Monday, August 11, 2014

A Tale of Two Weddings

After signing the wedding registry, April 28, 1984
As many military couples have done before, we had two weddings; one for expediency, and one for broader celebration. Here's the tale.

In the spring of 1984, having completed his basic training for communications and electronics, Steve was anticipating a posting -- and the rumour was that they might send him to Inuvik in Canada's Northwest Territories. Naturally, I wanted to go with him. (According to the rules at the time, we had to be legally wed in order for the military to move me or my belongings, and this could not be done at a later date than Steve's own move.)

However, we had long before settled on August 11 as our wedding date. Steve's parents were moving back from a posting to Israel that summer and it didn't make sense for them to make a costly personal trip back mere months before their official move back to Ottawa.

So the August date was immovable.

If the move had been relatively local, we might have done it ourselves, but a move to the NWT? That was beyond our means on a Second Lieutenant's salary.

I had called my sister to let her know that we were just going to have a quick city-hall wedding to make things official. Instead, she convinced us to have a small church wedding and reception for immediate family only. Well, mostly my family, plus Steve's sister. I'm glad she did -- it made wonderful memories.

The day after my final exam, my brother drove me to my parents' home in Burlington. Steve stayed back in Kingston to launch his boat, then drove to Burlington for our "rush" wedding.

My mother, meanwhile, had scrambled to sew my wedding gown and at least two of the bridesmaids' dresses!

Placing the garter: my bridesmaid sister Christine in blue, my maid-of-honour Heather in yellow.
The ceremony was followed by a small reception at my parents' home.

Then came August and we had the big party. Well, relatively big. I think we had seventy guests, but it was held in a bigger church and the reception was at the Canadian Forces Base Kingston Officers' Mess -- a formal setting right on the St. Lawrence River.

August 11, 1984
There were four noteworthy things about that ceremony.
  1. The minister dropped the ring, which rolled dangerously close to a large grate in the floor.
  2. The organist, not knowing that we were already married, was very upset that the minister did not pronounce us husband and wife.
  3. It was my cousin Ruth's birthday; she was one of my bridesmaids. (Happy birthday, Ruth!)
  4. Stephen had a horrendous attack of poison ivy. Look at his hands in that picture. See all the bandages?

He had gone out camping with a friend a few weeks earlier and had stumbled out in the middle of the night to be sick, unwittingly stumbling into a bed of poison ivy. The bandages were to protect our guests who shook his hand in the receiving line.

I have to include this picture of my bridesmaids: Ruth, Christine, Heather, and K.B.
To this day, we celebrate both anniversaries, calling them A and B. So tonight, we celebrate anniversary 30B, with many fond recollections of that day.

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