It’s hard to believe a year has already passed since Ryan and I got married. In the past few months, we’ve been remembering everything that led up to us getting married last year. It started with a New Year’s Eve proposal, followed by a funny reaction when telling my parents, and then 7 months of planning our wedding, launching our cookie bakery, and a road trip around North America.
Let’s start with the road trip. One of the first things I remember talking about with Ryan, very early on in our relationship, was how we both always dreamed of taking a massive road trip. There was something about hopping in the car and just driving that we both really connected to. As we were revelling in our new engagement and envisioning our wedding, we started to think about what we wanted our honeymoon to be like. We remembered the idea of the road trip and at first, laughed it off as an impossible option. However, we’re both big dreamers and so we decided it would be fun to spend an evening planning out a route and figuring out some logistics to see what it would actually entail. As we got into it, it started to feel like perhaps we could actually make it work. We worked out all the numbers, as well as the dates and decided to go for it! It was something we connected to when we first started dating and now that we were taking the next step and getting married, it seemed like a fitting “full circle” moment.
I’ll tell you about the road trip in another blog but the highlights are that we crossed Canada and the US going from Vancouver to Montreal, down the East Coast all the way to Key West, back over to the West Coast stopping at places like New Orleans, up to the Grand Canyon, down to San Diego, and then back up the West Coast to Vancouver. It took us about 6 weeks to complete the journey and it was by far the best time Ryan and I have had together. The places we went to, the restaurants we ate at, the adventures (and misadventures) along the way, all formed some memories that I think we’ll be talking about until we’re old and grey!
We talked about our new business as well as the wedding throughout our road trip and by the time we got back to Vancouver, we knew what we wanted to do. Being by the water was a really important component for both of us and one of our best friends suggested getting married on a yacht. At first we weren’t sure but as we thought about it, we realized it was perfect! Not only would be married on the ocean, all of our out-of-town friends and family would get to see the Vancouver coast line and experience one of the best parts of living in Vancouver. We managed to find a great yacht with an amazing captain and staff. It all came together really well and we were able to involve most of our immediate family and closest friends throughout the ceremony and events before and after it.
My brother was going to be my best man and Ryan’s best friend was going to be his best person. Our niece and nephew were our ring bearers (which was probably the cutest part of our whole wedding). We asked one of our closest friends to perform the ceremony for us. She was absolutely wonderful and was so overwhelmed with emotion and gratitude when we asked her. She put together an incredibly beautiful ceremony for us that she wrote after interviewing us in the months before. She asked us so many thoughtful questions about who were individually, as well as who we were as a couple. The end result was a beautiful ceremony that really shared who we were with everyone at our wedding.
The funniest part of the wedding ceremony was rehearsing it before the big day. Ryan and I had written our own vows and wanted to keep them a surprise for the big day so we didn’t go through that part of the ceremony. However, our friend did insist we talk about how we wanted to ‘seal the deal’ so to speak. Having been married herself, she shared lots of really valuable insight about the wedding day with us and suggested we try to figure out how wanted to kiss and get comfortable doing that in front of a crowd. I know, a bit strange if you think about it but it was actually such great advice. She made us practice the kiss each time we rehearsed the ceremony and thank goodness she did because it had Ryan and I giggling like little kids! Thankfully we managed to get the giggles out before the big day!
One of the elements that was really important to me was for Ryan and I to make our own wedding cake. I know what you’re thinking and yes, everyone told me that I was crazy for wanting to make our own cake. I even had to convince Ryan! We had made 3 wedding cakes before for family and friends so as far as I was concerned, we had all the skills we needed to bring our dream cake into reality. Yes, looking back on it, it was a bit stressful to be making our cake two days before our wedding but it was all part of the adventure!
As my mom had requested, we had a henna party the evening before our wedding. Her idea was actually quite genius because it gave our two families and sets of friends a chance to ‘break the ice’ and connect before being trapped on a yacht together for 4 hours. The ladies in my family got to bond with the ladies from Ryan’s side by telling them all about the henna tradition and what it all meant. The men on both sides hit it off as well, talking over food and drinks. It was exactly what Ryan and I had hoped for.
On the day of our wedding, Ryan and I had the morning to ourselves to take it all in. We were both overjoyed with how everything had gone the night before. We wanted our wedding to not just be about the two of us but also be about everyone coming together. So far it had seemed like everyone was genuinely having a great time together and for Ryan and I, that was the best wedding present of all.
As we began getting dressed, I could feel myself getting butterflies in my stomach. I was so excited to be marrying Ryan! Even though we had been together for over 6 years, something definitely felt different that day. Getting married felt like we were crossing a new threshold in our relationship. There was something extremely special about declaring our love for each other in front of the people who were most important to us. Not to mention the outpouring of love and support we had been feeling from everyone leading up to it. We had friends and family fly in from all over the world and as far as the UK and Eastern US. For everyone to spend all that money, take time out of their busy schedules, and genuinely want to a part of our big day is something neither Ryan nor I will never forget or take for granted. It was truly humbling and such a great honour.
The time had come for us to head over to Granville Island where our yacht was waiting for us. We got there before all of our guests so that we could welcome them all properly. Each group of family and friends that walked up along the dock and into the yacht congratulated us, blessed us and offered us their best wishes. It was so amazing!
As we set sail, all of our guests were seated on the upper deck while Ryan and I waited on the lower level with our best people, our ring bearers and our friend who was performing the ceremony. We chose a point on the edge of Stanley Park where the captain was going to park the yacht while the ceremony was being performed. One of Ryan’s most favourite artists is Holly Cole and we had chosen a beautiful song of hers to walk down the aisle to. As it began playing, my heart began pounding. It was time! It was finally time. Each member of our wedding procession walked up the stairs and down the aisle to the front of the yacht. Ryan and I had a couple of moments on our own before it was time to walk down the aisle too. We looked up at each other, our eyes already a little wet with the emotions, and said a couple of quick words.
We held hands and walked side by side down the aisle. I kept my eyes down but I could literally feel the love and support from everyone around us. I don’t know how else to describe it other than to say it felt like this bubble of love was all around us. I could feel my eyes welling up with tears but I choked them back because I was determined to keep my composure. We walked slowly towards the front of the yacht and stood in front of our friend performing the ceremony. My brother and nephew were standing by my side and Ryan’s best friend and niece were standing by his. Our friend began the ceremony and said the most beautiful words about us. Then came the time for our vows. I went first. I recited the first few lines of one of ‘our’ songs followed by some special words about what Ryan meant to me. I have to admit, I choked up a bit but still managed to keep the tears at bay. Not the same story when Ryan read his vows. I won’t share what he said but they were the most touching and beautiful words I had ever heard. Needless to say, a few tears slipped passed the goalie
Next up were the rings. Both our niece and nephew were absolutely adorable and I think they felt really special to be able to stand up there with us. We placed the rings on each other’s fingers and then came the big kiss. We looked into each other’s eyes as our friend pronounced us ‘married’, leaned in and kissed. It was perfect! Our guests clapped and cheered and it was official! We were married!!! To cap it off, the Aretha Franklin song we chose to walk out to started to play, filled with her soulful and diva-licious trademark sounds. Everything worked out absolutely perfectly and it’s a day that Ryan and I are never going to forget.