Sunday, June 1, 2008

Wedding Recap Part I

I started to write a narrative recap of the wedding, but most of you who read this bjourn (all 3 of you) were there! So I thought instead, I would just make a list of favorite moments and realizations, enhanced with pictures, of course. It looks like it'll get long so here's the first installment... names in parenthesis at the end of a photo caption indicate the photographer. We're still expecting more photos but these are some of the ones we've gotten so far. I love looking at photos of the wedding - it's wonderful to get other perspectives from the day.

1. We had an amazing bridal party. Since almost every element of the wedding, from all of the flowers to the table centerpieces, the stationery and signage, the guest welcome bags, and the bathroom amenity baskets were done by us, the days leading up to the wedding were really busy. Everyone came early to Banff and stayed together in a condo where we put them to work, cutting and arranging flowers (under the wise tutelage of Sharon), scooping gummy bears, tying ribbons, etc. I even made Jen wash the buttons for the ceremony! Also, since things looked to be pretty hectic on the actual wedding day, Brian and I put together duotangs with very detailed schedules and diagrams for everyone (what's a duotang? click here to find out). When we went over them in painstaking detail and took everyone on a tour of the Banff Springs hotel, nary a complaint was uttered. Sharon, Ashley, Jen, Heather, Ben, Jon, Natalie, Donald, Mike, Misha and Val were the best team we could have had supporting us during the whole weekend. We got a lot of compliments about them and their work from other guests and even the coordinator at the Springs. The best part of it all was that everyone got along really well - I think we kind of 'tricked' them all into working so hard, by masking it all in laughter and fun. There are even talks of a bridal party reunion sometime in the not-too-distant future... at some undisclosed cabin somewhere or maybe on a cruise ship :)

Unfortunately, I don't have a good picture of everyone
all together. But here are Jon, Sharon, Heather, Ben, Donald,
Ashley and Mike, watching the photographer do his thing
with Brian and I out at Bow Falls.
(Jen D) And here are Misha and Natalie at the girls' dinner at the
Spaghetti Factory
(Jen D). Jen and Val were a
little harder to capture, so pics of them will come later.

2. We have amazing friends, in general. Before the wedding, I was pretty nervous about spending the whole weekend at the center of everyone's attention. I mean, 90 people were coming to Banff for us, to watch us get married. It felt odd, rather self-serving, and, frankly, a little scary. (Anyone who knows me knows I'm not that good at being 'proper' for long stretches of time...!) But in the moment, it was incredible. When the doors opened and I joined my parents to walk down the aisle, that all melted away. Seeing everyone's smiling faces, feeling all the warmth and love in that room, it became less about people being there because of us, and all about them being there with us, sharing in this incredibly important event in our lives. We have been together for so long that it was really meaningful to bring together people from all different parts of our lives, who know us as individuals and/or as a couple. This was one of the most overwhelming parts of the weekend for me.

A gaggle of girls at dinner during the boys' bachelor party.
From front to back on the left to right: Angi, Sharon (hidden
behind Angi), me, Jen, Ashley, Lara, and from back to front
on the right: Alisha, Sindy, Natalie, Misha, Tina, Esme
(the baby) and Erin (JenD)

Some California crew at the cocktail reception: Lara,
Alisha, Sindy, me, Brian, Amori, Dana and Robin
(Robin T) Farid, John and Roby at the ceremony (Angi C)

3. We have amazing families. It's been so many years that I *almost* forget what it was like when we first started dating, but we both know that our respective families made us feel welcome from very early on. The very first time my parents met Brian, he was delivering the valedictory speech at our high school graduation. What parents wouldn't want that for their daughter?! They swooned, he got automatic approval, and here we are. During college, I became an annual fixture at Brian's family's holiday gatherings and got to know not only his parents and brother, but his aunts, cousins and grandmother who also live in Calgary. We are so grateful to our parents for their support during the wedding planning process (and always). We are also both blessed with one brother each, in my case Jon is older and in Brian's Donald is younger. Luckily, we have been able to live in the same city with each of them at different points in our lives (Jon was at UBC med when we were at UBC, and Donald is currently at Northwestern, like Brian). They provided so much of the emotion and laughter at the wedding, a lot of people told us specifically how much they enjoyed meeting them and how great they are. We wholeheartedly agree.
Brian's parents, looking very dapper as they walk
down the aisle
(Robin T)My parents and I (Robin T)
My brother Jon and his beautiful wife Natalie (Li F)
Brian's brother Donald (Misha C)

4. The weather gods smiled upon us. The week or so before our wedding (seriously, May 11) there was a knee-deep dump of snow in Banff. After we left Calgary (May 21), it rained for several days. But for the wedding weekend, the days when most of our guests were in town, it was gorgeous - sunny, warm and mild. Growing up in Calgary, we know that the weather in the spring is fickle as can be, so we gave only brief consideration to having the ceremony outside. But on this weekend, we totally could have. We are just so glad that people were able to enjoy the beautiful scenery without wearing parkas! This is what we got to enjoy:
(Robin T)(Jen D)

5. Our efforts to actually spend time with people paid off. Since traveling to Banff was no easy feat for most people, we wanted to make sure that we maximized the time that we spent with guests. With plenty of extra-curricular activities (the boys' bachelor party/girls dinner, drinks at Earls, Sunday brunch), we felt like we got more "quality time" with more guests. Also, we made 2 good decisions that helped with this: 1) We opted to take bridal party and family photos before the ceremony - this freed us up to actually attend the cocktail hour afterward, rather than running off for a couple of hours; and 2) We stuck around Banff for a couple of days after the wedding, which gave us the opportunity to hang out with those who were still in town in a more relaxed state. Of course, we didn't get to spend enough time with everybody, after all it was just one weekend. But we have our lifetimes to build and strengthen our friendships. And now that there's no more wedding planning, we'll actually have time to!

More wedding-specific details and pictures to come in the 2nd installment...

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