It’s been 2 years since our wedding day, but I never wrote about it and I’ve always personally found that writing about something really helps me to be able to recall it better in the future. It was an amazingly special day and I want to try and hold on to as many of those memories as possible (and hope too many haven’t slipped away already).
I always wanted to get married in Newfoundland. The longer you’re away from the home, the harder it is to describe what the term means to you. I felt tethered to Newfoundland for a long time after leaving and probably drove all my co-workers and new friends nuts with how much I liked to talk about it. There’s really nothing more frustrating than trying to explain to a Vancouverite that 5cm of snow is not a snowpocalypse and that snow in March is not crazy. So I really held on to my roots, and I still do.
But the longer you’re away, the more untethered you become and it’s hard to deny that Vancouver has also become my home and that I now have strong feelings of attachment associated with both places. But all this really only fueled my desire to get married in Newfoundland. I knew it would be an impossible trip for most people to take, but I really wanted to give the people who have become close to me on the West Coast the opportunity to visit. Plus I really wanted some wedding photos with the ocean (sadly I never ended up getting them, though not for lack of trying).
We came home two weeks before the wedding. The first week was dedicated to all the chores and appointments that come with organizing a wedding from afar, but I was adamant that I wanted to leave the second week free to spend time with my friends and family that were visiting from away. I got my wish and had a great week hiking the east coast trail and partying on George Street with many of the people I love. My bridesmaids threw me a lovely little pre-wedding party and we held the rehearsal dinner at my parents house.
It absolutely poured the night before the wedding. We had the most gorgeous weather leading up to the wedding, which I took as a bit of a bad sign because there’s only so much nice weather St. John’s is going to get, but it was still calling for decent weather on our actual wedding day. We had to move the wedding rehearsal to my church, but we still planned for an outdoor wedding at Pippy Park.
On Saturday morning, August 10, I woke up to the most gorgeous weather. I was pretty anxious the night before (okay like super anxious), but all I felt on Saturday morning was excitement. My recurring nightmare leading up to the wedding was that I wouldn’t have everything ready, or that things would be late, so it was so nice to wake up and think that none of that mattered anymore. Everyone had their jobs and whatever happened, I wouldn’t have to be the one to deal with it. Plus it was a sunny day and the sun always puts me in a great mood!
I was almost giddy for everyone to start showing up, I believe we’d planned to start hair and make-up at 8am because we had a 1:15pm wedding (yes, that’s the kind of organized person I am, the kind that gets married on the quarter hour!) Our hair, make-up, and lash artists all showed up on time to my parents house, along with all my bridesmaids and before I knew it, we were all done up with an hour to spare! I had the hair and make-up scheduled pretty tight, but everyone we hired was amazing and we had time to just relax before heading to the ceremony. I loved my hair, which was an updo done by Flhair by Lauren and Brittany Rowsell did a great job filling in my lash extensions. Make-up was what I was really nervous about because I’d had a bad experience with getting my make-up done in the past, but I had a consultation with Carlye Winsor and she was awesome! I looked exactly how I wanted to in all my pictures and I can’t thank her enough for that!
Our photographer, Zach Wheeler, showed up to take some pictures of us as we finished getting ready and we took a few snaps in the backyard before the bus showed up to take us to the ceremony. I can honestly say that I didn’t feel any butterflies before the ceremony. I expected to feel anxious on the way to the Courtyard, but all I felt was excitement to walk down the aisle and finally marry Seth. The time on our invitations said 1:15pm, but that was because I was sure something would cause us delay or people would be late, so we were actually planning for a 1:30pm wedding. But since everything was running smoothly, we actually did start the wedding pretty much on time!
My best friend Gill played a piano prelude that I’m sad I never got to hear and my new brother Trevor played and sang Somewhere Over the Rainbow on his guitar while we all walked down the aisle. Since we got married outside, I stayed hidden in the bus with my parents until Seth had been walked down the aisle by his parents and then snuck in line behind my bridesmaids.
Walking down the aisle was my favourite part of the entire wedding and one of the most emotional moments of my life. It was overwhelming and I felt a very powerful feeling of love for Seth as I walked down the aisle. The whole way down the aisle I was trying to hold back my tears and Zach caught a photo of me right when I entered the Courtyard that I absolutely love because you can see the emotion written all over my face.
Mom kissed me at the end of the aisle and left lipstick on my cheek, which got me, and everyone else, laughing and really set a tone for the rest of the wedding. I’ve been to a lot of wedding ceremonies and of course, I’m unbiased in saying that ours was the best. It was a no fuss ceremony, but it meant everything to us. We were married by Major Barb Pritchett, who was the corps officer at the Temple when we started going there as a family in 1995. She messed up right at the beginning by calling me Beth (we think it’s because it rhymes with Seth?) and made us all laugh, only bringing a little bit more joy to the day. But she also gave us a lovely ceremony and I think she really set us up for success in our marriage.
After walking down the aisle, the vows were my next favourite part. We decided to go through the arduous task of writing our own vows and I’m so glad that we took the time to do it because it was the most meaningful part of the day and something that I will always treasure and hold us accountable to. My friend Erica pre-read them both to make sure they were similar in length and content, but I think we had a good mix of reminiscing about our relationship while being thoughtful and intentional about the promises we were making to each other. We talked in advance about what marriage meant to us both and agreed on what kind of vows we’d be making to one another.
My childhood friends Maria and Steve did a duet for us of Ruelle’s, I Get To Love You, while we both signed the register and My Aunt Arlene and my cousin Emma did readings for us from 1 Corinthians and Anne of Green Gables (yep, it was that kind of wedding). Just as we were finishing signing the register, we started to feel a few light raindrops. My cousin, Olivia, quickly came to the rescue with an umbrella for us, which we laughed at because it had little birds on it and Seth loves birds. But it was light enough and we didn’t really need it, so we ditched it for our first kiss and presentation as husband and wife. We’re both proud to have decided to keep our maiden names, so there’s no annoying document changes for us (and my blog handle is still accurate, yay!).
As we started the procession down the aisle it started to rain in earnest as Trevor ironically played “Here Comes the Sun” on his guitar. It was the oddest day for weather. There are photos from the beginning of the wedding that show blue sky, but at the end of our 30 minute ceremony it really started to pour (that’s Newfoundland for you). It helped to speed the receiving line along because everyone was trying to hurry back to their vehicles, but the poor Groomsmen got soaked stacking up all the chairs.
Fortunately the first bit of rain didn’t last too long and we were able to get our family photos done in the Park without too much ado. The rain was sporadic, so we’d take some photos, hide under the eave of the park building, and then take some more. The only problem was where to go after that for the rest of our photos.
Surprisingly the rain wasn’t really bothering me that much. We were ahead of schedule, so it wasn’t slowing things down and it was so sporadic I figured it would just move off. We had planned to go out to the Marine Sciences Centre to take some photos on the East Coast Trail, but we decided to head downtown to Government House instead to avoid the rain. Unfortunately the rain was much worse downtown, so we took some photos inside the receiving hall, which I was unsure about because they were inside, but they ended up being some of my favourite photos of Seth and I from the entire wedding!
After that we split with our bridal party. They went off to the Reception site and we continued on our photo tour. We decided to try for Cuckhold’s Cove since it was nearby, but there were a bunch of other wedding parties there as well, so we decided to try for the wedding reception venue instead. It was located about 45 minutes outside of St. John’s and I was getting reports it was sunny out there. There’s only one small regret that I have about my wedding, and that’s that we never made a go for photos on the East Coast Trail. I really wanted ocean photos, and sadly I never got them. If I could do one thing over, I would just take them in the rain. But we still have gorgeous photos so I’ve learned to let it go.
Our reception was at The Wilds, which is a golf course out on Salmonier Line. They recently constructed a brand new pavilion, and the price is great compared to the golf courses closer to town, so we were thrilled that the space was available. It was far enough that a lot of guests decided to stay the night in the hotel, but close enough that people were still able to drive home if they wanted.
The Wilds staff took us out on the course to some of the prettier photo sites and we got some unique photos in the woods. We finally got a full shot of our giant wedding party and popped some champagne before heading into the ceremony.
My cousin Olivia and my friend Sean were our Emcees for the night and they did such a wonderful job, as did all of my Aunt’s, who got up early to decorate the entire venue for us. I really was so lucky. Because I was living in BC, my Mom took care of all the decorations and completely executed our vision for the space without us ever having to lift a finger! My Aunts took care of the reception while my Uncles took care of the ceremony site. Emily is an experienced cake decorator, so she made both the Wedding Cake (which was 3 tiers, two of which were Styrofoam), and the sheet cakes that everyone ate. She even let us do a little cake testing and we agreed on a vanilla cake with raspberry filling and white chocolate ganache!
We did our reception set up a little bit different than your typical Newfoundland Wedding. Seth didn’t like the idea of having a head table, so instead we just had a normal circular table at the front of the room where we sat with Emily, Trevor, and their partners. The meal was my favourite, turkey dinner, and the chef did a special fish meal for Seth. We had a fun little kissing game that incorporated both our hobbies. To get us to kiss, you could either come up to the front and hula hoop, or you could pick a card and try and guess the name of the bird! Both games were a hit, but of course, I’d give the edge to the hula hoopers.
We threatened everyone to keep their speeches short, they all listened except of course for my parents. But everyone gave lovely speeches and Seth’s family especially, had everyone laughing. We ended the formal reception by cutting the cake, but since we had so many people Come-from-Away, we wanted to integrate a Screeching-In ceremony into our wedding! Personally, I think this was one of my more brilliant ideas. It always takes the staff a while to set up the hall for the dance and the Screech-In kept everyone entertained and out of the way! So we re-located to the bar and our family friend Mary screeched in around 25 people!
It was super fun to watch all my friends from Vancouver and a good deal of Seth’s relatives kiss the fish. It raised a lot of questions in my office when I sent the photos around after the wedding, so for those who have never heard of a Screech-In, it’s Newfoundland’s way of welcoming outsiders in as “honourary Newfoundlanders”. The catch is, you have to kiss a cod and take a shot of Screech Rum!
We had our first dance to I Can’t Help Falling in Love with You, which was so special for me. First dances are one of my favourite parts of weddings, I’m always the weirdo in the front who can’t stop staring at the happy couple as they dance, so I loved having my first dance with Seth. I’d been very on the fence about having a father-daughter dance. I don’t like a lot of the patriarchal aspects of weddings. I’d strongly been debating walking myself down the aisle, but at the end we decided to both have both our parents walk us down the aisle so that at least it was equal. So formally, we weren’t planning to have a father-daughter dance, but at the last minute I decided I didn’t want to risk regretting it, so we had a joint father-daughter, mother-son dance to Bruno Mars’ Count on Me.
I’m so glad we did, it ended up being one of my favourite parts of the wedding! Halfway through, my Mom and Emily cut in to dance with us and Trevor and Seth’s Dad cut in on their dance. We danced as families for a little while and then we all joined into a big circle and danced together as one big family. I get teary-eyed just thinking about it. I do recognize that I am so lucky to have 2 supportive families that both like each other and are endlessly supportive of me and Seth. The dance for me represented the forever merging of our families and made me so happy that despite the things that make us different, we are all one family now.
After that the dance kicked off in earnest. Now I don’t want to brag, but my wedding was definitely a party! I feel like I’ve been to so many weddings where it takes forever for the dance to properly get started. It’s always the bridesmaids trying to get everyone comfortable on the dance floor – we did not have that problem. The DJ kicked off the party with Heave Away and the dance floor was immediately flooded with people! I give most of the credit to my large and energetic family and it was really an awesome time. Me and Emily were slightly concerned when the DJ played a slow song for the second song that it would kill the rave he’d just got going, but the floor was then crowded with all the couples and when he went back to a fast song again after that the party immediately continued. Our DJ could use a little work on his song transitions, but he was actually really good at reading the room and playing a little bit of something for everyone, so we were really happy. He kept the party going literally the entire night, the dance floor was never empty, so there’s not much more you can ask for from a DJ!
Eventually we broke out the hula hoops on the dance floor and we had a photo booth set up in the corner for people to enjoy. Mom had set up a candy bar, but I somehow never visited it once the entire night. I went hard at the beginning of the dance because Zach had told me he usually sticks around to photograph 2-3 songs and then takes off, so I wanted to stay on the dance floor. But apparently even Zach was having the time of his life and he ended up sticking around for at least an hour of the dance, photographing all our guests.
The only downside was it was extremely hot in the venue. Even with the rain earlier, it had been a hot, humid day, but fortunately there was an outdoor deck on the venue, so I was constantly going in and out for air. I believe we had the venue booked until 1am, but no one seemed to have any interest in kicking us out and the DJ just kept on playing, so eventually around 1:30am I went over to Seth and told him maybe it was time for us to move out. Most of my relatives were still hanging around because it’s customary to send off the bride and groom. So we told our parents we were getting ready to go and my Aunts secretly wrangled up the rest of the guests to make a bridge tunnel to see us out! It was so sweet, so we ran through their little tunnel, ending one of the most exciting days of our lives.
Truly, I was so floored by all the love and everyone who came out to celebrate with us. I felt like we started our ceremony off on the right note, with a mixture of humour, but also authenticity, and it carried through the rest of the day. Would I have preferred if it didn’t rain? Of course, but even with the rain, it was still a perfect day. Our wedding was in 2019, so in retrospect, we really had no idea how lucky we were to have been able to gather with 160 of our friends to celebrate.
We stayed in the honeymoon suite overnight and said another goodbye to our friends and family in the morning. This one was a bit harder since we wouldn’t see any of our friends again on the trip and would be going back to BC in a few days. We checked out to the most enormous bill I’ve ever paid in my life, and then headed off to Bonavista to enjoy a short honeymoon before heading home. We went on a proper honeymoon in December when we visited New Zealand for 5 weeks (again our timing was so lucky!), but it was nice to have a few days after the wedding to decompress and just enjoy each other’s company!