Thursday, 27 August 2009

Back from the Wedding

I guess we had summer last week; to-day I am wearing a sweater and a fuzzy and am contemplating putting the winter duvet back on the bed. Do you think if I do that the weather gods will send us a heat wave? I am half afraid they will. It does not do to annoy the weather gods.

However, it is so cold the bugs have pretty well vanished and I was therefore able to paint the garage door without slapping myself with the paintbrush. After almost three years of bare untreated woodiness, the door is now a fine shade of dark green, to match the trim. Also we have a new roof on the house, also a fine shade of dark, dark green. The roofers arrived at 7:45 last Friday and seven of them climbed up onto the roof and started scraping and shovelling. And banging. And running back and forth. JG could not stand the noise and spent most of the morning wandering around outside watching them work. By noon they had the field half of the new roof done and about a third of the front. At this point the sky darkened and the rain came down by the bucketful, causing seven men to scramble off the roof, pick up their tools and depart. They left us in good shape, with a small strip of plastic protecting the seam between the old shingles and the new ones. Not a drop leaked anywhere. They returned on Monday and finished the job.

We were not here on Monday enjoying the fairy footfalls on the roof, as we had travelled to a wedding in Toronto on Saturday and then gone on to Fort Erie to visit with my mother-in-law. It was some wedding! JG's great niece, whose father is part of a big Canadian/Italian family married a young man from an even bigger Canadian/Greek connection. There were about three hundred guests. There were five bridesmaids. The groomsman danced around the reception with a loaf of bread on his head and the rest of the guests (mostly from the groom's side) prancing after him. The bridesmaids had not practised this traditional dance; the results were rather chaotic. The bride's family had arranged for a six course dinner, this after a serving of antipasto which would have made a fine meal all on its own. And when we left, the groom's family were laying out a dessert table that it broke my heart to miss. It was an amazing event, all in all. Both the bride and the groom's families pitched in to put it on; I have a sneaking suspicion that there might have been a bit of Italian/Greek competition somewhere in the mix.

The whole question of what kind of wedding to have is, in my view, a fraught one. Big versus small. White versus colour. Time of day. What to eat and when. Photo ops. Dresses and what are the men going to wear. It amuses me to check in our local weekly paper for the 25th and 50th (and other marker years) anniversary announcements. It is easy to spot which anniversary it is by looking at what the bride and groom are wearing in the (obligatory) wedding photo. Glasses with pointy frames? Fiftieth. Long hair and a pale coloured coat on the groom? twenty-fifth. Strapless dress? First through tenth. Some of the announcements put in a 'before and now' pair of photos and it is huge fun to look at how the married pair have changed over the time span.

The great niece went the whole nine yards with her dress. (Literally!) She had a tulle veil that trailed behind her and on which the junior bridesmaid stepped as the happy couple was leaving the church, bringing the triumphal walk down the aisle to a fast stop. She had a bolero jacket with train over a strapless dress, the latter fitted with tiny buttons in back and, let me tell you, fitted pretty dern tight, also with train. Under all of this I am sure she was wearing one tough set of underpinnings. She looked spectacular. So did the bridesmaids who were in a uniform colour but each with her own choice of design for the dress. A smart move, in my opinion. My best friend once put me into a floor length turquoise tube, with overskirt, and I still shudder when I think about it. In August. In an un-air-conditioned church and hall. There is something to be said for strapless after all.

Wedding traditions. Ah, sigh. The same best friend also had a trousseau tea at which, as the matron of honour, I had to 'pour'. Even in 1966 this particular torture was going out of style. A lot later, my now ex son-in-law was determined that all of the Scottish traditions to which he was accustomed would be carried out in the ex colony where he was being married. He wanted a Real Fruit Cake for the wedding cake; none of this Canadian angel food stuff. He wanted a glorious outdoor background for the wedding photos. (This was Ottawa in early April. He got the inside wall of the church.) And I got to run the whole thing. It turned out fine, but I sure sweated the preparations, especially when my father got involved in what we should eat at the reception. Smoked salmon, he wanted. For one hundred people. He paid.

I hope that Saturday's bride will have wonderful memories of her great day, just as I have of mine. She is now, I believe, sorting through several thousand photographs of the event. Two photographers caught every glorious moment. And, poor thing, writing hundreds of 'Thank-you's'. Fifty years from now, I hope the wedding picture looks timeless.


  1. Wow - arn't you glad you only had to go through this once ... and a fairly small do at that? (And I am still using the camping equipment that you gave me in place of holding onto money for a wedding dress.)

  2. I have a hard time appreciating weddings now that I've gone through my own. It's such a stressful, expensive production. In hindsight, I would have had mine in a location where only our parents would have been obliged to travel to.

  3. my husband i decided that no matter what went wrong on the big day if we were married at the end of it, it was a smashing success.

    it was a smashing success. And still is, 13 years later.

  4. Yes, YD, I sure am. But if you ever want to hold just the party, I'm game.
    Mac&Cheese, we gave our parents a week's notice and got married in the University chapel with our friends there. I have never regretted it. It is really a family occasion, depending on the size and closeness of the family.
    Maypole, that's what it's about. Something always goes wrong but does not matter in the long run. At the ED's wedding the kitchen flooded and the staff was cooking while standing on planks held up by bricks. Supper was rather later than planned. But it was a fun party.

  5. We've just returned from the country. Just about froze the past two nights.

  6. I'm still amazed that young people insist on following this archaic tradition with all the frills and headaches and MONEY!! Yikes the cost. The nicest weddings I've attended are the really small ones with maybe a dozen people (including the bride and groom). These enormous things are ridiculous really. But that's my opinion

  7. sigh.

    I have 3 girls. 3 weddings. Lord, help me.

    Thank goodness, my sister is a couture wedding designer. I plan to wear pretty dresses and sip champagne through all of them.

    Now, I'm off to scour local newspapers for anniversary announcements...