All perched on the stairs, the girls did well. Then the music starts - Soul Sister by Train. Unorthodox, yes. Perfect for LS and her groom. Each girl slips down the aisle and takes her place, then LS glides down the aisle.
As long as I've known her, she's had a nervous giggle. She laughs at the most inopportune times. And there she was, a vision of blonde curls and champagne colored fabric smiling and giggling her way down to her groom. We later learn that there is a bet between my two nieces on who will cry first - the bride or the groom. It's pretty much a tie as the groom steps forward to bring her to the minister.
The Pastor is a long-time friend of the family, who immediately puts everyone at ease. He infuses humor and radiates sincerity. The Best Man, who is the father of the groom, appreciates the sense of humor and rests on a strategically placed stool so he can participate in the ceremony, but still be comfortable. Mid way through the service the Ring Bear - the Groom's son, has to pit stop, but makes it back in time for the Family Vows the Bride and Groom have each written. Following the marriage vows, exchange of rings and "the kiss" - we sign the register and the minors follow their parents to a table set up behind the Pastor. Each one has a vial of colored sand and each member of the family pours the sand into a larger vase, signifying the joining of two families.
Finally, it's done. We leave the church and congregate on the steps of the building for a group shot. And another. And another. Then it's the groom's family - and another, and another, and....I lose track. The Bride's family gets in for a shot or two, then the bridal party is hauled off to an orchard where the photographer makes the group jump through dandelions while navigating thistles and at this point I'm resigned to thinking - these dresses are friggin' toast.
After more than a hour of photo time, I take the kids back to the hall where the caterer is patiently waiting. With the service starting late and running a little longer than estimated, we are now over 45 minutes behind. I was given the impression the Bride & Groom are soon to follow and we carry on, and watch the clock mark another 20 minutes. I'm about to get back in the car to locate them, when they walk in the door.
In spite of the huge delay, dinner is excellent. The hall is beautiful with stone and timber accents, wrought iron fixtures and a lovely feeling of the medieval. Also medieval is the MC's ability to keep to the script. We are off track and off schedule immediately following my speech, which happens to be the first one. It started out as a roast, but ended up as a touching tribute to my little sister and her ability to persevere for all the right reasons.
My boys did me proud by doing a mock "swearing in" of their new uncle - asking him to swear on a Bible that he would - among other things "Promise to show them how to drive a motorcycle!" First Born Son then blew me away with a poem he wrote during the meal. As the Bride and Groom needed a song or a poem to be prompted to kiss, FBS simply scribbled on out - and it was FRIGGN' AWESOME! LS wants a copy to keep.
As speeches can get out of hand, the one thing the Bride and Groom asked was that the floor not be opened up for just anyone. The groom's large family would have hours of stories about the childhood of their youngest sibling, and the happy couple felt it would only necessary for one or two people to speak and keep the night moving.
It moved along for those who smoked, as the MC attempted two smoke breaks! Finally the newlyweds addressed their guests and thanked everyone for their support - the Bride's speech showing considerably more preparation and depth than the Groom's whose basically comprised of - "Ya, what she said!" Typical man.
While most Victoria Day weekends are desperately cold, rainy affairs, this one was hot and muggy. In spite of air conditioning, the hall was stifling and the music was LOUD. A combination of the decibels and the beginning of the long weekend meant some guests left early, allowing us to wrap up the dancing around midnight. Given the lack of sleep I and the Bride had, we were not disappointed in the slightest. The highlight of the festivities was the "She Wolf" dance where the Bride and her attendants danced a choreographed number which resulted in the Bride seating the Groom who then "helped" her with her garter.
So all in all - good times, good fun, little glitches, but hey - it wouldn't be a family event without one or two hiccups!!!