Saturday, October 24, 2009

Wedding Day - The Ceremony

The wedding party moved in through the back door of the Black Forest Inn and the ladies went upstairs for the start of the ceremony, guided by wedding planner Barb.  The multitude was assembled in the chairs set out, waiting patiently.  The wedding theme was set out in the table markers, featuring highway numbers with the motorcycle motif.

Life is a Highway

To get things rolling, Tom and his best man entered via a side door and took up their positions front and centre.  Next the lovely mother of the bride, Zofia, descended the stairs at the back and was escorted to the front of the hall by her husband Stan.  They were followed by each of  the ladies in the wedding party who, escorted by their respective gentlemen, lined up at the front.  All was now ready for the big moment.

Stan and Zofia

Kim and Mike

Sandy and Jim

It was time for the bride's entrance.  Heather, resplendent in her gown, descended the stairs to the landing.  Sandy and I would escort her up the aisle together.  She looked spectacular and I don't have the words to express the emotions that go through a parent's heart at a time like this.

She descended carefully and we took up our positions on each side of her.  Then, to the familiar strains of Pachelbel's Canon in D, we started up the aisle.  We did not do the step/pause/step/pause thing.  I was too busy taking in the moment and seeing all the smiling faces of family and friends turned towards us.

At the front, we stopped and each gave Heather a hug and a kiss.  I shook Tom's hand and Heather moved to join him.  It would have been smoother if I had not been standing on the hem of her gown (making me think of Lehrer's Wiener Schnitzel Waltz), but we got through the moment without disaster.

You can't see my foot on the hem

The ceremony was largely a blur.  Zofia and Stan and Sandy and I gave our approval of the marriage and, after Trish and some friends said some fine words, Heather and Tom recited their vows to each other.
Then they took part in a sand ceremony in which they each pour coloured sand into a container that already holds a quantity of a third colour.  The different sands mix in a unique pattern, representing the mixing of their lives, and they keep the glass container as a reminder of that.

Sand Ceremony

Following the signing of the documents, the happy couple walked back down the aisle to the approval of all in attendance.

Mr. and Mrs. Heather and Tom Gronek

We all followed to the back where we mingled and enjoyed appetizers, champagne and an open bar.  It didn't take long for the ceremony guest seating to be removed and the family round tables to be installed on what would eventually be the dance floor.  After a suitable period of socializing, we moved back to our tables.

The staff were right on top of things as they brought the food.  They had a special salad Sandy requested due to her need to avoid Vitamin K and the entrees (chicken beef or vegetarian selected on the RSVP cards) were delivered to the appropriate people without fail.  I'm not sure how they managed this but I was impressed.  The red wine was excellent (I didn't try the white) and they kept it coming although  I had to stop after two because I would later be a designated driver.  The Black Forest is known for extremely competent wait staff and excellent food and today was no exception.

Instead of clinking glasses to get the  happy couple to kiss, guests had to approach the front and draw a candy kiss out of an opaque container.  If it was the proper colour, they would kiss.  Otherwise, no joy.  Young Will, Rob and Kirstie's son, had a large number of the correct coloured kisses and kept Tom and Heather quite busy.  It seems he found a tray of kisses on a table near the door and grabbed all the right coloured ones he could.  This young man should go far in life.

After dinner, the family tables were moved and we were relocated to the sidelines.  The dancing began with the bride and groom taking a tour of the floor.  Heather and Tom had been taking lessons in preparation for this.

First Dance

The Dip

When it was my turn, Heather and I danced to I Loved Her First by Heartland, a real 3/4 waltz with totally meaningful lyrics.

Look at the two of you dancing that way
Lost in the moment and each others face
So much in love your alone in this place
Like there's nobody else in the world
I was enough for her not long ago
I was her number one
She told me so
And she still means the world to me
Just so you know
So be careful when you hold my girl
Time changes everything
Life must go on
And I'm not gonna stand in your way

But I loved her first and I held her first
And a place in my heart will always be hers
From the first breath she breathed
When she first smiled at me
I knew the love of a father runs deep
And I prayed that she'd find you someday
But it still hard to give her away
I loved her first

How could that beautiful women with you
Be the same freckle face kid that I knew
The one that I read all those fairy tales to
And tucked into bed all those nights
And I knew the first time I saw you with her
It was only a matter of time

But I loved her first and I held her first
And a place in my heart will always be hers
From the first breath she breathed
When she first smiled at me
I knew the love of a father runs deep
And I prayed that she'd find you someday
But its still hard to give her away
I loved her first

From the first breath she breathed
When she first smiled at me
I knew the love of a father runs deep
Someday you might know what I'm going through
When a miracle smiles up at you
I loved her first

I don't usually dance and we only had a few moments of practice but we did OK (if you don't count me getting off on the wrong foot).  Then everyone else got into the act and I got to wander the room and visit with friends, many of whom had traveled some distance to be there.

Doug & Carol and Normie

Terry & Patsy and Leo & Diane

Sherry, Jan, Katie and Rob

Kirstie, Diane, Dave and Rob

Fred & Ginger

John & Lorie

It was a fun evening.  One surprise at the end of the evening was that the open bar in a hall full of Polish people and bikers served less alcohol than anticipated.  Maybe this is a sign that the drinking and driving message is getting through to people.

I didn't take any pictures at all, but Tom  has posted a two sets of the photographer's photos on Flickr, Wedding Pro and Wedding Day for your viewing enjoyment.

As the party wound down and the guests said their goodbyes and trickled away, the bride and groom settled up with the Inn for the bill.  At 1:00 AM, they were the last people to leave the hall.  I drove them to the Destination Inn before taking Jessica home, finally getting back to my room at 2:00.

The last to leave

I barely had enough energy to get untangled form all the parts of the tuxedo before I collapsed on the bed.

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