I allowed myself a little time to sleep in on Friday morning. My brothers were over the night before having beer & cigars, but they left at 11:00 to make sure I had lots of sleep that night. So getting up at 8:30 was nice; nine and a half hours sleep is something I don't often get these days. I got stuff ready for breakfast, and had coffee and read, waiting for The Terror to set in. The jittery legs, the sweaty palms (and forehead and chest and everywhere else), the cold blood in the veins: the fight-or-flight response. I had been led to expect it. And by the time the guys and N.S. came over at 10:30, it hadn't arrived. We sat around lazily, listening to Nirvana Unplugged and eating bagels, until the photographer came over and it was time to get dressed. There were a few mishaps (B and G putting on each other's tuxedos, for instance), but we got everything taken care of and packed ourselves into the car by 11:45. Plenty of time to get to the Gardens an hour before the ceremony. G drove and we alternately chatted and sang along to 0+2=1, and I again waited for The Terror. And waited.
We got there at 12:20, still plenty early, and accompanied some choir friends to the site. For an hour and a bit I greeted people, ran some interference with Diego (Usher #1), panicked because Axler (Usher #2) hadn't showed up yet, listened to the choir rehearse, and stay in the shade. I also put one of the frozen gel packs I had prepared in my inside breast pocket. For a few months, whenever I'd mentioned that I was planning on putting an ice pack in my jacket pocket for extra cool on a hot summer's day, the response had generally been, "Huh?" or "Really?" or "That's kind of silly." That day, however, people were all admiring my foresight and ingenuity. Going from an idiot to brilliant over the course of a handful of weeks was a nice touch, I must say. Things were getting a little disjointed ten minutes before showtime the service, with me having to dole out flowers to my side of the family and Axler arriving JUST in the nick of time with ice for the water cooler, and then before I knew it, it was 1:30. Time to get into position. I stood at the front, in the blazing sun, beside my friends, and there was nothing to do but wait. This was the chance for The Terror to rear its ugly head and strike me with the rubber knees and the panic. But it never came.
People were settling down, a little chatter and hushed whispers, glances and waves. Then the clarinet started, and the parents made their way down the aisles, first mine, then Peach's. There were a few seconds between the seating of the parents and any sign of movement behind the trees. And then a few more. And then time slowed down. It was likely only seven or eight seconds, but for me, it felt like minutes. "Oh god," I thought. "Did she get hit by The Terror? Is she not coming? Am I going to be made a fool of?"
But no. She came out with her brother, and walked down the aisle, and took my hand, and it was all great. I can't remember the details, but I can remember moments. My mom read an excerpt from The Little Prince I had prepared; Peach's mom read something from The Prophet that she liked. People were allowed to speak or forever hold their peace, and I shot a panicked glance at the crowd, which drew out a few laughs. We repeated a lot of words after the Justice of the Peace. Rings were given and exchanged. I smiled so hard my face hurt. And then, finally, it was time for the kiss. I enjoyed that part very much.
(The ceremony from far away. By Allan.)
We signed the register as the choir sang. I watched my friends sing and felt warm and satisfied. We met in the choir, and I knew I needed to have them there. It just felt right. We went back and did our Rose Ceremony, which we'd tailored to our particular idiosyncracies. And then we walked out through the crowd, out to the rear of the garden, and were whisked away on golf kars to the Japanese Gardens, where we took even more pictures and had sandwiches that Peach's mom had prepared. The difference between our two families were perfectly illustrated in that ten minute lunch break. Peach and her brothers found a little note that their mom had written, and were trying to explain/figure out which sandwiches had cheese, mustard, mayo, and Miracle Whip, and in what combinations. My brothers and I looked at the bag of sandwiches, said "Food!" and grabbed the first available sandwich. So different in so many ways.
We got back to the reception a little later than we wanted, but it was no big deal, as our guests were having a good time entertaining themselves and having a few cocktails. We did our own little "Recieving Diad" and welcomed everyone to the hall, then made our way to the head table to get ready for dinner. Astro had snuck a Batman figurine on my chair, which made me laugh out loud and caused most of the guests to look at me like I had just snapped, but I waved it off and they went back to their conversation.
Dinner was delicious, although I could barely eat because I was so nervous. We did away with the tinkling of glasses (because it's tacky AND because of potential breakage) and had a trivia challenge instead, which only two people took advantage of. I was fine with it, although Peach was disappointed that more people didn't try, as we'd had a lot of fun making up the questions. Then it was time for the speeches. NS read a telegram from Gwyn, who couldn't make it, which was lovely. Then followed another perfect illustration of the differences between our families. My brothers did a toast to me that was jocular and slightly-off-the-cuff, and played to the crowd a lot; Peach's brothers was perfectly scripted, quiet, and eloquent. Each one was perfect. Peach's mom welcomed me to their family (and got the biggest laugh of the night: "We hope one day that The Doc will overcome his shyness."), and my dad welcomed Peach to ours. He also broke down in tears when he tried to read a letter from my Grandma in Montreal, causing all three of us guys at the head table to start crying too. Apparently, we were quite the sight.
Our thank-yous were next, which were (I felt) mercifully short, and then there was a slideshow prepared by G and his lovely lady, which was great. The cake-cutting was well-attended, and it was a GORGEOUS CAKE that tasted even better than it looked. We have so many leftovers that we'll have to have a giant party when we break it out of the freezer for our first anniversary. Then, Kow sang a song that I had hastily arranged and Astro had made lovely, and the DJ insisted we sing another. I was happy to oblige, as I had tons of family out from Montreal who'd never seen me sing before, but it was a little embarassing. I didn't want Kow to take over the reception, and mercifully we didn't.
The dance was good, full of crazy escapades from my family & friends. G was an unstoppable dancing machine, and even my Nana danced to the "YMCA". Every wedding I go to, YMCA is played, which I think is hilarious. Dozens of people on the dance floor, celebrating the union of two newly-married people by dancing to a song about men having sex at the gym. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for same-sex relationships, I just think it's funny how so many people are oblivious to the painfully obvious meaning behind the song. We eschewed the boquet and garter toss in favour of a piñata and The Shoe Game, which I think were a lot more fun. I danced a little, snacked a little, and talked a whole lot, and before I knew it, it was time to shut it down and head off to the hotel for much-needed sleep -- but not before I picked up a double-cheeseburger for The Peach at the drive-through. It was a good way to end the day: cute and quirky, pulling away from the McDonalds in our formal wear. It was a great day. I know these words don't do it justice, but it's the best I can do.