Finally, this mother of the bride has a moment to reflect on a Montreal whirlwind of celebrations, greetings, goodbyes, and a plethora of mixed emotions. The most magical wedding I could have imagined is now a very special memory. The bride and groom are in the Caribbean, my family has returned to the U.K., and we are flying back to some sort of normality in British Columbia. Wow. Just wow!
Last week, when I gingerly arrived in Montreal 5 days before the wedding, I wasn’t sure quite what to expect. Would my daughter be a nervous wreck? Would I? Would she be panicking about last minute details? Would the betrothed couple be stressed to the max? Would I be walking into a warzone? Would any of us survive???
It’s been an interesting journey— planning a wedding with me on one side of this massive country and the bride on the other. Not to mention the fact that the happy couple have been neck-deep in papers and finals as they finished their degrees at McGill University until a few days ago. But I was delighted to discover Charlotte and Ryan in a really, really good place. They were excited about the looming big day, as well as seeing family and friends flying in to offer love and support. Even the curve balls thrown in the final week were met with positive attitudes (and covered with a great deal of prayer!) There was an air of peace over the whole event, and the word of the week was “surreal”. Everything was surreal!
The day before the wedding, we were all given a personal guided tour of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts by the groom-to-be, and then a ceremony run-through at the church, followed by a spectacular wedding rehearsal dinner. The groom’s family arranged the Italian meal at Salumi Vino, a little Old Montreal restaurant oozing with atmosphere. We shrugged at the thought of fitting into our wedding outfits and fully entered into an evening of fantastic food, family, and fun. During the gift-giving session, we presented Charlotte with a stunning strand of pearls to wear with her bridal gown. Pearls for the bride, our little princess. On a personal note, my mother also gave me the pearls my late grandmother had worn at MY wedding, 26 years ago. Utterly precious.
All week we had been a little quiet and vague when it came to discussing the weather forecast. The experts claimed Saturday threatened rain. Oh, and thunderstorms. And did I mention rain? But May 10 proved to be not only dry, but warm and sunny to boot! (Another answer to prayer!) On the morning of the wedding, Charlotte was surprisingly calm and serene as we readied ourselves. I mean completely chilled and happy and relaxed. Our superstar hairdresser, Priska, came to the hotel and did an outstanding job with the bride, 2 maids of honour, and this old mother of the bride’s locks. Hero Daddy ordered French chocolatines and home made yoghurt for us, and later champagne with chocolate-covered strawberries. This room was the place to be! 🙂
When the time came to leave for the ceremony (okay we were 25 minutes late, but I think that’s a bride’s prerogative), Charlotte was ready for the next chapter in her life to begin. Once we arrived at Peoples Church where family and friends eagerly awaited her arrival, I followed the groom’s parents, and was escorted down the aisle by my two handsome sons (can I say how incredibly proud I am of these young men?) and lit candles before the bride’s entrance. As her uncle played Love Actually’s Glasgow Theme on the grand piano, her two best friends/ maids of honour gracefully came down the aisle, and then it was Charlotte’s turn. We all drew a collective breath, and Ryan’s face was a picture of love and pure emotion, when the most beautiful bride ever was led on one last journey by her dear daddy (can I also say how dashing that man is?) I actually don’t know how he held it all together. We all took bets on who would carry who down the aisle in a mess of tears. And then we listened to the sermon by my dad, the vows led by the pastor, witnessed the registry signing, and the lighting of the unity candle— the entire ceremony was breathtaking. And the day just kept getting better….
Photographs, many, many photographs. I can’t wait to see the finished products from the incredible Grey Sparrow Photography in a few weeks, but I’m grateful to all who shot candid pics to keep us going in the meantime. The bride and groom were beyond perfection. I know I’m slightly biased, but it’s true!
The reception at the University Club of Montreal exceeded our expectations. There was cocktail hour with delicious hors d’ouevres, then possibly the best five course dinner I have ever tasted, speeches full of heartfelt emotion, an opportunity to give Charlotte the very first published copy of my book Pearls for the Bride, much dancing for hours on end including a superb father-daughter routine to My Girl, the cutting of the gorgeous wedding cake, the zany photo booth fun, the laughter, tears, chatter, all in rich, ornate French décor… it was absolutely amazing. A sparkler send off into the night, and the bride and groom were gone. A day they will never forget etched in their memories. In all our memories.
I was determined to “be in the moment” the whole time, not wanting to miss a single second, and I think I succeeded. I’ll reflect on my darling daughter’s wedding for years to come, and will be talking about it forever… sorry, friends! But this will be my last “mother of the bride” post (sigh), and I hope I’ve filled you in on the experience a little bit. Thanks to everyone who has prayed for us and cheered me on along the way— it’s been a joint effort and the most wonderful adventure.
Truly blessed and homeward bound with a very, very full heart…