Dear Bee readers, it has been quite some time since I've last picked up my virtual blogger pen. As I mentioned before and as many of you know, I was preparing for what would be one of the best days of my life: my wedding day. The day I get to marry that guy who lived up the street from me and for whom I carry a torch. So yes, even though the interesting topics were passing right through my head and oh how I wanted to write about them, my bee blog got a little dusty. So, given that we spend so much time organizing this day - what could be more reasonable than to blog about it? :) I'm going to try and keep this short but you know me...once I start, it's hard to stop.
Why get married?
So let's start with the big question, why? Why get married in the first place? Less and less couples in the QC province do it. In fact, the reverse is more popular: having children and MAYBE getting married. Which is totally cool in my book. What matters is doing what makes you happy.
To me, it was never a big dream to get married. I never played with white dresses when I was little and if I did it was counted on one hand if not one finger. I played with my stuffed animals (which I still have, all of them) and pretended I owned a pet shop. I think for many women though, getting married is part of a dream or a romantic goal of some kind and that too is totally cool. For myself, one of those particular goals was getting my university degree. My bachelor's in psychology! Now THAT was my romantic goal. I still remember the day I got up on that stage and grabbed my diploma and nearly jumped for joy on stage. All those sleepless nights for this moment!! Then it was the Master's degree and then it was finding the role in the work force that would make me feel like I make a difference using what I had learnt in school. Well? check, check and check! YES!!!
Oh course while that happened I did score big: I got Phil, THE Phil I always wanted (woohoo!). Yet, getting married was always for "eventually!" or "ah maybe one day" and "yeah, yeah, sure!" But then, time passes and I realized, what am I waiting for? Just because we aren't getting married, it doesn't mean we aren't getting older. I felt like I was trying to stop time because I simply couldn't believe that this "one day" was actually here. Yes, I suffered from the Peter Pan Syndrome. I was rebelling against our relationship growing up in my small ways.
When Phil proposed and I of course said "aaaahhh....y-y-yes?" since I was in utter shock, we started thinking about what we were going to do exactly. It would have been much simpler and less time consuming and less costly I might add to march up to city hall and sign some papers. But then, I thought, what about all those family moments I will not live and experience? Like a city never traveled, the wedding day and night intrigued me: the dance with my father, families uniting and partying together, the spiritual side of the ceremony interested me as well.
Additionally, after losing my mother in law, Lucie, way to early, it hit me: I want to do this. I want our families to unite and be as one (we are social creatures after all, or maybe I'm just Italian). Phil and I both happily agreed: we want to carry on this adult tradition to be husband and wife in front of everyone and celebrate our unison and life with family and best friends and have a really good time! There are so many crappy moments in life, this event was definitely not one of them.
Now, for the sake of writing a blog and not a book, I decided to limit myself to four topics: Venue selection and style (turnkey versus self-planned), The Dress, The DJ and last but definitely not least, The emotional blender that comes with it no matter who you are. If you're human, it's happening.
Venue selection and style
At first we wanted to organize something different. I bet you heard that a millions times before? We all want to be a little different and try the less traveled path. It didn't take long to see however, that all of the shall we say "fancy" or more "modern" venues were unfortunately laughing at us while asking us to pour money on their heads. We visited SO many venues and started with the less traditional ones first: Centre Des Sciences, Le Scena, etc. and quickly realized that this was going to be a lot of organization on top of everything else for our taste. We didn't want to hire a coordinator or have to dispatch tasks and follow ups to family members so we crossed them off our list.
Which left us with the more traditional halls. Places like The Palace (Laval) and La Plaza (Montreal) and yes, even the ones in the east end that I didn't want to go to just because they remind me too much of my Italian upbringing (but that's personal to me!!:)) impressed us. Those venues are great because in the end they know what they are doing, they are professionals in their business, are open to listen to your needs, help you personalize your day and are generous in what they have to offer. Yet, we never would have appreciated these halls without going through the process of visiting the other ones and eliminating them. There were other beautiful venues we had considered but La plaza won our hearts especially that it was in downtown Montreal.
La plaza took care of everything from beginning to end. All of the staff was kind and attentive to our needs, making sure the night unfolded smoothly and to our liking. The set up was beautiful and the food was delicious and in abundance. I remember once someone spilled a bit of wine on the dance floor and out of no where, a staff member was already cleaning it up. They made sure all was seamless and Phil and I truly had a blast that night. Did I mention we had poutine and McDonald's cheeseburgers at our sweet table? They disappeared in 15 minutes.
Ahh yes, the dress! for me actually it was more like, ugh...the dress. Why you ask? to cut to the chase, the dress picked me, and not the other way around.
I was quite surprised at how difficult it was to pick the right dress when you are of a smaller frame. Here I thought I was walking in with an advantage but not quite so. All of the beautiful A-line dresses I had selected and tried were horrible on me. I looked like a rectangle. Obviously, the sizes of the dresses are much larger to ensure one size does indeed fit all during trials. Yet, no matter how tightly it was clipped, I looked awful. Even my mother didn't recognize me and the more bead work and lace on the dress, the worse it got. The only one that had looked good so far was the first dress I had tried on, which was a puffier style that I had selected just to have something different than all the other ones.
So after two appointments at Création Vézina in St-Dorothy and trying on what seemed like 100 puffier A-line models, it was the first wedding dress I had ever tried on that was chosen. It was the most flattering one of them all. My tough critics and judges, my mother and my aunt, were thrilled with it and while they let me chose the dress, they were gently rooting for this one. To be honest though, I wasn't convinced 100% right away. It was on my wedding day that I saw what my mother and aunt were saying about how elegant and perfect it was for me and my personality. A beautiful cream puff of a dress that exploded with energy and joie de vivre. The dress was a Mikaella brand and I had a belt added to make a clean cut at the waist. After placing the order for the dress, we then celebrated by having some St-Hubert's chicken, love that stuff!
Though we enjoy live music very much and there's nothing like having live musicians at your wedding, there are some songs we just wanted to hear in their original version. So in going for a DJ, someone referred us this energetic Italian DJ Universal aka Andrea Guido. Like every other music lover, I was skeptical. I wanted to make absolutely sure this DJ was top notch and that he understood our musical needs and at this point, I can very well say MY musical needs. It was important for Phil as well, but I am usually the one in charge of music when we host a dinner party and I always make sure my music list is a crowd pleaser that includes novelty and oldies. To me, it is important that the person in charge of the music psychologically analyses the crowd and feeds it the music that it needs. If folks are tiring out on the dance floor and losing their mojo during a song, I expect the DJ to switch it up to another song. If everyone is up dancing and singing the lyrics of the song playing, I expect the DJ to let it roll out long enough for everyone to be satisfied and done with the song before moving on. I want a presence and interactivity (but not a fan of too many games either). On top of it for me, the DJ must speak French, English and Italian.
WELL...Lemme tell you! DJ Universal delivered all of that and with a bag of chips. He was very organized and patient with all of my questions. He is fluent in all three languages and has an extremely good knowledge of the Italian repertoire, old AND new songs, not just tarantellas. To top it all off, I had asked the priest if I could play a song by The Beatles while we all walked down the aisle and it was approved. So Andrea happily did a sound testing at the church months before to be sure everything ran smoothly and set up speakers the day of our wedding to play the original song by The Beatles: Something.
Throughout the evening of our wedding, Andrea checked in with us multiple times to make sure everything was to our satisfaction. He was on schedule with everything we had planned for the night and most importantly, he got the party started as soon at dinner began and made it last all the way into the wee hours of the morning! 3:30AM to be precise. I have never danced so much in my life, especially considering I hadn't eaten very much due to the excitement.
Andrea is a thunder bolt of energy when he has the microphone on the dance floor and yet calm, and confident when setting up his equipment and checking in with you, which is quite reassuring. He is passionate about his work and feels the crowd. Also, he definitely knows how to dress the part! :) I highly recommend him and his team. THANK YOU ANDREA!!!
I named this section the emotional blender because big or small, the organization of a wedding can definitely get hectic and emotional. There are positive and happy emotions but also sad, frustrating and negative ones. Given the fact that Phil and I had two years to plan, we had the chance to take our time a little more. Still, there are many many many things to take care of: the guest list, the invitations, the follow ups on the invitations, the dress, the suits, the bridesmaids' dresses, the music, the food, the cake, the rings, the photographers and waaaay more.
In my experience, once the venue was settled, the DJ, photographer and my dress were, found it was a relief. Yet, there were tons of other things to take care of and once Christmas was over and the new year had rung, the true grind began. With each month that passed, our schedules tightened with dance classes (highly recommend that too, Phil and I had a blast!), prenuptial courses (mandatory when tying the knot in church)and suit shopping while keeping up with the regular schedule, gyming and spending time together. Through it all, we ran into disappointments and last minute changes and then were surprised by heart warming situations and moments of pure kindness. What is important to remember is that no matter what you do, some people will criticize while others will praise you. Some will be unhappy and others euphoric. Some will try and give you unsolicited advice even though they never planned a wedding and it's all good! Just remind yourself that usually, people's intentions are good and that you can't please everyone, that isn't even the point anyway! Planning a wedding is a POSITIVE thing versus say, losing a leg or an arm? Yeah, that usually gets perspective back in order.
At some point it does get a little crazy and it is imperative to reserve some alone time or time for whatever activity that makes you relax and allows you to regain a perception of control. I know myself to be a psychosomatic freak, meaning that my emotional fatigue will strike at my body. So I geared up with probiotic pills and snacked on baby cereal (pablum) which is loaded with iron and probiotics as well. I believe this boosted by immune system and set my mind at ease, especially during the super cold winter months we experienced.
So, does it change anything?
Planning an event such as this one truly brings out your organizational and communication skills and will definitely make your true colours come out if they haven't already ;) Planning a personal and important day like your own wedding will force you out of your comfort zone in some ways and that's a good thing. In my experience, and I know this may not be true for everyone, the process of planning to get married and getting married did change us.
It rocked the family boat and united both of our families. It gathered our best friends and neighbours and for a few hours, we were ageless and created memories that would be timeless.
And while knowing each other for 20 years and having been a couple for 12 is quite a significant commitment, the act of marrying the person does symbolize something important on both the spiritual and human levels, in my point of view anyway! And yes, there is still a thrill in jumping into a life long engagement not knowing what will happen yet promising to have the patience to fix what is broken and not walk away. Committing to a person or to something is a decision you make everyday in the actions you take.
It brought us even closer to each other. We became an even more tightly knit team as we were faced with a significant amount of decisions to make, some pleasant and others not. We spent a lot of time with family, especially my parents since they accompanied us almost everywhere as we value their opinion. They also acted as our lawyers and negotiators most of the time (grazie mamma e papà!). We learned about legal matters and implications of being a married couple, we shared ideas, we ballroom danced, we attended marriage preparation courses, we designed invitations and a lot more. Throughout it all, we evolved together yet in our own ways all at once. Our relationship has grown into something even better, not to mention that we are still on a high from the celebration and partying!
So, when people ask me "does marriage change anything for you?" yes...yes it does.
It truly does!
Cheers! and here's to the risk of loving one another for a long long time.
Bee, the wifey ;) xx
My name is Ivana. I love photography and meeting people. I hold a Master's in counselling psychology and work as a career consultant. Music is my fuel and an important source of energy in my life. I drive my vespa around the city and I love what I do! :) About this blog: me on my artistic soap box!
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