Aug 24
I almost missed dinner. I left home with plenty of time to get to Cobourg but with traffic and huge thunderstorms it eventually took me 3 hours to get there. I arrived with a few minutes to spare and took a peek at “our” room before we headed out to the dinner room. Lots of people were already there and after what seemed like forever we eventaully sat down and ordered the food. Isabel was on the phone with Kim and Julia trying to figure out where they were and I was put on the phione to try and figure it out. In the end I managed to get them tracked down and drove a few blocks  down to the church and picked them up. I was amazed at both of them, so tall and pretty it is hard to imagine that they are the same little girls who I used to visit up in Huntsville.
The meal was pretty good, but I was continuing on my path of eating outside of my framework which is not good. Due to the fact that I still had a mountain of work to do at home, I could not stay for long after dinner and headed out as soon as possible. As I drove home I reflected on how bizarre it was to have all the families in one place. This was only the beginning of a bizarre few days.
I got home and really tried to get into doing the cd’s for the beand breaks, themixing for the first dance and the father daughter dance and the presentation. Problem was that I ate too much for dinner and when I sat down to take a break I fell asleep and woke up at 230 the next morning. So it was now my wedding day and there was no music, no first dance or father daughter dance and the presentation was going to look remarkably like a polar bear in a snow storm. It was time to get to work.

Aug 25
I was starting to get a little nervous, not for the ceremony but rather becasue I had a ton of work to do and had to leave at 12. It was 530am when I started and as I pulled the newly burned presentation CD out of the drive my watch beeped 12 noon. I jumped in the car and headed out to the Hall. It took me less than 80 minutes to get to the Hall despite horrendous thunder storms on the way and road around the hall that were literally rivers. I ran into the hall expecting lots of people to be there since I was told to get there at 2pm NO LATER … it was 145 and the only people there were the security guard who showe me where to go, Joanne the coordinator and the guitar guy who was already set up playing in the courtroom. I had to go outside and move teh Jeep to the rear parking lot after which i grabbed my backpack, my tux and headed up to the rather barren changeroom. I sat for a whiel sorting out my kit, getting each item that had to go in different directions sorted adn delivered them to Joanne. It was then that I saw Dad and Derek for the first time. I headed back up to get changed since it was now almost 130 and Dad went out to the car to get something. It was very quiet up in the changeroom, and I imagined that had I picked a set of groomsmen that the room would have been buzzing with their activity. I got changed as Dad read his book, somewhat typically, and by 150 it was time to go downstairs. Marlon had appeared towards the end of my preparations to take some shots and as he departed Dad and I went down to the courtroom to the sounds of bustling people being let into the room.

The room seemed larger somehow now that people were there, they were filing in to the audience seating, my family over to the left, most of Nicole’s closest family to the right. I spoke to Mum and Fiz for a while, and then headed over to speak to the work gang who were seated directly across from the “altar” area. As more and more people arrived, the energy in the room began to build and once Andrew, the Baptist Minister arrived and began to get ready everyone started to pay attention. Dad and I helped him get his robes on and he told us briefly how the ceremony was going to go. I asked him about how John would hand off Nicole to me and he was very clear with his instructions both for me and for Dad’s participation. He then addressed teh congregation with typical humour and insicated what their participation would be (which, by the way, was not in the actual ceremony – I wonder if he only did that to either get them focused or to ensure that they stayed focused on the ceremony while it was happening.) He then announced that Nicole was in the building and that we would be starting.

Brendan pushed the button on the boombox and the courtroom was filled with the sounds of The Wedding March. With that, the doors opened and there stood Nicole with her Dad, looking perfect like a beautiful little doll, hooked on to her father’s arm. She looked so beautiful in her dress, but she also looked so cute, so small compared to the height of her Dad. They made their way down to the front of the court and the whole way down I couldn’t help but have a huge smile on my face. It was so weird, I was speechless inside my own head! The rest of the actual ceremony is kind of a blur. I remember shaking John’s hand as he handed Nicole over to me and I remember Andrew sliding Nicole’s ring over to me. At one point I remember as I was speaking my part seeing Nicole’s chin starting to quiver a little which thankfully she managed to hold back when it came to her part to speak. The rest of it just flew by until I got to kiss my new bride which we were both very excited to do! We signed the register with my Dad and Nicole’s Mum as the witnesses and then were presented to the congregation as Mr. and Mrs. Kay!!! One of the two most memorable moments of the day for me was the cheer that ensued as we made our way out of the court and up the stairs to where the receiving line was meant to be. It was at that time that I got to see the back of her dress and the intricate detailing that went into it. I was amazed at how she looked, it was strange that the feeling I had of still being a kid was mingling with the image of Nicole who looked not like the girl I met so many years ago, but now like a beautiful woman in an extraordinarily beautiful wedding gown.

The receiving line took about 30 minutes and after we had seen each and every person we headed outside to have some pictures done. The majority of them were set against the front of the building which is indeed very beautiful. Nicole and I had some shots taken walking down the main street of Cobourg and even in a small cafe where we stopped for a while to have a quick cold drink. It was hot and a bit muggy and so it was a relief once the pictures were done and we could head back into the hall and up to the reception cocktail hour in the bar. We decided that we shouldn’t really be in there so we went into the hall to watch the girls warm up their routine and to give us a chance to practice our dance which I knew inside and out in the morning, but was now fading very quickly from my memory. The girls were doing fine with their routine and the second time through, our dance started to come back to me. This was not going to last long however. We retreated back into the ante-room where we waited for the guests to make their way to their seats and for Uncle Joe and Derek to get ready for the introduction of the wedding party. We couldn’t hear much from where we were so we spent the time chatting to the girls and trying to get the parents in one place ready for the entrance. Finally Joanne opened the door and ushered the parents and my sister through. As Lia peeked into the room, suddenly they were off to do the routine and the door lcosed behind us once more excluding us from the activity. I could still hear the music playing and tried to guess where the girls were so that we could enter the room. A few seconds later, the door opened and Uncle Joe announced us to a huge roar of cheering and shouting. It was completely overwhelming to have all that noise in our honour and for the second time that day I was utterly possessed by the enthusiasm of the moment. We walked to the head table, our faces lit up with delight at the wonderful reception we were getting.

Uncle Joe was a delight as an MC and peppered the evening with funny anecdotes and one liners that made us very happy that we had chosen him to lead the evening. Although nobody knew, the  most stressful part of the day was still to come for us, and it was difficult to concentrate on anything, even including teh speeches because of how much we were concerned about the dance. Having said that hwoever, teh speeches were fantastic. Even though now everyone knows about my bunny slippers thanks to Fiona, the speeches were very nice. Mike was quite a surprise with his speech which actually reflects pretty accurately the transofrmation Mike himiself has made over the past few years. It was relaxed, insightful and focused on the value of life, not the necessity for work. It was a really refreshing note and although a fairly intense speech, I thought it was incredibly sensitive for the occasion. My Dad’s speech was, as anticipated, reserved, but at the same time filled with really genuine emotion and sentiment, and I knew at that point that I was going to have a problem with mine…

Although I had a list it was no good, I managed to thank a few people but as soon as I got to my family I started to falter. By the time I tried to thank the girls for their help I was a complete mess. All I could do was struggle through the introduction to the presentation and got away from the podium as fast as I could. Even though the presentation didn’t quite go as well timed as it was supposed to, I think it was a good substitute for the speech I had wanted to give. I returned to my seat, a little worse for wear, but now the moment of truth was approaching and I was getting pretty anxious as each step of the dance leaked from my head. We were introduced and walked out to the floor as planned. There were audible gasps and oohs and aahs from the tables as we set up for the dance. The start was good, and in fact the first couple of moves were OK but once we got to the first couple spin we skipped it!!! The lucky part was that we didn’t panic and eventually made it back on time and on track. We did the 8 count turn OK and managed not only to finish properly but on time 🙂
The evening after that point is a bit of a blur, lots of talking, some dancing with Mum and Fiz and lots of chocolate dipped stuff. The chocolate fountain and the cake were the highlights for me, and also the multitude of photographs that we had taken. I was disappointed however that I didn’t get a chance to have a picture taken with Ashley and Tara since they were the ones who are not coming back next year. We enjoyed the rest of the wedding day in the way we knew we would, surrounded by friends and family being filled with love and friendship in the way that only a wedding day can.