Posted by: Hannah | 05/24/2011

The Wedding

Another question for me, submitted this time by the hilarious Nan at The Wrath of Mom.

“Tell us about your wedding. Was it big? Small? Wonderful? Horrible? Do you still like your dress? Did you have a veil? A tiara? A stetson? Did you have lots of bridesmaids? What was the best present you received?”


Ah, our wedding. The one single event that proved without a shadow of a doubt that all my mother’s efforts to indoctrinate me with the 1970s hippie-fem philosophy were totally in vain. As a child, for several years running, I wanted pink birthday cakes with pink candles, pink icing, and pink ice cream. As a young woman, I wanted to be a pretty pretty princess. With a tiara, thank you very much.

Our wedding was, for a white-dress celebration in a church, very small. I think our total guest list numbered something like 70 people, but we knew at least 20 of those couldn’t/wouldn’t attend. On the actual day I can’t remember how many showed up… between 40 and 50 I think. We paid for it ourselves. My parents bought my dress (princess, remember?) and my FIL donated bottles & bottles of single-malt scotch he’d bought for his various Masonic activities (interesting side note: you can’t give scotch away. Truly. We tried.) but other than that, we limbered up the ol’ credit cards and did the whole thing on our own.

Because we paid for it ourselves, we made the rules. I did not invite every aunt & uncle I have – just the ones I like reasonably well. Hubby didn’t invite his estranged mother (in spite of her showing up on our doorstep unannounced about two weeks before the event to beg that he do so – that’s a story for another time). We didn’t have an open bar or even wine on the tables at the reception – too many “drunken uncles” on my side, and I wanted anyone who felt like getting piss drunk to do it on their own dime. We didn’t have a sit-down dinner – instead we had lots of hot and cold finger food. Like chicken wings. Which gave rise to pictures like this one:

Classy, no?

We had the ceremony in the chapel at the university where we met. We splurged on a photographer – he was one-fifth of our budget, and worth every penny – and so we have a beautiful album stuffed full of wonderful photos.

My bridesmaids were my two sisters and my matron of honour was my mom. They were all dressed in bright red dresses, which I rented and paid for as my gift to them. Hubby had two best men and no groomsmen. My brother played the guitar for us when I walked in to the church – Pachelbel’s Canon in D, which he didn’t know how to play before I asked him and practiced for months in order to learn from memory. When we walked out he chose the song and surprised us on the day – The Beatles’ Here Comes the Sun.

We had the reception at a local yacht club. We had to join the club in order to book the space, so we actually had a yacht club membership for a year even though we didn’t (and don’t) own a boat. There were very few speeches. There was no seating plan. Everyone sat where they wanted, ate what they wanted, came and went as they pleased, and once the old folks left we danced until very late.

The next day we had an open house for the out-of-town relatives and friends because – get this – we had moved into our first house just two days before the wedding. Yes, we were insane. It made sense at the time. FIL’s girlfriend paid a caterer to provide nibblies and I sat on the couch in jeans & an old T-shirt just relaxing. We had asked people not to worry too much about gifts or, if they really wanted to give us something, to give us money to put towards the honeymoon we couldn’t afford. In the end we got a fair bit of the cost for our very low-budget trip to Germany, six months later. I was hugely pregnant for the trip. Turns out, some babies *are* conceived on the wedding night. Even if the parents are so. very. exhausted. they don’t have any clear memory of the proceedings.

I can honestly say, I loved every minute of our wedding. I still have and love the dress (and the corset I wore with it) although I need to lose 20 pounds before I could wear either one again. If I could, I would be one of those women who takes the dress out every so often and wears it to vacuum the living room.

How about all of you? What stands out in your mind about your wedding?



  1. I think everyone should have the wedding they want, just like you guys. 🙂

    My wedding was…well, I was 20. Justice of the Peace, reception in a bar with a friend DJing while others played original music of their own….I was far far too drunk to remember, and then had the absinthe I made later, which didn’t help the memory issue.

    When/If I marry again, I’m getting married outside, in the fall. One in the middle of the blaze of a NB autumn. That’s all I ever wanted. (oh, and to a REAL man this time :p)

  2. Your wedding sounds lovely. Like you I had very clear ideas of what I did NOT want (drunken relatives, embarrassing speeches, fights about seating plans), and in the end we invited our parents, drove to Lake Louise and got married on a Wednesday. While I wore a tiara!

    Thanks for posting this!

  3. My wedding was fun. We married in the same church my parents did. A beautiful brick catholic church with tall ceilings and stained glass. The ceremony was a 1/2 hour.
    I remember the feel of my satin dress. The comical chatter of my parents on the drive to the church. What my father told me before we turned the corner to walk down the aisle. How he held me back in anticipation. Martin’s face when he saw me.
    Before my own, the wedding itself was the boring part. As a guest it’s the reception that’s fun. At my wedding, it was the ceremony itself I remember most.

  4. I love it! Sigh, I love weddings. I don’t love all the weirdness that goes along with them, family-wise (LOTS OF DRUNK UNCLES). I love your dress, too.

    I had Pachebel’s Canon in D played as well, but not when I walked down the aisle. I think it was played to my husband’s arrival, and to this day he gets anxiety when he hears it (not because of being married, but because of standing in front of a bunch of people staring at him. At least, I HOPE that’s the reason.)

  5. Sounds like a great wedding. 🙂

    There were plenty of things I loved about our wedding, but there are some I would change if I could go back in time. Overall, though, it was good. Especially for two people who had no idea what we were doing!

  6. I loved reading this story….your wedding sounds lovely.

    We had a small(ish) wedding too. Had it a relative’s house nearby, on his front steps (a mansion in downtown Fredericton), we were married by one of our best friends, the ceremony lasted 5:15 seconds, my husband asked (in hushed tones) if I vowed to give him more oral sex (everyone wanted to know why I laughed so hard at his vows), people drank wine during the ceremony, we had a friend play classical guitare. We had a small cocktail around back with a live jazz duo, our dog was tied out back, we had kids toys and I got to serve tea and cupcakes to both of my grandmothers in their own china cups.

    We then went back to our house for a keg party and seafood fest…and danced until 6am in the living room.

    I remember feeling SO loved on that day and surrounded by support….altho I’d probably splurge a little more on some of the details…I don’t think I’d change much about that day. it was 100% what I wanted (and would still want).

  7. I love my wedding. It was an awesome time! The only bad bits were the column that fell on my head, and The Infamous FIL Speech.

  8. I love that you didn’t invite every aunt and uncle and that you didn’t invite your hubby’s estranged mom – that is exactly our current situation in planning, and everyone is going to be so mad..

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