David, I can hardly believe that we have been married 3 years today! I am supposed to be working but I cant stop thinking about how awesome the last 3 years have been and how excited I am to spend the next 50+ with you! Last night after work when we went down to the lake to swim, we swam to the island and just sat there on the rocks trying to soak up the last bit of evening sun. We rehashed the last 3 years and how amazing they have been. 3 years ago last night we were sitting on the edge of my bed in my parents house wondering WHY in the world our wedding day #1 turned out just the way it did and not quite sure why life unfolded the way did sometimes. We were full of excitement and anticipation for our wedding to ACTUALLY take place the next day and to start our life together. I could not have asked for a better 3 years with you and am SO thankful to God for the blessing and privilege of getting to do life by your side. I have been reflecting back to our epic wedding weekend ALL morning so thought I would dig out our wedding story and share it with you all today! Its LONG but worth it!:)
As a wedding photographer I always thought I understood brides. I always thought I understood how much time and dedication (sweat and tears!) went into planning a wedding…especially a D.I.Y wedding. But, I was wrong. I did not know. I do now. But I did not then.
A D.I.Y wedding is an incredible amount of work…but when it comes together, it can be the most special, magical, beautiful and rewarding day in life. This wedding you are about to read about is my own. (Well not just mine, David’s too…. and really all the amazing people who helped make this possible, who helped make ‘us’ possible were just as much a part of it). Are you ready for a wedding story? Because this read is epic!
It was 6:34 a.m. on August 20, 2011 and I lay awake on my mattress on the floor… I was sharing a room with my sister Meghan (who called the bed) and my best friend Fiona…who got another makeshift bed on the floor. The girls were FAST asleep. “Hey! wake up wake up!” I whispered. ‘I’m getting married today!’ and there is SO much to do! I said it a bit louder…nothing. I lay there waiting quietly, but what I really wanted to do was run through the quiet house and jump on every one’s bed yelling, “WAKE UP WAKE UP! MY WEDDING DAY IS FINALLY HERE!” I refrained. As I waited for the minutes to pass, I decided to check the weather. I had been trying not to check the weather at all leading up to the wedding day as we were having a backyard garden wedding with OUT a tent and it caused me a great deal of unnecessary anxiety, stress and tears when the weather app on my iphone told me something I didn’t want to hear.
I checked the weather. My heart sank. Fear rushed in and an overwhelming-ness overwhelmed me (that’s the only way I can describe how I felt). I tried to say a quick prayer to stop the worrying from settling in and to remember to trust God. Then I checked the weather again…and again. I have never ever checked the weather on one day so much in my life! The day was calling for a mix of sun and cloud with a 60% chance of isolated thundershowers/storms in the afternoon (with a maximum of 1mm of rain)
It was 7am now. (that was what time we were allowed to get up when we were little kids–not a minute before;). Okay that’s it, time to get up I thought, and I headed straight for mom and dads room, just like my 6 year old self would have. I’d like to think that for a bride to be, I had been relatively calm in the days leading up to the wedding, but now as I climbed up onto their bed… I cried. I explained to my parents what the weather said and how I didn’t know what to do. All we could do was we pray about it and so we did.
My parents started getting everyone up for the day…everyone being my brother Jeremiah and his wife Angela, my sister Gillian, my brother Samuel, my sister Megan and maid of honor Fiona. I called David who was staying at a nearby cottage down the road and we talked about the impending thundershowers our anticipation and our anxieties for the day. David didn’t feel at ease about the looming clouds, but with the number of times the weather changes during any given day in Nova Scotia…all we could do was reassure each other and go about the preparations for the day.
The very first thing on the day’s agenda was a ‘Family Meeting.’ We gathered downstairs and mapped out a plan of what needed to be done and in what order! I was super excited to finally see all our hard work and detailed décor come together. That day we worked hard setting up chairs (230 beautiful mismatched wooden farm chairs that my mom managed to track down…for FREE–she is amazing!), setting up all the tables for the reception, then carefully arranging the long white table cloths, china place settings, lanterns and some of the most exquisite bouquets of moms garden grown flowers I’ve ever seen! My sister Gillian with the mighty help of my sister-in-law Angela spent the WHOLE of Friday creating and arranging 30+ bouquets for the tables and the bridal party. We had such an AMAZING team of people helping us the days leading up to the wedding…I had my 2 sidekicks (Megan and Fiona) LETTING me boss them around all week! Every branch on every tree was adorned in little white fairy lights and my dad had already run underground wiring through the whole backyard while David had rigged up a frame and guide wires to hang rows of overhead globe lighting.
10:45 a.m. came and it was time for me to give up control of things and head out with my bridesmaids for our hair appointments….time to be pampered and relax!
We arrived back at my house JUST as my amazing photographer Heather Wilkinson (who captured ALL these stunning shots was pulling into the driveway to take shots of me and my bridesmaids getting ready.
The next few hours were a bit of a blur. I could feel the weight of the purple-grey clouds looming overhead by the anxiety in my heart and I remember thinking that the house and room I was supposed to be getting ready in were a complete disaster for the photographer! I rushed inside and ran around doing this and that and waiting for my bridesmaids to arrive back from the salon. It was hard to relax and I kept wanting to know what was going on downstairs and outside and to see what I could do. Not at all the way one wants to feel on the day of her wedding!;p It was time to start putting some make-up on and getting ready.
Once I thought I looked wedding worthy, I hear my mom yell from the stairs ‘Candace, David wants to come up and talk to you!” Ummmm NO-00 he can’t! I don’t want him to see me like this yet!” My mom went on to explain that David was adamant that he needed to talk to me. I finally convinced him to call me instead. Our conversation basically went like this:
“Candace have you seen the weather out there…and the clouds? I really think we should postpone the wedding until tomorrow!” (hahahah ya…way to FREAK a bride out!)
“Uuhh WHAT?!!?…I don’t think so Dave…I’m not postPONing the wedding!…I cant go on like this…I’m tired and overwhelmed and wont make it one more day….we are getting married today, we have to…we will just go inside the church and use our backup location/plan if we have too…we will just move the food and have a standing reception at the church!”…and…
Back and forth we went…myself, wanting to have the wedding on the day scheduled and him anxious and eager to postpone so we could still try to do it outdoors and have our dream wedding that we worked so hard to create.
I know I was a bit melodramatic, but I was SO tired and it was finally the day we had been waiting for…the LAST thing I wanted to do was push it farther away! Worry and stress for one more wedding day all over again? No thanks! And I had NEVER heard of anyone changing a wedding date for a little bit of rain, especially a wedding that had over 200 people attending. I laughed in my head at how crazy that sounded.
Somehow I managed to encourage and convince David (and myself) that everything was going to be okay and we went on our way getting ready. Not even 5 minutes later while I was putting mascara on (and about to get my dress on!) I looked out the window and saw the rain starting. It’s O-kay. I remember thinking ‘If we get the 1mm of rain the forcast is calling for over with now it will be fine and dry in a few hours before the wedding starts….’ Only then it started to rain harder….and harder! I raced to my Dad’s studio at the back of the house where there is a large window overlooking the backyard and reception site. At this point, the wind has started blowing, the tables were shaking and plates and centerpieces were starting fly. The plastic we had draped over the tables to keep them dry incase of the possible 1 mm of rain, were ripped from the tables by large gusts of wind! I saw my brothers, father and sister-in-law running outside to throw themselves down across the tables arms spread wide trying sooo hard to hold the place settings and centerpieces from flying away! I watched in horror as a large gust of wind picked up the head table and smashed it upside down, flinging our place settings of beautiful mismatched china everywhere. My face was as white as a sheet and I yelled, ‘MMOOOOMMM!!!????’ I could not tear my face away! I stood frozen in place. But it was not over yet! At that moment, the sky opened up and hail the size of marbles began falling out of the sky pelting my poor brothers on their bare backs as they held the tarps down over the tables. Then the power started flickering….
I waited and watched for what seemed like an eternity until the storm finally passed (maybe 5-10 minutes)…the sight outside was too much for me. If I wasn’t feeling depleted and defeated before, I was now. David called up from the bottom of the stairs. There was no use in trying to hide from him anymore–we needed to talk and figure this out. I walked down the stairs completely wedding ready minus the dress and sat on the edge of a stair…he met me halfway pausing to tell me he thought I looked beautiful. I had not imagined in a million years this would be how he would first see me on our wedding day.
“Can,” he said, what are we gonna do? I don’t think we can get married today…I think we HAVE to do it tomorrow…”
I knew this and I agreed we didn’t have time to dry everything and fix the damage the storm had left in it’s wake and then re set everything up again in time for the wedding in only a few hours. Plus, there was no guarantee the power would stay on or another storm wouldn’t come wreak havoc again. Our families were waiting downstairs for us to make a decision, so we called an emergency meeting on the back deck (overlooking the aftermath of the freak storm). 25 of us gathered in a circle (his family, my family, the wedding party and our photographer) and David and I talked out our options. We eventually came to the decision that we would postpone the wedding until the next day, same time same place… BUT we did not come to that decision until we exhausted all other options and my photographer who travelled down from Northern New Brunswick reassured me she could stay for the next day. Everyone seemed to be in agreement and support the decision that had been made.
My dad who was going to be officiating the ceremony, offered to marry us right then and there if we wanted, and although this idea was VERY tempting, we decided we would wait. We took the next 5 minutes to lift up the day to God and prayed for peace about our decision and that we would successfully be able to contact all of our guests and that things would run smoother the next day. We thanked God that no one was hurt in the storm and for amazing family and love that he had given us. Something lifted right then and there inside me and I felt lighter. I knew Dave and I had made the right decision as crazy as it sounded.What happened next and how we pulled this off was sheer amazingness. My maid of honour, Fiona, printed of the master guest list and suddenly every iPhone and blackberry in the house was out and at work calling people and checking them off the list. We posted an announcement on Facebook, we told friends to call friends….and somehow we managed to contact EVERY single one of our 200 plus guests. On top of that, only a very small handful of people couldn’t come due to the postponement and an even BIGGER handful of people who originally weren’t going to be able to make it, all of a sudden COULD! (including one of David’s best mate’s who was in another wedding on the Saturday).
A good part of the afternoon was spent cleaning, washing, fixing things…rebooking accommodations, hair appointments and calling people etc When evening came people needed a break… so we dug into some homemade wedding wine and home baked pies attempting to forget the stresses of the day and get excited for a fresh start in the morning. Dave and I snuck away to spend some alone time together on this ‘almost wedding day’ of ours. We rehashed the days events and thought long and hard about why things happen as they do sometimes. A touch of sadness came over us at 7pm – the time we were supposed to be saying out vows, but hope quickly took its place as we remembered that God brings amazingly GOOD things out of messes that seem to be nothing but bad at first.
Our Wedding Day: Take Two.
From the moment I woke up, I felt better. I knew I was getting married this day no matter what…and I was pretty confident no storm like the one we’d encountered yesterday was going to take place again OR stop of from getting hitched;) The weather was calling for a slight chance of showers late in the afternoon, so we decided to plan the wedding set up around the weather this time.
Another Family Meeting commenced bright and early and we set to work RE-setting up ceremony and reception. This time we were 100% prepared to throw the wedding paraphernalia into a truck and set up inside the church down the road if the weather decided not to cooperate again. But there was no need that day. Wedding day #2 was PERFECT! There was a light stress-free feeling in the air that day and I think everyone involved in the wedding preparations were able to enjoy the day like we should have been doing the day before. Our families and friends really were AMAZING at making this all happen. I get all emotional when I think about how much everyone did to make our wedding day so special. The whole day was exactly like something I had dreamed about and I am SO thrilled that our wedding turned out the way it did.
David and I met for pictures before the ceremony and were able to just enjoy each others company and relax with each other a bit before the busyness began. People crowded into seats for the ceremony and I tried SO hard not to cry with happiness…I only teared a little as my dad started walking me down the aisle.
The reception was magical and the entertainment…hilariously entertaining. From the live music to incredibly creative ‘kissing game’ (thanks Justin!) Our emcee, my brother-in-law, was the funniest emcee I have EVER encountered and really helped put on a great night for all our guests. The desserts and drinks were DIVINE and breathtakingly beautiful and I’m happy to sayDave and I didn’t roll outa there until 1:30 am!
If i could go back and do it again I would not change a thing!:)
Now I am married to my BEST friend in the whole world and am so extremely grateful that God put David in my life…and given me a wedding story of a lifetime to share for the years to come!