Short on wedding, long on party.

Monday, November 20, 2006

The details are coming back to me, now...

For those who want the blow-by-blow account of the week...here it is!

WHAT. A GREAT. WEEKEND!

But oh, my god, the work it took to get there. And, um, the work it’ll take you to read this sucker. If you make it all the way through, you’re a trooper.

And for those who prefer short stories to novels: The weather was perfect the whole week before, everyone who said they’d come came, no one crashed, there was no drama and nothing went wrong. It was perfectly perfect. Best part…hard to pick just one thing, but I did love when the Royal Kephanie Kazoo Orchestra, with ukuleles, played When I’m 64. That was pretty cool. What I would have done differently…I’d have taken off work from the Wednesday on. Taking off just one day before the weekend was frankly stupid. However, it all went off without a hitch (except the intended one) in the end.

Now, for you long recap lovers…

The weekend before

We have an incredibly packed schedule. Kravitz, one of my attendants, throws a wine shower for us, which is super-awesome. But before it and afterward, we run around like crazy, getting furnishings for the new room (which still isn’t quite finished at this point), cleaning the rest of the renovation-messy house and generally trying to make things nice for the wave of incoming guests. Saturday night, a good friend has a major CD release party. We go, and she makes us dance in front of everyone because we’re engaged. Good, but embarrassing, times. Sunday, second verse, same as the first, but throw in a rehearsal of our kazoo orchestra, plus an old friend I haven’t seen in years who happens to be in town and drops by for tea. By day’s end, my eyes are like spirals, because…

Monday night
…my mother and sister arrive, and are staying with us, and the house still looks like a bomb went off in it, and their rooms are nowhere near ready. But they are super cheerful about the state of me, Kevan and the house in general. They bring The Dress with them, and it is everything I could have wanted it to be. It fits slightly snug, but we think with the right bra, that’ll be taken care of. So we ooh and ahh over that for a while. We eat the lasagne I tried to make a day ahead, but ended up putting together on the fly after work. And we play Boggle till a million o-clock, which is roughly when Kevan manages to move his drums out of what is normally his music room, but is to be my mom’s room for the week. Good times. Did I already say that?

Tuesday through Thursday
I continue to freak out. Somehow, the renovation gets finished. One coat of chocolate brown epoxy on the new concrete floor, some high baseboards, and the new room looks amazing. You’d never guess that a month earlier, it had been rotting off its foundation. Realistically, the floor needs to cure for three days, but um, that ain’t happening. Kevan moves all the furniture in, decorates the room beautifully, and we hope for the best.

During this time, I have many, many small freakouts. The to-do list looms large, and I just don’t have the time. Kevan is fixated on the backyard and doing some big project to it; I am determined that we focus on the interior of the house. Eventually, after I cry in the basement one morning because I am so frustrated, we figure out how to row in the same direction, and things go much more smoothly after that. Also, Wednesday night, Kevan’s brother and sister-in-law arrive, and they totally take over the care and feeding of the house. I mean, sis-in-law even washes my floors for me. They are my new favourite relatives. Most out-of-towners are in town at this point, and our house is the main hang-out space, which is both awesome and awful. It is so amazing to see everyone in one place. But we never have a moment to ourselves, and I am constantly called on to make decisions about stuff about which I simply don’t care. I do the best I can. I develop a sore throat that never really goes away. Thursday night, my mom, sister, cousin, sister-in-law, aunts and friends gather at our place to wrap our bombonniere (fancy Italian word for favours): two gourmet chocolates from the farmers’ market. We wrap them in green and ivory tissue paper and then in cellophane and tie them with chocolate brown ribbon. They are cute, and I don’t care if they’re all uniform or anything because, hello, it’s not like people are going to compare them to each other. It takes me roughly half an hour to explain to the assembled (except my sister and mother, god love them) that I actually don’t care exactly how they do them. “But they have to be perfect,” an aunt insists, “you have to take control!” Somehow, we reach an understanding, and the wedding sweatshop commences. It is the last project to complete, and I am damn glad at the end of the night to have had such amazing help.

Friday
I take the day off work. Finally! I’m entitled to five days matrimonial leave, and really wanted to have the week after the wedding off, but in retrospect, I probably should have taken a couple days before the wedding off, too. In any event, Friday. I have achieved a kind of serenity. The to-do list is totally under control. Many, many people are helping, and anyway, there is a sense of inevitability. If it’s not done by now, it probably doesn’t matter much.
Friday night, I take a gang of out of towners to the Shore Club in Hubbards for the lobster supper. So fun. The weather is incredibly beautiful, which you can’t always count on in Halifax, the drive is beyond scenic, and it feels so good to just relax with family and have a blast. Meanwhile, back at the house, Kevan’s stag party is underway. Road hockey in front of the house, then lobsters and burgers for all. When I get home from Hubbards, it’s CHAOS. Lobsters bubbling away, beer everywhere, the kitchen an unholy mess. I do a little damage control, then say what the hell and crack a beer. Our excellent friends across the street brewed a hundred beers for us as a wedding gift. They are delicious. I relax with one of those while the party rages on.
Eventually, the party moves down to Gus’s Pub, a very divey bar directly across the street from our venue. Kevan has a gig there, so we all go see him play. It is insane. Awesome. He’s on fire, the crowd consists of half his friends and our guests, and half drunk old man nutters, who heckle like crazy. One guy sketches him from afar, and gives him the charcoal drawings afterward. It is super super fun. I roll home around 1am, while the fellas head downtown to party harder.

Saturday
We get up early and head to the farmers market, as is our habit. This is where most of our vendors are…we pick up our guest book (we photocopied the pages of I Like You, by Sandol Warburg and enlarged them, then had them bound into a book which is simply gorgeous) and flowers, two boxes of oysters for the rehearsal party, a comb for my hair. In addition to do wedding errands and digging the farmers market scene, we are also tour-guiding a handful of guests. Plus, we end up running into more out of town friends. Ah, the farmers market. Highlight of the weekend…well, besides the wedding, that is.
I make the executive decision to cancel a luncheon that was not coming together as neatly as it should have, and that honestly, none of us really had time to attend anyhow. Doing so makes me feel incredibly liberated.
Rest of the day…manicures and pedicures with mom, sister and Kravitz. Enforced relaxation and lots of fun. Highly recommended. Otherwise, we probably would have just been mindlessly busy all day. This was a great way to unwind with my closest women.
Then we checked the last few things off the list…banged together a playlist, for instance.
Then, suddenly, rehearsal. A few snafus in terms of time, but otherwise, it went well. Then back to the house for the big Italian dinner my mom cooked for everyone. It was cool and weird to watch our parents hang out together, and then after supper, we opened the house to everyone…out of town guests, extended family, neighbours. Kevan and his brother shucked oysters (earning them the name the brother-shuckers), more people nagged us about having kids (what the hell? Let us get married first, at least!), friends I hadn’t seen yet showed up and we all had a blast. By midnight, everyone was gone, and we collapsed into bed.

Sunday. The day!
We got up cheerful to a gorgeous sunny day and headed up the street to our favourite restaurant for brunch, along with mom, sister and Kravitz. We drank mimosas and had a great time.
Back at the house, our good friend T arrived to give us wedding day massages. This was incredible. So relaxing, and a great way to spend time with someone I don’t get to see very often. When I came downstairs after mine, everyone was gone. Kevan was upstairs for his massage, mom and sister had checked into their hotel and the house was quiet for the first time all week. That’s when I noticed the butterflies that had taken up residence in my belly. I wandered around the house, assembling stuff to take to the venue. But I was pretty distracted and ended up mostly just looking out the window. I felt devastatingly calm and thorougly excited.
When T was done massaging Kevan (so cute, with the blissed out expression and sticking up hair!), she and her sister dropped me off at the venue with the bombonniere and assorted other stuff. The venue, of course, is also where I get my hair done, which I was also there for. I sat in the chair and Fred, who was also gloriously calm, got out the big curling iron and started in on me. Kravitz and my sister showed up before long for hair and makeup. With big wedding curls in place, I took orders for sushi, and then Kevan and I headed downtown, but not beffore discovering that our car had been broken into, our Sears card, bridge tokens, ipod broadcaster and phone charger stolen. Huh. Oh well. Who cares, we’re getting married in two hours! We drove downtown, picked up the sushi, withdrew cash for the band, ran into a friend who said, “hey, what are you doing out here?” Such a funny moment, as if I should have rightly been sequestered away in some bridal castle, but got caught sneaking out for supplies. Everything felt magic. The air felt magic.
Things got serious back at the house. We ate sushi, though I could barely eat. I looked at the bucket of flowers I’d bought at the market the day before and thought, hmm, I should probably figure out how to make bouquets and boutonnieres. Huh. I got to work on those. Fortunately, my whole it-doesn’t-have-to-be-perfect thing was really working for me. I ended up putting together three of the bouquets our flower seller had assembled, wrapping the stems in florist tape and winding ribbon around it for myself, doing the florist tape and ribbon number on two more bouquets, one for my sister and one for Kravitz, and pulling out three good looking stems for boutonnieres for Kevan and his brothers. They were…charming, rather than elegant, and they were perfect and I loved them.
Then suddenly, it was time to get dressed. My sister worked on steaming my dress, while I put on my 556 dollars worth of expensive underwear (bra and matching underpants. Five hundred and fifty six dollars! But they made me look like a million bucks, so I guess it was a good deal) and stood around waiting. My mom was in the house, getting ready, too. Kravitz was there, and Kevan’s brothers and his youngest brother’s girlfriend. I couldn’t wait to put the dress on and get down to the business of marrying Kevan. He, meanwhile, was discovering his shirt needed ironing. Bounded down the stairs to the basement ironing board, bounded back up, bursting into the bedroom just as Kravitz had her pants off, to get her dress on. I shielded her with my crinoline, and eventually, we were all dressed.
Down the stairs, to admiring noises from new BILs. Had to ask youngest not to speak for a few minutes, as my mind somehow required silence and stillness. Finally, it was time to walk.

The evening was cool and clear, with a full moon. The venue – a salon/café/gallery is about a ten minute walk from our place, so we set off at a leisurely pace. I loved the parade of us, in our wedding finery, walking down the street together. As we approached the venue, the Sinister Minister came out to check in with us. It’s likely he told us to wait a few minutes before we headed in so he could let the crowd know and get them make a path for us. In the video my sister in law took, you can see Roy talking to us, and me nodding like I understand what he’s saying. Soon as he went back into the venue, we started walking in. Heh. Slight chaos.

We entered to cheers and hoots and hollers. The venue looked amazing, all candle-lit and gorgeous. Our friends and family also looked amazing, everyone dressed up, with fancy hair and happy looks on their faces. The first wave of affection rolled over us. We stood at the doors for sometime, waiting for the go sign from Roy. People snapped photos of us furiously. Red carpetly. Our music was supposed to be Her Majesty, by the Beatles, but we couldn’t hear it. Others could though, so I think we were just overwhelmed. And finally, we were walking down the aisle OH MY GOD. So fun.
We got married in front of four super-colourful paintings. The ceremony was exactly what we wanted it to be. Funny and sincere and totally us. We took our time and really relaxed in it. Our vows drew huge laughs. We also made the assembled friends and families make a few vows of their own. People loved it.

After we signed the required paperwork (on a clipboard, using each other’s backs for support), the Royal Kephanie Kazoo Orchestra played When I’m 64 and it was so hilariously awesome, I was as thrilled by it as if it had been a surprise, rather than something we pulled together. What was unexpected, and totally lovely, was that everyone else there sang along. Such a fabulous moment.

Three toasts afterward, and then we slipped away to the salon side for a few photos. Meanwhile, the party raged around us. The gypsy jazz band started sometime later, and people freaked out and danced all night. Every time we danced together, people applauded. Kevan thought they were just clapping for the band, but no, it was for us. When the cupcakes were wheeled out, people leapt on them, and devoured them. It was a cupcake free-for-all. The food was amazing, the band was fantastic, and everyone had a super time, including and especially us. When the gypsy jazz band took a break, one of the bands Kevan plays with set up and played a few songs, which was also great, and people danced to that music, too.

Around 1am, I gathered up everyone who remained, and paraded them back to our place, where we ate pizza, drank some more of those homemade beers and generally made merry till at 3am we sent everyone home and made our way up to bed, where there was indeed consummation, exhaustion be damned! And then we slept a few hours till they all came back one more time to our place for a fabulous brunch thrown by Kevan’s Dad and Shirley.

We brunched, we opened presents, we packed off a bit more family, we ate Chinese food with those who remained. We took a minimoon to Hubbards and stayed in a lovely cottage with some old friends. We packed the last of them off on Thursday afternoon, stood in the silence of our marital home for the first time since we got married and just smiled at each other.

It was a week that felt like a month but also felt like a minute. It was the hardest week I’ve had in a while, maybe ever, but in the end it was oh, so easy. Best decision of my life, appropriately celebrated with the most incredibly party we could imagine.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

So, how was YOUR Thanksgiving?

Ours was FANTASTIC, thanks to about a hundred and thirty of our closest friends and family.

Best. Weekend. EVER. We loved seeing each and every one of you...even the ones of you we barely got to see. If that includes you, please come visit us soon! We will make you dinner!

We've seen a few digital photos from the big night, including this awesome project you may have been part of, put together by one of our favourite Winnipeglians, Iris Yudai.

If you have photos of the night to share, please send them our way. We would love to see our party through your lens. We'll set up a flickr site, as well, so that anyone who's interested can take a look.

A frillion, zillion thank yous, to everyone who helped make our night so perfectly perfect. And, in case you're wondering, nine days in, married life suits us just fine. In fact, so happy with it are we that we fall asleep each night on the couch around 9pm. That's what married folks do, right?

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Wasn't that a party!

Well, it's after midnight here, and the preliminary tidy-up has been performed after the raucous rehearsal dinner-cum-house party. A fine time was had by all. Home brews were consumed, oysters were shucked, babies were passed around and the Habs beat the Leafs. I have to admit, that last part? Yeah, that wasn't my favourite part.

But it was super awesome to have our families meet each other, and to be surrounded by them all night long, and to have so many good friends close by, especially those from far away. We are so lucky to know such great people!

We are off to bed now, at last, at last. A few last minute tasks to do tomorrow...things involving flowers, mainly. Our good friend Tanya is giving us wedding massages, hurray!

Next time we see you, we'll be getting married!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

So, what are you doing on the weekend?

The soundtrack in my head these days is The Final Countdown. You'll all be with us in a week, which feels at once like an eternity and a single beat in a bad eurotrash anthem.

Ah, eurotrash.

But I digress. There won't be any eurotrash to be heard on Friday, October 7 at Gus's Pub in Halifax. Kevan's playing there, starting around 10pm. It's right across the street from FRED. The show is the middle part of Kev's bachelor party, so if you want to see a bunch of his pals all primed for a night on the town, that'll be the place to be.

But the evening's festivities actually start quite a bit earlier. If you're the lobster-eating type, join the lobster caravan heading to the Shore Club in Hubbards for the lobster supper. It's around 25 bucks for a small but satisfying lobster, plus all the mussels and salads you can eat, plus dessert, which is often blueberry grunt, which is very good indeed and if you've never tried it you really should. Hubbards is about a 40-minute drive from town, and if you want to go but don't have a car, let us know...a bunch of us are heading out and we should be able to fit you in somewhere. They start serving those lobsters at 4pm...we'll be leaving Halifax around that time, and we should be sitting down with lobster bibs on by 5pm. We'll see you there, we hope! Then the party moves back to town and over to Gus's Pub, and from there, who knows?

Saturday morning, we will be at the Farmers' Market, doing some last minute errands, drinking coffee and generally getting our heads on straight. We're hoping to head there by about 8am...Kev may be unslept and unwashed, but that's ok, the coffee there is strong.

Saturday night, join us at our place if you like, after 9pm, for a drink and some sweets and some meeting and greeting.

And then Sunday. Oh, Sunday! Plan to be at FRED by 7pm. We'll see you there at 7:30 to get married and for general merriment.

Monday morning, if you're not sick of us, we'll be at home for brunch from about 11:30 till around 1pm. Drop by if you fancy some coffee and baked breakfast treats before you leave town.

We'll try to update once more this week, but things might get pretty crazy...the first wave of out of town guests arrives tomorrow night!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Maps and marketing

Wow, a week today, so many of you will be here with us already! We are in the homestretch now, and that feels great. The house is a mess, but the wedding plans are totally under control. And hey, we still have four days before my mom arrives...plenty of time to put things right!

We've decided to send Sparky, our cantankerous ten-year-old cat, off to the Cat Nap Inn for most of the week. He'll be happier without so much disruption, and I'm hoping that our house becoming a cat-free zone will mean that my brother and his wife and baby daughter will be able to stay with us, which will be great. Little Emily Ray just took her first steps yesterday, so I imagine she'll be cutting a rug to the gypsy jazz band at the wedding next week.

The wedding next week. Oh, my!

And speaking of the wedding...here's a handy map to where the whole thing will go down!

And while we're at it, here's one to our place!

If you're going to be in town on Saturday morning, you should think about coming to the farmers' market. That's where Kev and I spend each Saturday morning, and October 7 will be no different. We'll be there, drinking coffee and eating breakfast on the steps, picking up some fresh Nova Scotia produce, and getting my bouquet for Sunday's festivities. We'd sure love to see you there.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Parking and painting

Two weeks to go.

We made some good progress yesterday, checked a few things off the to-do list. There's not much left, now! My dress has arrived, though not here -- my mom and sister have it in their care, in Ontario. I won't get to see it till October 2, when they arrive in Halifax. Hope it fits! Heh.

If you're planning to drive to the wedding, you'll be glad to know that we've arranged for parking at the Liquor Commission on Agricola Street. It's just a few steps from Fred, and their lot tends to be empty on Sunday nights. The manager there said it would be just fine with them if all y'all parked there during our party. So feel free!

Keep in mind though, the venue is just a couple blocks from the hotels, and a cab ride wouldn't run you more than five or six dollars.

In other news, the struggle to get the house ready continues. Today...operation paint the hallway. Off to mix the paint...

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Heaven 17!

Seventeen days and counting, folks! We are beyond excited. We are also beyond busy and beyond exhausted. But it's all good...it helps us block out the whole Rolling Stones hysteria that is currently gripping Halifax (don't worry, it'll all be over by the time you get here).

The wedding preparations are well in hand. A few details left to complete -- you know, rings, license, that kind of thing. But even those technicalities are underway...the rings are at the caster's, and we can pick up the license tomorrow. Kev's suit is at the tailor's, my dress is finally ready (though I won't see it till Mom and Donna arrive here on October 2), and I am breaking in my wedding shoes as I type this. (I'm quite a sight these days, doing housework in yoga pants and my Oscar de la Renta shoes. Very fabulous.)

An exciting development...Kev is playing at Gus's Pub on Friday, October 6. Gus's is a smokey joint across the street from Fred, where we will be partying with you shortly. If you're in town on the Friday night, and you can put up with the smoke, we'd be very happy to see you at Gus's.

On Saturday, October 7, if you're around, drop by our place for a drink and some sweets after 9pm. You can email us for directions to our place. We can't wait to show off our new room! (Yes, it's actually done in time for the wedding--we have the world's best contractor!)

And finally, if you're around on Monday, October 9, stop by our place for brunch between 11:30 and 1. Nothing too fancy, but there'll be plenty of baked goods and light brunchy items and delicious coffee to be had.

Oh my gosh, you guys. SEVENTEEN DAYS.