On March 8, 2003, Bill and I set off for the airport with five-year-old Ethan and both of my parents.
|See Ethan's Eye Patch?|
We flew to Vancouver that morning, and the next day our two families took a ferry to lovely Vancouver Island.
|Ethan and His (Soon to Be) Nana|
After a soak in the hot tub, and a flawless manicure from my future sister-in-law Sheryl, I retired to the room that Ethan and I shared with my parents. They fell asleep immediately, but I lay awake for a very, very long time, assuring myself I was really ready for this.
On my wedding day, I was so nervous I could barely eat. All I remember doing is getting my hair and makeup done, alongside my mother. We headed over to the gorgeous seaside hotel, Sooke Harbor House, with plenty of time to spare before the twilight ceremony.
The package we'd ordered came with a bouquet, a cake, and a gourmet dinner for two in the hotel restaurant, which was rated the third best restaurant in British Columbia at the time. Everything was perfect, and I didn't have to agonize over any of the choices!
|Nephew Kurtis With Bouquet|
|The Cake Tasted Even Better Than it Looked|
Since the hotel was surrounded by rain forest and it was early spring, we weren't sure until the last minute whether we'd be able to get married by the ocean. When the time came, the sky was dramatically overcast, and there was a bite to the air. My ethereal gown no longer seemed like such a good idea.
I tried to convince Bill to get married inside, in front of the fireplace, but he insisted that a wedding by the ocean would be much more romantic. Although I shivered through the very brief ceremony and all the pictures, now I know he was right. The pictures--a gift from Bill's sister Lisa, who was shooting her very first wedding!--were so beautiful.
The only guests besides my family were Bill's parents, his brother and sister and their families, and his grandmother. They all gathered around us, sitting on benches in the garden. We could hear the gentle sound of the surf down below.
I've always wondered what the minister was saying when Lisa took this shot:
|Can We Think About It First?|
|Oh, What the Heck. Why Not?|
|Nephew Travis Tags Along|
When we came back down just five minutes later, the people in the lobby laughed even harder, and so did we. Next, we went back into the chilly evening air for lots of pictures. Here are my favorites, both candids that Lisa managed to capture between shots of all the family.
|Keep Me Warm, Bill!|
After 20 minutes or so, Lisa's other son Travis decided enough was enough; he wanted his mommy. So Lisa took a picture of him:
Next came the best part. We all sat down around a long table in the cozy dining room, next to the fireplace I'd been fantasizing about. Even the minister joined us for an incredible meal, artfully presented on plate after plate. My dad remarked that it was the best meal he'd ever eaten, and I had to agree.
|Me and Daddy|
The funny thing is, I can't remember what we ate. What I do remember is the hum of conversation all around me as I sat and watched the people I loved most in the world having a great time together.
|See My Satin Cape?|
At last it was time for everyone else to go away on their separate vacation, on another part of the beautiful island. Ethan was very anxious about separating from us, but Bill was able to comfort him.
Bill and I stayed three more days in this gorgeous room, which came with a jetted soaker tub and no TV.
Each morning we woke to the sound of the waves crashing on the rocks below, and this was the view we contemplated as we ate pastries so delicate they melted in our mouths.
During the day we enjoyed massages, picnics, and long walks through scenes that belonged on a cheesy corporate inspirational poster.
The only thing that tempered the perfection was the fact that it rained every single day. I wasn't too disappointed, though, because Bill had prepared me. And didn't he look dashing in his raincoat? I thought so, anyway.
There was one more problem: we wanted to stay much longer! But we had to return to real life. We took the ferry back over to Bill's parents' house, where Ethan greeted us ecstatically. On our last day there, Bill's extended family and many family friends came to the house for lovely reception.
Everything about our wedding trip was exactly the sort of fairy tale I'd been afraid to hope for. I wouldn't change a thing.