But not the details leading up to to it.
I’m wiping away the cobwebs, because this happened almost 15 years ago. Some of the fine details have faded; but other precious moments I recall as if they happened just yesterday. Wait, what happened yesterday? Ugh, loss of memory and long windedness -the perils of aging.
Well, this was it.
After 5 years of dating, a year of “not really knowing” and another of checklists, negotiations, preparations.
Our wedding day.
Or should I say wedding weekend.
For this is what lay ahead: traditional wedding ceremony, pictures taken at Glendon College Campus, “Canadian” white wedding reception at the Sheraton hotel; to be followed the next day by a second, traditional Chinese wedding banquet.
Take a deep breath.
You know when you think you’re so certain of something, you just put your blinders on and trudge right ahead? Focus on the task at hand. I’m pretty good at that. After the wedding date was decided, it was all systems go for me. That was how it felt for Ian too; after he made that tremendous leap off the cliff and presented me with ring (a story for another day) he was pumped for it. We were working toward the biggest party of our lives. It never occurred to me one iota that this was HUGE, this thing called marriage.
However, the magnitude of “the rest of my life” struck me the night before the wedding. The hottest day of the year thus far. I remember being so anxious about the weather; I could just not imagine having to wear my gown and crinoline on another hot, humid day. Lying there in bed that night, my sister in the same room with me, and talking in the dark. Just as we used to when we were little girls. And realizing that this would be the last chat we would have with me as a single girl. It hit me but for a fleeting instant, this “what the hell am I doing? "feeling. The fact that it was there was my pinch of reality. The fact that the feeling was fleeting meant it was right.
The morning of the wedding I woke up to glorious sunshine. There had been rain overnight so miraculously it had cooled down. I remember the tremendous relief. And the butterflies in my stomach. Unfortunately, nerves continued to get the better of me that day; I was quite the stressful bride, as my sister and other bridesmaids have reminded me over the years.
When we drove up to the church, I was so nervous. It didn't help that the service before us had run overtime, and all our guests were spilled out onto the church lawn. When they saw our car drive up, many curious gawkers came up to the limo. So much for my grand entrance. By this point I was stressed to the gills; my father stepped out of the limo to check out what was happening.
By the time all was settled, I walked up with my Dad to the church entrance, just petrified. At the top of the aisle, my Dad, who has never been very demonstrative (typical Asian father, strong, silent type), squeezed my arm and whispered to me "You're doing just great... it will all be just fine.". I almost LOST it right then and there, but this was just what I needed to get me through the day.
I looked down the aisle and saw my groom waiting for me, with the biggest smile, a smile just for me. I walked toward him accompanied by the beautiful soothing voice of Enya resonating through the church. Ian took my hand, looked me in the eyes, and I felt the strength of the two of us ... the stress melted away.
The service itself was very simple. And typical of most days in our life together, tinged with humour. We both could tell that Father Bill had dipped a little into the holy wine. But he did manage to get our names straight, and got us through the ceremony.
Then we were off for the pictures, in the beautiful gardens, with our friends who made up our wedding party. We had some champagne with us, so there were laughs as we did our wedding "poses" in the bright sunshine.
By the time we got to the reception, we were already half an hour behind. So we bypassed the receiving line, and our DeeJay told us he'd just introduce us with our wedding party with the perfect entrance song. Guess what he chose? "Nadia's Theme" aka the theme song from "The Young and the Restless"! A soap opera ... OMG, we laughed as we walked into the hall, as this music was so NOT us!
The evening was such a great celebration, pretty tame with the exception of some leopard skin skivvies that were presented as part of the best man (Ian's cousin) speech about the groom. The laughter, the food, the dancing all went off pretty much without a hitch.
I was so busy, that I did not realize that I had not gone to the washroom ALL DAY until I had to change into my Chinese reception dress.
After that splendid evening, the dancing concluding with a Roxy Music classic we stayed overnight at the hotel, before we had the next celebration at a Chinese restaurant the next day. Another more raucous celebration without crazy Chinese wedding games (I nixed those) but with karoake singing instead of dancing.
The morning after the Chinese banquet, we moved into our first home, and that very same night drove up to Algonquin park for our honeymoon. We were running on pure adrenaline that weekend.
And the person responsible for these lovely sepia candid photos of our wonderful wedding day? My lovely little sister, my maid of honour...
You can tell how much she loves me even in this photo. Why else would she get dressed in that Joan Collins' outfit that I had her wear?
But yet another quirky, wonderful memory of a most special day.