Alternate title: Why catering your own wedding *isn’t* your best bet.
Alternate alternate title: Dogs and weddings, a cute photo op or a ticking time bomb of body fluids?
Welcome back to what I hope to be the epic conclusion of my first post, in which you were regaled with a thrilling recount of my/our romantic history and all of the details about our soon to be dream big day. We’ve done a lot of things since we last talked weddings-survived a delightfully full summer of great tunes, new friends,
grand adventures, kick ass food and a lot of gettin’ hitched (both personally and professionally 🙂 And here we are-I’m delighted to tell you about the best day of our lives, that also happened to be a glorious shit show for the books. (All the more thrilling a tale to regail you with, my dear).
So what have I learned during this time?
- Hire a wedding planner. I don’t care how you have to work it into your budget, don’t get married until you can afford this step. We would have gone down in flames like riding a bicycle through hell, while the bicycle is also on fire if it wasn’t for our wedding planner, Heather (of the most excellent Bowtie Services). Listen- you probably haven’t done this before. Or maybe you have. Or maybe you’re like me, where helping put together weddings is literally your business. But you still don’t know all the things that are going to come up on your particular day that you haven’t even thought of, that you sure as heck don’t want to deal with when you’re fancy as f. Who will clear the dishes after dinner? What is the order of events (you don’t want to care, but you will need to know) What happens when you have to have an awkward conversation about bringing kids/weird boyfriend/ etc? What happens if you don’t end up having enough wine glasses? Who is going to take down all of your things when you’re drunk/hungover/ eating brunch/enjoying newly married life? Your planner knows what to do and will hold your hand through it.
- That chilling the f*ck out feels a lot better than bridezilla. I tried to remember perspective through all this (like when it rained all day, like when I broke my toe two weeks before the wedding,
Like when I realized I had misplaced my citizenship/passport & birth certificate that I needed to *actually* get married, like when my cake didn’t make it to the reception in one piece, like when I discovered a massive tick burrowing into my arm on my wedding morning, like when our truck tire blew and we had to switch all our tires out on the spot-already running an hour late to our wedding rehearsal, and dinner we were making).
There is this book that Rad made me read when we started dating. (We both had “required reading” lists for our prospective spouse-some of my examples include ‘Eating Animals’ and ‘When God was a Rabbit’). One of his was ‘The Way of the Peaceful Warrior.’ It both blew my mind and made me angry at the same time. To summarize- the character sees his own death, and watches as he decomposes, and then time starts to speed up and his body becomes the earth, and the earth continues to cycle on and on for thousands and then hundreds of thousands of years. And his existing was just this tiny second in the history of the earth. And for some reason, as morbid as it is, I find it oddly comforting. Especially for situations like this. In the scheme of things, it doesn’t matter. This one tiny thing in this one tiny day in this one tiny life just isn’t worth getting upset about, and as with most things-your choice as to how you react and emote to things can change a whole situation in a minute.
- There is a reason that people get married before they have children. Number one is for practical reasons. When you have children, you tend to know a lot of other people who have children. Unlike getting married in your early 20’s, where most of your friends have a plus one at most-when you get married at this stage, your guest list gets unintentionally huge pretty fast. Second, there tends to be a lot of parenting that has to happen when kids are getting overindulged in almost every way imaginable. Late bedtimes? Check! Lots of treats and sugar? Check! All your favorite people letting you do all your favorite things?Check!
Behind the adorable photos was arguing with my best man (and child) about why he can’t eat the smushed wedding cake, and a million photos like this:
Having kids be part of this day made it pretty damn magical as well though. My youngest addressed each and every of our 120 invites delightfully with thought and love, they made each stage fun and were thrilled about all the exciting things planned, and it was just so very lovely to have them be part of it. They still both talk about it on a loop, and remember details that we totally missed.
Plus, adults just aren’t this cute…
- Learn when to say no. When I had my first kid, I wanted everything new. I had so many kind offers to have or borrow almost new big ticket baby items, and I turned them all down. Then I turned into an environmentalist and was horrified by all the chances I lost to own less, buy less, create less waste and reuse things that already exist as long as we can. On top of that, my kid never would sleep in their damn crib. Not once. It’s like I just wanted to set some cash on fire. So. Fast forward to wedding planning, where so many kind folks offered so many lovely things-I wasn’t going to make the same mistake again, a wedding is an even shorter time than the baby stage! Fool me once….. Turns out though, it didn’t translate the same. Here’s how it went. Me: Oh, that’s so cute-can I borrow that one thing? Other kind person: Of course!! (while putting in that bag that one thing, and also 20 other little things that of course we would want cause we’re also getting married. Which is so kind and thoughtful but read on…) Now times this by 10. So here we are with a literal truck full of things from other people’s weddings. Which we brought everywhere because “we might use them”. Which we didn’t use. Which started to fall apart while being moved. Which alternately had a bunch of tiny pieces to misplace. Which was a gifted bag of candy dishes and tiny surprise(!) knives. Which all had different homes that they needed to be returned to right after the wedding. It turned into a saga all it’s own. So learn from my mistakes-saying no when you need to can save you a world of heartache. Or at least a world of pain in your ass.
- Pets. While dogs might seem like the best idea in the world (we chose our venue firstly based on our ability to bring our dogs along), In this case it was with mixed results. Photos? Adorable. Backstage? Our darling dog of honor getting a wicked bladder infection. How did we know?
Many bad things, all during the reception.
Our angel “person of honor” Tam, took Daisy to an emergency after hours vet, but had to miss most of the party. Thankfully Daisy had a near complete recovery, but we missed a big part of the fun due to a sick pup. Realistically, it might not have been any better if we were apart from her when it happened-moral of the story, have plants not pets. Just kidding, we have a million pets and think you should too.
Okay, so here is the part where I gloss over all of the behind the scenes disaster/hilarity and I recount our wedding like you’re reading it in a magazine. Why? Because no matter how cynical I was about matrimony, I read the hell out of every wedding story I ever got my hands on. So…in all it’s “glossing over reality glory”….
Christina and Radford
Leopard Frog Farm, Battersea Ontario
September 28th 2019
The setting: Light rain set the tone for the nuptials on this lush property on the banks of Loughborough Lake. Guests assembled in an old barn surrounded by mature trees, beautiful flowers and the rolling hills of the Canadian sheild.
From the rafters were strung rainbow bunting, hand made by mother-in-law Sandi and one of her best friends. Tables were set with embroidered antique linens, fine china, and exquisite glass and serving wear from Radford’s grandmother’s collection.
Our fancy hair came from: Jenni from Chic Salon
Food provided by: Knifey Spooney and friends, Tandoori Sizzle and our kick ass day of kitchen crew Jess, Olivia and Kristen.
Floral Arrangements and bouquets by: Brock Jones Crow and Julia Muth. Friends of the bride and groom (Brock walked by the patio we were having our first date on, sat down and essentially never got up. And here we are)
Truly incredible, our floral arrangements were all organic, local, seasonal and lovingly collected.
They were created with plants in our yard at home, as well as a huge selection of Tam’s edible flowers, kale, herbs etc from Real Food Gananoque. Tim and Tracy from Main Street Market also showed up with lush food/flowers aplenty. Much of our bouquets were edible, using huge stalks of Brussels sprouts, amaranth, and kale to honor of our love of food.
My gorgeous dress: From Bridal Creations who, despite my best efforts to purchase a dress second hand, got me on a “just trying on for size” love at first sight scenario.
Photography by: Liz Cooper Photography. I feel like her work speaks for itself. We also had the pleasure of catering her wedding this February and she’s a really, really lovely and talented human.
Wedding planner extraordinaire: Heather of Bowtie Events. See above description on how she was one of the best choices we made.
Officiant: Katie Rose Buckley was a breath of fresh air to find after an acquaintance declined to marry us because it was against their religious beliefs. Ouch.
Katie helped guide us through a non religious ceremony that wasn’t quite “vows in a canoe” like Rad had wanted, but was personal and wonderful in the barn as the rain fell.
Sounds: We had Barb McDougall who is in my (and probably more professional people’s more legit) opinion, a musical savant- play guitar and sing during our ceremony and reception. She has a deep and powerful voice, and hearing her sing my favorite song while I walked up the aisle was all together too much. We heard her first at the market that we also work at, and she has before(and since) made me weep while making lobster rolls, so of course I was a damn mess.
My wonderful friend, Lynette (previously of Sleepless Goat fame) played a strong hip hop set, with many an Elton John request from Lola.
Non-Conventional touches: We’re fortunate to be involved in the thriving arts and maker community here in Kingston. One of our talented friends, Barb, made us a prayer flag banner to which people could add wishes (and random quotes, and bathroom words because my friends are children), while re purposing scrap materials. ( We really *really* wanted to do our best by the environment for this day.)
Instead of a traditional garter and bouquet toss,
We had all people regardless of gender and marital status (because gender is a societal construct, and because being single is awesome and important and romantic love is fetishized by our culture *stepping down off soapbox) come together and threw a stuffed dog-who ever caught it would be the next to get a pet.
Where the bride and groom honeymooned: We have a three part honeymoon because we own a business and can’t actually get away for long. Part one: Foodie adventure to Canoe (54th floor of the TD tower in Toronto) and dress up for her. Part two: off grid living at Ravenhouse outside of Gananoque for him. To come, leaving North America!
Wishes for the future: That food continues to taste as sweet, passion for life/each other/adventure/growth/fun continue to blossom for a lifetime.
Thanks a million for your love and well wishes friends. We were and are to this day humbled and honored to be part of your community and lives.