Friday, November 18, 2011

...Then Comes Marriage...

Then Comes (a really, really long post about) Marriage!

Even though it was fun planning a more traditional wedding, I was pretty relieved once we decided to abandon the big wedding in favor of a shotgun wedding in Niagara Falls. Big crowds are NOT MY THING, and I REALLY did not want to stand up and get all emotional in front of eleventy jillion people. Our intimate wedding was SO PERFECT - our entire wedding party included my parents, my brothers and their wives, my nephew, my cousin (maid of honor), Justin's cousin (best man) and his wife, FIL and SMIL, and MIL and SFIL. Including us, that's just 16 people.

I googled "Niagara Falls Weddings" and quickly decided on a ceremony at what was then called the Konica Minolta Tower, on the Canadian side. Now it's just called The Tower and it looks like they redid the inside. They have also changed up the wedding packages - I am fairly certain that the packages used to be Gold, Silver, and Bronze, and the Silver (now "Classic") package was a good $1000 cheaper for all of the same services except the tour and maybe the welcome package, but I could be wrong.

Here is my quick take on all of the services:
  • Personal Wedding Consultant: Her name was Jane and she was nice. I let her (and my mom) do everything, since I was NOT REMOTELY interested in planning a single detail. I just wanted to show up and get married.
  • Chapel: The "chapel" was just the observation deck of the hotel. It had really ugly carpet and tacky fake decorations, but the view is nice (assuming you get a clear day, which we did not).
  • Officiant: We had a tiny lady who sounded like a Canadian muppet. We had asked Jane to get us a copy of the vows (we selected "non-religious") in advance, and she never did. Weird vows in a muppet voice led to some unintentional humor at various parts of the wedding. It was kind of fun not knowing what we were going to be saying, and the wedding video always makes me laugh.
  • Music: I let Jane play all of the traditional wedding stuff. I alway imagined picking some quirky indie music for my wedding day, but when it came down to it, I just wanted to enjoy the ride without planning anything. I don't regret this at all - my only music-related regret is that I didn't get to dance with my dad since we didn't have a reception, just dinner.
  • Flowers: I didn't want a silk bouquet, and got a little specific on this one. I told them I wanted a monochromatic pink arrangement, listed some flowers that I wanted included, and maybe even sent a sample picture or two. They didn't really get the "monochromatic" part right, but my flowers were GORGEOUS. This was by far the best thing they did.
  • Photography: I was horribly disappointed by the "professional" wedding pics, which is probably why it has been over 2 years and I still haven't selected the shots for my little album. All of the pictures you see here were taken by my little brother, and my older brother did our wedding video. They are the best.
  • Accommodations: The rooms were TINY - pretty much a bed, a bathroom, and a closet. The windows were huge so you could see the falls, and seemed like they would break if you leaned up against them.
  • Dinner: The dinner afterwards seemed really nice. All of the staff were pleasant and basically let us do whatever we wanted.
All in all, it was much less cheesy than expected, and whenever there was cheese, it was welcome. We figured it came with the deal, kinda like getting married by Elvis in Vegas.

The only thing I really had to do was get a dress - no small feat when you are 24 weeks preggo on the big day. I actually just bought the dress I wanted before I found out I was pregnant (Nordstroms, $200ish), and had a tailor add some panels on the sides (which explains any funky beading you see in some of the profile shots). I LOVE my dress and wish it hadn't been altered, but Adriana didn't want to be squished in the name of fashion.

We drove up on a Thursday night, because you have to be in the country for 24 hours before getting married in order to get your license. We went to the city hall the next morning, and didn't have any trouble. The whole shebang took maybe an hour?
By that time, our families were rolling in. A bunch of us took the trip down to the falls to take pictures and check out the view. Crazy mist + maternity top = unattractive cling.

Since there was no need for a rehearsal dinner, we all had a relaxing dinner at Outback. The two things I remember most about this are the ridiculous prices (for a minute you think that it's not that expensive and just SEEMS expensive due to conversion from US to Canadian, then you do the math and realize that they are INSANE) and my cousin falling asleep at the table after three sips of her alcoholic beverage.

We were married on Saturday, June 20, 2009. I met up with Jane that morning to go over things - maybe like 2 hours before the wedding? The observation deck was split into two parts, the area where we would have the ceremony, and a little area for the bride to get ready. Jane had arranged for someone to come do my hair, which was an add-on option to the wedding package. In the spirit of winging it, I let her do whatever she wanted, as long as it was half up, half down (a compromise between me and FutureHubs).
Once my hair was done, there was a lot of sitting around and taking tons of pictures. I got a little snippy snappy at the photographer because he must have taken 150 shots of me and various people standing in front of this stupid plastic plant (Jane was quick to interject that it was SILK, not plastic). Part of the reason all of our professional shots were so bad was that everything was overexposed since it was rainy and all you could see out the windows was a huge mist cloud. The other problem was that this dude had NO IMAGINATION, and didn't change up any poses or adjust the zoom even once the whole time. (Bitter much?)

My brother got a lot of really nice moments though. I love how cute and happy Justin and his dad look here:

Wedding time! My dad and I are both giant saps, so OF COURSE we both burst into tears right before walking down the aisle. I turned to him and said "I love you, dad", and he said something like "dammit, I knew I'd be okay as long as you didn't talk to me", and then it was all mush from there. Oddly, after watching the wedding video, it didn't look like we were as crazy emotional as we felt, but trust me, we were barely holding it together.

I remained choked up for the first part of my vows. At one point, Justin squeezed my hands (we were holding hand the whole time), looked me in the eyes, and said "You can do it, babe", which really helped. I'll never forget the way he looked at me throughout the entire ceremony. We were both so happy. In fact, I would venture to say that this was the happiest day of my life, including when the girls were born. Births are stressful and just plain crazy, so there are tons of other emotions going on. Our wedding day was so simple and easy and fun and non-stressy, that it was just pure happiness.

Remember how I said our officiant sounded like a muppet? One of our cheesy vows was about being "LOVAHS" and I totally laughed out loud, like a 4th grader.

Canadians also have this weird thing where they make a really big deal about signing the license. I felt like we spent FOREVER at that little table with the big fancy quill. At one point the photographer joked that it was our maid of honor and best man's turn to kiss, which cracked us all up and won him back some points with me. I'm sure he always makes that same joke but whatever, it was funny.
We took another million pictures after signing the license, and then were released to the lobby since another couple needed to get hitched. The woman was actually getting her hair done in our little dressing area before the ceremony, which I thought was weird.

They weren't ready for us in the dining room, so we went to the lobby, opened some gifts, drank some champagne (just a sip for me!) and ate some cookies. My parents come prepared!
We had our little "reception" in the hotel restaurant. They had set up a little head table for the wedding party, which was a nice touch. I honestly don't remember what we ate...chicken? This is why I always take pictures of food when I'm in charge of the camera.

My dad tried to give a speech and choked up too much to get the words out. He is so cute. He was trying to say something to the effect of "When you were little and were misbehaving, we always used to threaten that we hoped some day you'd have a daughter JUST LIKE YOU. Now that you are going to have a daughter, we really do hope that she is just like you." I'm sure if he could have gotten it out it would have been much more eloquent (communications background!) but you get the gist. It was really sweet.

I love this picture, but it took me SO LONG to figure out that my cousin's shadow is what makes me look dirty.
Cake cutting time! This seems like a good time to talk about how amazing my mom is. She made sure she got the most beautiful cake from a local bakery, and hauled it all the way to Canada without so much as a smudge. This is just one of MANY, MANY examples of how she always makes sure that everything is perfect. She and my dad also hosted an amazing reception in their back yard after we got back, and I know that her planning is what made it such a success. I wish I had pictures to share, but I spent the whole time talking to the guests, and never got to take any. They had freaking valet service and a bartender! It was crazy. They both really went out of their way to make everything special, and I hope I can do the same for my daughters some day (OMG two weddings - PLEASE HELP ME, MOM). Anyway, best mom ever.
After dessert we changed and went gambling. The perfect end to the perfect day.

That's all, folks!

UPDATE:I forgot to ask you to link to your wedding story in the comment section, if you've posted about it. Swistle already commented, so I will link for her - it's one of my favorite bloggy wedding stories ever. If you've never posted, please, tell me the highlights! I love this stuff!


Swistle said...

Loved reading this!

d e v a n said...

Great story! I love your dress!

Courtney said...

So cute! You guys look so unbelievably happy and in love. And props to you for letting go of control - I never could have done that, but probably would have enjoyed it much more if I did. :)

Heather said...

Love it! It seems like your wedding was all about the two of you and the love you share, not the big hoopla weddings can sometimes be. That's what it's all about in my opinion.

Here's a link to my wedding post... crazy reading it again, like you, I had forgotten a lot of these details.

ps...our lives are almost a mirror image of each other (except for the being 24 weeks preggo at my wedding part). We were married in July 2009, just a few months after you guys.

lifeofadoctorswife said...

Oh how I loved reading this... You are so beautiful and I love how you just relaxed and enjoyed rather than stressing over every detail. My favorite part is when your dad said "dammit! I knew I'd be okay as long as you didn't talk to me!" That is so sweet.

I haven't written about our whole wedding day, but your post inspires me so perhaps I will do so in honor of our upcoming THIRD anniversary.

But I did write about two parts of our wedding:

The Dress:

The Poems:

Shalini said...

Aw, you two are like Pam and Jim! I loved this story, and I loved your dress. You are the only other bride I know of that was like me: just let me show up and get married! (Except I didn't even pick out my clothes, eep.)

Emily said...

Sounds like a great wedding! And I LOVE your dress.

I don't think I've ever posted about our wedding. I should add that to my list of stuff I say I'm going to post about, but never do.

Lacey said...

I love it! You look so relaxed the entire day! Me on the other hand, I was so anxious to be the center of attention the entire day that I actually walked up to the DJ and ended the party one hour early. I'd had enough!

I've got 2 with some words, one with a slideshow:

Wiz said...

Love your story! I have been excited about reading it! Here is a link. Not much of a story but there are a few pictures!

Mama Tully said...

Love your love story! I would have giggled if I had to call my husband my Lovah too, LOL! Your cake cutting photos are my fav...cute AND funny!

Elizabeth said...

This was totally awesome, I loved reading about all the details!
This is mine...

Elizabeth said...

And I LOVE your dress.

StephLove said...

We had 30 people at our commitment ceremony. It was in the living room of our apartment-- we were lucky to fit that many in the room. I can't link to individual posts on my blog but the story is at 1/11/08.