As a wedding planner, I get the questions all the time about how bridal parties are supposed to line up, what are good first dance songs, and what in the world is a "recessional"? But occasionally, I get the question that I always love answering - what was it like to be a wedding planner and getting married yourself?
Firstly to get this out of the way, I did plan my own wedding, and yes, I did hire a day-of coordinator as well (Marcie Gaukrodger of Bliss Events in Whistler).
And as my husband and I celebrate our third wedding anniversary (today!), there are so many things that remember clear as day as if it were yesterday.
My husband and I both decided to plan our wedding outside of the city, as part of the mentality of "you don't sleep where you work". In other words, we followed suit with so many Toronto wedding professionals before us, who left the city to get married elsewhere. But due to my lack of interest in getting married on a beach, we chose something completely different -- the mountains.
Yes, my husband and I are mountain people. And where better to actually say "I do" than Whistler, British Columbia. Accessible, beautiful and unique, and home of the 2010 Olympics. In fact, it was during the Olympics where he and I decided that Whistler particularly was the place we were going to end up being.
Although originally we wanted to have a mountaintop ceremony, we later decided to do a valley ceremony at the beautiful Nicklaus North Golf Club overlooking a manmade lake and peaks in the background. Our guests would be staring into the view of the beautiful landscape as we said our vows.
We enlisted the service of a fantastic celebrant, Michele Davidson, who hand crafted our wedding ceremony from scratch, with personalized interviews and anecdotes. Both my husband and I are spiritual but neither of us are particularly religious - and therefore, we chose a scripture passage as one of our readings, and the other was a Shakespeare sonnet, which tipped our hats to my husband's English Literature background.
Also, we both wanted to involve our immediate family in the ceremony in some way or another. With my sister being the maid of honour, and his sister a bridesmaid, and his brother as the best man, the siblings were covered. Of course, my father did the usual duty of walking me down the aisle. But then came the point where we wanted include the rest of the parents. Therefore, his father read the sonnet passage, while my brother in law recited the final blessing and walked my mother down the aisle. Then both mothers took part of a traditional hand fasting ceremony, where two pieces of fabric (that were brought up by them) were wrapped around our hands, and a blessing was bestowed. All in all, it was one of the most personalized and intimate ceremonies I have ever bore witness to.
After the ceremony, we wandered into Whistler Village for photos, and then my husband and I hopped on the gondola ($112 later but still) and took a ride up Blackcomb Mountain.
For our reception, we wanted a place that excelled in customer service and food quality. When we stepped foot into the Four Seasons and were shown the outside cabana (I also didn't want a banquet hall), we were sold. From the personalized valet who greeted us by name when we got out of cars, to the stellar food tasting (3 full-sized options of every course, including dessert, and a second fish option only because their catch that day wasn't "up to par" with their standards!). They even upgraded us to the Presidential Suite without us knowing!
As for floral and decor, I was surprisingly very simple. My vision was to have jewel tones peppered throughout the reception, from the flowers to the linens. I was not picky with the types of flowers for my bridesmaids, who donned emerald green dresses, so long as they were purple. The linens were ivory and champagne. My bouquet was a bunch of full-sized burgundy calla lilies, my "splurge" out of all the floral/decor items. My husband wore purple under his suit jacket, while his groomsmen wore emerald green, similar to the bridesmaids, and the fathers wore champagne. I didn't want to have a typical bridal party colour. No pinks or whites here!
Finally, before we danced the night away, we had our first dance to "Dreams of Candlelight" by Transiberian Orchestra, while our guests stood around us with actual candlelight - one of the highlights of our reception.
To be honest, it may not have been the most extravagant wedding, not the most glamourous, but what mattered was that it was the most intimate, with our favourite people around us. And we wouldn't have had it any other way!
Thank you to my wonderful husband for enduring 3 years of craziness, and here's to the next 3, 13 and 30 years...