Hmmm, I was hemming and hawing over what title to use for this post, and it appears I have suffered from a lack of creativity on that front. Well, at least you know what this story will be all about, don’t you? Yes, I humbly bring you a little story on how Alix and Matt got married, and a little about my involvement in the big day. As you might guess, I’ve got a soft spot in my heart for this marriage, as Alix and Matt are two of my very best friends in this crazy world, and we’ve seen each other through all sorts of crazy adventures. So while I could talk at great length about all those, I’m instead going to try to stay on point here, and just give you the facts, if that suits you all ;-). Before I launch into my full story however, you may wish to head over to Jody and I’s Flickr site to check out all the pictures. You’ll notice this time, we’ve put together an entire collection of photos, as one folder would have been just too big. We’re also waiting on a few other pictures to dribble in from others that we plan to put up there as well. Once you’re done browsing, click on back here and read the rest of the story.
The story for me of course started a few months ago, while I was cycling my way through New Zealand. You see, I got an email from Matt one of those long days. Yup, from Matt. Not only did I get an unsolicited Matt email (a rarity), it was 4 paragraphs long!! Alix doesn’t even get messages that long from Matt. Most of the message was just chit chat stuff, but at the end, he asked if I was attending their wedding and if I’d like to be in his wedding party, and specifically as the Best Man! I was honoured and of course accepted right away. What did you think Matt? That I wasn’t going to attend your wedding? Don’t be crazy dude. Right away I started trying to figure out what it was that I’d be responsible for. Well, obviously, the bachelor party, and also a little wedding speech as well. However, thanks to the fact that they had hired a wedding planner, very little else would be under my purview. Whew! So, let’s now fast forward to the wedding week.
My first little challenge of the week was the fact that I was going to be out of town on a business trip until Wednesday night late. Luckily, that coincided well with the fact that the wedding rehearsal and dinner would be Thursday night, so at least I wouldn’t miss that. The rehearsal alone was pretty straightforward. The wedding was going to be on the terrace at the museum of civilization in Gatineau, a very picturesque location overlooking Parliament hill. Well, at least, it would be, as long as the weather co-operated with us. So far, so good, as it was a nice evening for the run-through. Our wedding party was nice and small too, which made for an easy practice. On the Matt side, there was just me, and Vince, Al’s brother. On Alix’s side, there was Linday (Al’s sister) and Patty (Matt’s sister). The officiant went through the rough order of the things we would do, and showed us where and when to stand places. It was pretty obvious that the ceremony would be my favourite type: short and sweet.
Once the practice was over, we all headed back to Al and Matt’s place for the rehearsal dinner, which was to be a mouthwatering bbq prepared by the bride and groom. It was great to catch up a bit with both of the families, as Jody and I have had the fun of hanging out with them in the past. Of course Vince has continued to grow, and is a far cry from the little guy that we used to throw around in his basement while wrestling on our Oktoberfest weekend. In fact, he was telling me all about his experiences in driving school and his driving test. Crazy! This guy is going to be driving? Good thing it’s only the people around me getting older, and not me actually aging, right? Right? Please? Time marches on I suppose. During the actual BBQing part of the gathering, it did unfortunately start to rain rather heavily, and most people escaped to the house while Matt and I stayed outside and chatted while he played grill-master. All in all, a great little evening of food and family. I know I’m not really family, but I felt like it, given that Jody and I were the only non-family members in this crew.
Friday was meant to be just a calm day before the wedding, but need I remind anyone that this was the height of the Sparks Street Ribfest? As such, I gathered up as many people as I could that might be interested in delicious pork products, including the gang up for the wedding. In the end, attendees included Jody, me, Dave, Meghan, Mike, Lydia, Alix, Matt, Vince, Zee, Patty, and Grant, who we just happened to spot as he was walking by. We kept it a pretty high-level evening, ending the fun before 10pm, and after only having consumed a few pitchers of liquid gold amongst the lot of us. For me it was the first time I’d attended ribfest and I thoroughly enjoyed it, in spite of the price. However, I did learn a lesson. Stick to the ribs. I got a combo, which included ribs, chicken, and sides, and realized I really only needed the ribs. Messy, but delicious. Lesson learned for next year. Full rack of ribs only. Or two half-racks from two different vendors.
So, now that ribfest was done for us, it was just a matter of getting a good night’s sleep, right? Well, yes, but I wasn’t quite able to get to that point yet. I had to get all my nice wedding-y clothes together, as well as jot down some thoughts that I had for my imminent speech. You see, I don’t generally write a speech for these things, rather opting to just go ‘off the cuff’. It’s served me well to this point, but I decided there were few things that I wanted to make sure I mentioned, so I actually used a couple cue cards to make sure I got it more or less right. Of course, the substance would still be pretty much created on the fly, but the themes were nailed down. So, in the end, it was after midnight before I finally got to bed. Apparently, elsewhere in the city, the bride and groom were also still up, apparently perfecting their dance routine of all things!
So, the big day! Time to put it all together, and make sure than Matt didn’t run away very fast and far from his commitments. As the best man, that was my main charge, as well as responsibilities to make sure the rings made it safe and sound to the ceremony. However, once again thanks to Stacy the wedding planner, that was about it for my ‘to do list’. The entire schedule for the men in this case looked something like this: 10:30am, Matt picks me up and takes me and my stuff to his house. 10:30am to 11am, sit around watching Matt get nervous. 11am, head downtown for hot shaves and haircuts at Matt’s barber. 12:30pm -3:30pm, eat pizza, play video games and get ready, as well as watch Matt get even more nervous. 4pm – wedding, pictures picture, and more pictures.
So as you can see, not that challenging. The only thing critical was a stop to the hotel downtown where Matt had left his belt. Our hot shaves was quite a little adventure. Matt uses traditional Italian barbers, and they had all sorts of jokes for us about the fact that Matt was getting married. Matt provided the best punchline though. When asked how he wanted his haircut, his immediate reply was “She said a little off the sides and back, nothing off the top.”, not even realizing his slip. We totally made fun of him for that. Not even married, and he’d already lost complete control. Too funny. It was also the first time that Matt had a hot shave with a blade, and I know how scary it can be, so I told him if he got through this, there was really nothing to worry about for the rest of the day.
As indicated above, once clean shaven, we headed back to Matt’s to relax a bit. Matt and I each had a beer, and then we walked over to pick up a pizza so that we wouldn’t go hungry during the pictures and the ceremony. After that, we got busy ironing ties and cleaning up a bit. Matt was pretty quiet (nothing new there) and headed upstairs to get dressed. He was all dressed and ready to go well before Vince, Roger or I. Apparently, he was determined to get married, and to not be late for the big day 😉 I quickly followed ‘suit’ so that Matt wouldn’t feel too overdressed.
Unfortunately, I think that as soon as Matt put on his suit, it put him into a heightened state of nervousness. I kept reminding him that it was basically like any other day, just a little dressier. There really wasn’t anything to worry about, unless of course the venue ran out of beer and he had a full-scale riot on his hands. This didn’t completely pacify him, so we decided to head to the ‘man floor’ and rock out a little while playing Guitar Hero. That always relaxing Matt. There’s nothing quite like working up a sweat trying to nail ‘Freebird’ on Hard mode with a friend, is there? Sadly, we failed at 73% complete. However, it did pass the time and we were off to the venue for photos.
What can I say about the rest of the day? Well, I suppose a lot, but my the looks of my post as is, I’ve already written quit a lot, haven’t I? The photos went off pretty much without a hitch. I took a bunch of behind the scenes kind of shots while the photographers captured Al, Matt, and the rest of us in various poses in various places. The only snafu came when we were supposed to get pictures done on the double decker bus. We never did connect, so unfortunately those pictures don’t exist. Too bad, but that’s a relatively minor thing in the grand scheme of a wedding, wouldn’t you agree? After photos, we hid Alix, and Vince and I got busy doing some ushering. The weather decided to co-operate with us 100%, so there were absolutely no issues whatsoever with that, thank goodness. The lighting was excellent, and the views across the river were absolutely stunning.
The ceremony? Well, that also went off very smoothly. We got to stand there in the sunshine while the officiant did his thing and Al and Matt stared at each other wide-eyed and in love. Actually, Alix always looked like she was about to burst out laughing she was so happy the whole time. I could only see the back of Matt’s head from my angle, so I’m not completely sure how he was feeling throughout the whole thing. I can only assume he looked like he might pass out? I managed not to misplace the rings, the vows were well written and funny, and the signing of all the papers worked out well too. I had to stall for a little while though, as the champagne that was to be served to all the guests during that time was a little slower in coming out than we anticipated, so I had to take extra care in making my letters, but before you knew it, they were pronounced man and wife, and the kissing began. Congratulations you two!
From the ceremony, it was right into the main reception hall, where the bar was open, and there was appetizers being served. People lingered for a while outside, getting their own pictures taken in such a nice setting, enjoying drinks, and munching on appetizers. The pressure was more or less off now, apart from the speeches, which still remained at some point in the evening. First up, the first dance, to which the happy couple did an amazing version of their own little ‘Dancing with the Stars’. I honestly didn’t think Matt would ever be able to bust out the moves that he found that night, but he did, and we were all suitably impressed. Later on, they confided that Frank Lindo, the band leader, had dragged out a 2min 30sec routine to almost 6 minutes for them, which sort of put them on the spot, but you never could tell.
The music for the night was absolutely spot on, with the Frank Lindo Soul Review providing the live music, and a very keen DJ doing a great job between his sets. There was a ton of dancing going on, as the numerous pictures will attest to. Alix herself was on her feet for most of that time, and in the end, We shut that place down, eventually being told that we really should be going ;-).
The food? Well, let’s just repeat what I’ve said on more than a few occasions. I love tacos. No joke. And guess what one of their food stations was? A taco station!!! Yeee-haw. Unfortunately, I didn’t have as many as I’d planned on eating, since I was hoping to wait till after the speeches to eat, but discovered that they were planning on taking the tacos away at that time! Yikes. Interestingly enough, even though Al and Matt hadn’t planned on serving a sit-down meal, I’d argue that they more or less did (at probably a good savings for them). After all, they had a carvery, a taco station, cheeses, crackers and breads, vegetables, etc. etc. Guests took their seats where they wanted, ate what they wanted, and were generally pleased as punch for this stuff. Kudos to this style of a reception. In my opinion, it worked just swimmingly. In fact, I’d have to say that overall, the entire wedding was one of the best organized, and enjoyable that I’ve ever been too. I suppose some of that may be a result of their using a wedding planner, and another part of that may be a result of my own personal bias 😉
The last wrap up thought for this article would have to be about the speeches. They all happened rather quickly, without a whole lot of fanfare (well, more than the ‘cake cutting’ but I digress ;-). Uncle Bob was the MC, and did a great job of that, as well as a great speech and toast to the newlyweds. He brought up a few funny stories, and just generally had a great laid back vibe about it. After him, I went up, armed with my cue cards and my heart on my sleeve. The only other speeches were from Al’s folks, Matt’s folks, and finally Alix and Matt themselves. Something interesting happened during that speech. Matt actually got choked up! Can you believe it? There was a pregnant pause, and I decided I had better jump to the rescue. I ran up and gave him a big hug, breaking the silence and making everyone laugh. He recovered, and they finished off their toast to everyone. It was a pretty special moment.
Well, that pretty much sums is up. I know I have a tendency to draw things out when I write them, but I just can’t help myself, so thanks for bearing with me. I hope that if you weren’t part of their special day, you got a little taste of the day. Once again, congratulations to Alix and Matt, and thanks for making me a part of your special day. It meant a lot to me.