Memoir of my wedding
My boyfriend Jeffreyand I planned on living together, starting in the summer of 2015.
Although we had notbeen together for long, we felt a great connection and knew pretty early in ourrelationship that we wanted to spend the rest of our lives with each other andgrow old together.
We had fallen deeply inlove with one another after almost giving up hope of ever finding the rightperson for us.
We briefly discussedmarriage on a few occasions, but both of us felt that a wedding was tooexpensive. I had my teenage son Aidan's education to think about, plus Jeff andI wanted to put a decent amount of money aside for our eventualretirements. Plus, I had travelled tomany places and wanted to continue doing so; Jeff wanted to start exploringparts of the world with me. So, wedecided on saving for a big trip rather than spend it on a wedding.
It crossed our minds tohave a small simple wedding, but I knew a lot of planning was involved becauseof the way my girlfriends had talked about their weddings. Plus, neither one of us was really sure whereto shorten the guest list without offending anyone. We realized we wanted to dosomething for us, not a show for everyone else even though we wished to shareour love for each other and happiness with others.
Although we gave up onthe idea of having a traditional wedding one day, I still wanted Jeff topropose to me and wear a ring that would symbolize our mutual agreement to betogether forever.
I first suggestedgetting simple promise rings, but it kind of reminded Jeff of high school andhe much preffered to buy me a nice engagement ring. I wasn't completely against the idea but didnot want him spending too much money on a ring either. Also, we didn't want to be the couple thatgot engaged and never set a date.
We had a feeling peoplewould not understand if we told them we wanted to exchange rings just for us,and that they would keep asking about a future wedding... We had to keepreminding ourselves that we were doing this for us as a couple, not anyoneelse, and that it should not matter what other people thought as long as we werehappy with what we chose to do.
Jeff formally asked meto spend the rest of my life with him on Valentine's Day and we went shoppingfor some rings the following day; there were some really good sales at thejewellery stores so we took advantage of that.
Choosing the right ringwas like picking a life partner. We didnot want to settle for just anything, and when we found the right one we knew.
I instantly fell inlove with a thin silver ring that had two perfect hearts in the centre of it. Smallblack diamonds were on the inside of the smaller heart, and white gems where onthe outside forming the bigger heart.
Jeff chose a simplethick carbon loop which I later got engraved on the inside. This was at a different jewelry store. We visited a few.
We were able to takeJeff's ring home right away because it did not need to be sized like minedid. The ring was placed in a nicelittle brown and golden box after I bought it. Jeff picked up my ring at the store about a week later, but I had tobring it back to have it taken down half a size so it would not slip off myfinger.
After trying my resizedring at the jewellery store to make sure everything was okay, I placed it backin the maroon and gold ring box originally given to Jeff. I explained that my boyfriend wanted to bethe one to put it on my finger and the jeweller said she thought that wasreally cute.
We kept our engagementa secret, which was rather hard for me. But, Jeff and I had agreed to only tell people about the rings once theywere on our fingers.
I was pretty good atnot telling the exciting news to anyone close to me even though I really wantedto, but I will admit that I slipped when talking to my younger sister over thephone on her thirtieth birthday. Then afew weeks later I ended up telling the friendly nurse I see regularly at myinfusion clinic. Jeff wasn't upset at methough. By that point he said it wasokay to mention it to acquaintances and work colleagues if I really needed toshare the news with somebody, which I did.
For me, it wasn't aboutshowing off a pricey ring but rather sharing the fact that Jeff and I weremaking a serious commitment.
Originally, we weregoing to exchange rings during a romantic horse carriage ride in the old portof Montreal on the evening of our one year anniversary and then go out todinner. We informed Aidan the weekendbefore over supper at St-Hubert restaurant and he said he could make a contractfor us and approve it, which inspired me.
I found a fun marriagecertificate online while discretely browsing on the internet at the officeduring a dead moment at reception, and printed it out on a white sheet of paperbefore my college got back from his lunch break. I had to keep it hidden with my work stuff toavoid getting asked questions, and took it home with me.
That night, I proposedsomething to Jeff while we were having our usual evening conversation on thephone and he accepted. I then told Aidanof the new plans and started putting things in order. First in my head, then for real.
Jeff and I ended uphaving a small wedding ceremony in the living room of my basement apartment onthe evening of our anniversary, which was on Thursday, April 2 2015.
Using two small woodenfolding tables placed side by side as well as a white table cloth, I set up analtar by the window two days before. Using items around the apartment, I decorated the space.
I placed the printedmarriage certificate on the left table along with a white feather pen and threeLindor heart shaped chocolates wrapped in red foil.
In the centre of themade up alter, I put the first picture Jeff and I took together, which wasactually a group picture taken on the set of The Aviator almost a dozen yearsearlier. I was twenty two years old atthe time and Jeff was thirty one.
I also put a nicepicture of us taken during our first trip together. We were standing in front of lit falls inNiagara, Ontario at night. That wasduring the summer of 2014, about four months after we became a couple. How that came to be is another fun story,which was actually published in a memoir anthology called It's About Living, put together by Durham Editing.
Jeff had bought me anice silver heart shaped necklace in Niagara, which I wore almost everyday. I took it off and placed it withthe two frames. On the alter, I also puta new necklace with a black gem heart and white gem exterior that perfectlymatched the ring I would soon be wearing on my wedding finger even thought itdid not come from the same store.
Along with the twoframed pictures and necklaces, I placed two antique looking metal wine cups,two red glass heart shaped candle holders with white vanilla scented tealightsinside, a white candle holder with an unused white taper candle inside, anextra red taper candle, a lighter with hearts on it, a Celtic seal, and ourrings within their boxes.
On the right table, Iput a white heart shaped ring pillow my son had held when he was the ringbearer at one of my friend's weddings many years before. Memories of my adorable blond haired boy in ablack suit came to mind and I sighed at the thought that he was alreadybecoming a man. His voice had changed,he was already taller than me, and wore braces.
I was happy to havefound a good role model for Aidan since his father wasn't all that present inhis life anymore. I was also glad thatmy son and Jeff got along very well.
My focus soon came backto my wedding preparations.
I loved the vows usedin the animated movie Corpse Bride and Jeff had agreed to say them with me so Iput a printout of the words below the pillow with a red metallic heart shapedbox of Lindor chocolates.
Jeff came over thatnight, as he normally does on Tuesdays, and told me he loved what I had done onsuch short notice.
I was rather satisfiedwith myself but modified a few things the following evening.
First off, I added twolong beige marble like candle holders with small white taper candles on eachside of the alter.
The ring pillow wasmoved to a thick off-white Greek pillar placed in front of the alter, and ourrings were placed on the pillow. I wascurious to see if my white budgie would stay still on the pillow and she did. But, I did not end up using her during theceremony. Both my birds remained insidetheir large cage. They were thewitnesses to me and Jeff's union. That wasof course just for fun since we needed to put two names as witnesses on thecontract, which was not a legal document.
I thought something wasmissing and realized I needed some sort of aisle to walk on so I put fake redand pink rose petals on my hard wood floor from the altar to the entrance of myliving room.
I used my old digitalcamera to take a few test pictures and found the right lighting in my livingroom, then took good pictures of the setting I had created. I informed Aidan that he would be our weddingphotographer and he was okay with that.
Now it was time toprepare my wedding gown etc.
I have a collection ofdresses from different time periods hanging on one of my hallway walls andhappen to own a white one. I brought thefancy Victorian style dress to my bedroom and took out my accessories for thenext day; dangling white peal earrings my dad gave me for Christmas one year, anew necklace with several fake blue gems, a frilly white and blue garter I hadpurchased on sale long ago in case I ever got married one day, and a whitetheatrical eye mask from another one of my collections.
I painted my longfingernails dark blue to match the necklace I would be wearing as well as theflower I decided I should hold while walking down the aisle; the dried longstem blue rose Jeff had given me for Valentine's Day, knowing I liked originalthings.
I realized I would needmusic to walk down the aisle and knew what to look for right away; not thetradition bridal song, but rather Pachelbel's Canon. I easily found some videos on Youtube. After listening to a few seconds of one ofthe recordings, I saved the link on my ipad mini.
I told Aidan he wouldbe in charge of pressing the start button from my Ipad mini when Jeff was readyfor me at the alter, and to come get me in my room.
Before going to bed, Ie-mailed Jeff a personal poem I had written for our anniversary. It was based on our original plans but Istill wanted him to read it. He hadwritten something for me as well, which he sent me by e-mail too. I received his message full of personalpromises in the morning and it made me smile. I responded to him with promises mirroring his.
I got a bit cheesy onFacebook and sent Jeff a cartoon picture of an elderly couple hugging with thecaption "Grow old with me. The best is yet to come." I also posted a happy anniversary picture onhis wall.
I was so anxious thatThursday that I had trouble concentrating at the office. I hoped that I would have enough work to keepme really busy and got my wish. I almosthad to stay later than usual to help one of my colleagues, but said I couldn't.
Jeff on the other hand,had to stay at the office a few extra minutes, but he did not keep me waitingin my tight white dress for too long.
I managed to get readywithout having to rush too much, and relaxed a little bit in my bedroom withAidan after combing my long wavy strawberry blond hair, putting on a bit ofmakeup to give myself a nice frosty look, making sure my nail polish did notneed a touch up, and placing my theatrical mask on my forehead using the thickelastic attached to it. It was too tight to wear it properly but I liked theway I had it on.
Everything lookedperfect in my opinion, but then I realized I needed something borrowed andquickly asked Aidan to please get me his dragon chain. He knew I meant the round metal dragon sealhanging on a thin metal chain he started wearing around his neck lately. I twisted the chain a few times and put itaround my thin right wrist.
Now everything wastruly perfect and I could not wait for Jeff to arrive. I kept looking at the digital clock in myroom, wondering exactly where he was and how much longer he would be.
While we were waiting,Aidan allowed me to step out into the front hallway and took a few pictures ofme in my bridal gown. I hoped that Jeffwould find me beautiful.
After being sent backto my bedroom, Aidan made me practice my vows even though it wasunnecessary. Jeff and I had planned onreading the four simple lines from the printout, but I knew them by heart.
Aidan came in and outof my room as I patiently continued waiting for Jeff.
At one point, my sonrandomly read a poem about the meaning of love. The nice words were written in white on a red cloth parchment hanging ona wall at the entrance of my bedroom.
It went as follows:
The Meaning of Love
Who makes you feel good
Who brings out the you who is giving.
This is the meaning of Love
That gives you a chance
to be strong,
or trust in another
to help you along.
This is the meaning of Love
That you feel like
you've been forever,
a place where you're growing
and learning together.
This is the meaning of Love
I nicely asked Aidan ifhe could read The Meaning of Love during the ceremony and he agreed because heknew it would make me happy. He usuallydoes not like to read in front of other people.
My son took theparchment off its nail on the wall, rolled it up, and tucked in in the rightsleeve of his navy blue sweater. He hadnot changed out of his high school uniform.
Aidan had asked me ifhe needed to wear something fancy, but I told him to wear what he wanted so hewould be comfortable.
We heard the apartmentbuzzer, which was Jeff announcing that he had arrived in the building. A few seconds later, we heard him using hiskeys, which I had gotten done for him around Valentine's Day, to open the door. I quickly closed the bedroom door so he wouldnot see me.
I heard the front dooropen and saw the hallway light turn on. Jeff said hi to Aidan and asked if hewas allowed to say hello to me but my son said no because it was bad luck.
There was movementaround the apartment and I knew that Jeff had gone to open a bottle of what Ioriginally thought was red wine on the kitchen counter. If I had red the label before placing itthere, I would have seen that it was actually a strong Porto.
It was Jeff's duty topour the alcohol in the two metal glasses we would be using during our specialceremony.
Soon, Aidan knocked onmy door. Holding my blue flower in myleft hand, I intertwined my right arm in my fourteen year old son's left.
To the soothing violinmusic of pachelbel's Canon, Aidan slowly took me from my bedroom and walked meto Jeff in the living room. I wassmiling from ear to ear, and for some reason nerves hit me and made me want to laugh.
I looked at my handsomeforty one year old groom, who was dressed in brown pants, a white dress shirt,and a nice striped tie with different shades of light blue on it. He had dark socks on his feet and no shoes,but in all fairness I had told him over the phone the night before that I wasgoing to be barefoot and at the very last minute decided to wear my brown laceboots.
I am only 5"2, butwith my high heals on and Jeff wearing no shoes I was almost his hight.
When we reached thealtar, Aidan delicately placed my right hand in Jeff's left and read TheMeaning of Love to us while we held hands.
It was now time forJeff and I to exchange vows as well as rings. I went first.
Looking into Jeff'sblue eyes, I lifted my right hand and said: "With this hand, I will liftyour sorrows. Your cup will never empty,for I will be your wine." I tookone of the wine cups from the alter and carefully lifted it to Jeff's lips sohe could take a sip of the Porto.
I lit the white tapercandle in the candle holder, took fire from it with the red taper candle andtransferred the burning flame to the white tealight candle within one of theglass heart shaped candle holders. Ithen gave the heart to Jeff saying "with this candle, I will light yourway into darkness."
Jeff placed the candleon the alter as I took his ring from the white heart shaped pillow in front ofus. "With this ring, I ask you tobe mine," I said before placing the loop on his wedding finger.
Jeff said his vows in asimilar fashion as me. He did his bestto look into my green eyes as he spoke but needed to double check theprintout.
Nobody objected to ourunion; not even one of the two birds Snow and Link, who are usually super loud,made a sound.
We kissed sweetly andthe music ended as though everything had been perfectly timed. The whole thinghad lasted exactly five minutes and thirty two seconds.
Although my son usuallycovers his eyes at couples kissing and lets out disgusted noises, he told Jeffand I to hold our kiss so he could take a memorable picture for us. We were happy to do so.
I then tightly wrappedmy arms around Jeff's neck in a loving embrace, which he returned and also gaveme a gentle kiss on the cheek.
Jeff and I rememberedto sign the fun marriage certificate I had printed, which was then officiatedby Aidan and sealed with red wax using the dragon seal I was stillwearing. Although we technically werenot legally married, to each other we were now husband and wife. We had just made a lifelong commitment toeach other.
We toasted each otherwith the wine glasses and drank more of the Porto.
When everything wassaid and done, Jeff felt the need to change his ring to his right hand. He said it felt more comfortable there and Ihad already given him my okay the day I purchased it for him. All I really cared about was him wearing it,and I knew he was happy to do so.
After bringing therings home, we would sometimes both open the ring boxes to get a quick look atthem. We both looked forward to wearingthem, and told each other regularly.
Now that the rings wereon our fingers, it was time to celebrate.
Aidan rushed to eatsome canned ravioli in the kitchen while Jeff and I went in my bedroom to getchanged.
First, I made myhusband remove the wedding garter off my left leg. Jeff then helped me out of my fancy dress andI put on other white clothing; a long white skirt as well as a white top. I also removed my blue necklace and replacedit with my new heart necklace. Jeffsimply removed his tie and exchanged his white dress shirt for a brand newlight blue one.
The plan was for my sonto sleep at his friend Cecilie, whom was like a sister to him. Cecilie's mom Sylvie, who had been a closefriend of mine since our kids were young, understood that Jeff and I would wantsome privacy later on. As far as sheknew though, we were simply celebrating our anniversary not out wedding.
Jeff and I planned ongoing out to a nice restaurant called Monkland Grill for dinner to celebrateour special day. We had eaten there onor first outing together, and had gone there for our 6th monthaversary. We liked the varied menu, the prices, and thefact that it was never super busy. Wedid not bother making a reservations because there are always tables availableno matter when we go.
We pleasantly walkedarm in arm in some light rain, with Jeff holding his umbrella over ourheads. About ten minutes later, Jeff andI reached "our restaurant," as we started calling it, and sadlydiscovered that it was closed. Weweren't sure if it was just for renovations or for good.
Slightly disappointedbut able to move on, we continued walking along Monkland road until we reacheda small Italian restaurant called All Dante. The place was packed, but we managed to get a table without having towait too long.
We looked at the menuand ordered plates of pasta; spaghetti with bolognese sauce for myself andpenne with a rose and prosciutto sauce for Jeff. We had planned on having a glass of wine eachwith dinner, but the restaurant did not offer any. It was the type of place where people couldbring their own wine. We decided to justhave a drink after we got home instead. There was plenty of Porto left.
We ate some slicedbread and drank some cold water while we waited for our food. Our bowls of pasta with freshly cut herbs andadded parmesan came very quickly.
It was a bit hard tohear each other talk because everyone around us was loud; one group of peoplewas laughing often as a result of what we believed to be a lot of winedrinking.
Jeff and I were sohungry that we mainly concentrated on our meals. The food was delicious.
Near the end of mymeal, I noticed something was off about my wedding ring. "Don't get mad," I said toJeff. Feeling bad, I then told him thatone of the small black diamonds on my ring had fallen off. He took a brief look at my ring, which wasstill on my finger, and calmly suggested going to the jewellery store to get itfixed. I thought it had been too long since he had purchased it. The ring still looked nice despite themissing gem, so I told Jeff that a chunk of the heart was missing because, asmuch as I loved him, there would always be a special place in my heart forAidan.
Jeff did not argue withme. If I was okay with the ring beingbroken, as he said, than so was he. He kept teasing me about having broken myring though. At least I had not lost it!
The minor issue withthe ring did not ruin our night. Wecontinued to eat while smiling at each other.
Although I was gettingfull, I ended up finishing my entire big portion. Jeff did the same with his food.
There was no room inour stomachs for dessert after our meals, but coffee sounded nice. I actuallybecame a coffee drinker shortly after I started dating Jeff because he loves itso much. It became our thing to go to cafes together. We really enjoyed checking out new ones, butalso liked going back to familiar ones.
Jeff and I decided togo to the Starbucks down the street, where we had gone on one of our firstdates, and managed to get seats right in front of their lovely stonefireplace.
Jeff ordered himself acappuccino and a caramel macchiato for me. We drank our hot beverages by the warm fire, enjoying each other'scompany. It was much easier to converseat the cafe.
When our drinks weredone, we started walking back to my place. It had stopped raining by then.
We managed to catch abus, which got us home a bit quicker.
I won't get intodetails about what Jeff and I did when we got home, but let's just say that itwas a typical wedding night.
We had the next day offbecause it happen to be good Friday so we slept in and then had breakfast at anice cafe we loved called O graces de Madelaine, which had opened up near myplace about six months earlier.
Jeff and I sat at ourregular table by the window and ate a fresh croissant, two fried eggs, twobreakfast sausages, cut up tomatoes and apple pieces, plus drank goodcoffee. The sun was shinning brightlythrough the window and made us feel warm. It was almost like sitting on an outdoor terrace.
Halfway though ourmeal, we saw Aidan and his friend Cecilie walking by so waved to them andmotioned them to come inside the cafe. Igave them both a taste of my big croissant and the teens were offered a freeglass of lemonade each by the young owner.
The teens left whenthey were done their refreshing drinks. Jeff and I had refills on our coffees and asked for some water but weregiven lemonade instead.
Back home, it was timefor me to start announcing the good news. I made somme long distance calls to my family and best friendSarah. I talked to my mom as well as mydad from Ottawa, and Sarah from Belgium. They were very happy for me. Ittook a few days to get a hold of my sister Karyne in New Brunswick. She had been away in Halifax.
Jeff made his bigannouncement to his parents, younger sister Heather, and brother in law Darrenthe following day during an Easter family get together. Everyone officially welcomed me to the familyand during dinner a toast was made to us, Mr. and Mrs. Overall. I liked the sound of that even though I wasnot planning on legally changing my last name. In the province of Quebec, women don't tend to change their maiden namesafter they get married anyways.
We didn't have ahoneymoon, but plan on saving money to go on a romantic trip in a couple ofyears. I am thinking Venice, Italy. Isaw a breathtaking colour picture of the European city above a travel articlein one of our local newspapers and it made me want to go there with Jeff.
Before that can happen,our focus is on Jeff moving in with me and Aidan, which will be a bit soonerthan originally planned.
After living togetherfor a year, the provincial government will automatically see us as common lawpartners, which is almost the same as being married. So, we don't really feel the need to spendmoney on getting a legal document signed by a notary that states we aremarried. We known in our hearts that we are.