As we needed to see each other in advance of the ceremony to finalize signatures on the wedding certificate, it hardly seemed worth waiting for the walk down the aisle for David to see me for the first time. Instead, we decided to do a casual first look - just a walk up to him, tap on the shoulder and gaze at each other for the first time. Since we were both getting to the venue at the same time, I was worried that the surprised would be ruined by a stolen glance ill-timed across Nathan Philips Square. We texted each other as we made our way over to update the ETA. I redirected our Uber to the side of City Hall in hopes of having enough time to dash inside. David messaged me to let me know he'd close his eyes when they were close until the parking lot to make sure nothing could be seen at all. Within City Hall, I located our videographers and sent my sister out to find the best man to coordinate. While I hid away, David and his family stood outside as we waited for the photographer to arrive before setting up the shot. Then the time finally came when I was given the signal to walk out. The walk leading up to him is one of my more vivid memories of the day. I remember seeing the side of his face, smiling to myself as I approached. I tapped him on the shoulder and then he looked at me. He briefly teared up, kissed and hugged me before remarking on my dress. In that moment, I forgot about everyone else and just focused on him. I hadn't seen him for two days and missed him so much already.
Our families then had a chance to finally say hello and greet each other. My parents and his sister arrived later (they had missed the first look but will be able to see it via the video captured). We took some photos since we still had a bit of time left before entering. When we were finally ready, we walked inside as a group to make our way to the wedding chambers upstairs.
The ceremony space was beautiful, with orchids up at the front provided by the space. My family included vases on the ground with white roses and decorated the aisles with ribbon and decor (as seen in the bags in the pictures above). Sadly I don't have a clear picture of it by itself but I appreciate those touches that my parents included to make the space special and unique to our wedding compared to the numerous ones being held all day long.
After the ceremony we headed back outside to take photos in the square. Unfortunately the best man and his fiance couldn't stay so we took several photos together before they had to leave. The rest of us headed over to Osgoode Hall next door to take formal portrait photos. There were a multitude of bridal parties, much larger than even everyone attending my whole wedding, taking pictures in the same area. It's a popular spot since no permit is required and is in the heart of the city. We opted for a different section than the norm to take our photos and were left relatively undisturbed. The weather continued to hold up and we captured lots of beautiful moments as a now joined family. From there, our families left us to head over to the venue while David, my sister and I held back to take couple photos alone (my sister was there to help carry things, thank you sis - I know your feet were killing you!)
I had prearranged that a gift would be given to David while we were alone, which my sister also helped to safeguard for me. It was a watch that he had been eyeing years ago that I purchased specifically as an engagement gift to him, uncertain of when exactly I'd give it to him. It sat under his nose in the bedroom closest for at least 2 years, waiting to finally debut. He loved it and his reaction being captured made it perfect.
When all the pictures were taken, we headed over to the venue space via an Uber. It was planned that we would take pictures in front of the ROM as it was our first date location but sadly upon arrival to our desired corner, it was revealed that the entire outer structure was hidden under construction and scaffolding. A total bummer but couldn't be helped so we made the short walk from the intersection to the reception venue which was only about a 5 - 10 mins walk. Along the way and often throughout the day, kind strangers would wish us congratulations or remark on my gown which I thought was really sweet in the moment. I've rarely come across brides myself so I haven't had the pleasure of relaying this courtesy but will definitely do so should the opportunity come up.
When we entered, we weren't entirely sure where to go as my mother did all the booking and planning for this space and she wasn't anywhere to be found. We located David's family at the bar having some drinks and relaxing. I took a seat beside my sister and David returned with some water. Out of the blue, a staff member introduced himself and offered to lead us to the room. The space was still empty even though we had departed from my parents ages ago. I quickly became worried that something happened or they needed help but they were unresponsive to my texts or calls. As the videographer and photographer arrived, my concern grew - partly for their well being and also partly because there was nothing to photograph or do and we were approaching the start time and needed to stay on schedule. With both photography and videography ending promptly at 6pm, I worried about any delays in the schedule.
To make use of the time, we took more photos within the hotel venue both indoors and outside to capture the beauty of this boutique hotel. Along the way, I heard the unique sound of my mother's voice and they began set up while we finished the last of the photography. We snuck a peek of the decor during a photography break but soon left to take a few final shots while all the guests gathered in the room. This allowed us to have a 'grand entrance' and be welcomed formally into our dining space.
The following hour was filled with speeches, several dances, cake cutting and a presentation of our engagement videos. It was a whirlwind of special moments and shedding of more tears. Once all those special moments were captured, we thanked our documenting crew before they packed up and left. Dinner then promptly began. We had a four course meal if you include th wedding cake at the end. Everything tasted delicious and personally, I was completely full by the time the cake arrived. It far exceeded my expectations for wedding food and I was glad I was able to sit down and enjoy it - as I often hear wedding couples don't in larger weddings due to guest obligations.
It was truly endearing to be surrounded by our family and I remember desperately trying to absorb it all in before the day ended. We shared plenty of laughs and discovered that our wait staff spoke french. I helped to translate where I could to my mother and we savoured the rest of the evening as a united family. Everything finished for 9pm. My mother had arranged for wedding cookies as giveaways and we offered up the remaining cake and flower centerpieces to those who wanted it. David and I kept the top layer of the cake to freeze and eat at our first anniversary. We said our numerous goodbyes to everyone before loading up in my parents car so they could drive us home.
It had been such a long but beautiful day. David couldn't wait to admire his watch a little more before bed. We reflected back on some of the memories or things each of us might have missed about the day. We talked about our experiences with wedding prep in the morning before making final preparations for bed. An early day awaited us for our babymoon/honeymoon.