Warning – If you’re about to sit down and read this, grab a coffee because you’re in it for the long haul. You saw our traditional wedding story on the blog a few weeks ago, but this is the full, no sensor, behind-the-scenes look at the craziness that unfolded. Everyone we tell this story to is genuinely surprised to hear how in-detail this story goes, as on the surface, everything went off without a hitch. It’s the story that keeps on giving, and is always so fun to tell and there’s always someone that didn’t hear about something. But, we were indeed very much affected by the power outages caused by the several tornadoes that hit Ottawa the day prior.
The festivities started getting into the thick of things on Thursday. Max’s mom and her friends spent the day cooking as they amazingly decided it was a fabulous idea to make a beautiful home cooked meal for our fifty guests. Max’s best friend Chris flew in from Calgary in the afternoon. The guys had planned to pick him up as his family wasn’t in town yet and our rehearsal dinner was that evening. My mom and I dropped some things off at the sailing club before heading to the church. I found the rehearsal kind of awkward, but maybe it’s just because all eyes were on me. Max thought it was neat to run through the whole thing. All went well, other than running a little later than any of us assumed. We headed over to Max’s mom’s for a lovely lasagna dinner where everyone was so hungry, we just jumped right into the main course. I headed to Steph’s to pick up my photography invite suite that she addressed beautifully for me, but I did almost forget that!! Everyone left to head home, never knowing what was in store for us the next day.
I had a shower early Friday morning because my hair typically takes 500 hours to dry. Max took the last of the men for their final suit fitting to make sure everything was perfect. I did a drop off at the club where I started arranging the tables and chairs that the rental company had dropped off that morning. There were also a few things missing so I was panicking a little. Well that was a silly decision because I was then sweaty and gross looking so I had to go back home for another shower! My brother drove me downtown so I could pick up Katelyn’s rental photography gear before heading home for my manicure. I had a few quick last minute things to do, like finishing the iron-ons that I had created for the guys’ socks. I was sitting at home worrying about Katelyn & Michael’s flight because it was getting windy. Although the Alert Ready system texts sent out tornado watch and warning signals, all was fine, since we get those all of the time but Ottawa doesn’t actually get tornados. They landed just fine and all was good.
The boys ran around doing car pickups, because we were involving several special cars in our wedding (car lover problems). The rain started to come down hard as they drove their convoy home as safely as they could. I was at the salon getting my manicure pedicure when all of the sudden the power went out. I had chosen a shellac manicure to get me through our honeymoon with beautiful nails as well. What do we do now?! Shellac needs the UV light in order to dry! Quick thinking lead us to running an inverter from the car, through extension cord to power the UV lamp inside the salon. We ate cereal for dinner as we waited for Katelyn and Michael to come pick up their gear as they traversed through all of the flashing red lights that lead from the airport to my house. The boys had planned to order pizza, but of course, there were no restaurants open….what did they do? They had no choice but to dig into the wedding mac & cheese!
Was that enough? No. Because I had planned on surprising Max with a little bit of a room change – so that he was coming home to our room, not my room. So my angel of a mother and I sat in the dark (with wine) assembling furniture. We had yet to meet my sister-in-law-to-be’s boyfriend, but he was insistent upon renting generators as peace of mind. We all thought it was a bit crazy since Ottawa never loses power for more than five or six hours tops. Ben, were we ever glad you did.
Saturday morning, phones on low charge, we were worried we wouldn’t wake up on time – but who could sleep?! We were up before sunrise. My bridesmaid, Nicole, who lives not too far away was driving around at 6am trying to charge her phone – so she decided to pop over and see if we were up. She pulled me outside and told me to look up. It was probably one of the highlight views of the day. Never in my life did I see stars like that in Barrhaven. Store lights, streetlights, houselights out – nothing but stars. Wow. We packed up and headed off to Amy’s, still unsure of what we were going to do as she was out of power as well. We pondered heading to the guys’ place as one of the few places in the city that still had power, Amy then found her brother-in-law’s generator! We were a little late, but it arrived and we got a start on our hair.
The boys, on the other hand, had planned to go out for breakfast before going for hot shaves. Max was driving around, putting ice in the freezers at the club and trying to find bacon and things for the boys to eat. He ended up near the church, which happened to be so close to the edge of Kanata that it was practically Dunrobin. The last place we expected to have power. He texted me that the church had lights on and I literally laughed out loud at my phone. I thought he was just trying to make me laugh, but it actually did have power for some God-sent reason. The amazing guys at the barber shop were closed, but had planned to come in just for them since they knew it was a wedding appointment! What?!
Katelyn had texted me that they had arrived, so I ran outside excitedly. There’s the cutest photo she took of me, taking a photo of her arriving (before I showed her our beautiful generator of course). In the moment where everything else was insane, Katelyn tells me she’s pregnant and I’m even more thankful for everything that has gone on. If you know her story, you’ll know how meaningful baby number three was to them. Max also had not written to me yet so we also rushed around trying to get those exchanged before we had to do the reading for our videographers. I creeped on them as they shot details, also remembering to enjoy my morning with my ladies. When we were all finished, we got into our dresses and the day officially began.
Mom drove Katelyn and I to the club, where Max and I were to share our first look. For the first time, everything was perfect and not a thing could go wrong. We were together on our wedding day, with my mentors standing beside us capturing our reactions. The photographers headed to the church to start details, as Max and I spent a little time to ourselves at the club, where our wedding reception would take place in a few short hours.
We headed off to the church, through the flashing stop lights, as we slowly headed to St. Isidore. Max then realized the car that we had borrowed was out of gas. Many of the gas stations were already out of gas, and the ones that weren’t had lines down the street as people panicked to fill their cars and generators. A bride and a groom, dressed to the nines in their white rag top convertible with the top down, waiting for gas not five minutes before their wedding ceremony. Graciously, others used their cars to block us a spot, fill us up and sent us on our way, not before shaking a few hands as he was pumping gas as they congratulated us. We pulled up to the church and sighed, because other people were late as well and we had a few minutes to breathe as we sat in the car and looked up at the stunning church where we would share our vows in minutes. The ceremony went off without a hitch, followed by family portraits on the church grounds.
My angel of a mother ran off to set up our wedding cake, accidentally leaving me barefoot after I had planned to change into my flats. Another blessing in disguise because was there anything more “me” on my wedding day? We had scouted locations for portraits a few days prior, the light was STUNNING and we had our wedding party and bride and groom portraits photographed. Just Max, Michael, Katelyn, Cassidy and myself headed off to an additional spot just off Old Carp Road. Max and I had our hearts set on recreating a photo we had done with the BMW when we photographed our own “branding headshots” the autumn passed.
We had taken longer than anticipated and delayed the reception a bit, but apparently that was also a blessing in disguise because people hadn’t really started snacking until a little later. We had hired two severs to help with the buffet and cleaning, and one did not show up!! Instead of the company sending another, we were left to our own defences (please message me if you’re looking for who NOT to hire) and our amazing co-ordinator and florist, Carla, called in one of her own girls to help out. It gave more time to mingle, and we got our evening plans nailed out.
Poor Katelyn was left to shoot reception details in a rush while knowing they were a priority for me, and Carla held our impatient crowd back as they just wanted to get in and sit. As a photographer myself, who spend MONTHS trying to nail every little detail about my reception design, I was NOT going to miss out on having gorgeous photos of it. Be patient people ;) I’m surprised this was my idea and not Max’s, but our grand entrance was the hard rev of the BMW convertible as we drove around the tent to the waterside. Our home cooked dinner was so AMAZING that even our vendors raved. I also decided it was important to feed them first since eating last a photographer, I often miss parts of my meal. We snuck some secret surprise special dances in for our mommies, which was so amazing.
One of my favourite memories was actually a wipeout I took that only a small handful of people saw. As I was going to get more drink selections to put out (again, why I was doing this and not the severs was beyond me) I caught my veil on the Velcro of the tent. Jolted back, I guess I happened to step both heels on the back of the train of my dress. Realizing this in what felt like slow motion, I realized I was going back and there was no way to stop it; so I just put my arms up to surrender and fall back. I screamed, then cried laughing so hard. It was incredible. I think only my mother-in-law and Carla saw me.
We danced the night away until 1am. We went home to no power. And no lighter fluid. And no matches. Lovely. We exhaustedly slept through the night before heading back to the club in the morning to do some tidying. Spent a crazy day getting everything in order before heading home to finish packing for our honeymoon – in the dark. The power came back on JUST before we were to go to bed. I’m not sure what we did to Mother Nature, but the weather followed us on our honeymoon as well.
Ready for the honeymoon?! Check back next Tuesday on the blog for the rest of that craziness!