Although I had struggled quite a bit getting to sleep, once I did finally fall asleep, I was out like a light until my alarm went off at 6:30am. I get up at 6:30am every day and find it so agonizing, hitting snooze at least 6 times before finally dragging myself out of bed. Of course, on wedding day, I woke up feeling rested, energetic and excited for the day!
I laid in bed for a few minutes, the house was quiet so I knew that I was the first one up. I finally rolled out of bed, got dressed, brushed out my hair (I had been warned upon penalty of death not to touch it with a flat iron that morning), and went downstairs, where I found my Grandma and my Aunt having coffee at our island. My mom was nowhere to be found, which I found odd because she was the one supposed to be coming with me to the hair salon for 7:30am. I was remarkably calm, I remember feeling so at ease and peaceful. I made myself my Arbonne shake, which I’ve had every morning for breakfast for about 3 years or more, made sure that everyone at the house had paper copies of the itinerary for the day, and finally my mom came down the stairs just in the nick of time, and we were out the door and on our way to the hair salon. I was so excited to get there and to see everyone!
The hair salon is just around the corner from my parents’ house, and we were there about 7:40am. When we got there, the place was already bustling, my best friend and Maid of Honour Lindsay was in the chair getting her makeup done, my other best friend and other Maid of Honour Bailey was in another chair starting on hair, and one of my bridesmaids Mariane was there as well! The stylists at the hair salon were true angels, especially the esthetician Emily who really went above and beyond to make sure that everything went picture perfect at the salon. She had brought in a big tray of Tim Hortons bagels and muffins and pastries, coffee, tea and water for us, and my mom had also brought in a big tray of applesauce bread and a fruit tray, so there was lots of food! I was so calm and peaceful and really just enjoying the time with my girls.
The makeup artist was named Christine and she was truly phenomenal. Girl after girl was getting their makeup done and every single one of them looked absolutely stunning. I think I’ve only maybe once or twice had my makeup professionally done in my life and actually liked it, but I can honestly say that I loved my makeup on my wedding day, especially my eye makeup! She made me look like a snow queen or something with the most soft, glittery white eye shadows, it was so beautiful! We were worried initially about the timing to get so many people’s makeup done by only one person, but things were just rolling along, and everyone got done in lots of time!
The only bit of minor panic at the hair salon was with my poor mother-in-law to be Dianne who had accidentally over-slept when the alarm didn’t go off, and was a bit late getting to the hair salon for her 7:45am appointment! It all worked out completely fine, she arrived around 8:30am in lots of time, and all was well.
It was finally my turn to get my hair done, and I was a bit apprehensive at first about how it was all going to turn out. I had done a trial, and was a bit on the fence about how I had liked it. It was also hard to tell because I took the trial out right away after getting it done because I was going out with some friends and didn’t want anyone else to see my wedding hair! Things just seemed to come together on wedding day though, and I loved what my hair stylist Alicia was able to do with my hair. It ended up being a nice soft up-do, with hair visible on the side and really nice volume on top, and the most beautiful hair piece that I’ve ever seen on the side of my head. I loved it and was really happy with it (again, can count on one hand the number of times that I’ve been happy with my hair when it’s been styled professionally, but things just seemed to be going well on wedding day!).
By the time we finished up hair and makeup at the salon, we were about 20 minutes ahead of schedule (it was about 11:40am now, and I had wanted to be home getting dressed by 12pm at the latest to give us an hour before the limo arrived at 1pm). We took a picture with the girls at the hair salon including all of the hair stylists and makeup artist (still need to get a copy of this picture from my hair dresser actually!) and were on our way. It was around this time that I realized that the weather just wasn’t cooperating with us and it was pouring rain outside. We all dodged and dived into cars trying to save our hair and makeup, but I was starting to get a bit sad that we weren’t going to be able to do pictures outside like I had wanted to.
We got home and inside the house without getting too wet, and I must admit that my stress levels went from about a 1 on a scale of 1 – 10 to a 9.8 pretty darn quick once I set foot inside the house. It was a bit like a scene in a movie, women running all over the place with curlers in their hair, shrieking about this that the other thing, men walking around half dressed calling for help with their ties, their suits, whatever else, people on FaceTime with relatives far away sticking iPhones in my face to say hello….it was a bit of a zoo.
We grabbed a little bit of food, there were tons of sandwiches and things set up on the kitchen table for us thanks to my mom, and I gave the girls their bridesmaid presents from me. I had been through the ringer trying to find the perfect necklaces for the girls to wear on wedding day, and had ended up tearing someone’s head off at the mall over some miscommunication to do with the ones that I did choose (long story, I’m not proud of it :P). In any case, I was happy with the necklaces that I did get in the end, and it was fun to see the girls open them up. I had also gotten each of them a really pretty pearl picture frame as well, with the idea that they could put a picture from the wedding in it. We had a bit of a funny moment when Shivonne opened up her “picture frame” and we discovered that hers actually was a wedding GUEST BOOK, and not a picture frame, that had come in the identical box as the picture frame, so I hadn’t known that it was something else!! Guess that was a bit of a hint for Shivs that she’s next?! 😉
After we exchanged gifts, things got a bit crazy (er). Somehow we had taken too long with the food and the gifts and made ourselves late. We only had about 20 minutes to get everyone dressed (including me) and take some pictures at the house before the limo was supposed to be there.
I went upstairs where my wonderful photographer Stacey was hiding out taking the most beautiful detail shots of my dress and flowers and jewelry
My room was a wonderful sanctuary from the craziness of downstairs. It was cool, calm, quiet and just the thing that I needed. I got into my dress with a little help from my mom and two maids of honour Bailey and Lindsay (a note that I forgot to use the washroom one last time before I put on my dress, that will come in more interesting later in the day!) and was really pleased with how my dress fit. Like I mentioned in the first part of this post, I hadn’t been happy with the way the dress fit just a week earlier, and so I was relieved that when I put it on on wedding day, my efforts seemed to have paid off in the gym and in the kitchen, and I felt really good with how it went up. Around this point I heard from downstairs that the limo had arrived, which was a huge relief because it actually showed up 10 minutes late. I was freaking out about that and was super relieved to hear that it had finally arrived.
We made the final call on my earrings, I was still deciding between several pairs (this had actually been something that I was super stressed out about the whole week leading up to the wedding, I hadn’t been able to make a decision to save my life, but for some reason everything seemed to make much more sense in the moment and the right choice was clear), and took some pictures upstairs in my room before I came downstairs to make the big reveal.
There was a bit of craziness downstairs in the house while I was upstairs getting ready. There had been some confusion about who was supposed to see me before I actually made the walk down the aisle, and who was not supposed to see me before I walked down the aisle. My mom ended up kind of kicking all of our extended family out of the house except for my immediate family and bridesmaids which stressed me out quite a lot because I knew that they weren’t going to be happy that they had been booted out of the house without getting to see me in my dress. In the end, I was happy to keep things a surprise until I walked down the aisle, but I do wish looking back that we had been more clear up front that everyone was going to have to head out for the hotel before they got to see me in my dress. Ah well, you live and learn.
There was lots of stress at the house even after I had come down the stairs. My mom had misplaced her cellphone and was frantically looking for it because she had promised her best friend in Burlington that someone would come and pick her up to take her downtown for the wedding, and didn’t have her cellphone number anywhere but on her own cellphone. Gotta love the era that we live in eh? If I got kidnapped, the only phone number that I would know off the top of my head is my childhood home phone number, not one person’s cell number!
With the big reveal over, my bridesmaids and I oohed and ahhed over the dress for a few minutes, took a few more pictures in the house (including some with my dapper kitty Blake who was wearing his tuxedo collar again) before finally making our way out the door towards the limo. It was pouring rain, I’m talking torrential downpour. My poor dad and maids of honour took the bullet for me and walked me out to the car with two umbrellas and all picking up my dress to keep it dry. The 50 metre driveway felt like it was 2 kilometres, but we finally made it to the limo bus and I was up and inside.
It took a few more minutes to get all of the girls and all of our bags loaded into the limo, and we were a few minutes later then I wanted to be leaving the house. It ended up being closer to 1:30pm that we were leaving Oakville, when I had wanted to leave by 1pm at the very latest. I was a bit stressed, but with the ceremony at 3:30pm, knew that we should be fine to get downtown as long as nothing completely crazy happened on the Gardiner. As we pulled out of the driveway and started moving the girls all started cheering and I remember feeling super excited, we were finally on our way!
I’ll be honest that it took me a little while to calm down once we were finally in the limo and on our way. The stress at the house had really wound me up and I was suddenly a huge ball of stress. Very un-Buddha, as I had been at the hair salon. I did finally get back to a semi-Buddha state after a few minutes on the road with traffic moving well, even in the pouring rain. We had fun in the limo, and the drive downtown went very quickly. In about 50 minutes we were downtown, with over an hour until the start of the ceremony, we were in good shape.
As we pulled onto Front Street, we all cheered again, and I started to get even MORE excited now that I could see the hotel. We had a minor moment of panic when we pulled onto Front Street because we had actually pulled up RIGHT BEHIND Matt’s limo on Front Street!! Luckily their limo had pulled into the valet parking area and our limo went straight to the front door, but I staged a bit of a sit-in and refused to move from the limo until I saw someone that I knew and trusted (aka my wedding planner Danielle, not the ding-dong from the Royal York) to make sure that I didn’t run into Matt in the lobby of the hotel.
Somehow, miraculously, it worked out that Danielle was able to get to the front door of the hotel to meet us as our limo pulled up, and the second photographer that had been with Matt and the guys all morning just so happened to be at the front door as well and was able to shoot some pictures of us getting out of the limo as well. We got whisked away from the limo doors through the lobby of the hotel, and I was just loving every moment of being “the bride”. It was everything that I had imagined to walk through the lobby in my dress with little girls tugging on their mom’s sleeves to point at us. I had had a similar experience in the lobby of the Royal York when I was younger, where I had seen a bride taking pictures by the famous clock tower. I can still picture the beautiful bride from that day, and I hope that maybe some of those little girls will remember seeing us that day as well. Who knows, maybe we will have inspired one of them to actually get married there herself one day.
We hopped in the elevator and Danielle took us up to the 8th floor to a suite, which I didn’t know at the time, but actually ended up being the honeymoon suite where Matt and I were going to sleep that night. It wasn’t at all ideal to have everyone in our honeymoon suite with all of their bags etc, but I’ll just chalk that up to the ding-dong from the Royal York yet again who was just completely and totally incapable of executing a wedding. The decision to put everyone in that particular suite instead of the previously agreed on Montebello Room on the 2nd floor of the hotel ended up causing some major trouble for us later on in the night, but that major trouble led to some pretty funny stories, so I guess I’ll take it all with a grain of salt!
On the walk from the lobby up to the suite on the 8th floor, I had a minor panic attack because as I was walking, it became super obvious to me that my dress was about an inch too long. I think the problem actually ended up being that I had actually lost about 4 pounds in the 7 days leading up to the wedding (and the 7 days since my last fitting). Losing those few extra pounds was awesome, and definitely didn’t come without hard work, but those extra pounds lost actually contributed to the dress sitting just a fraction of an inch lower on my ribcage then it needed to, and the hem of the dress dragging a little too far on the floor. As I was walking down the hallway, my feet were getting tangled up in the tule like a turbine and to my absolute horror, I was hearing a ripping sound from the tule underneath the lace, and I was absolutely freaked out. I knew that I could solve the problem by picking up the front of the dress, but for my walk down the aisle I needed to be walking with my hands in front of me and not picking up the front of the dress.
Danielle came to the rescue and helped us gather up some of the extra tule under the skirt in a hair elastic actually to keep it away from my feet, which helped a bit. It still wasn’t perfect, but I knew that I just had to make it down the aisle, and then I could pick it up for the rest of the night to move around.
The suite was absolutely beautiful, but I was a bit disappointed because nobody had connected with my mom to tell her that the plans had changed and we were up in the suite, so I never got to see her before I walked down the aisle. The intent all along had been to have her wait with us in the suite until just before we went down to the ceremony, but the poor thing didn’t know where we were and ended up walking around the 2nd floor of the hotel (where we were supposed to be) looking for us with a fruit tray and snacks 😦 Another logistics thing that I would have changed if I could go back in time, but again, ya live and learn!
We didn’t have long to wait in the suite before it was time to head down for the ceremony. My dad blew into the room like a hurricane just as it was time to head down, and I could tell that he had been busy running around the hotel too! Danielle walked with us down to what we affectionately referred to as “the holding pen” which was the adjoining room to the ballroom where our ceremony was going to take place, and where we would enter from to walk down the aisle. As we walked through the cocktail hour space and into the holding pen, we saw a couple of last minute guests sprinting as fast as they could to the ballroom doors, which made me giggle because I’ve been there, done that! Finally, we were in the holding pen, and I think that’s when the nerves really started to set in, especially for my bridesmaids!! Everyone started kind of freaking out, especially when Danielle started getting everyone lined up to walk down the aisle. Shivonne was cursing me out for making her go first and my dad had a major shoe crisis (LOL – just thinking about it makes me laugh), where literally 30 seconds before the doors opened for the bridesmaids he realized that there was a big smudge on his shoe, so he ran into the corner of the room and started licking his finger and rubbing his shoe….I die.
For some reason, I was really not nervous at all (really, I’m telling the truth!). I guess that’s a good thing (lol), but I was more excited than anything for the doors to open and for things to start coming to life. I really think that the bride may have been the calmest person in the room, which is pretty funny!
Danielle and her assistant Bailey were the ones to open the doors for us, and Bailey was still outside the doors in the cocktail hour space, so Danielle called her in, and the doors were opened for the bridesmaids!
It was totally surreal to stand off to the side and watch my girls begin their walk down the aisle one by one. They could see everything, and I couldn’t see anything, it was a very weird feeling! The music was absolutely beautiful (they walked down the aisle to a piano version of the song “A Thousand Years” which I totally love), and everything just seemed to fall into place. Once Lindsay had started down the aisle, Bailey and Danielle closed the doors, and my dad and I got to step into the doorway and get centred. I just couldn’t wait for the doors to open, I was dying to see Matt and see everyone altogether at the front, and see the space and how the décor had come together. I was ready to get this show on the road!
I heard the music change and was so relieved that we had hired our DJ to do the music for the ceremony. It was totally seamless to have the songs change, and that was something that I had been really worried about. Finally, Danielle and Bailey opened up the doors, and there we were face to face with just about everyone we knew!
For all of the times that I pictured walking down the aisle, it all went by in such a blur that I wish I could pick out more details to share with you. Some moments that stuck out to me:
- My dad tripping on my dress about 5 seconds into the walk (nobody seemed to notice except for his business partner who commented on it later on LOL)
- The front of the room with my bridesmaids on one side and Matt’s groomsmen on the other side looked as spectacular as I had always imagined it. I gave myself a mental high-five for choosing the rich red colour for the bridesmaid dresses, they looked stunning against the white backdrop.
- Matt looked handsome as a devil at the front. I couldn’t see his face from the end of the aisle, but he looked like he had it together. I later was told that he was teary, but from where I was standing he looked pretty good!!
- The aisle runner was a satin white material, and it was sent by my décor company as a last ditch attempt to kill me. The thing was a slip and slide. I nearly bailed on it at least 15 times walking down the aisle, and to my horror, realized that the stairs up to the stage were also coated in the satanic satin.
- I locked eyes with my bridesmaids Adrienne’s mom (Christie) and noticed that she was wearing the most beautiful bright yellow dress
- I locked eyes with Matt’s mom who looked a little teary and mouthed the words “absolutely beautiful”
- I locked eyes with my own mom, who also looked a little teary
Once we got to the front (all of the above sounds like a lot, but it probably all registered in about 10 seconds or less), I gave my dad a hug, and was so happy to get to Matt. We made our way carefully up the satin stairs of death, and I had a moment where I really and truly felt myself falling backwards, but I guess it must have all been in my head because nobody else seemed to see anything.
I was so happy to finally be there and to have Matt see me. It felt like a huge amount of stress had been lifted off of me at that point because the secrets were over no more hiding out in the hotel from each other or sneaking around corners etc etc
Our officiant was named Anne, and she was absolutely wonderful. Anne has this wonderful calm energy about her, and although she wasn’t always a perfect match for my Type -A, mile-a-minute personality, she was exactly, and I repeat, exactly what we needed on our wedding day. She was very personal, and managed somehow to weave little tidbits about us into the ceremony all the way through, without really knowing very much about us at all, she made us feel like she really did understand us and understand our relationship. And after so many years of doing this, perhaps she did! My very favorite line from the entire ceremony was when Anne reminded us how important it was to continue making happy memories together and to continue taking time for our relationship. She reminded us of our annual trip to Andrew’s Scenic Acres, where Matt had proposed, and urged us to “keep going”. That part was probably the most emotional of the ceremony for me, and the closest that I came to losing it.
Poor Matt struggled a bit with repeating the vows that Anne read out to him. I felt for the guy because he definitely had the tougher job of us two. He had to go first, and it was tough to hear Anne because she was whispering beside the microphone, and asking us to speak right into the microphone. Trouble hearing her combined with a bit of nerves made for a bit of a stumbly vow reading, but I had it much easier because I had already heard Matt say the words! We said our vows and then took a trip down the satin stairs of death to sign our marriage license with Matt’s best man Jeff and my maid of honour Lindsay.
I loved the music that we had chosen for the ceremony, and was so happy with the execution of the different song choices. Over the Rainbow (a Bob Marley re-make) was the song that was playing while we signed our registry, and after I had signed my part, I remember sitting there just kind of bobbing back and forth, totally peaceful. I think I waved at my 12 year old cousin Jackie and at my grandma, I was really happy and just feeling like the weight of the world was off my shoulders at that point.
We made our way back up the stairs and were only at the front for a moment while Anne gave us a few words of encouragement for our marriage. She made an announcement about our Lebanese food station during cocktail hour and I think for some reason I decided that was an appropriate time to “fist pump” with my flower bouquet….such a loser…. and then finally pronounced us husband and wife!
The Kiss: Tada!
Our Taylor Swift song (Today Was A Fairytale) came on to walk out to, I gave another fist pump with my bouquet (I was loving that apparently!) and the whole room started to cheer! It was awesome, such a happy memory. I will never forget it.
We got to the back of the room and into the “holding pen”, and basically got assaulted by all of our wedding party and family who were filing in behind us. A lot of really happy moments in that holding pen as well as everyone hugged us and said congratulations. Matt’s groomsman Syl was the first one to hug me, followed by my own brother Ramsey (we got this picture, and I really like it, it’s one of the more natural ones that we got that day!).
Once the excitement had died down a bit and once all of our guests had filed out of the ceremony space and into the cocktail hour foyer, we all went back into the ceremony space to do our formal pictures with family.
Our photographers executed with military precision working through our shot-list like clockwork. I was so thankful that we had taken the time to put together that detailed shot list, even though it all seemed like it was so obvious that we would want each of those pictures. My brain was out the window, and I just wasn’t in a frame of mind that I could clearly remember who needed to be in what picture. The list made it super easy, and the photographers just called up every family member for each picture one at a time, and it all went super smoothly.
It probably took about 30 minutes to get all of our formal pictures done, and then it was just our wedding party that was going to head outside to do some more fun pictures against the Toronto skyline. I had put a lot of thought into what props and cute shots that I wanted to use, and we had a big Tupperware bin full of props that we were carting out to the street with us.
We headed down into the lobby and got some pictures by the famous clock-tower. I just loved having our whole wedding party all together in the lobby, and again just loved all of the attention from people oohing and ahhing over seeing us all together! We headed outside into the rain and the wind, and dang it was cold.
I will confess at this point that my mom had fought tooth and nail for me to let her buy black fur stole’s for all of my girls, and a white fur stole for me. I had fought her every step of the way insisting that we didn’t need them, that it was a waste of money etc etc, and we eventually landed on black pashmina’s for the bridesmaids, black fur stoles for the maids of honour and a white fur stole for me. (All faux fur by the way – much love to my animal peeps!). I have to totally give the point to my mom on this one, we would have frozen like popsicles without those cover-ups (actually, I think the bridesmaids did freeze as it was, but without the pashminas it would have been even worse!). The weather was nasty and it wasn’t ideal to be outside at all, but we made the best of it, and the traffic on the street was so supportive. As soon as we started crossing the road everyone started honking their horns and cheering and making a big fuss for us, it was so much fun that it kind of made me forget about the weather!
Our plan was to do some pictures outside of Union Station, which had just opened up after nearly 2.5 years of renovations on the exterior. It really looks beautiful now, with big stone pillars outside and a really nice, antique old look to it. I had contacted Union Station to ask if we needed a photo permit and had been told that no we didn’t need a permit to take photos outside of the station. As it turned out, I guess that wasn’t right because it just so happened that there was ANOTHER bride that was outside the station trying to take photos as well! Of all the luck!?
At first I was a bit sad to see another bride because it meant that I wasn’t the only bride of the day anymore, but as Matt pointed out (as only Matt could), I really got to be the “rockstar bride” because the other bride didn’t seem to want much to do with us or the street and was kind of hidden away under the awning while we got all of the attention on the street! There was some drama where they actually asked the Union Station officials to kick us off the property, but our photographers came up big and negotiated with them just long enough to get the rest of the pictures that we wanted. I think the guy kind of felt bad because he came back a few minutes later and said, “Look…technically our property line is here on the sidewalk…so if you stood on this side of the line…there’s nothing that I could do about it….”. 🙂
In any case, we got some great pictures outside, and in hindsight I am super thrilled with all of them. We got some fun ones using the props that I had brought, including some painted letters C-A-R-S (for Cristina, Adrienne, Rachel and I to hold up) and some picture frames and overall I was really happy with the pictures that we got. The wedding party took off once we were done outside, and Matt and I did just a few more pictures on our own outside the hotel and on the stairs leading into the lobby. These ones turned out really nice as well, overall we were really happy with all of our pictures.
After our pictures were done, we headed back into the cocktail hour, but secretly through a side door so that we didn’t get mauled (LOL) so that we could get into our reception ballroom before everyone else entered to take a look at the decor and how everything had come to life. We met up with my parents at this point (I’m not sure where exactly they came from!) and stepped into the Concert Hall at the Royal York where Danielle was waiting for us with a tray of appetizers (god bless that woman, seriously).
I devoured as many mini-cheeseburgers as I could fit in my mouth, nodded approvingly at the decor and the room layout, and then we snuck back out of the Concert Hall and through the adjoining room into the ceremony space, where our wedding party was waiting for us with the rest of our immediate families, getting ready for our big entrances into the reception!
I have to say that this 10 minutes or so was up there in my list of top moments from the entire day! I had sent several emails out in the previous weeks about people entering to the reception. We were hoping that our wedding party would step up and make the entrances memorable, but nobody really seemed overly enthused about it in the days leading up to the wedding (especially the guys!). We took a chance and I had gone to a Halloween super store a couple of weeks before the wedding and picked up a bunch of fun props for people to use on their entrances (boas, hats, bling, glow sticks, scarves, ties etc etc). Sure enough, once we put down that big tupperware bin of props, our wedding party totally got into it, and everyone dove on the box to start rifling through for props to use and choreographing their entrances with their partner down to the step!! It was absolutely hilarious for Matt and I because we were just sitting there on the stage watching all of this go down in sheer and utter amazement. I remember laughing so hard watching it all happen in front of me.
Danielle came to get us around 6:30pm once everyone had entered the reception space and the doors had closed, and we once again got all lined up to enter the room. This time it was my parents who were cursing me out because they ended up going first (my mom felt particularly strongly about that LOL), but everyone did an amazing job, and the entrances were truly awesome. I haven’t seen the video footage yet, but I really can’t wait to!!
Just before Matt and I entered, I thought that I was going to be down one groom because Matt seemed to need a moment to collect his thoughts, and kind of doubled over with his hands on his knees (read: being a weird goalie with a head problem lol). He totally freaked me out before I remembered that he was a goalie and just being a headcase lol it was our turn to enter and I think we both just kind of blacked out for that whole part LOL, we came in to the song “Everybody” (better known as “Backstreet’s Back”) by the Backstreet Boys (oh the shame lol) and we kind of danced around a bit before we transitioned into our first dance.
I must say, I was so, so happy that Matt and I had taken a couple of ballroom dancing lessons because it was a huge, massive relief to have something to do while we were out on that dance floor all by ourselves! Our first song was “Then” by Brad Paisley, and everything went fairly smoothly, except for a bit of stepping on the dress (sigh), but we were really happy with how it all went (and I think we were both a bit relieved when it was over too!). We did get some great pictures of the dance, and of our dip grand finale! 🙂
After the first dance, we were quite relieved to go and sit down and to eat! Our DJ did a pretty good job of controlling the crowd, he totally ad-libbed a dancing challenge that people had to do to get us to kiss (instead of the totally annoying clinking of the glasses), and had our ringette family tables demonstrate to the YMCA, which totally cracked me up, and definitely deserved a kiss. After that, there was some more house keeping stuff, and then the first course was served, which was a totally delicious Caesar salad. Sounds pretty basic, I know, but let me tell you about this Caesar salad….to die for. Matt (being the salad-loathing type that he is) was the only person in the whole room to be served a bowl of tomato soup instead of the salad! Pays to be the groom I guess?! 😉 We also served La Scala champagne (my favorite, and one of the only types that I like!) to be used for toasts!
While the appetizers were served, Neil and Lindsay did the first two speeches, and they were absolutely fantastic. I was so touched and so impressed with how wonderfully the speeches all came together. They were the perfect blend of sweet and funny and serious, and I just loved hearing every single one of them.
Between the appetizer and entree course, Matt and I got up to start visiting tables and saying hello to as many people as we could. We started on our right side of the room, but really that was a mistake, as it turned out that the majority of our families were on the left side of the room, and we just ran out of time and didn’t make it over to the left side of the room. That was a huge regret, and another logistics thing that I would have changed, if only I could 😦
We did get in great visits with everyone on the right hand side of the room including my family from Lebanon, Matt’s Red Lake crew and friends from Brussels, my dad’s work colleagues, my friends from the gym, Matt’s running friends and Matt’s groomsmen’s girlfriends.
What we didn’t realize while we were visiting was that the staff at the Royal York was waiting for us to sit down before they served the main course! Danielle had to come over and tell us that they were waiting for us to sit down, because of course nobody had bothered to tell us that from the Royal York. In fact, I had not communicated one word with one single person from the Royal York hotel that entire day to that point. With that information, we did sit down, and sure enough, the main courses were served right away.
Our main course options were a beef tenderloin that was melt in your mouth tender and a potato Savoyard (basically a big square of potatoes cooked with cheese and all kinds of yummy stuff), a chicken breast stuffed with goat cheese and a roasted red pepper mashed potato or a yummy vegetarian option which was a tomato stuffed with wild rice and bean mash and this big veggie spring roll that was actually pretty tasty. Both Matt and I had chosen the beef, but when the plate was put in front of me, I was disappointed by the Royal York yet again, because the potatoes weren’t what we had selected at the tasting, they were a mashed potato and not the potato Savoyard. Again, I was frustrated for about 20 seconds, and then decided, to hell with it, and mashed potatoes it was going to be. And I’ll admit, they were pretty good 🙂
During the entrée course, we heard speeches from Matt’s best man Jeff, my maid of honour Bailey and also Matt’s parents (who also brought up Matt’s three brothers with them to make it kind of a full family speech). Again, I really loved all of their speeches, everyone did such a beautiful job. I laughed because both Lindsay and Bailey mentioned my 21st birthday party where Matt had flown from Edmonton to surprise me in Waterloo. Guess that move really paid off for him! 😉
We did a little more visiting around tables after the entrée course had been cleared (and at some point in there my friends Kelly and Maggie from the gym, and my Dad’s colleague’s wife Lisa got up and danced to “Sexy and I Know It” to get us to kiss!) before dessert was served. We served two desserts alternating between each person, one was a sticky toffee pudding with salted caramel sauce and fresh cream (to die for) and one was a chocolate trio with a chocolate mousse, chocolate cake and chocolate brownie. Matt and I had reached a total stalemate when we were doing the menu tasting, I was firmly on Team Caramel, and Matt was solidly on Team Chocolate. We couldn’t get agreement with my family either (who was at the tasting), so we decided to go the alternating route. We had asked our DJ to actually announce the two desserts and explain what had gone on and why there were the two options, but with everything going on, he must have forgotten because it never got done. Ah well 🙂
After dessert, it was time for our speeches. I had been a bit frustrated with myself for how much trouble I had putting down the right words for my speech. I was in the field at work for the year leading up to my wedding and had spent a lot of time on the 407 highway back and forth from the East and North GTA, and I always seemed to do my best thinking on those long stretches of open highway, but when I would get back to a computer and try and put the words down on the screen, I would come up empty. I had made some good progress earlier in the week, but was still not totally happy with how it had come together. I knew that Matt wasn’t feeling too happy with how his speech had come together either, so I wasn’t sure how either of us were going to do!
Thankfully, our speeches went very well, and I was really happy with them. Thank goodness my words came out more warmly and with more emotion then they had on the piece of paper, and I got some good laughs from the crowd (thank God LOL). Matt did a great job with his speech too, and again, we were both relieved to get through them in one piece and to have them go well!
As I had stood up to walk to the podium for our speech, my big massive train on my dress had come unbustled. Danielle and my mom had struggled to get it bustled in the first place, and I figured that I would have to go and bother them again to help me get it re-bustled, BUT what actually ended up happening was that as soon as our speeches were over, our DJ called me and my Dad to the dance floor for our first dance!! Yikes!!
My first dance with my Dad was to “Your Song” by Elton John, which is a song that we both love. I had actually wanted that to be my first dance with Matt, but Matt convinced me otherwise. There was a bit of stepping on the dress again, and I think we got a bit off-time on our slow “waltz” (my Dad had also taken some lessons with my mom for ballroom dancing, and I had jumped in for the last few minutes on their last lesson to learn a few steps for our dance), but we had a lot of fun and everything was just perfect. Check out the #bustlefail below:
Matt’s first dance with his mom immediately followed me and my Dad, and they danced to a super sweet song called “All To You” by Scott Keo.
After that, it was time to get the party started! Our DJ did a great job of getting everyone onto the dance floor by asking all of the couples to come up and dance to “Can’t Help Falling in Love with You” by Elvis, and then once that song was over jumping right into Uptown Funk by Bruno Mars. His strategy totally worked, and our dance floor was packed the entire night. I was a bit selfish and totally stayed on the dance floor for most of the night, while Matt did the right thing and went around to do some more visiting as well.
Some highlights from the party:
- The GUYS?! Matt’s groomsmen and my bridesmaids boyfriends absolutely CRACKED.ME.UP. with their dancing!!! Shivonne’s boyfriend Dan was so hysterical and actually ended up splitting his pants on the dance floor, Kelly’s fiancé Geoff was right up there too, and Matt’s groomsman Duncan had actually spent the past three weeks teaching himself to dance by watching YouTube videos to “prepare” for this dance floor?! LOL. They didn’t disappoint, and the guys were absolutely the life of the party.
- The Lebanese music that we had asked our DJ to include in the playlist was a huge hit!! We loved dancing to it and I think our guests totally got into it and enjoyed the cultural flare! My relatives from Lebanon also stepped up huge and got everyone involved in a Debke line, which was very cool!
- The sweets table was a hit, but by the time that I realized the stations were out, the grilled cheese sandwiches were completely gone?! I actually never found a single person who got some of the grilled cheese?! Whoever got there early must have swiped them all?! 😉 I got to taste some of Troy’s beautiful red velvet cake, and I had actually just picked up a piece of the cake in my hands and was going to take a bite when Troy came up right behind me and tapped me on the shoulder to say, get a plate!! The cake turned out delicious and was absolutely perfect on the desserts table.
- One of Matt’s hockey buddies had had a couple of drinks (lol!) and was totally into the party. None of my family or friends knew who he was and I had a couple of people storm up to me and ask if he was a wedding crasher, and if they should kick him out!! Lol!!
- We snuck outside with our photographers to take some night time pictures (much to my dismay – I was way into the party and basically had to get dragged outside to do these pictures!), but I was glad to get them in the end.
- My friend Siara kept bringing me little tiny screwdriver drinks because the bar wasn’t serving shots, so she just had them pour a shot of vodka into a tiny splash of orange juice LOL
- Matt’s brother Neil dancing up a storm with a giant pirate hat on his head with their little girl cousins
- Tossing the bouquet and aiming for my maid of honour Lindsay (we had some history with bouquet catching after our friend Siara’s wedding lol)
We had an absolutely awesome time at our party, and I was so sad when it was over. There was still a big crowd there right until 1am when the lights came on, and the last song was “Time Of Your Life”, which was absolutely appropriate. My mom actually went up to our DJ and was trying to convince him to stay for another hour by paying him off!! Lol!!
We gathered up all of the maple sugar candies from the tables (they had come together really well, Dianne absolutely came through with thousands of the little treats!!) and started to find our way back to our suite. I was with Lindsay, her boyfriend Lee and Matt on our way back to the honeymoon suite so that Lindsay and Lee could get their bags, and several of my other bridesmaids were in a separate party also trying to find the suite so that they could get their bags. This was the part where things got a bit crazy, people lost in the hallways of hotels, Matt got separated from us somehow and ended up roaming the halls of the 8th floor calling my name looking for me (LOL), but in the end, everyone got their bags and Matt and I ended up opening up some of our gifts in our suite, eating some very fresh, delicious coconut macaroons that the hotel had left for us, and passing out around 3:30am. It was somewhere around here that I realized that I hadn’t had to go to the bathroom in over 16 hours?!?!? I hadn’t gone once all day, and still didn’t have to go, and I had been drinking different liquids all day!!? Camel bladder for the win!!!
We were up around 9:30am or 10:00am and downstairs for brunch with everyone, where there was some more chaos still to come! First of all, you could clearly identify who had forgotten to bring various articles of clothing because the guys were still wearing their suits, or their dress shoes or the girls were still wearing their heels with their casual clothes! Matt’s brother Scott had had a mix-up where their cousin had accidentally picked up his backpack from the guys suite and poor Dianne and him had spent half the night trying to figure out what had happened with the hotel staff, but they had finally gotten to the bottom of it. I just laughed and laughed at that brunch, there were so many funny stories from the day and the night before. We were telling them for the rest of the day and for the rest of the week. To be honest, we’re still telling them now!!
We spent the rest of Sunday packing up our stuff at the Royal York (we ended up taking a big SUV cab home with Matt and Neil because there was no space in cars for us!), and went over to my parents for a dinner with lots of our family and a few friends as well.
We got home later in the evening and had a relaxing night with Syl and Kayla, Matt’s family and Jeff and Landon (the other groomsmen and their girlfriends had had to leave straight from the hotel). Matt and I were off to Great Wolf Lodge for a few days of fun the next day, and there was tons to do! We opened up the majority of our gifts, writing down in each card what everyone had so generously given us, and just told more and more stories. There was so much laughter that night, it was the perfect way to celebrate the end of our perfect wedding day.
This has been a mammoth post, it’s taken weeks and weeks to write, but I am so thankful to have the memories from this day! I still think about our wedding day all the time and re-play the moments from it fondly in my head. We were so fortunate to be surrounded by so much love and happiness on that day, and every day in our lives. Our wedding really brought our attention to how lucky we are to have our friends and our families. We are a truly blessed couple, and so grateful.