Thursday, October 27, 2005

she smiled sweetly

Dad was right about most things, right up to the end.

While on his deathbed nearly five years ago, one of our last conversations came around to a new guy Amy was dating. I admit, I wasn't always the most supportive brother when it came to earlier relationships, mostly because they tended to be short-lived (or were guys she eventually mocked too). I hadn't met Gavin yet - they'd only been together about a month and I hadn't heard too much about him. Dad told me to be kind, as he sensed she might have found the right guy.

He was right. Again.

Gavin fit into the family quickly. At Dad's funeral, several people thought he was a relative, as some of his facial features vaguely resembled ours. As time passed, everyone figured it was a matter of time before Amy and Gavin tied the knot.

Except for their first photographer going bankrupt and a change in best men, the preparations for the wedding went fine. Amy avoided going bridezilla and one could notice her smile widening as the day approached. It would be a small affair, mostly relatives or friends of our parents. A mini-family reunion, we joked.

I stayed out of most of the lead-up, due to distance. Most of my duties were on wedding day, walking her down the aisle and keeping the reception flowing. My tux was hit with most people, and I'd likely go with something similar if I ever walk down the aisle, unless future wifey has other ideas.

One weird event before the wedding. The flower arranger usually posts on a billboard outside the shop the marriages she works on. For example:

Wonder how Kris & Tim made out...

Before their names went up, there was only one couple...Nancy and Jim. Our parents names. Eerie. Strange. Coincidence, an unearthly message or somebody messing with our minds?

By the limo in front of Mom's house.

The service was held at Wesley United Church, across from A'burg's Canadian Tire. I'd only ever seen the back part of the building, when Amy was a Girl Guide, so it was surprising to see how large the actual church was. Amy and Gavin worked out the ceremony with Rev. Kirby (his first name, but that's what everyone used), so that it leaned towards humour, not holiness.

Leading Amy down the aisle.

The smile never left her face the entire day. Most had never seen her so happy, so beaming. A very good sign.

About to say I do.

After the ceremony, the main party headed to the photographer's studio, out by Fox Glen Golf Course (Essex Rds 8 & 9, for those looking at a map). Spent a couple of hours modelling for the camera, with conditions the photographers loved (slightly cloudy, one tree on the property blazing red). The butterflies in my stomach grew frisky as the reception approached, as I was a little nervous about speaking in front of everyone. The chocolate almonds at the photographers helped.

Relax folks, I survived, as did everyone else who went to the podium. Speeches were brief, as I remembered that at the last family wedding we attended, Amy and I slipped out in the midst of a droning ramble to see if the hotel pool was still open. No such option for the audience at the Verdi Club.

The happy couple showing off their rings? Not quite. While that's Amy on the left, it's our cousin Blake (father of Heather, the bridesmaid)
showing off his ring.

The wedding cake, complete with young Marge and Homer toppers.

Gavin and Amy prepare to cut the cake...

The bridal party at the head table.

The first dance...We've Got Tonight by Bob Seger.

They chose all of their music, packing it into several folders on a DVD, each fitting the different moods of the evening. It was fun to see who was energetic and who wasn't on the dance floor. Mom's cousins Buzz and Kim burned up the floor all night, while my Mom's neighbour was Amy's energetic partner for the early fast numbers. I wandered from table to table, with conversations ranging from my high school drama classes (my teacher gave the dinner grace, with a nod to Dad) to tales of what the Horseshoe Tavern was like in the early 70s.

The night wound down around midnight, as the newlyweds headed off to spend the night near the top of the Windsor Hilton. I joined them the next morning for brunch and they were still glowing. Later, we returned the tuxes, split off for a bit (Amy and I ended up buying muffins for Mom at a Costco open house, then picked apples near Harrow), then met back up at Mom's to open cards and wolf down leftovers. Let's just say they could have used a tote board to count up the cash they received...

Good start kids.

For more pics, see my Flickr site. As for the pics above, you can click on the smaller ones for larger versions. The joy of mixing your photo programs!- JB, some photos by GT

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