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.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Week 1, and A Card Box

My first week home felt more like vacation time than wedding planning. Yeah, there was stuff to do, but for the most part I could just let my jetlag ebb as I got used to living at home again. Normally I find the transition into "life at home" fairly nondescript, but this time around everything was definitely different. It certainly wasn't bad, but after 9 months away and the house being really renovated things just weren't the same. I guess that's what they call growing up.

The highlight of that week vacation-wise was a family trip to Tonquin Park Beach in Tofino. My brother and I took our parents out for a family day as their anniversary present. I drove out there, which was quite an adventure as I had not been behind a wheel for almost a year and I had never driven to Tofino before. Fortunately I like highway driving and we made it in one piece.

It was a gray, overcast day but my brother insisted on exploring around the beach anyway. Eventually I lured him over to some large rocks I had found and, using his super science skills, he discovered numerous tide pools with thriving communities of sea aenenomes, starfish, and mussels. We had so much fun exploring the different tide pools and I learned how to feed sea aenenomes. I also learned that my dad's dog, Abby, is a complete chicken who is willing to trample on her masters if it means she can run away from a wave...

My conscience wouldn't let me spend every day at the beach with a wedding to plan, so I tried to devote the rest of my time to either taking care of cooking so mum could bake wedding cake OR working on wedding related crafts. My big task was to find a way of incorporating our baby photos into the reception, as we could not have a slide show since the reception was supposed to be outdoors.

The initial photo plan was that I would scrapbook a guestbook of young-us photos that would enable our guests to see different pictures as they signed it. Because I hadn't received David's photos by the time we left England I hadn't started this project, which was fortunate as we received a beautiful handmade guestbook with a handpainted prairie sunset tile on the front from some of David's family's friends in Calgary. It was such a thoughtful gift that there was no question about whether or not we would use it. I also liked being able to have a little piece of the prairies to remind us both of where David was born and where we lived for two years.

I was all set to scrap the idea of using baby photos but David's dad gave me a dvd with about 60 scans on it. Knowing that his parents had gone to the work of compiling this meant I couldn't just change my mind. So I thought. I thought hard. And I came up with...nothing! At least not at first...

While I was wondering what to do with these photos I was also plotting to make a cardbox beastie monster. As I sat down to resketch the face one evening I realised that I could do a photo collage on the box instead—something that fit with our wedding a little more and something totally unique and just tacky enough to be perfect. Then followed a couple afternoons of an xacto knife, photos, and hot glue. I was quite pleased with the end result, and we're saving the box. Meanwhile mum was frantically trying to get wedding cake baked, and the week melted away with a feeling of getting things done.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Home—Before we say Goodbye

Our whirlwind trip to Canada is now over and we are safely back in the UK. It will take more than a few posts to get caught up on all the wedding prep I did in the weeks before the big day, and to be honest my mind is still processing my wedding day, trying to sort through all the different events and emotions and condense it into an actual memory. I also have almost 800 photos to sort through, and those are just ones from family and friends! David's mum & sisters are all avid photographers so I landed a windfall of photos, which is really great since the day was a blur.

Someone recently asked me, expecting an affirmative answer, if everything for the wedding had gone according to plan. I think I can safely say that almost nothing went according to plan, but we did not let ten million last minute hiccups and changes ruin our lovely day. If anything, the last minute changes really illustrated the amount of support and love people were ready to show us. I was constantly surprised by the different people who stepped forward to help, some revealing talents I didn't know they had!

But that is a tale yet to come. In order not to forget anyone, or anything, the historian in me demands that I walk through the weeks preceding the wedding. The whole time was not one of work, but one of busyness and plenty of play. I know I repeat an earlier post a bit, but deal with it—I had no internet access when I wrote this to double check what I'd written before.

My first Monday back was incredibly busy as mum and I ran over to Victoria for my dress alteration appointment. I don't think I can express how nervous I was about this appointment—I had tried on my dress twice before, and both times it was 3 sizes smaller than the size I had to order, so I was worried that I would not like the actual correct dress. And then the other worry, that the size ordered would not fit! However it required only minor alterations and I was able to pick it up, finished, that afternoon.

First time trying on "The Dress"


Second time with "The Dress", and this time with my veil (before mum whitened it)

While the dress was being altered mum & I drove to David's house to pick him up for wedding errands. This also meant opening our first few gifts (exciting!!!), which were all of the pretty servingware variety. I also got to see the lovely handmade guestbook someone had given us, which we loved so much we used it for our reception. Then mum, David & I left the house and went to go get the marriage license.

The trip to get the license was rather hilarious, mostly because I managed to flash the parking lot at the mall while taking off my sweater before going into the insurance office. David takes it as a sign that I just could not wait to marry him...I take it as a sign that my shirt was too big. Regardless, some lucky people got to see my lovely pink bra, and my mum had a nice little laughing fit in the car. Getting the license was also weird, as they were a lot less anal than I thought they'd be. Having to face immigration & visa officers over this past year makes one really conscious of how correct paperwork needs to be, but after all our fuss they didn't even ID us.

Later that afternoon we got lost, twice, trying to find the store where David's tux was being rented (because we couldn't remember which mall it was at). And then there was an incident involving a lot of Arby's in a food court. And then more visiting at David's, and a drive to Duncan to meet his Great Aunt Joyce, before we said goodbye... thus began our two week separation, or longest two weeks of my life :)

Visiting with Aunt Joyce