Wedding once upon a time

Weddings are such a funny thing. You spend months or years preparing, dropping wads of cash to make every detail perfect, thinking ahead and dreaming about every moment, and then suddenly you get one blip of a day and it’s all over.

Luckily for us, twelve years ago today, we were two poor and practical kids who didn’t know what we were doing. The days of Pinterest and hipster wedding sites were far in the future. And we were the first of our cohort to get married, so we had no one to compare ourselves to and no real expectations of how the day should go. I remember buying a wedding planner book – yes, seriously, a real book – just to make sure we covered all the important bases, you know, like pants and cake. But it was all rather low stress planning and we did it for very little cost.

Although it was the early days of internet shopping, we managed to find a great local venue (a rustic farm that has since become a posh and pricey wedding location) and an officiant who would do the kind of non-denominational ceremony we wanted. Other things like the flowers and cake we got through word of mouth connections, and friends and family pulled through with some great favors on photography, music, decorations, homemade wine, and general helpfulness.

I think we did everything right, for us at least. It was charming, simple, small, casual. We decided on a luncheon partly to save money but also because it’s more our style – we’re not dancers and certainly didn’t need a DJ party, so going back to the family house for evening drinks and socializing suited us just fine. The ceremony was short and sweet, accompanied by traditional fiddle music and some lovely readings by our wedding party. We made handfasting vows, and if I could remember them I’d share them.

Despite all the planning, some things still went awry: it was grey and rainy,  so our outdoor ceremony on the picturesque garden steps was moved into a barn with a drywall backdrop instead; our romantic horse & buggy ride (which we paid extra for) was so cold that we asked them to turn around after only 5 minutes; we somehow didn’t think about arranging a ride home from the venue for the two of us since we arrived separately, but managed to squeeze into a car with friends; and sometimes I wish we had made a video of the ceremony, since after a dozen years the whole thing is kind of just a foggy blur. But in truth, when would we watch it? We’re living our life together every moment, and one single day is hardly the biggest part of it. I’m thankful that we didn’t go into debt for some lavish wedding that we would still be forgetting this far into the future.

It was the perfect way to kick off the past 12 years and the many more to come. Here’s to love!



Bali summer camp: Wedding edition

Over the past, oh, decade or so, there have only been a handful of times we’ve managed to take an adults-only trip. Once was New Year’s in Banff a few years ago, and otherwise a few long weekends here and there. So any time we can get away on our own is a fantastic opportunity all on its own. Throw in our best friends’ wedding, a visit “home” to Indonesia, meeting up with amazing friends old and new, and a relaxing week on a tropical island, and you have the makings of the perfect trip!

The happy couple – from Australia and Canada, respectively – decided it would be easier to have their families and friends meet halfway for their wedding, bringing us all back to Bali to celebrate their marriage where it all began in Indonesia. Grandma came here to stay with the kids for a week while we snuck out of town. I was fresh off my trip to Hawaii, so although I literally flew around the entire world within a few days, I was still game.

First we spent a few nights on our own in Sanur and then we headed over to Lembongan island for about a week. We were lucky enough to book in at a resort with several other (child-free) couples, and the entire week felt like adult summer camp – drinking bedside (and in) the pool, staying up late playing cards, watching sunsets and sunrises and evening stars, and sharing embarrassing stories about our mutual friends. We rented scooters and traveled around the island all week, stopping for snacks and drinks, exploring the beaches, and visiting other resorts.

The wedding itself was just perfect – at sunset, on the beach, filled with gorgeous colors and smiling faces. Everyone had spent the week already getting to know each other, so there was none of that wedding “awkwardness” of having strangers trying to bond over the course of an evening. That comfort might have led to me drinking too many ciders and spending the night being loud and underclothed in the pool, but it was all in good fun. And when you get a bunch of Canadians and Australians together with a bunch of alcohol, what else can you expect?

Other highlights included a snorkeling trip, which was rather poorly planned on the morning after the bachelor/hen party. Fortunately the ladies took it easy the night before, but the guys were up too late and got too drunk – as it turns out, a bunch of hungover guys on an early morning snorkeling trip is a terrible idea. By the way, when you throw up in the ocean while snorkeling, it doesn’t bring all the fish to you. It just fills the ocean with vomit. Disappointingly, the reefs around the areas we visited were not very healthy, so we didn’t see much. But I still enjoyed getting out with my snorkel while B napped on the beach.

I mentioned we rented scooters – well, by “rented” I mean we paid some local families to give up their scooters for a week or so. They were not in the best condition. Between five of us, we probably had one working scooter. All the brakes were questionable, no one’s speedometer worked, starters were patchy, but it was worth the freedom of being able to tour the island on our own schedule. There was one sketchy bridge connecting our island to the next island, which we crossed several times to visit the restaurants and beaches on that side despite it feeling unsafe – and horrifyingly, it collapsed only days after we had been there, so my gut feeling was terrifyingly correct. Oh and there was the time B broke his toe on a wall by driving a bit too close… but otherwise we were ok, moms!

Too soon it was over, our friends were Mr and Mrs, and we had to head home. We had a day to kill in Seminyak, and we were looking forward to getting some (slightly illegal) DVDs, Indonesian knicknacks, and visiting our other favorite Bali restaurants and shops. But the weather was not in our favour, and instead we spent most of the day waiting out the rain in various cafes until we gave up and went to the airport to kill the hours before our plane left.

Who is getting married in Bali next?? We’re totally there.