Today Was a Fairytale – Our Wedding Day

Hi Everyone!

Well, I can’t believe that I am sitting here writing this right now, but our big day has come and gone (almost 5 weeks ago now!); we’re married!! Yippee!!

Dancing Pic

Wedding Pic

I’ve missed keeping up to date with this blog terribly over the course of this year, but with everything going on, I think it’s a miracle that I even made it down the aisle in one piece with everything that I WAS keeping on top of, let alone to add one more thing! I have so many goals and visions for this space, I am hoping that you won’t give up on me for good!

It’s been a full week since our wedding now, and while the memories are still somewhat fresh in my mind, I thought that I would get started on documenting as many of the little moments as I possibly could so that we have something to look back on fondly.

Sunday October 18th

The Sidders Family (Roy, Dianne and Scott) arrived from Red Lake on Saturday October 17th in the early evening, a full week before the wedding! It was so great to have them arrive because it kind of meant that the party was starting a week early! On the Sunday, I was feeling pretty good about most things wedding related. I had my final dress fitting at Kleinfelds downtown and was so happy to have Dianne come with me and my mom to see the dress! I was a bit of a nervous wreck because at the second fitting, the dress had been taken in a little bit too much at the waist and was kind of squeezing the life out of me. This time, the fit was perfect, and I was much happier leaving then I was the last time! I was still on the hunt for the perfect pair of pearl/crystal earrings to wear with the dress, and ended up buying a pair at The Bay, only to find that I didn’t quite like them when I had the dress on. The return policy was “too bad, so sad”, so I got myself  new pair of pearl earrings to wear to work! Fancy! 🙂

After the dress fitting, we hooked up with the rest of the gang, my Dad and Ramsey to go for dinner at Chop Steakhouse just down the road from our house in Burlington. We had such a great time at dinner, and that dinner really felt like it was the “kick-off” for the rest of the week’s festivities! There were lots of stories about Vegas, lots of dirt and stories being shared about each other, and lots of fodder for the upcoming speeches at the wedding!

Starting on the Friday (October 16th), I hadn’t been feeling 100%. I started realizing that I was coming down with a cold or a sinus infection earlier in the week, and had been LOADING up on vitamins, water, trying to get extra sleep….I was absolutely panicked that I would be sick on the wedding day. All day I hadn’t been feeling great, and was finding that the more water I drank, the better I felt. Towards the end of dinner, I started to feel light headed again, and was even more panicked that I was getting sick. I don’t get sick very often, but when I do, I get sick like I mean it. I was absolutely panicked, which didn’t help the oncoming sickness at all!

I went to bed absolutely dreading going to work for the next two days and wishing that I could just fast forward time to Wednesday. Two days of work to go!

Monday October 19th

I woke up with eyelids made of lead on Monday morning and laid in bed for a solid half hour just dreading the day ahead. Work was hopping busy, and I couldn’t even imagine trying to fit the next week and a half into two days! I finally got myself up and downstairs, only to find Dianne wide awake on the couch. We chatted for a few minutes before I headed off.

It was a busy day at work, but I was completely distracted with wedding business all day. I was back and forth with the Royal York coordinator (Carole), with Have a Seat (my decor company) and with Danielle (my wedding planner) all day with little details. I had an afternoon of solid meetings and a lunch time meeting with my boss so couldn’t even get out of the office all day! It was a behemoth of a day, and I was so glad when it was over!

I raced home a few minutes early to call our DJ and go through the last minute details with him, and then it was off to our final dance lesson with my friend Denise (who I met in my BodyPump class on Wednesday nights!). We had had an awesome time with Denise over the past several weeks, she had been working with us on a slow rumba to a Brad Paisely song (“Then”), and it felt like it was slowly coming together! We had a great last lesson with her, and then came home to steaks that Dianne had made for us while we were out. Roy and Scott had gone out to Niagara Falls for the night to see Matt’s Granddad, so it was just the three of us for dinner. I hadn’t been eating carbs for the two weeks before the wedding, so it was a bit tough for people to plan meals around me!

One more work day to go!

Tuesday October 20th

Last day of work! Woohoo! I woke up much happier then I had been on Monday, because I knew that by the time the day was over, I was free! Dianne had started to make the maple sugar candies for our wedding favours overnight, and the kitchen was starting to get pretty full with the extra table loaded up with cooling racks and perfect little maple syrup sugar candies.

I had a crazy busy day at work, I was up to my eyeballs in things to do, and probably could have stayed at the office until 9pm, but that wasn’t an option because….I had to teach a BodyAttack Release Class at 6:30!! It just so happened that Release Week (which was only three days from Tuesday October 20th – Thursday October 22nd this time around) fell in the four days leading up to our wedding, go figure! I was super excited to get to class and teach to blow off some steam, because it had been a particularly stressful day, both on the wedding front and on the work front.

I was copied on an email from Carole at the Royal York to my DJ Tom earlier in the day asking him to confirm his power requirements for the wedding. Tom had replied back to them with his power requirements, and shortly after we got an email back from the A/V company at the Royal York with a quote telling us that we would owe $2,000 in extra costs to ensure the power was uninterrupted (uhh…WTF?!). Our DJ had replied back right away telling them that the quote was outrageous, and that he had never seen anything like this before at any of the venues he had played at. I think this kind of ticked them off, because they replied back a bit snippy and told us that it was up to us what we wanted to do, but that they could not guarantee our uninterrupted power without the extra cost. At this point, I was feeling really low, like I was being taken advantage of, and just pretty inadequate overall. It felt like all of this should have been taken care of a long time ago, and that it was something I should have been more on top of.

I came home from the gym feeling better (duh), and told Matt all about the power predicament of 2015. I had an in-person meeting scheduled with my coordinator from the Royal York on Wednesday morning, so we decided to wait until I could talk to her in person before freaking out anymore then I already was. Dinner was chicken, and damn, it was delicious. It’s nice to come home to healthy, cooked meals every day!!! 🙂

Wednesday October 28th

What felt like our last “full day” before everyone started to arrive was a busy one. I had two appointments downtown: the first one to meet with the Royal York (boourns) and the second one to pick up my dress from Kleinfelds (YAY!). My mom and I sat in traffic for over 90 minutes trying to get into the downtown core, making us over 20 minuts late for our appointment with the coordinator. Not a great start when you’re trying to convince them that you shouldn’t be paying $2,000 extra dollars!!

Luckily for us, the coordinator was still able to meet with us. Our meeting didn’t start off on a great foot. I think both my mom and I had our backs WAY up because of everything from the day before, and we probably came off a bit prickly. I think the best indication was when she shook my mom’s hand and said “Hi Mom!” and my mom (very coldly I should add) replied “It’s Cyndie. Thanks.”. Meow!

From there, things really went down hill fast. The coordinator was a really lovely lady, but I just didn’t get a sense of confidence from her that she really had any clue whatsoever what was happening with our wedding. We were back and forth on little details like who would meet me at the door of my limo to take me upstairs to the suite where we would be waiting to walk down the aisle? We butted heads a lot over logistics because she insisted that my wedding planner should be handling all of these details and not her. I found this really hard to stomach because I had PAID EXTRA for a wedding planner, and all the while I was thinking that this was over-kill because I had the coordinators at the Royal York working for me as well. It turns out that this wasn’t the case AT ALL, and I thanked my lucky, lucky stars for my coordinator Danielle about a thousand times over the course of the week. She was a gift from the heavens!!!

The last item to talk about at our meeting was the power debacle from the day before. Her only solution was to call the A/V company and ask them for a “better quote” to save us some money. I asked her pretty directly “Do we need this extra power in order to have our DJ play uninterrupted, yes or no?” and she couldn’t give me an answer, which in essence, was my answer itself. At this point, I really started to feel like I was being taken advantage of, and it pissed me off BIG time. We left without resolving anything, and waiting to hear back from the A/V company on this “better quote” that she was talking about.

I left the Royal York totally stressed out, frustrated and upset. But there was no time to be much more upset because we had to get over to Kleinfelds to pick up my dress! A quick hop, skip and a jump through horrendous Toronto traffic, and we were at the Eaton Centre, and on our way up the maddeningly slow elevators to Kleinfelds. My dress was gorgeous in all it’s spectacular beauty, except that I did notice a little thread right at the bust line, so the seamstress came up and cut it off right in front of me.

Now, I know that you haven’t seen my full dress, but let me just tell you, it’s larger then it looks, and it’s heavier than it looks!!! When she handed me the hanger and told me I had to walk with it above my head out to the parking lot, I just looked at her with fear in my eyes. What?! Another option was to hold it across my arms like I was a mummy, which was hilarious because it totally blocked my entire head from view, so I literally looked like a headless mummy with a gigantic white bag. My mom took some pictures of me walking out of the mall with the dress, I still need to get those from her actually!!

Here is a picture of the dress that sort of starts to show the magnitude of the bottom….this sucker is heavy, let me tell you!!!!!!!! Thank God I work out, right? ;


The total ridiculousness of the whole thing was just what we needed, and both my mom and I started to get SUPER excited now that the dress was in the back of our car and we were bringing it home. It took up almost the entire back of the car, with the seats down!!!

The day turned around completely when we got home. We were like kids in a candy store bringing the dress inside, getting it hung up in my closet and unpackaged. We dragged my brother Ramsey in to show him the dress as well, and my cat Blake was buzzing around like a maniac in my bedroom trying to get into the dress, under the dress and just generally to get our attention. He cracks me up, that cat is good for my soul.

While we were putting away the dress, my mom also showed me these two absolutely beautiful black fur stoles that she had picked up for my maids of honour, and really nice black pashmina wraps that she had picked up for each of my bridesmaids! I had been against the whole idea because I thought it was expensive, but had to admit that they were absolutely beautiful and would look great in pictures. She also told me that she had had one made for me in white as well, which I was really excited about! I had fought my mom on that idea earlier at Kleinfelds because they cost a ridiculous amount of money, and I just couldn’t see us actually wearing them, but seeing them in person, I started to get a better idea for how they would work.

I stuck around at my parents house for another 2ish hours cramming my choreography for the BodyStep release class that I was going to teach at 5:30, AND for my regular BodyPump class that I was going to teach at 6:30. I had totally left the choreo to the last minute (hmm, wonder why!?) and had some serious cramming to do.

I wasn’t feeling 100% (still), but the vitamins and the drugs were definitely helping, and I made it through both classes in one piece. As I came out of the gym, I had a text from Matt asking what my plans for dinner were, because his groomsmen and their girlfriends were starting to arrive, and they were all hungry! I was excited to see everyone, and so said that I wanted to go out with them, and that I would meet them at Montana’s where they were already walking in. It felt like the wedding festivities were finally getting underway!

I walked into Montana’s feeling tired, but happy, and getting really, really excited! I ordered a decent salmon salad and was pretty happy with how it came out. Matt’s groomsman Syl and his girlfriend Kayla had arrive from Thunder Bay at stupid o’clock in the morning that day, Jeff (Matt’s best man) and his girlfriend Sydney had arrived only a few hours earlier and Matt’s youngest brother Troy had arrived from London that evening as well. We all had lots of stories from the day, Syl and Matt’s brother Scott had gone in to get their tuxedos measured at Moore’s, and I guess had been treated pretty rudely by the lady working there. That opened the gateway nicely into the way that I had been treated at the Royal York! We must have sounded like a pretty gruff bunch! We lingered as long as possible in the restaurant to give Dianne some space back at our house, she was up to her ears in maple syrup candies, and desperately needed some space.

When we couldn’t delay anymore, we all mosied back over to our house, where 10+ full size adults crammed into our tiny living room/kitchen/dining room combo on top of the hundred maple sugar candies, boxes etc etc. To call it chaos is a bit of an understatement, we were all the heck over each other! The boys started into a Heineken mini-keg, and the conversation got pretty amusing. We finally headed up to bed well after midnight with plans to meet up with the gang tomorrow to start working on some of the errands that needed to get done: suits for the groomsmen, baking the cake for Troy, more maple syrup candies, errands for the rehearsal dinner on Friday and many more!

Thursday October 29th

Thursday dawned and it was an absolutely beautiful day. The forecast was calling for rain on Saturday and I was starting to pray that it would be wrong, and that the weather would be just the same as it was on Thursday.

Thursday was a nice day around the house, and as Roy said in the morning, he thought that the Thursday would be the best day leading up to the wedding because there was still time to work on things, and stress levels weren’t too high just yet. He ended up being right, and Thursday was indeed a great day.

The kitchen, however, was turning into a complete and utter disaster zone, much to my horror. Dianne was working away full-steam ahead on the maple sugar candies, and Troy was working on our massive three tiered wedding cake, and the combination was something out of the apocalypse. I pretty much just had to not look at it or risk an aneurysm.

On Thursday morning, Matt took the remaining groomsmen over to Moore’s to take care of getting their suits measured and alterations taken. I stayed at the house with Syl, Dianne and Troy and we worked on some odd little tasks (like painting the wooden letters that I had bought to hold up with Cristina, Adrienne, Rachel) around the house. I also tried to do some cleaning and organizing around the house, although I knew that it was really all hopeless! The boys came back from the suit expedition and the next task for them was to go out grocery shopping for the rehearsal dinner supplies, and also for supplies for the big brunch that Syl was going to cook on the morning of the wedding.

I nipped out to Shoppers Drug Mart to get a couple of things in the morning, one of which was three bottles of Draino for our shower, which was behaving very poorly, and was looking more like a bath then a shower!! While I was out at Shoppers, it dawned on me that I didn’t yet have an appointment to get my nails done for the wedding. The nail salon was in the same plaza as Shoppers, and so I stopped in to make an appointment for that same afternoon. Luckily they had room for three appointments that day and one appointment the next morning. My mom and my brother Andrew’s girlfriend Natalie were hoping to come with me to get their nails done, so this worked perfectly.

Around the house, spirits were high, we were all pretty light hearted and joking around. I spent a lot of good, solid time that afternoon working on my wedding speech at the kitchen table while the guys played Mario Kart on the Nintendo 64 that Troy had brought with him from London. It was pretty hysterical to sit there and listen to how into it they all got. Definitely good for the nerves and the last minute jitters. I was mostly concerned with trying to get the big tupperware containers packed up with things that were ready to go down to the hotel the next night for the rehearsal dinner. At 3:30, my mom and Natalie came by the house and we were off to get our nails done. I even convinced my mom to get shellac nail polish, which neither of us have had before, because it’s supposed to last longer than the regular polish! I decided to stick with the classic french manicure rather then do anything too exotic. I had them add a really thin line of silver glitter just under the white part of the nail just to amp it up a little bit. I was really happy with how it turned out, and Natalie got the most fabulous golden glittery nail polish I’ve ever seen! I may just have to go back for that colour one day myself. Once I had the nail polish on, I was worried about doing too much with my hands for fear of wrecking it!

Both Dianne and Troy had been working long hours in the kitchen, and the plan was that we would all head over to Jake’s Boat House (a restaurant that my family loves just down the road from our house, and also conveniently attached to the hotel that the groomsmen were staying at) to have dinner with all of the groomsmen, their girlfriends and my family from Lebanon who had arrived from Lebanon only hours earlier that day.

We met up with my family from Lebanon in the lobby of the hotel, and I just couldn’t believe that they were here…AGAIN!! They had all come to visit us in Canada only three short months earlier this year in the summer time, and I couldn’t believe that they had made the effort to come back only 3 months later. It almost felt surreal. We waited for my aunt and uncle who had literally just arrived from the airport to shower and get dressed, and then headed over to the restaurant where we had managed to get a reservation for 24 people on only 6 hours notice!

I ended up sitting at a table with all of my family and Matt’s family because there wasn’t room for me at the table with the groomsmen/younger folks, but that was fine with me because it gave me a chance to chat with my family who had come such a long way. I ordered a salad with chicken (surprise, surprise), but was happy with it. A huge learning from this year is that it doesn’t have to be a bad thing to be eating healthy, I’ve been really impressed with the quality of the food that I’ve been able to order and stay on plan over the course of the year. Eating well definitely isn’t as “hard” as we make it out to be in our heads. Bottom line.

Everyone was feeling pretty tired by the end of the night, and we headed on home. Troy hadn’t been able to join us for dinner because he still had lots of work to do on the cake, and he was working away when we got home. Our new KitchenAid Stand Mixer that we had got at a wedding shower earlier this year was coming in handy and was whirring away! We all hung around the house for a bit strategizing for the next day. We decided that there was going to be a “relaxed crew” that would include Neil, Duncan, Sanna and Scott around our house, and then a “rehearsal dinner crew” that would include Syl, Kayla and Frosty that would be heading over to my parents house in the morning to start prepping for the rehearsal dinner that night.

Once again, we were all up pretty late, and I was anxious to get to bed because I felt like I still had a lot of little errands to do the next day. I needed to touch base with all of my vendors one more time (including my limo company, who I needed to make some updates with), pay my vendor for the Lebanese food station at our cocktail hour, pick up some last minute props and fun things at Michaels, deposit a bank draft from Matt’s parents and pay off my Visa to make room for other charges!! I went to bed with my head racing through a list of a million things to do. Matt also had to be up at the crack of dawn to be at Pearson Airport to pick up his last groomsman Duncan who was the total unsung hero of the wedding weekend, flying in overnight on Thursday night, and flying out Sunday afternoon. It felt like Christmas Eve!!

Friday October 23rd

I set my alarm for 8:30am, and thought that I was pretty ahead of the game. The house was quiet when I woke up, and it was a gift from God to be able to just move around on my own before everyone was up. I got dressed and quickly got out of the house to get started on my list of errands, noticing that Duncan was asleep on our couch with Troy on the other side of the couch (LOL). First on the list was the bank to deposit the bank draft and get my finances squared away.

On my way back from the bank, I stopped in at Michaels and had a really great time browsing the aisles of the store picking up Sharpie markers for the wooden letter “S” that we had bought for our wedding guest book, props for our photos, baskets to put in the washrooms with little necessity-type products for our guests to use, and any other fun little odds and ends that I could find. I probably spent a little bit too much time in Michaels, but I was enjoying myself and wasn’t in a huge hurry to get back to the chaotic house! I had been kind of all over the place in terms of what I needed to pick up and what props I wanted for photos, but for some reason, everything seemed really clear and easy to decide that morning. Maybe that’s because I was fresh out of time and had no more time for in decision. Hah.

I knew that I did need to get going because I had promised that I would bring breakfast back to the house for everyone there, and I needed to take a big contingent of the groomsmen (and Kayla!) over to my mom’s house in Oakville to start preparing potatoes and salads for the rehearsal dinner that night.

A quick stop at Tim Hortons, a dozen donuts, 8 breakfast sandwiches and 12 cups of coffee later (my 15 year old self cringed as I was placing the order, I used to work for Tim Hortons and knew what this would do to them during a breakfast rush!), I was back at the house of chaos, and ready to move on to the next task.  Since I had an appointment for a facial and my eyebrows in Oakville, the plan was for me to take the “rehearsal dinner crew” over to Oakville on my way there. I went over to the hotel and picked up Syl and Kayla, came back to the house and grabbed Jeff Frostiak and the groceries and traded Syl for Neil.

At this point, tensions were running pretty high in the kitchen around the cake. Troy had been working like a slave all day and all night on the thing for days, and was having a bit of trouble with the fondant ripping and tearing on him. I could see that Matt was getting super stressed out about the whole thing, and so we decided that it would be best for Syl to stay back at the house and help Troy with the cake, and bring Neil along with us to my parents house to start setting up for the rehearsal dinner.

We were all in pretty good spirits on our way over to my parents house in Oakville. The weather was once again, absolutely sunny and beautiful and it was hard to be too stressed when everything was so gorgeous outside. We made it to the house in good time, unloaded the groceries, I picked up my mom, my Aunt Kathy and cousin Jason (who had just arrived from Sault Ste. Marie that morning) and we were off to the mall for my facial and eyebrows appointment.

My esthetician at the mall is really terrific. I’ve been going to her for a long time now, and she really has this great calming aura about her, she’s always really  bubbly and positive, and I trust her more than anyone when it comes to my face. She’s pretty much the only person that I would trust to touch my face less than 24 hours from my wedding day!! She took me around a corner in her salon and started a calming facial on me which felt kind of disgusting, cold and slimey, but really good at the same time. At this point, I was totally calm and feeling really great. My Aunt Wendy, cousin Charelle and Grandma Lucy came by the mall to pick up some things as well and they dropped in on me while I was laying there with my mask on. Andrew and his girlfriend Natalie were also there, and it just felt like the whole family was in the mall with me!

Once the mask was done, she did some work on my eyebrows (which were in desperate need of attention), and voila, my skin was glowing, I was content as a clam, and ready to step back into the chaos. I was really happy at how my skin looked, and was thrilled that my efforts avoiding sugar, wearing as little makeup as possible and drinking tons of water had paid off and my skin was about 98% clear. I was so happy to look in the mirror less than 24 hours before my wedding and feel like I was happy with how I looked. All of my hard work over the past 10 months had paid off, and I really did feel like I was glowing from the inside out.

When I went back to my parents house to check on the rehearsal crew, everyone there seemed to be in good spirits, and progress was coming along well with the rehearsal prep. They reminded me a bit of an assembly line how they were all set up slicing and dicing at my parents island! I can still picture Kayla standing there with a knife in her hand! As I came in the door, I realized that Matt and Duncan were also in the house, downstairs in the basement. They had just come in the door with the flowers from our decor company in Toronto. I was super anxious to see the flowers, so went straight downstairs to see them.

Now, I’ll preface this by saying that I’ve been a fairly reasonable bride up until this point. I haven’t lost my cool on anyone (okay, excpet for that one poor lady at the jewlery counter at the mall, but she really was asking for it…), and I think I’ve been fairly level headed to this point.

But when I saw those flowers, something inside me snapped.

It started as this kind of scary, tingly feeling down deep in my toes, and kind of spread all the way up through my belly until my face got hot. I had been having issues with my decor company all along. Really terrible customer service, rude, rude employees, poor attention to detail, extremely expensive prices…you name it, I had dealt with it. But at the end of the day, I had trusted that becuase we were paying such a pretty penny for our decor, it really would turn out magnificent. Now, the flowers weren’t terrible. But they weren’t magnificent. They were ho-hum, average, run of the mill, plain old white flowers. For the price of a brand new car.

And I was livid.

I was beyond livid. If the decor company rep had been infront of me, I promise you I would have tackled her.

Matt and Duncan were standing in my parents storage room when I first saw them, and I said absolutely nothing. Duncan made a half-hearted attempt at a joke and said “Well, I was hoping for a little more enthusiasm!” I didn’t laugh. I didn’t speak. Nothing was coming to me, and I wanted so badly to keep my cool. I walked out of the storage room without saying another word. Less than a minute later, I had stormed back down the stairs, and erupted. “I F-ing hate them” are the words that I think I used. So elegant. I went off on the flowers, the decor company, really everything and everyone that had anything to do with the flowers in question, and then once again stormed away, leaving the two gobsmacked boys in my wake. Watch out, Bridezilla is on the loose.

When I got upstairs, everything was a sea of pandemonium, but I wasn’t happy about it anymore. I just wanted some space, I wanted 5 minutes without someone calling my name or tugging at me, or asking me a question. My poor aunt made a joke about how she thought I had looked better at the mall with the facial mask on, and I snapped something at her like “Thanks, that’s exactly what i need to hear right now”. Kayla picked up on it right away and asked me if I was okay, to which I exploded that NO I was NOT okay, and that the flowers were hideous, and I hated them. I totally started to fly off the handle at this point and knew that I just needed a moment on my own, so I grabbed a glass of water from the fridge, opened the door for my anxious cat Blake (who was not happy about my yelling) and went outside into the gorgeous sunshine.

I sat down on the steps next to Blake, who was doing all the right things to make me feel better (you know, being cute and all that), and it was amazing how the quiet, the water and the sunshine calmed me down. By the time I stood up to go back inside, I felt like a new person. I went back inside and Kayla was very understanding (as was everyone). They also told me a (not so funny) story, that we had forgotten to pick up Jeff Sanna at the hotel in the morning, and the poor guy had been waiting there this whole time, not sure where any of us were?!?!? OMG?!?!? So not funny…but it kind of was at the time?!?

At this point, most of the rehearsal dinner was prepped, and I was feeling anxious to get back to our house in Burlington because I had to pack for the night (I wouldn’t be home again until the Sunday after the wedding!) and put together the last of the tupperware boxes to come down to the hotel that night with us for the rehearsal. There was a lot of back and forth on should we stay, should we go (cue song here), and then Dianne solved our dilemma by blowing in like a hurricane with a whole bunch of groceries from Monastery Bakery! We helped her unload the car, and then I took Kayla back to Burlington, and left Neil and Frosty at the house to keep working away.

I got home, took a deep breath, and went into beast mode. Packing up tupperware boxes, putting finishing touches on my speech, making sure all vendors were paid, confirmed and tripe confirmed. It kind of felt like my last opportunity to really do anything planning related before things were out of my hands. I finally got to hop in the shower and start getting ready for the rehearsal dinner, threw a bag of things together for the next morning, trying desperately to remember all of the little things that I wanted to bring with me, and before we knew it, we were heading back over to my parents for the rehearsal dinner, an hour and a half later.

The cake had been progressing well, but the boys had hit a bit of a roadblock with the fondant, and the cake wasn’t ready to come downtown with us to the Royal York. I wasn’t stressed about it, but I knew that Matt was, so I tried to reassure everyone that that was totally fine with me, and that as long as it got down there before the wedding, we were all good!

I drove by myself over to my parents because I wasn’t coming back to the house. On the way there, I realized that I had forgotten several things including my Vitamix (gotta have my Arbonne shake the morning of the wedding! It’s been nearly 3 years that I’ve had one every single day, and I wasn’t about to start changing things up now!) and the champagne for the girls to have at the house! Luckily Matt was a few minutes behind me and hadn’t left yet, so he was able to go back to the house and pick them up for me. The other vehicles were absolutely loaded to the nines with all of the tupperware bins full of props, table numbers and decorations, card boxes, cocktail hour decor etc etc etc. The CX-7 was absolutley jammed!!!

I got to my parents house and the minute I walked in the house, I got basically assaulted by a massive wave of anxiety. I actually had to physically put my hand up, say to someone, just one minute please! And run upstairs to my bedroom to drop off my overnight bags. My Aunt Wendy followed me upstairs and gave me a bit of a pep talk, reminding me to enjoy every minute of everything to come. I appreciated it, and I needed it. I took a massive breath, and went back downstairs.

Coming back downstairs was a totally different experience, and it kind of felt like the celebrations had begun! I had squabbled back and forth with my parents on the size of the rehearsal dinner for months, and in the end my parents won out and there were lots of people there (about 50). I had pushed for a much smaller get together with just the wedding party and immediate family, but if I’m being honest, I definitely enjoyed having all of the extended family there. My cat Blake was, of course, the star of the show (that cat is so hilarious, he always puts himself front and centre in the middle of a party) and I got to put the tuxedo bowtie collar that I had ordered online on him for the first time, which was beyond priceless.

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Neil and Frosty and all of the rest of the groomsmen really stepped up huge in helping to get the food ready for the dinner. Everything was pretty much taken care of when I got there, and I never had to lift a finger! The menu was pretty simple, barbequed chicken and burgers, fattouch salad, potato salad, another lettuce salad, and about 15 different kinds of dessert (LOL!). I was on the very last day of my “2 weeks no carbs” and am totally pumped to say that I made it all the way through without even one slip up! I ended up having a chicken breast and a burger patty with the salads, and was totally happy with that.

My favorite part of the entire rehearsal dinner was when Ramsey put on the wedding slideshow that he had made for us with pictures from the time we were kids all the way up until now. I knew that my mom and Dianne had both been so helpful in getting us really priceless pictures of us from when we were little, and I was so excited to see the finished product. It turned out so much more wonderfully then I even hoped it would. Everyone in the whole house gathered around and got quiet to watch, and it just came together absolutely beautifully. For the first time all week, I really started to feel quite emotional at that moment, particularly looking at the photos of us when we were younger. Time is a funny thing. Looking at these little trouble makers on the screen, it was really hard to believe that they were the two of us, and that so much time had gone by, seemingly in the blink of an eye. I also found it quite emotional to see the pictures of me and my oldest friends from ringette when we were much younger. For some reason or other, and I’m sure that this is just the product of people that have been in your lives since the very beginning, but this group of friends and group of families has really been through a lot together. Immediate family deaths, battles with mental health, eating disorders, cancer, addiction. Looking at the pictures of us when we were young was bittersweet. Sweet in the sense that despite it all, those 5 little girls were still all in the same room, and still love each other very much. Bitter in the sense that maybe we’ve all been a little bit jaded by some of the things that we’ve been through since we were the people in those pictures.

At the rehearsal dinner, Dianne also gave us an absolutely spectacular wedding present, a gigantic scrapbook that she had put together using photos from our childhood all the way up until today! I was beyond flabbergasted at how much detail had gone into it, I knew that it must have taken months and months and months. She was so meticulous with all of the details, the comments, the little corner edgers….it was just absolutely perfect! I called it a “priceless artifcat” and I think Roy got a kick out of that! 🙂

Before we even knew it, it was 5:45pm, and it was time to start packing up to head downtown to the Royal York for the rehearsal. We didn’t even get to finish watching the entire slideshow, and I hated to leave because I was loving every minute of it! Everything kind of got a bit chaotic at that point trying to figure out cars and coats and making sure that all of the tupperware bins loaded up with wedding stuff were going to make it downtown.

Because BMW had totally dropped the ball, I hadn’t had my own car for several weeks. I had changed jobs in late September, and had to give back my company car, and BMW had assured us that our new X3 would be in within 6 weeks, however that turned out not to be the case, and I was begging, borrowing and stealing cars all wedding week. I ended up driving Ramsey’s Ford Focus downtown with Lindsay, Mariane, Adrienne and Cristina. Shivonne and Bailey hopped in with my parents and Rachel had missed the rehearsal dinner because she had to work right until 5pm, so she was going to meet us downtown. We were off!

Traffic was a bit slow heading downtown, but not too bad for what I had imagined that it could be on a Friday night at rush hour. We made it there about 10 minutes after 7pm, and met up with Danielle (my wedding planner) and Anne (our officiant) at the clock tower in the lobby. Things were a bit disorganized when we first got there because we had so many boxes and bins and things to unload from the cars, and we had no idea where to put it all, or what sequence to really do anything with. In keeping consistent with the way that they treated us the entire year, the Royal York was absolutely and completely unhelpful and really couldn’t be bothered to do anything at all to ease any of that stress for us. The person actually (supposedly) coordinating the wedding  wasn’t even there, she had delegated the task of unlocking doors for us to another guy who literally unlocked the doors and then left for the night. It was completely ridiculous, but I really don’t know why I was surprised by that point. Finally, we made our way upstairs to the rehearsal room, with a plan to store the boxes and bins in the Catering Office (on Floor C) after we were finished.

I was so thankful for Danielle and for Anne on the night of the rehearsal, they both seemed to sense that I had no clue what was going on, and kind of jumped in and took charge of what we needed to do for the rehearsal. We were having the rehearsal in a small boardroom (with moose antlers on one end of the room!), and I think Frosty actually thought that that was the room that we were going to get married in! We finally started walking through the motions of how to file in, where to stand, how to stand, what to say etc. I remember standing with my dad at the back of the boardroom and looking at our wedding party all lined up for the first time and thinking to myself how amazing it looked even when they were all in their casual clothes! I was so excited to see them all the next day lined up in their dresses and suits!

To be honest, none of the rehearsal felt like it was real. I never had the moment where it hit me “oh my god, we’re getting married”, maybe because it just seemed like it was the obvious thing that we would be doing! We’re getting married….duh….even walking down the fake “aisle” with my Dad didn’t feel real, nor did standing up at the front with Anne. There was some debate over how Matt was going to help me up the stairs in my dress, and I remember snapping at my Dad because he (ONCE AGAIN!!) started to describe my dress out loud in front of Matt?! Sheesh!! We also debated the right way to have our first kiss, and surprisingly it was harder to figure out then you would think!! Bailey reassured us that everything would just happen naturally on the day of, and not to worry too much about over-scripting how Matt was going to help me up the stairs or anything like that. Wise words from the only Bride on the panel!

After the actual “rehearsal” part was over, and Anne and Danielle had whipped everyone into shape, I came to the realization that I had forgotten a tupperware bin (the dark navy blue one…I can still picture it…grumble grumble) at home in Burlington. I was SUPER annoyed with myself because it just meant one more thing to worry about on the day of. Dianne and Matt reassured me that they would make sure that they brought it down with them the next day, no problem.

We took a walk down to Floor C where we showed Danielle and the wedding party the Ballroom where the Ceremony was to be held and the Concert Hall where the Reception was to be held. Everyone was blown away by the gorgeous rooms, just as I hoped they would be, and I felt a bit more at peace about choosing the Royal York as our venue, even though they had been so difficult to deal with. The girls started fretting right away about how LONG the ballroom was, and how long the aisle would be to walk!! I knew that it was long, but it really was even longer then I had imagined it to be! The Concert Hall was already set with our tables and stage, and it was exciting to see the room starting to take some sort of shape!

After we looked at the rooms, it was time for us to go our separate ways, and I couldn’t believe that it was the last time I would see Matt before I was walking down the aisle. We all left the hotel by the valet parking and Matt and I had kind of a nice moment together off to the side before we parted ways. I was so excited, but also kind of sad that things were getting finished up! I had been looking forward to the rehearsal dinner and the rehearsal for so long, and was kind of sad that it was already over! I loaded the girls back up into the Focus, and just like that we were gone.

When we got home, the girls took off right away to go home and get some rest before the big day. I was thrilled that we were home by about 9:30pm, not too late! Once everyone had left, we had a really nice night at the house with my Aunt Wendy, Aunt Kathy, Grandma Lucy and cousin Charelle. The Blue Jays were playing Game 6 of their Playoff Series, and although Matt and I had been avidly watching them, I was secretly hoping that they would lose that game because if they won, then it would have forced Game 7 which would have been exactly in the middle of our reception the next day!

My aunts, grandma and the groomsmen’s girlfriends (Landon, Kayla and Sydney) had done an absolutely phenomenal job around my mom’s house cleaning up after we had all left for the rehearsal dinner. The house was completely clean, and the leftovers were all packed away, ready for me to tear into once I got home!! We were all a bit hungry so we all heated up the leftover chicken breasts, burgers and dug into the salads as well. My Uncle Al, cousin Mattieu and brother Andrew were watching the Jays game and it was a pretty close game, so there was the odd random cheer or moan from the living room. I ended up having to go to bed for the night without even knowing if the Jays were going to win or not if you can believe it?! The game got rained out partway through, and so they continued playing well after midnight! I couldn’t believe I was going to go to bed without knowing the answer to that question!

After our snack, I showed my Aunt Wendy and my Grandma the (multiple) options of earrings that I had to choose from for the next day and they helped me choose which ones to wear. My Aunt said so many times “thank you for letting us be a part of this with you!”, and it really meant a lot to me to have them all there and for them to be so excited with me. I kind of wandered around the house picking at little odds and ends to do for about an hour, before deciding to call it around 10:45pm. I was sleeping in my childhood bedroom, but the very odd part was that my parents have completely renovated their entire house since I moved out. My room is the same, shape, but that’s really all that’s the same. The closets aren’t in the same spot, the wall  juts out in different places, different furniture, different everything. I found myself feeling super nostalgic as I was laying in bed that night thinking of all of the ups and downs I had had in that room. For some reason, I was drawn like a magnet to the frames around the windows in the room. I think it was because it was comforting to me that the window frames were still in the same spot they had always been. I fell asleep tracing the window frames with my eyes, round and round.

It took a while for me to fall asleep (I definitley saw the clock after 12am, and kind of panicked that I wouldn’t fall asleep at all!), but when I did, I slept like a rock, and woke up to my alarm at 6:30am. It was wedding day, it was finally here!


To be continued…….

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