsal. Then it was into the church and an hour or so of waiting for people to show up, or having people leave before we were done with them. I found myself getting more and more uptight throughout the rehearsal—what everyone says is true, and the bride is expected to have all the answers when, at least in my experience, all the bride would like is a stiff drink and someone to remind her why she hadn't chose to elope! By the end of the rehearsal, after I discovered my parents had snuck out (to get back to work) before it was time to practice walking me down the aisle...after my brain felt overloaded with the ten million ceremonial details of a wedding mass...and after trying to keep sweet-tempered with a bunch of people around, it was time for my very obliging ladies to put me in a van and take me home, where with a bit of rest and a tall glass of cider I recovered my perspective and excitement.

Later that evening we headed out to The Water's Edge, a bistro in the harbour where David's parents were throwing us a rehearsal dinner. It was lovely. We had a private room overlooking the water and mountains, and David's mum had decorated it beautifully with a beachy Jamaican theme.

The food was delicious (seafood appies and jambalaya) and it was so good to just sit, eat, and relax with my groom beside me. As these things do, everything took longer than planned so we ended up having friends and family show up for drinks before we were done, but everyone just shrugged it off and slipped in and it was great! I am so glad we decided to tell people to join us for drinks, as it happens that that was the most time I really had for conversing with most of the people there.

Following dinner, the groom's side and guests went off to a pub, whilst I and my ferociious duo set out to finish wedding prep, and solve a last minute problem of the groomsmen arriving in town with no place to stay. Fortunately Tara is a wonder and managed to find them a lawn to camp on.

At around midnight Tara and Madeleine sent me off to bed whilst they stayed up to make the bouquets (which were so beautiful). I was really touched that they were willing to work so late into the night on this. Nothing like knowing two good friends have got your back! They even contrived a way of wrapping the rosaries I'd gotten as bridesmaid's gifts around the flower stems. I didn't even see the bouquets until the ceremony, but it was clear to me that I had left everything in good hands.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Hen Party Day

I realise that I am remiss in updating and posting wedding photos. We got our professional pictures and they are all giant, ie between 5-7mb each, so I need to shrink them in order to email or upload. Needless to say that has fallen to the bottom of my priority list. Life in Cambridge is pretty busy, and I spend my days at work on a computer (the joys of working for ecommerce) so...excuses!

I do love my pictures, by the way.

Is it blasphemous to suggest that I now approach the wedding triduum in this segment? Or at least tri-dies.

The Thursday before my wedding dawned bright and clear as Madeleine and I took ourselves into town for confession. We did penance, ran errands, tried to solve the world's problems (actually, we drank starbucks and Madeleine forced me to eat), and then we arrived home to a flurry of cooking and rushing, as in the afternoon we were heading to Nanaimo for my hen party.

As we began our drive to Nanaimo we started a good ol' fashioned hymn-sing in the car. We were in the midst of a rousing chorus of "How Great Thou Art" when the tire on the car in front of us exploded. The seconds after felt like years. I remember feeling an incredible peace in my soul, and crossing myself, and preparing for whatever came next. Fortunately the driver kept his head and managed to pull over, so we parked and checked that he was ok and then were able to keep on driving. After that really startling experience my anxiety fled. Knowing that if things had only been a little different I could have been seriously hurt in a car crash put everything in perspective. Wedding details no longer seemed as important as actually being able to get married on Saturday!

Thus I arrived at my hen-party, held in a beautiful little tea room tucked away on Nanaimo's south side. There were surprise guests (Michaela, over from Vancouver!!!), fun games based on books that I love, delicious food (chicken cheese crepes to die for), huge quantities of tea, and beautiful sexy presents of lingerie. I had such an amazing time, being there with my closest friends and celebrating my upcoming wedding. Tara and Madeleine did such an amazing job and everything was perfectly me. No embarrassing games, no strippers, and nothing to make my stand out *too* much. It was awesome. It was also mucho fun to be opening packages of all kinds of lingerie, although somewhat odd opening it with my mother and mother-in-law in the room!

Following the hen party we made some last minute stops in Nanaimo to get flowers for the bouquets and other bits. Then returned to Port and Tara showed up with two bottles of cider so that we could commence Super Awesome Bridal Getting Stuff Done. We worked hard, we drank a bit, we had The Office playing in the background. At one point in the evening we laughed too hard when my brother had a rather severe hissy-fit because he found a red candy penis candy in my bedroom. We laughed even harder when he had another hissy-fit after discovering I had given the now-damaged candy to my father to eat. It was a good night.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Calm before the Storm

The week before our wedding was very structured, with certain activities for each day and a swiftly ticking countdown. BC Day was my last free day before the wedding, so we spent it out at Taylor Arm, my favorite part of Sproat Lake. It was a lovely day of swimming and hanging out with family and friends.

Then came Tuesday—a flurry of excitement because we were going to pick my best friend, Madeleine, up in Nanaimo. I had not seen her since we said goodbye at the airport in Toronto last August so I was quite excited. We spent a lovely afternoon at Rathtrevor Beach, and then in the evening Maddy, mum & I attempted Dress Try-On One.

Let's just say that mum's knowledge of corsets comes from tv (and watching the dress alterer), so she got me in like a proper Victorian mother would've done to her daughter—much too incredibly tight for modern purposes, however! My body is so disproportianate to my shoulders...I was kind of freaking out, but trying not to, since it took me awhile to realise that the dress was laced too tightly and it wasn't that I'd somehow had a strange body mutation from two weeks previous.

(cannot breathe!)

Following the dress attempt I took Maddy out to Little Bavaria, where we gorged on German food and had a really lovely chat. Then I gave her a tour of Port in the dark and we continued our chat. It was so wonderful to have my best friend around again. Makes me think I should visit Toronto soon.

Wednesday was primarily devoted to cooking. The morning started off well, with mum & I meeting the city caretaker and discussing last minute things for the outdoor venue. But after that we had to run errands, and as the time slowly disappeared we both started feeling anxiuos. So I had a meltdown and then we got home and into the good hands of Madeleine, and soon everything was running smoothly. We did our day's work in about 2.5 hours, and what I loved so much about this day was the singing. I caught Madeleine singing to herself as she chopped onions, and without further ado we had a good old fashioned hymn-sing started up in the kitchen. The Mennonite blood in my veins was throbbing, for when else do I feel like more of a Mennonite than when I'm singing as I cook? I also dubbed Maddy an honourary Mennonite. I'd have made her a real one but I suspect she does not harbour anabaptist sympathies.

We finished our work so quickly that mum, Maddy, & I actually managed to sneak away to Sproat Lake for an afternoon swim. I also accidently dragged Madeleine on a 2km walk, but at least we got to see the petroglyphs for our troubles. Then home to a delicious steak dinner, and out again for a meeting with Gail (aka my mum's super amazing awesome friend who practically ran my wedding).

When I went to bed on Wednesday night I was actually feeling calm and confident. By Thursday morning, I was back to being a basket case...

(my brother got all arty with the photos)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Thoughts on being Newly Married

I sat down many times before my wedding to try to write my reflections on my upcoming nuptials. How did I feel, how did I think I'd feel, what was marriage going to change?

We have only been married on paper for 2.5 weeks, but it feels like it has always been this way. And in many ways it has, for our commitment, desire, and knowledge that we would marry has been with us since we started dating. The voice of God told me that David would be my husband and there was never much doubt in my mind that we would make a match of it. That it took us over six years to wed is evidence of my reluctance to rush before other matters had settled rather than any anxiety over whether or not we should be together. It was always a matter of the time being right, instead of the person being right.

Everyone I have spoken to says that I absolutely glowed on my wedding day, and that they have never seen a couple so happy. And based on how I felt, feel, I can only believe them because it fits.

I knew I wasn't going to mince to the altar a blushing, trembling bride. We had been together too long for that, and I tend to find the hyper-romance that surrounds weddings to be a foolish and dangerous thing. I expected to feel confident, brave, and almost defiant as I walked to my beloved, but those feelings which usually cloak my shyness weren't present. Instead, as I met David at the front of the church I simply felt peace and contentment settle on me and that was the feeling we both took away from the day.

If anything, it was one of those rare times where one can know with absolute certainty that the thing done is perfectly in line with the universe. No questions, not even hopes, just a feeling of such absolute peace and rightness that there is no question it is Divine will.

No doubt there are an infinite number of small changes that marriage has brought to our day-to-day lives. Yet the only major change is the sense of peace and security I have now. For the first time in a very, very long time I feel settled. Home is no longer a physical place that I will have to leave before I can feel properly settled. Home is now simply David, wherever we are together.

The Second Week

The second week I was home I began to feel more pressure to get wedding stuff done, as it was really my last free week before a bunch of wonderful, but time consuming, events. What was unknown to everyone in the house but me and my dad was that there were two surprises planned for the weekend, one for mum & one for John, on top of my church bridal shower. As the organiser in the family I was definitely feeling a bit of strain to ensure that the surprises went off without a hitch whilst we worked on wedding stuff.

I am really grateful that I did not go crazy with the idea of planning out every little detail of the wedding. Perhaps that was the reason that we had to be so flexible with our plans, but it also meant that I could retain most of my sanity. There was no way I could be super detail oriented and put everything together in the three weeks I was home. This meant that my only real urgent task for the week (at least at the beginning) was to assemble our favours.

The main part of our wedding favours were dice we'd had custom engraved from This was an idea I had gotten from almost a year before the wedding and I am thrilled with how they turned out. David collects unusual dice, and uses them when he RPGs with his friends, so it was a great way of incorporating one of his hobbies into the wedding.

I knew I wanted to wrap them up with candy, so John and I browsed the bulk candy section at Extra Foods to find options and decided the jelly bellies would work best. In the end I think I used over 2kg of candy! Making the favour bags was simple—Sue gave me a bunch of leftover tulle, which I cut into squares, filled with candy and a die, and tied with bright ribbon. I created my own assembly station and did it in spare moments. My only bit of trouble was in curling ribbon—fortunately this is one of my brother's hidden talents so he was able to show me how. Then when everything was done I just arranged them in one of the wicker baskets we had and made a sign. You can see I was really going with the outdoor picnic idea here. Fortunately it looked just as bright and cheerful indoors!

As the week drew to a close I had to put wedding tasks aside. Saturday afternoon we were having a large surprise party for my mum's 60th birthday, and at night a bunch of my brother's friends were coming on a surprise visit to see his baptism the next day. I was busy trying to ensure mum and John didn't make plans that conflicted with their surprises—like my brother's instance that we spend another day at Tofino, which I had to convince them to change to Rathtrevor as I knew there was no way we could lose a whole day of travel. Saturday came, insanely busy but everything went off well—mum loved her party, my dad treated everyone to dinner so I didn't have to worry about cooking that night, and John was more surprised than he's ever been in his life when 8 of his friends appeared at his bedroom door at midnight.

Sunday was another full day. I went to my parents' church that morning in order to see my brother get baptised, and then in the afternoon I was back at the church for my church bridal shower.

It really meant a lot to me to be able to have a bridal shower at Arrowsmith Baptist. I had grown up in the church and when I converted to Catholicism the hardest thing was thinking that I was placing myself outside of that community. To be able to have a bridal shower at the church really was a childhood wedding dream come true, and it is thanks to the hard & loving work of my wonderful bridesmaid Tara, Gail, and Sue that it came about. I had a really lovely time and felt really blessed by the time spent with the women there.

On that wonderful note I entered into my last week as an unmarried woman.