THE GIFT OF A WEDDING…
Thanks for dropping by, my friends!!! Hope you all had a sweet Valentine’s Day!
I am sooo excited that you chose today to visit! In honour of romantic February, the month of the rose, I thought I would
share the most precious fairytale – “The Gift of A Wedding”. We all love happy endings and I am certain you’ll love this inspirational story! And… it was captured on film (or should I say ‘digital’ – I’m telling my age), which makes it all the sweeter cause I know how y’all looove the photos.
Oops, in my excitement, I almost forgot to brew the ‘special’ tea I’ve selected for our visit, also in tribute to the dear rose – Celestial Seasonings’ ‘Vanilla Strawberry Rose’, a black tea deliciously flavoured with hints of cinnamon, natural vanilla, and strawberry – even rosebuds! I love its packaging, so nice for gift giving.
And, I’m using my pretty rose-strewn Sadler teapot for the occasion (see photo below). So, put up those cute toes and find yourself a comfy armchair. I hope you enjoy our time together…
VALENTINE’S DAY, A CELEBRATION OF FRIENDSHIP AND LOVE
“If I could reach up and hold a star for every time you’ve made me smile, the entire evening sky would be in the palm of my hand.”
Because we are truly blessed
to be surrounded with the
love of family and friends,
It is with great honour and joy
that we invite you all
to share in witnessing
the beginning of our
new life together
as we exchange marriage vows
On this evening
Saturday, April 17th, 2010
At this place
At this very moment in time…
We are forever grateful
for your friendship
Ed & Christina
“Once in awhile, right in the middle of an ordinary life, love gives us a fairytale.” Anonymous
“The Gift of a Wedding”
WHAT A SURPRISE!
On March 3rd, 2010, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I didn’t have time for that. I was busy preparing for a very special corporate event at my office – Employee Recognition Night (April 17th was to be the highlight of the year) - oh, and ….a ‘SURPRISE WEDDING’ for one of my co-workers! I asked the surgeon to delay my mastectomy for a couple weeks. He agreed. It was a blessing in disguise – planning the wedding – not the cancer. I’ll never say cancer was a blessing, no matter what I’ve learned, and am still learning, about myself or others. It steals your bliss and robs you of your peace in life. It changes everything forever. There’s no going back. Enough about that. The wedding would be a wonderfully positive distraction at a time when I needed one most.
When I first heard the news that my friend and co-worker Ed had gotten engaged to his beautiful love, Christina, on Valentine’s Day, I was elated! They are a lovely and kind couple, so deserving of every happiness in this life.
On the day I got the happy news, I was busy- as-a-bee planning the company’s annual night of recognition for its deserving employees. About 180 persons had already confirmed their attendance. Everyone was looking forward to an evening out. And, despite what was going on in my own life, I was determined to make each and every person who would be there feel special and appreciated by the company. It’s a project I look forward to and take on with gusto every year.
While my mind was spinning with the details, I got to thinking about Ed and Christina’s romantic engagement. What if…What if I were to approach Ed and invite him to have his and Christina’s wedding on the same night as our big corporate party?!
Thinking back to the company’s celebration of its employees the previous year, I had been announcing the names of individuals asking them to come to the front of the room to be recognized for their years of dedicated service. Ed was among them. When he stepped forward to receive his gift from the company, I teased that since the tables had been sublimely appointed with flowers and candles; and since there was music to fill the air, and since we (his good friends and co-workers) were all here together; and since the Mayor was present to bring greetings on behalf of the City and could officiate was not THIS then the most PERFECT time, if not the most economical time, for he and Christina to be married?!! Everyone laughed at what they thought at the time to be a great joke.
The seed had been growing in the back of my mind since that night back in April 2009. I had left a message for Ed with our transit dispatch team for him to drop by my office to see me. A couple days later, Ed appeared at the door to my office; a mischevious grin on his face a mile wide, which I should mention was not at all unusual for Ed. He is a man who enjoys his life. He always wears a mile-wide smile. After, I congratulated him on his recent engagement, he could not wait to tell me again that he was engaged. We laughed and hugged. His happiness could not be contained.
I immediately put the question to him that I’d been eager to ask him for a few days, “Ed, what would you say if I told you that if you and Christina would like to be married on Employee Appreciation Night, at the end of the award ceremonies, it could happen! Wouldn’t it be so great?! Everyone would be there already! I’d even ask the Mayor if he’d be willing to perform the ceremony! The dinner, the flowers, the music, the decorating – it would all be in place! I’d even design the invitations! And everyone would be there! We could keep it a total secret up until the very moment of the wedding. You just leave it all to me. Oh, Ed! Wouldn’t it be so perfect!” I could hardly contain my excitement.
Ed immediately loved the idea and promised to consult with his new fiancé. Now all I had to do was to convince my boss that it would be a beautiful thing for the company, too…
The rest, as ‘they’ say, is history…(Be sure to read the Telegram article below*).
The secret was well kept for the nearly six weeks leading up to Employee Recognition Night. The night turned out to be in a word - WOW! People cheered. People laughed. People cried. People embraced one another in the moment and all the love it held. It was the most beautiful wedding I’d ever been a part of and I’ve helped a few couples marry in my day! (Secret: I was a wedding consultant/site decorator/bridal-cake-maker for over 20 years. I’ve since retired from the business. Today it is a labour of love reserved for dear friends and family.)
The morning after the wedding, Ed and Christina drove to the bus stop at the Village Mall where Ed knew that some of his fellow bus drivers (who had been working their Saturday shifts the evening before) would soon be arriving. They brought with them wedding cake and (non-alcoholic) champagne. They revelled in telling the news! Although by that time – in fact within mere moments of the wedding – the news had spread clear across the country by phone text!
Apart from everyone in the company buzzing about it, the local newspaper and radio station covered the story.* Ed and Christina’s wedding was the talk of the town for days after. Everyone really does love a fairytale with a happy ending. (FOR ALL THE HAPPY DETAILS, READ TELEGRAM, SATURDAY, APRIL 24, 2010 ARTICLE BELOW*)
A LIGHT-HEARTED AFFAIR
Refined notes of white punctuated the entire room from the floor-length table skirts and sashed-covered chairs, to the blooming table centerpieces and glowing candles, to the pretty paper lanterns that hung from the ceiling and the fluffy marshmallows that filled oversized apothecary jars…the room was all alight with white! The decor trick was in the details. It could be an elegant corporate affair or, for that matter, a wedding. Who knew?! No one…until “A Moment In Time”.
THE BRIDE WORE ‘QUIET ELEGANCE’ Actually, the bride wore pink! My all-time favourite colour on this earth. Christina looked nothing less than radiant in a sheath and 3/4-length sleeve jacket over top. Flattering her hair and complexion beautifully, the colour of her dress reminded me of the softest seashell. The dresses worn by her willing attendants mirrored the ruffles in her own dress. The wedding was kept a secret even from the couples’ families until mere days before the wedding. Ed’s daughter stood for him. Christina’s stood for her. Considering both girls were told of their parents’ marriage plans only days before, they did a wonderful job in pulling together ‘the look’ of the wedding party.
FOUR TIERS OF JOY
I decided from the start to make the wedding cake myself. A special gift of ornate layers of vanilla happiness; the cake was a lovely spectacle. Its crowning glory was fashioned of silken full-blown roses, feathery ladyferns, rhinestones that winked in the candleglow and crystals that happily refracted the light. Twining ivies, twirling and swirling organdy ribbons and chandelier garlands enwreathed the cake’s base. I’m sure I must have beamed with pride. It was delicious, too. Gracious goodness!
MADE OF HONOUR!
I am a self-taught cake artist. I use the term in the most casual sense. I have never formally developed proper technique or cultivated the temperament required of a true cake artist.
Through the years, I’ve made many ‘dream cakes’ for brides. I was first inspired by my mom-in law who made the cake for her son Eugene’s wedding to darling Jane some 28 years ago. (I hadn’t started dating my husband then. In fact, I went to that wedding with someone else!) What caught my eye back way back when (some 28 years ago) was the cakes my husband’s mom had lovingly made in celebration of the occasion. The main bridal cake had an intriguing fountain that sat underneath its base and each of the bridesmaids had their own tasty creations, all wearing frocks of frosted cake to match their gowns – like giant placecards. I’d never seen anything like it!
My mom-in-law had never had any formal training in cake decorating herself. It was for her solely a labour of love. She was to convince me some years later, when I first started showing signs of interest in the craft, that I could do it, too. I would never have attempted then what seemed to me to be an impossible task if it had not been for her encouragement and guidance. Little did I know at the time that it would become a passion which eventually turned into a profitable business. The gift of my mom-in-law’s inspiration and confidence in my ability was to be a true inheritance. Frosting a bridal cake has since become for me a kind of calming, creative and thoughtful process, even therapeutic when I am ‘in the zone’.
BOUQUET OF HAPPINESS At my urging, Christina left all the wedding plans in my hands. She trusted me and I was glad that she did. Without knowing what the colour of her dress would be – she wouldn’t even find the perfect dress until just a few nights before the wedding – I selected a simple, sophisticated cluster of shell pink and cream peonies and tea roses, a gift to the bride from the groom. The floral stems were daintily wrapped in a braid of satin ribbon and a glittery rectangular rhinestone buckle rested just beneath the fluffy blooms. Petals were randomly studded with sparkly rhinestones, as were the silken blooms that festooned the cake. Ooh, so pretty!
A ROSE-FILLED CELEBRATION
I designed this tri-fold screen well over 20 years ago. It was expertly cut and upholstered by Terry, a good friend of ours. Its ‘home’ is normally along a wall in our living room (to camoflauge an ugly thermostat and box for the doorbell). On the eve of the wedding, under the cover of darkness, it was relocated by my husband and the groom-to-be to the Bella Vista’s soon-to-be-transformed banquet room. The rose-strewn tapestry was the perfect backdrop for such an occasion. Draped with lush garlands of English ivy and maiden hair ferns, old-fashioned cabbage roses and tiny twinkling fairy lights, it served as a beautiful focal point in the room where the ceremony would take place. The instant after the Mayor pronounced Ed and Christina to be “man and wife”, the celebration cake was swiftly brought on its festooned table from behind the screen! My husband deftly carried the cake table on one side while my boss’ husband supported it on the opposite side. Great footwork, clever husbands!
———————————————————————————————————————————————*The Telegram, Saturday, April 24, 2010 BY DANETTE DOOLEY / SPECIAL TO THE TELEGRAM http://www.thetelegram.com
AWARDS NIGHT TURNS INTO NIGHT OF NUPTIALS – Metrobus plays host to unique wedding
More than 200 people attending the St. John’s Transportation Commission’s annual employee appreciation night at the Bellavista Saturday had their curiosity peaked when given a sealed envelope and cautioned not to look inside until told to do so. “After everyone had an envelope in their hands, they were instructed to open them, in unison, on a count of 1, 2, 3. There was laughter and well wishes,” says commission executive assistant Linda Ryan, when people realized the envelopes contained a wedding invitation from Metrobus driver Ed Grouchy and his finance Christina Byrne.
“Smiles turned into dropped jaws,” Ryan says, “as people read down through the invitation and realized that the wedding was to take place “on this evening, at this place, in this very moment in time.”
Ryan, a retired wedding consultant/decorator, was the instigator behind the surprise. Grouchy has been a Metrobus driver for over two decades. “He’s a humourous man, well liked by his co-workers,” Ryan says. “Everyone had been teasing him and asking him when he was getting married, some even volunteered to be ring bearers and they really wanted to be at his wedding one day soon.”
Ryan pitched the wedding idea to Grouchy while planning the employee appreciation night. Once the couple agreed, plans moved quickly. The wedding took place immediately following the awards ceremony which included another surprise – the recognition of six employees (Grouchy included) with a new award. Wow! Awards are based on feedback from customers as well as employees.
The couple got hitched, without a hitch. “The DJ played “Here Comes The Bride” as I passed along the bouquet to the bride and the boutonniere was pinned on the groom,” Ryan recalls. St. John’s Mayor Dennis O’Keefe performed the ceremony. The couple danced their first dance as husband and wife to Shania Twain’s “From This Moment On.”
The wedding cake (a gift from Ryan) soon appeared from behind a screen where it had been hidden throughout the evening. Champagne was served. The couple cut the cake to the beautiful song “At Last” by Etta James.
“It was a moment in time that everyone will always remember, a real fairytale wedding,” Ryan says.
HOW IT ALL STARTED
Grouchy met Byrne while driving his bus. She is a regular passenger and the two chatted often. They got together, for the first time, on Boxing Day four years ago.
“It was Ed’s hard-nosed, straight-faced exterior and his soft, teddy bear interior that intrigued me,” Byrne said during an intrview at their home just days after the wedding.
Byrne works for the provincial government. Both are from St. John’s. This is the second marriage for them both. Grouchy has a daughter. She stood for him at the wedding. Byrne has a daughter and a son. Her daughter stood for her. Her son lives outside the province and was not at the wedding.
Sitting next to each other on the sofa, Grouchy is content to let his bride talk about their initial reaction when Ryan brought up the subject of a surprise wedding. “I thought it was so nice for them to offer to do that for us. I told Ed they must think a lot about him,” Byrne says placing her hand on Grouchy’s knee. After thinking about the offer for a couple of days, Byrne said she began having second thoughts. “Really, it was their (Commission employees) celebration, not ours.” The pros, however, outweighed the cons. They decided to go for it.
The reaction of Grouchy’s co-workers when they read the invitation will stay with them both for years, Byrne says. “I don’t know who was more surprised (with their responses to the invitation) them or us. They were all clapping. Some of them were crying. I looked at Ed and he looked at me. He was ready to bawl. The whole thing was so beautiful and overwhelming, much more than I expected.”
“It was Ed’s hard-nosed, straight-faced exterior and
his soft teddy-bear interior that intrigued me.”
New bride Christina Byrne
When contacted by telephone about the ceremony, Metrobus General Manager Judy Powell said the wedding was one of the most romantic she’s ever attended. “Ed is so fondly thought of here at Metrobus. He does a lot for people here and he does a lot to represent Metrobus out in the community with different volunteer groups. It was an honour for us to do this for them both.”
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I am excited to be sharing this post as one of my favourites for 2011 at Michelle Ravin Designs for Primp My Stuff and The Charm of Home for Home Sweet Home. I was honoured that Sherry at The Charm of Home featured my post “A Christmas Tea, Tour and More” last week on her beautiful blog. Thank you Sherry!