I had my first date with my soul-mate, Dan. For the full story on how we met, check out my blog post series on the How to Attract Your Perfect Partner. Our first date was at Paradiso Restaurant in Burlington, our favorite place where everybody knows our names! It’s where we celebrate birthdays and anniversaries and we even got married there on July 12, 2009. I knew by the end of the first date that he was my perfect partner and by the end of the week, he was my boyfriend. We were engaged in March 2009 and planned our wedding in 3 short months. Looking back on my blog post on meeting Dan, I did promise to share our wedding story, so here goes.
We had originally planned a destination wedding for Dec 2009, in the Mayan Riviera. Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? At the time, the economy was in pretty rough shape and it would have been difficult for many of our friends and family to be there. Since my parents live in Mexico, we had to do the wedding at a time when they would be in Canada. They had already planned to come for a visit in July 2009, to be there to celebrate my sister’s 30th birthday. After much discussion with my family, we decided to hold the wedding on Sunday July 12th, two days after my sister’s birthday. This way, my parents and Sophie’s fiancé Nick (who lived in BC at the time) would be at the wedding. As coincidence would have it, my best friend Lee-Anne (who lived near Seattle at the time) would also be in town. The stars had aligned for our date.
The next step was finding a venue on such short notice. Two challenges: first it was the middle of summer and a very busy time for weddings and two, our budget was almost non-existent! The idea of getting married at Paradiso came up one night after a business presentation at the restaurant, I was speaking with the owner, Stephane, and he mentioned that there had been weddings at the restaurant before. I wasn’t engaged yet, but I did share the idea with Dan. When we did decide to get married, I brought up the idea again. Being the easy going guy that he is, he agreed with my idea. Since we didn’t have our island wedding, we decided to have an Island Theme for our local wedding.
Next step, make a list of only 40 guests, including us! The back room of Paradiso is great, but small so we could only fit 40 people in for dinner for the reception. We had decided on an early afternoon wedding, followed by an early dinner, since it was on a Sunday. And since two of our closest friends have young children, we also decided to include children at our wedding. Our outfits were simple, a white linen dress for me and a cotton shirt and shorts for Dan (and sandals!). Guests were asked to wear simple island wear as well.
The day of the wedding everything came together wonderfully. We were up early to go and decorate the restaurant. I had my hair done at the mall – yes, this was a particular challenge, since I got married on a Sunday (most salons are closed) and I only had my sister in my wedding party (so not enough to get a stylist to come to my home). I did get my make-up done at home though. A light lunch and we were off the restaurant. Everything was perfect, I walked up the aisle after my sister, to Far Away by Nickelback (we got engaged at the Nickelback concert). We were married by Reverend Pamela Grace, in a bilingual ceremony.
After the ceremony, we were blessed with one of the only sunny days that summer (anyone remember, it rained almost every weekend that year?) and we went out to Village Square, for a champagne toast around the gazebo. It was beautiful. We took photos around the Square and enjoyed the company of our guests. One of the great things about such a small, casual wedding, is that we had the chance to enjoy connecting with all of our guests. Not much later the room had been reset for dinner (the staff even decorated the tables for me!) and we gathered to share a first class meal. Another advantage of getting married in a restaurant, we had a really fantastic meal. The choice of New York Steak, Chicken Parmigiana or Salmon with risotto – how could you go wrong?
We did leave out a few of the traditions, such as throwing the bouquet and the first dance. We had a few speeches during dinner, but they were all short and well rehearsed. We also took a moment to honour my parents, whose 40th wedding anniversary was also that summer and we had forgone that celebration for our wedding in its place. After dinner, the wedding started to wrap up. We decided not to have a DJ and dancing, since it was a Sunday night and many of our guests have young children and also had a distance to travel that evening.
All in all, it was the perfect day for us. And it was all done for under $5000. So, you see, you can have a beautiful day without breaking the bank if you choose to. Now, three years since our first date, we are happily married with a beautiful daughter. Life is truly wonderful!
Here is a link to wedding photos: