Wednesday: the big day had arrived. We woke up to a knocking on the bedroom door. Our breakfast was ready. Every room gets a free breakfast in the morning, which is a tray of a small portion of muesli (how it’s supposed to serve two people, I don’t know), yoghurt, apples, quiche, ham, cheese, juice and croissants. We didn’t eat half of it, so by 10 we were hungry again. As were other family members.
After going to the gym with Fiam, Glen and I rallied the troops and took Fiamma, Dad and Helen for a drive through a very quiet Niagara Falls. It’s after the season so it’s a bit like a ghost town, even more so at 10am on a Wednesday. We had vague directions of where there was a supermarket but driving one way came up with nothing, the other way delivered arguments and a seething silent treatment between Glen and I. THIS is why people don’t see each other on the wedding day until the ceremony.
We eventually worked through our distances somewhere between picking up a roast chicken and some orange juice. We decided to make roast chicken rolls as it was the easiest thing. Also, just seeing the restaurants we passed made me feel queasy. Lots of all-you-can-eat, deep fried food places that aren’t good at the best of times. When we got back to the hotel, Christine and Gaye joined us as we wolfed down some food and then kicked everyone out so Glen and I could have a nap.
I think we managed about ten minutes before giving it up and slowly starting to get ready. Christine came to help Glen dress as he struggled with cufflinks and button studs. I dressed myself, though had problems with my contact lenses, as per usual. It didn’t help that Glen had sprayed cologne in the bathroom so my eyes burned with the scent. After taking the right one out and putting it back in a couple of times, it eventually settled and I could see. I did my hair, brushed my teeth, put on my suit and was ready to get on with things.
We gathered our things, ready to take them to the venue. Glen had packed a few board games, thinking there might be people who wanted to play games rather than talk and dance. There was also wine we were giving to the venue coordinator as a thank you, and I packed my camera and tripod. We brought a suitcase full of other things too. We met in the lobby at about quarter to three, gathering together the roughly 24 people who were also staying at the hotel. Taxis began to arrive so I loaded people in them and sent them on their way. Ours arrived, we squeezed in. The driver didn’t know where the venue was but eventually sorted it out. I began to get nervous.
Half an hour later we arrived at Konzelmann Estate Winery. We unloaded at the entrance while everyone else was taken down to the lake. We met PJ, dropped off our stuff and the first thing he asked was if I had the slideshow. No. I didn’t. I’d forgotten it back at the hotel. Luckily it wasn’t an integral part of the wedding and in the grand scheme of things, if something had to go wrong, I’m glad it was that. Later Pete and Royden drove back to the hotel for us and collected it, but the TV couldn’t read the file formats so we didn’t play. Oh well. Didn’t really matter.
Glen and I lingered around, going to the toilet about four times in 15 minutes, while PJ checked the celebrants and photographers were where they should be. The other officiant came down to meet us, yet didn’t actually go through anything. We should have run through a few things with him (like the proper pronunciation of my last name) but I kind of expected that he’d done this before so if he had any questions, he’d ask them.
The Ceremony Begins
We walked down through the grape vines to the lake, the photographers meeting us at the end (as well as Pete filming a bit of us), and then, all too soon, PJ gave us the signal to begin. The music started, we appeared from the vines and a collective “ooooh” was heard as we became visible.
I’m not a big fan of being on show so having 50-odd (as opposed to 50 odd) people looking at us made me flush. We walked around to the back of everybody to wait at the aisle. A string quartet version of “Don’t Stop Believin'” began. Katelyn and Dylan started off down the aisle, throwing petals from a basket onto the ground. They were so cute. They barely threw any at the start, raced down the aisle and then dumped the rest at the end of the aisle. They got a good laugh.
Glen walked down the aisle with his mum, then I went next with my dad. I got choked up seeing everyone there, but managed to hold back tears as we took our places at the front of the crowd. Slightly unrehearsed was what was happening with our parents at that point. We’d given them the rings to hold and I thought they’d give them to us when we got to the front, then go and sit down. So I took the ring from dad, while Christine stayed at the front. I then had to give him back the ring and he stayed. It was fine and helped break the seriousness of it all (not that there was much there to begin with – which is just the way I liked it).
It’s probably good to mention at this time that it was really, really cold there by the shore of Lake Ontario. It was probably about 9 degrees but felt like 6. My hands were frozen. We’d warned the guests in emails that it would be cold so they should wear coats and dress appropriately. Luckily Glen had brought some blankets and there were extra jackets around so no one got hypothermia. It was still freezing, however, and there were a few blue lips by the end of it.
Glen’s aunt, Gaye, began the ceremony. She’s not registered to perform wedding ceremonies in Ontario so we split the ceremony between her and a legal officiant. Glen’s mum did a reading (The Art of Marriage by Wilferd A. Peterson) and then we moved onto the official part. Glen and I joined hands, thankful for the added warmth to our fingertips.
Initially we’d intended to read out our own vows without prompting but we neglected to inform the celebrant of this. In the end, it was probably a good idea to repeat as then people could hear them. Glen’s vows went:
I call upon these persons, here present, to witness that I, Glen Lo do take you, Daniel Scarparolo, to be my lawful wedded husband from this day forward, through bitter Canadian winter and scorching Australian summer, wherever we are.
- to laugh at your silly jokes, mostly because I find them funny.
- to be your biggest fan and your toughest critic,
- your consolation in disappointment and
- your accomplice in mischief,
- to be your lover and beloved,
- your companion and friend,
- in times of joy and in times of sorrow
- As we share our life together,
Because – and, if I had only five words:
Life is better with you.
I then said mine:
I call upon these persons, here present, to witness that I, Daniel Scarparolo, do take you, Glen Lo, to be my lawful wedded husband from this day forward and wherever that may be.
- to steer you clear of bad buffets, but gorge with you at the good ones;
- to give you the orange-flavoured lollies out of the bag, and refrain from feeding you capsicum and olives;
- to indulge your love of tourist attraction gift shops, even when we haven’t been in to see anything;
- to listen to and sympathise with your radiological woes, but keep you from getting too fixated on the negative;
- and to do and be a million things and more to make the life we share together beautiful, wonderful and special.
Because life is better with you.
We got quite a few laughs for the vows we’d chosen, which helped make everything a bit lighter. I did, however, get caught up in the moment and stole a kiss after I’d said my vows, jumping the gun and drawing a sigh from the crowd. I couldn’t help it.
There were a few more words, then our friends, Ben and Simon, came up to act as our witnesses and sign the paperwork. The celebrant gave us one last moment to change our minds if we so wished, but we made it official at roughly 4:20pm on 29 October 2014. Final remarks were made and then people came up to congratulate us, while at the same time giving us the chance to steal their body warmth.
Guests then had champagne and hors d’oeuvres, while Glen and I talked to family, including saying hi to my grandmother and sister who’d watched the whole thing via Skype in Australia. My grandmother stayed awake all night for it so she’d be awake at 3:30am/4am when my friend Nikki called. Seeing them brought on the tears, both happy and sad. We showed them our wedding rings and said goodbye, arranging to call them a bit later so they could see the reception and the speeches. Thank god for modern technology.
While we still had the light (the clouds had rolled in but there was a beautiful sunset happening), we had photos taken with everybody in a myriad of groupings including Glen’s suggestion of everyone who’s names began with D or G. Because of the cold, we got through the photos pretty quickly and then the guests went off for a wine tour and tasting. Glen and I had photos of our own to take.
Mandie and Tyler, the photographers, were great and the whole thing was pretty easy. I think this was also due in a large part to us not having a wedding party to manoeuvre and also us being pretty laid back about the whole thing. Glen and I were giggling most of the time. We had photos in the vines, by the lake, overlooking the vines, in a bush and then in the cellar.
At 6:15pm the doors opened on the reception and we were standing there to greet our guests and hand out the hangover/take-home presents that Glen had made. They got rave reviews and luckily we had enough extras to give to people with kids at home. We didn’t bother with a seating plan and that worked out just right, helped along by a lot of people getting to know each other during the tasting. Glen and I opted to sit at the bar by ourselves so we didn’t have to fight for a seat amongst people. It also gave us a bit of quiet time.
Gaye made a short speech welcoming everyone and then dinner was served. We had a buffet. Glen and I got to go first, one of the perks of getting married. I wolfed the food down, barely had any of the wine, yet was stuffed within no time. A few people came by to drop slices of capsicum on Glen’s plate, in deference to the vows we’d made. Poor Glen.
After dinner were the speeches. First, Glen’s mum, then my dad, then Ben and finally me. All were great, short, and meaningful. I told the story of our engagement which got a lot of laughs. Glen then snuck in with a short speech. Then it was on to the dancing and general celebrations.
Even though we had until 1am, it didn’t feel like we had enough time to talk to everyone. There were people I definitely did not get to chat to on the night, though I did quite a few rounds and hopefully people didn’t feel neglected. Of course, I also had to get a good amount of dancing in. Katelyn and Dylan lasted until probably 11 or later, dancing with everyone and generally being very cute.
At 11pm there was the after-glow service and the much anticipated crepes and waffle station that Glen had requested. The after-glow service included pizzas, pastries and fruit. We’d almost decided against including it but changed our minds and it stayed. We got so many compliments about it as people eagerly feasted on the late night snack. The crepes and waffles went down a treat too, and the chef was really pleased with how happy we were with everything.
One of the big highlights of the night happened at about 12pm I think. The DJ put on Let It Go and about half of the remaining guests surged to the dance floor to give a rousing rendition of this Disney anthem. A more heartfelt and theatrical performance you’re unlikely to find anywhere. The staff watching the event loved it, as did we. I think there’s probably a video floating around somewhere that I hope to get.
About half the guests had departed by the time the bus arrived at 1am to take us home. It was a bit of a long ride as we had to do a number of stops, and I think most people had fallen asleep on the journey. We got back to the hotel at about 2 or so, maybe a bit after. In our room was a beautiful bouquet of roses and in the fridge a bottle of champagne and some chocolate coated strawberries, all supplied as a surprise from Helen and Christine. We were very touched (though couldn’t stomach the thought of yet more alcohol at that time of night). We soon went to bed, happy with how well the day had gone.