The Frabjous-est Day Ever.


Almost three weeks ago, Steve and I got married. This is the recap. The trip report, if you will, for a long and wonderful journey that culminated in a destination… that is the beginning of another long and wonderful journey — much longer, this one.

As you probably already know (and may even have caught from me — sorry, Sandy!), I was sick. Really quite sick. I had a tickle in my throat Monday morning and made myself a doctor’s appointment. On Wednesday the doctor declared a full-on bronchitis and gave me precautionary antibiotics. I spent all day Wednesday on the couch, instead of doing any of the other million things I had planned.

My main stress was the ugly boat that had been sitting in the front yard for the previous week. At least by the time of the wedding it had moved to the driveway.

Poor Tracy, Alex and my aunt Joan did a whole lot of hanging around, waiting for me to think of things for them to do. It was so great they came down early; there were many things I was just able to drop into their laps.

“Here is a box of candy. Here are fish. Here are bags. Please make favours.”

I won’t go much into the details of Thursday or Friday… suffice it to say that there was much running around, a bunch of coughing and a little bit of rain. The good things that happened were that Rod and the jeep made it safely; Petals Flower Farm came up with amazing local peonies for cheap cheap cheap; my cousin Debbie made it down despite Greyhound going on strike just as she entered Kelowna; Debbie, Joan and Tania cleaned our house beyond all recognition; the pedicure lady only messed up one toe three times and Gayle and Helen came through AMAZIINGLY to set up for the open house at our place on Friday night.

The open house was something that I thought would be great BEFORE I got sick: a casual time for all the families to meet (remember that Steve’s dad, John, and my dad, Rod, hadn’t actually met before this night) and hang out before The Big Day. Also, so many people came so far, it seemed a shame to not have lots more visiting. That said, I was as sick as a very unwell dog and basically told Gayle I had absolutely no idea whatsoever what to do to get ready. At all. None.

Helen (our wonderful officient) and Gayle made food out of thin air, placed it on platters that I didn’t know I had and made wonderful hostesses. It was amazing. Like magic! only better.

After the week of rainful uncertainty, we decided Friday night to go with Plan B — having the ceremony in the hall. Tania, our intrepid roommate, used to be a stage tech and had all sorts of useful suggestions for lighting. We used the sandwich boards my dad made to give instructions to anyone who went to the pier:

I painted those pink on Friday afternoon with Debbie’s help. Steve had mocked my pink paint a little, but he eventually saw the purpose (we used those to give directions Friday night, too).

Saturday… what happened Saturday? Oh right, we set up the hall. And let the caterer in. And ran around like idiots. We stacked little cedar trees and rosemarys in paper bags — a tree bagging factory, we were.

Steve, Alex and the Dads (Rod & John) set up the lighting: many, many fairy lights and two spotlights to shine down on the risers on which we’d actually get married. The lights would then shine on the tables that would replace the risers, at which we’d sit.

We used the brown organza table squares that Julia’s mum had given us the weekend before, when they were cleaning up from Jody & Julia’s wedding. They were lovely (again) — the advantage to us having our colours so similar!

I wrote up a seating plan between mouthfuls of chopstick’d broccoli at the szechuan place. (That was one of my Wednesday tasks that got abandoned in favour of couch-lying.)

One of the things I had wanted to do was the flowers… once at the hall, I found myself faced with a table full (beautiful flowers; a mix of bought and given by Phil & Susan) without a single clue as to what to do or how to do it. Given time, energy, and a head not full of neocitran I think I would have been ok, but as it was I just felt completely helpless. My mum Tracy, in her most helpful act of a helpful week, told me “um… I did spend a summer working in a flower shop when I was 18… I could help, if you like.” I handed the whole table over to her and stumbled off to do other things. Which was amazing, as her and Debbie made BRILLIANT bouquets and table flowers. They were stunning — peonies (from the flower farm) and roses (from Costco) and chive flowers and disbuds and daisies and lily-of-the-valley and all sorts of other pretty things.

Just before I left to go home and get ready, I surveyed the hall and found it exactly to my liking: the nice glassware and silver shone in the light, the flowers (in canning jars) added to the sparkle, the fairy lights twinkled on the sparkly things, the napkins (carefully stamped) added detail enough for my most type-A-est desires… it was perfect.

While people were waiting for us to arrive, the kids played on the risers that stood in the middle of the hall. These are the triplet nephews and baby Owen, a second cousin of Steve’s. So cute!

I left the hall and Joan to do some final clean-up and to provide us with the flowers as we arrived.

Here she is pinning Steve’s flower thing on.

Mike, the best man. Sideways, until I can figure out how to rotate him.

Steve, the Best Man.

See? pink balloons.

Andie, who came in late Friday night and didn’t let up working for a minute (an expert tree-bagger), helped me get ready just after we shoo’d Steve and his dad out of the house. (“Good God, I look like Princess &#@* Diana!”)

Rod & Tracy & Alex and I all drove to the hall in their Hummette (the new Jeep) just in time to see Steve and his family walk into the hall.

Alex led Angel in.

We walked in to “Baltiorum” played by Di on her wonderful harp.

The bridal party, waiting for the bride:

Note the pink stool for the photographer (Andie) to stand on. Yes, it too was painted Friday afternoon. It’s the little things that make me happy!

Here are Rod, Tracy & I, peeking to see if it’s time yet.

Walking down the aisle. I was so excited, I could barely contain myself.

I was in such a hurry to see Steve I got my dad to lift my veil (“veil me, Rod!”) and didn’t even turn to my mum. She might have had words of wisdom for me, but I was too excited to hear them in that moment.

See Angel staring down Mike. Or was it Mike staring down Angel? He said he was fixing on the dog to stop from crying… awww!

Yes, Steve cried for most of the ceremony. Some kind person gave me a tissue with a wedding cake on it, and I used it every so often to dab at Steve. I cried a little too, right at the beginning, but then I was too busy worrying about Steve. Everything went off without a hitch, though. The readings were beautiful, the ceremony was the right mix of light-heartedness and reverence, and our “rainforest and boreal” line got a great laugh.

Clay did a brilliant job of one of our readings “Falling in Love is Like Owning a Dog” by Taylor Mali. He got lots of laughs (even from Steve).

We also had Susann read “The Union” by Robert Fulham, Jody read “Pavanne for the Nursery”, Jeff read “The Onion” and Helen read several poems from Rumi. It was a poem-heavy ceremony, which is kind of appropriate. Anyway, it was nice to have so much friend/family involvement. Even Angel participated!

Angel was so good, it was as if we drugged her. We really didn’t! She just truly is the Best Dog. I put our rings on silk ribbons (Steve’s on brown, mine on pink) and tied them around her neck. Tania even gave Mike the heads-up on how to get them off (spoilsport!).

Then, we were married!

We held hands during the signing. Jody apparently thought it was Way Too Cute. I stole this picture off his Facebook, since he hasn’t yet sent me the photos!

Then it was done! We were Mr. & Mrs. Quattrocchi, and headed for the door for air and photos. I can’t remember a moment in which I’ve been happier and more satisfied than at this moment. So happy!

We did a few big family photos and then broke up into smaller groups. It felt very strange having so many people take photos of us: almost as strange as posting them here.

The whole family were really in the wedding party, as far as I’m concerned: our parents walked each of us in and all our siblings (and the dog) were all part of it.

Here are our parents, Helen and us:

And my immediate family (less Steve, who is now my most immediate, chosen family)…

We took a few photos against the backdrop of the wooden walls of the hall. They lent a rustic-ness that seemed very appropriate to the day.

We took some family portraits with Angel.

She was tired of being the Best Dog by now, and had moments of unco-operativeness much more in keeping with an over-stimulated terrier.

I’m glad someone took the opportunity to snap the snappers.

After a while we decided to venture into the bushes to have the beautiful green backdrop. It is Robert’s Creek, though, so we had to be careful of grass traps provided by the local dogs. How romantic!

These are some of my favourite photos.

Angel got excited again. Or maybe she was just admiring the bouquet.

Here we are, doing what newlyweds do best. Angel is getting a little tired of it. “Can we go NOW?”

We took the obligatory ring-shot. What doesn’t show is badge from Grandpa’s (my dad’s dad, who passed away just after Steve and I met) beret that was tied to the bouquet with blue ribbon — my something old and and my something blue.

Here you can see the medallion hanging from my shirt: this was my something borrowed. My mum’s mum passed away just before my sister was born, so my sister got my Nana’s Capricorn medallion as they were both Capricorns. I borrowed it from Alex to have on my person, just like my cousin Anita wore it on her wedding day, which was the last wedding in my family.

I still love my shoes: I found pink silk China flats in a little hole in the wall on Commercial Drive two weeks before we got married. They were so comfy, I wore them all night.

While we were outside, the amazing caterers took it upon themselves to pack up the risers and move the ‘head’ tables down from the stage and set them up. Ricolan Chef Services — look them up! (The food rocked too).

We had three round tables — one for the wedding party and one each for our parents and relatives — set up in the middle of all the other tables. We were nice and central for people to come and talk to us. Mostly I was trying to keep my veil out of the food. Actually, I found it difficult to get my dinner eaten: we had hinted that we would only kiss for poems (thinking we’d get lots of eating time as poems aren’t so easy) but there was a shocking number of people with poetry either made up, memorized, or willing to substitute song lyrics.

Susann, Verna and a bunch of other people sang a Very Funny Song about ‘Wedding Boot Camp’. I thought Steve was going to choke on his dinner.

The food really was amazing. We went outside the traditional wedding fare: lamb curry, halibut, seafood on a mirror, pasta, bococcini and ceasar salads… it was plentiful and incredibly tasty. Here I am not eating:

The tables were lovely. Everything was so sparkly and the peonies smelled better and better as the place got warmer.

Alex looks great in this picture. She was so pretty, and didn’t even complain about wearing the sparkly headband.

Mike gave a great Best Man’s toast. It was Very Very Funny. Steve was crying in hilarity.

Tracy also gave a beautiful toast, as did John.

Steve went up to give our thanks (most of which he remembered) and said a poem that he made for me. It was wildly sweet.

Alex went up and gave an impromptu toast that was just wonderful. She also wrote most of it down in a card for us.

The fortune-telling fish were fun. I’m not even going to tell you what it said I was that night… sick.

The kids table was a big hit, but not quite as big as the candy in the goodie bags 🙂

Really, though, they were just waiting for cake.

The cake was divine — April Quereshi from the Sweet Chef made the most delicious wedding cake ever. There was a lemon cake and a chocolate cake, and the most cunning chocolate-dipped strawberries made up to look like little brides and grooms. The cakes & strawberries were our wedding present from Mike, Laura and The Boys. Thanks guys! (and our guests thank you too!)

This is our favourite photo from the whole evening. It was taken by Tania’s daughter Cas, who is taking photography lessons from Steve. We also got great photos from Andie, who was our official paparazzi (Cas was looking for the journalistic angles) and general Girl Friday.

Steve looks so perfectly mischevious in this photo and I’m so completely unaware. I hope this doesn’t bode badly for the future!

The cake-cutting was a team effort. It’s harder than it looks!

The cake-feeding also went well (deliciously well, in fact). I did have a little moment of thinking “why on earth does the inherently messy person wearing a white dress much against her better judgement have BLACK ICING all over her hands?”

Angel got some well deserved pets and then mopped the entire floor for crumbs.

She had some bling of her own — I got her a dress-up collar for Christmas. It’s pink!

We did our first dance to “Ricky’s Waltz” by Diana on harp and Barbara Lee on mandolin. It was magical.

My eBay veil was great, but it sure got hot.

I was just about to rip it off when Andie sensibly removed it for me. Whew! I was pretty rosy and I wasn’t even drinking! (due to the antibiotics.)

After dessert, the band played. Steve’s friends are so darn talented, we couldn’t have hired at better band if we’d tried — not that we’d have wanted to. Susann & Ray loaned us the PA and Ray came early to set it up — thanks!

Steve played with the band, but also came out and danced with me. I danced a bunch and rested a bunch and talked a bunch and Finally Ate My Strawberry.

The boys’ sugar high eventually wore off.

Even thought we’re neither of us Quakers, I grew up near a Quaker community. I adopted the Quaker tradition of having a wedding certificate which is signed by all witnesses to the ceremony — in this case, all our guests.

Here is Andrew, the lone representative of the UK family, signing the certificate. Andie made it as our wedding present to us. Beautiful!

It has two crows on it: crows mate for life and are “two for joy.” It also has cherry blossoms: a coastal springtime icon… and pink!

Realizing partway through that most people didn’t understand, and didn’t sign the certificate, I braved the microphone and made an appeal to the crowd. One clever person signed the certificate “Elvis Presley”. The King made our wedding!

I visited with people and had lots of pictures taken but it was still somewhat of a blur… I know there were people I never said anything more than “hello” to. Here are Lisa and Fi and I:

Here is Andie giving me a great big hug. I was a little warm… maybe I’d just been dancing? (more pink!)

The word ‘magical’ keeps appearing in this blog and in conversation. Really, though, that’s the best word to describe it. Perhaps all brides and grooms feel that way after their ‘Big Day’, but I think Steve and I are remarkably unbiased in our opinion. There was the right mix of sparkling and rustic — or sparkling AND rustic, like the canning jars that held the flowers. There was attention to detail but still enough casual-ness that people could come in jeans and that was ok. There was amazing food and great wine and people laughing and talking and dancing. Most importantly to me, we didn’t try to dress up a sow’s ear as a silk purse. Well, we didn’t try to make the Roberts Creek Hall into the grand ballroom of the Ritz Carleton: we just tried to make it the prettiest, funnest, most gracious community hall it could be… and we weren’t disappointed. It was wonderful, and so magical, and we were overwhelmed and humbled by the love we were surrounded by.

Eventually, however, I was coughing more than I was talking, and Steve’s voice was long gone. Some perceptive people started to clean up, and it snowballed so that the whole hall was put away within 20 minutes. Thanks, guys! Rain took on drill sargeant duties and got everyone moving.

Andie drove us to the hotel in the tiny blue car with pink balloons tied on (the car) and we were put to bed. Unfortunately, I forgot clothes for the next day, and Steve forgot pyjamas. We both forgot neocitran or cough syrup. We coughed and coughed all night.

I’m afraid we kept the entire floor of the hotel awake that night, and not in the traditional newlywed way. Sorry!

The next day was a wonderful brunch at Wayne & Maureens stunning new house in Granthams Landing… which will be the topic of the next post!

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