08 September 2008

What a wedding!

It’s official; my big brother is finally married! The wedding extravaganza is over and the happy couple will be jetting off to the “motherland” (A.K.A. Ireland) in a few hours for their highly anticipated honeymoon. They have certainly earned their escape and I’m absolutely thrilled for them!

I am happy to report that the big day went off without a hitch; even the cool rainy weather couldn’t dampen the beauty of the occasion. Thankfully the recent string of O’Brien bad luck didn’t transfer to the newlyweds on their special day. In the lead-up to the wedding, our physical ailments were beginning to border on ridiculous. On top of Mom’s poor knee and Dad’s pinched nerve, my father decided to drop a butcher’s knife on his toe, slicing through the end of his toe and leaving the newlyweds to contemplate whether the father-of-the-groom would be going up the aisle in flip-flops. Not one to be upstaged, I ended up injuring myself further on Friday by stretching out my sore neck…bad idea. I ended up pulling some muscles in my neck and back and spending a subsequent two hours in Urgent Care. I could barely turn my head and the doctor recommended a neck brace on top of a cocktail of anti-inflammatories and pain killers. I begrudgingly wore the neck brace to the wedding rehearsal, which earned me a good deal of merciless teasing. I opted to stay home that evening and missed out on a sleepover at the bride’s house with the rest of the bridal party. I was sad to miss out but I’m glad that I got a much needed rest and a good night’s sleep. Thankfully, my mobility improved for the wedding, aided, of course, by healthy doses of alcohol. I was even able to flail myself across the dance floor all night, although my neck did not thank me for it on Sunday.

The ceremony itself was beautiful. Ottawa’s infamous Father Joe presided over the ceremony at Blessed Sacrament Church in the Glebe. I now understand why he’s so popular among young newlyweds; he gives a fabulous and humorous service that really manages to express the important link between faith and marriage. He has a raw, honest and entertaining way of relating valuable messages that even the most hardened-atheist could appreciate. The congregation found themselves laughing on many occasions; I’m sure it was also a nice way to lighten the mood for the bride and groom.

The bride and groom were all smiles as they said their vows. They both looked wonderful and I couldn’t quite grasp the fact that I was watching my only sibling becoming a married man. Having gone though the process myself, I fully understand what a leap marriage is – it’s an awesome milestone and a stepping stone to many more adventures to come. I tried to hold my tears in but I ended up blubbering like a baby. Thank God the mother-of-the-bride had Kleenex on hand, otherwise I would have looked like Gene Simmons (à la runny makeup).

The ceremony was capped off in fine style with a bagpiper and a police honour guard creating an archway with their swords as the newlyweds exited the church. It was a special treat and very meaningful to my brother and his wife as they both work for the Ottawa Police Service, as did half of the congregation I believe. It was a very nice touch!

Following the ceremony, the bride and groom enjoyed a private photo session in a nearby park. Thankfully the rain managed to hold off for the pictures and they were able to get the shots that they wanted. In the meantime, the rest of the wedding party, family and guests headed out to Kanata to check into the Brookstreet Hotel (fabulous!) and make our way over to the Marshes Golf Course (again fabulous!) for the reception.

Overall, it was quite the party. The food was great, the wine was delish and the speeches were short, sweet and heartfelt. My hubby also did an amazing job as the MC! The real showstopper of the evening, however, was a slideshow that was created by the bride’s cousins - a highlight of the bride and groom’s childhood and relationship, narrated in the style of Law & Order. Very clever, fitting and hilarious! I am still marveling over the thought and effort that went into the presentation. It will be an awesome keepsake for the newlyweds and something we will undoubtedly all laugh at for years to come.

The post dinner dance was a blast. The bride is blessed with a large family that loves to dance and have a good time…needless to say, there was never a dull moment and the dance floor stayed packed for the entire evening, even long after hubs and I left with the bride and groom. At 1:00 A.M. I had to admit defeat…some soldiered on past closing.

On Sunday morning there was a breakfast at the Marshes for guests and immediate family that stayed overnight at Brookstreet. Everyone slowly ambled into the room, mumbling incomprehensive greetings and reaching for the coffee cups – true signs of a good party and a wonderful wedding.

Congrats Mr. & Mrs. O’Brien and all the best for a lifetime of love and happiness.

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