One year ago today, I married my best friend.
Phew, okay, now that the cheese is out of the way, I can tell you the story of our amazing Halloween wedding. Where to begin…well, I suppose the most appropriate time is sometime in late July 2009. I was flipping through my calendar at work and realized that Halloween was going to be on a Saturday that year. Those are the most exciting Halloweens, because more people tend to go all out when the event is on a weekend. Then it struck me. Ian and I have been talking about getting married forever, but we weren’t sure what we wanted to do. We didn’t know how we wanted to handle the fact that we would not be getting married in a church coming from two fairly religious families. And we definitely wanted something memorable. What could be more memorable than getting married on Halloween!
I sent him an e-mail to test the waters…throw the idea out there. He seemed receptive enough to it, so we started doing some homework and planning. Where we sat, we had three months to plan and carry out our day. Luckily for everyone involved, I’m not crazy (though Ian might beg to differ on that one). Really though, I haven’t been dreaming about my wedding day since I was five years old. I do not like being the centre of attention – especially wearing a white dress. In fact, I hate getting dressed up. So really, three months was plenty of time. But then, this was no ordinary wedding.
We secured an officiant – a lovely gentleman in the Niagara Region who was a Humanist. Humanism is a secular ideology where reason, ethics and justice form the basis of decision-making and morality, rather than religious dogma. Ian and I may not closely identify with the group itself, but we live our lives that way every day, so it made sense.
We secured a location for the ceremony and the after party. Even though we lived in Kitchener, it made more sense to hold everything in Niagara Falls. I grew up there and much of my family still lives there. It’s also easy to get to for any of Ian’s family to come to being right at the US border. After coming across a few very overpriced outdoor locations (mostly within the Niagara Parks Commission lands), we settled on a lovely park in the north end of Niagara Falls, Fireman’s Park. It held some nice memories for me, but we knew that it would have some great scenery provided the autumn leaves were in full colour and hadn’t blown off all the trees by the time October 31st rolled around. We contacted a few halls for availability and pricing, and just when it seemed all hope was lost, we came across the German Hall on the outskirts of the city. The theme would be post apocalyptic. There would be costumes.
My stepdad, Dan, and mother were going to help us financially and with the food (since Dan’s a chef). We wanted to have a meal that would encourage mingling, so we came up with the idea of tapas. Now, this is not traditional Spanish tapas, but more like food that is portable and bite-sized. We came up with a lovely menu and started putting together the shopping list.
On our end, Ian and I picked out some rings, a dress for me, went shopping for clothes for Ian and did a whole lot of accessory searching on Etsy. I managed to find a really pretty harvest headband from whichgoose and had a bouquet, boutonnierre and corsages for our mothers made from AmoreBride. As a matter of fact, when I visited the latter shop again, I see that she has our items listed as a feature package. Exciting!
We had a grand idea for a cake too. We wanted to create something that said autumn, but wasn’t too fancy. We decided upon an apple cake with caramel icing. Our cake topper would actually be a post apocalyptic scene with blown out buildings, action figures, and even a Terminator somewhere in the mix. It would be epic.
So the time went on, preparations went smoothly…and then, disaster! And not just one.
First, delays were starting to happen with my dress. It was out of stock in the size I needed, so I decided to take a chance and order as size up, because I could likely get it taken in when I got it. The company shipped and I kept track of its progress. I noticed that rather being sent from Pennsylvania to say, Buffalo, that it had headed to JFK. I thought it odd, but perhaps it would be flown to Toronto. Not so. Not long after landing in JFK, the tracking status stated it was on its way to Cape Verde. That’s right folks…a little set of islands off the western coast of Africa. Was I concerned? Oh sure…after all there were only a few weeks left until the wedding by this point. So I politely called up the store I purchased from, and as luck would have it, they had recently received the shipment including the original size I wanted. They sent it immediately, and I received it the night before we left to go to Niagara Falls.
Second, my stepdad works on the boats that run the shipping route through the Great Lakes. We found out that our chef for the wedding was being called back to work the week before Halloween. Yikes! Luckily, my awesome brother and his friend – both of whom have worked in the restaurant industry – stepped up and took over from Dan. Our food would be prepared after all!
Third, our guest list was thinning out by the day. H1N1 was running rampant through the ranks, and many people were teetering even days before the wedding about whether or not they would be well enough to make it. Understandably so…who feels like partying when they’re sick? Many of Ian’s relatives also couldn’t make the trip for various reasons. The most important thing though was that his parents would be there, and they were.
Ian and I tried to get some sleep the night before the wedding, but ended up being awake around 3 AM, trying to finalize our music listing on the laptop. We were after all setting up an auto DJ. Everything else was ready. The pumpkins were carved, the candy was purchased, the decorations were made and printed, our costumes were ready. The next morning, we would wake up to go get married.
And the next morning when we woke up, we discovered the weather was not being very cooperative for an outdoor wedding. It was raining…hard…it was very windy…and it was cold. So much for the lovely autumn weather that we had been having! No matter…we had secured one of the park pavilions for just that very reason – however, it would not protect us from the wind.
It was a cold and windy ceremony. But it was also very intimate and really…it was everything that we wanted it to be. Our family and friends commented on how lovely and different it was. I even got to mention zombies in my wedding vows to Ian. It was awesome.
We had an amazing photographer come and do some Halloween-inspired shots, as well as some more traditional ones. Thanks to Geoff and Anita from Through A Cracked Lens. We hear they even got another wedding to do this Halloween based on our pictures.
Our after party…dubbed Wedpocalypse…was a success. So many of our guests came in costume. Everyone got into the spirit of things. The pumpkins looked amazing. Our candy bar was well received. The food was fantastic and plentiful! We all had a great time. It was a very long day that didn’t end until around 1 or 2 in the morning…but we partied until the end. Thank you to everyone who helped us in the preparation and clean up…to everyone who braved the cold and illness to join us…and for the many gifts we received…we are forever appreciative of it all.
Enjoy the pictures…
P.S. Happy Anniversary Ian…love you! And I’d still never leave you behind if the zombies attacked…