My Journey Through Weddings

September 15, 2011 was the first wedding I attended. Prior to that, I only knew what people told me about weddings and what was portrayed in TV and movies. I had such a limited understanding and did not know what to expect. Weddings held such a tradition for hundreds of years, if not longer, and no two are the same. Of course, there are similarities, but it comes down to how the bride and groom and families decide to celebrate the union of marriage. I could go on forever writing about the differences and variations, but we want to know what my experiences are.

September 15, 2011 was the wedding of my brother, Wes and lovely Kim. Wes is seven years older than I, established in his career in excavation. He met Kim online about seven years ago. They hit it off really well and began dating and learning about each other. Kim was single, looking for friendship and possibly a relationship. She has a great outgoing personality, is a real people person and loves to laugh. He is thoughtful, quiet, and caring. They seemed to be opposites, but hey, opposites attract.

Soon into their relationship, Wes moved in with Kim and her daughter, Keirsten. As they grew together, they knew they were perfect for each other, so they began planning their future. They bought a house near Orangeville, Ontario, Canada, about five years ago, continuing their happy lives together.

Since then, they indeed have been busy. Wes works long hours with the excavation company and doing projects at home. Those projects include the home renovations, backyard landscaping and building trailers. Kim, successful with her own house cleaning business, decided to use her entrepreneurial spirit in a new direction to start her own photography business. Keirsten is like any teenage girl, is completing high school, working part time, learning to drive and focused on guys. Among all this, Wes proposed to Kim on Christmas. They embarked on a whirlwind of planning and Kim used her creativity on all the fine details, right down to name cards and table arrangements, all on a budget.

Our family were happy for Wes and Kim, but also felt some nervousness. My parents are not the type who like the spotlight or to be the center of attention. Wes and Kim understood their concerns and did the best they could to accommodate my parents and Kim's parents, especially since her parents shared the same concerns.

As for me, this was a whole new experience, a lot of firsts, including first bridal shower and first time as a guest at a wedding. The games at the stag and doe were entertaining. I'm not much of a fan for trying my luck, but it was a lot of fun to watch, especially the blow fish races. The bridal shower was such a delight. My mom and I drove up to Kim's sister's home for it and I enjoyed listening to the wine tasting presentation. I got to meet more of Kim's family and friends.

Now for the wedding checklist. I had a date. Chris and I have been dating for six years and he was the perfect man to accompany me. My family knows him and enjoys his visits. I was happy that Kim did not select me to be a bridesmaid. I know, that is a weird statement, but it requires explanation.

For me, I wanted to play it low key and that plan worked out. I enjoy being myself; I'm not a fan of trying to be Miss Personality. If people are going to like me, I want them to like me for who I am. A friend once described me as a Wildcard, that no one knows what I will do next. I feel that is a fair description of me. There are days where I am the life of the party, and other days where I am cool, collected and thoughtful. I love attention and I'm a risk taker when I choose. I'm strongly opinionated and I'm very much the type where it’s 'my way or no way'. That always complicates new friendships, but hey, after a while I definitely know who my good friends are.

So here was my nervous feelings about this wedding. This was my very first wedding experience and I did not have much understanding of the traditions. I don't have a close connection with Wes and Kim. Wes and I pretty much grew up with separate lives; he was into sports and construction and I was into reading and writing. We get along great, but we just don't have a close connection. For the last so many years, I only saw Wes and Kim passingly. For me, the way we interact works. And so I was glad I was not selected to be a bridesmaid.

The series of events leading up to the big day was a lot of fun. Chris and I planned out what I would wear. We went shopping to a great area of stores and as the afternoon flew by, we found the perfect dress. It was actually him who spotted it, up high on display in the boutique. I looked at it uncertainly, but decided to try it on. Looking at the mirror, I was amazed and in awe. I was gorgeous in this black and sea-green dress. I fell in love with it and had to get it. The shoes were relatively easy to find. After a couple of stores, I settled on a pair of black sandals that fit the part. For the nail polish, we took the dress to the hardware store and scanned the green to obtain the paint card match, so we could take the paint card for nail polish shopping. It was a great idea.

The big day came and we both scheduled the day off work. I started glamming myself up. I know it’s not my day, but I wanted to walk in like a princess. I had everything needed acquired, including a clutch and jewelry. My greatest challenge was my hair. I have long, thick, dark blonde hair (not colored), and its’ a battle to get it straight, flat and perfect. After the shower, chemical hair treatment and blow dry straight, I was ready to finish making myself glamorous. It was chilly that day and I grabbed my cool grey leather jacket for the cold air.

It's a good thing I had my jacket, because when we arrived to my hometown of Acton, we discovered this was an outdoor wedding. No real worries. We parked and stepped out of my black, sexy luxury car and we definitely were looking the part for a beautiful evening. Chris was handsome in his black suit, dark blue shirt and red tie. I felt proud to be at his side.

We walked over to the gathered seating, greeted my parents, and my grandpa (my dad’s dad) jumped up to see us. We had a quick chat, said hi to some relatives and took our seats. We had arrived just in time.

I looked up at Wes and I could tell he wasn't at ease. Being in the spotlight was not his comfort level and he indeed was nervous. But he was a trooper and did great. He was even was very sharp in his suit.

Regardless of the cold, it was a beautiful afternoon. The sun was shining; blue sky with adorable white, puffy clouds spread out. This was at the local legion hall property and Kim had picked the best spot. Beyond the altar was a decorated arch, with an opening between some trees, revealing Fairy Lake. Absolutely perfect.

Away behind us was a white stretch limo, hosting the bride and her bridesmaids. One by one they emerged, with the beautiful bride at the end. The ladies smiled, but everyone knew they were cold in their summer dresses.

The bride Kim came out and she was smart. She added a white shawl to help with the cold. She walked up to the altar and it was picture perfect: sunny, blue skies, lake behind them. I guess every wedding has its humorous moments. There was a wind that tried to ruin her hair. The maid of honor was quick to make some adjustments and the ceremony continued. To everyone's relief, we did not need to stay out in the cold for long. Vows were exchanged, the mothers signed as witnesses and the beautiful couple signed. As the ceremony concluded, they walked away to the waiting limo.

But wait, there was a commotion from the parking lot! A woman was running towards the couple, carrying a bird cage and pedestal, calling out "Wait, Wait!" Wes and Kim stopped and everyone had to laugh. The woman caught up to them at the limo and set up her display. Kim, unable to control her laughter, gave the lady a big hug, conversing with her. None of us could hear what they discussed, but we all could assume.

With the lady's help, Wes and Kim released a pair of doves named William and Kate. This officially ended the ceremony and everyone entered the legion. Very good timing, because the sky darkened and threatened to rain.

We found our seating and to my family's delight, we were at the same table. Chris and mom and dad, grandpa, Aunt Anne and Uncle Tim and we added Uncle Jim. No shows for Jim's table and we didn't want him to be alone.

Table conversation was great, catching up with the relatives on what's new in life. Soon after, Wes and Kim were introduced to the gathering with a grand entrance with the wedding party. Dinner commenced and it was awesome. It was so great, we asked for seconds. Many compliments to the Auxiliary Ladies of Acton for the dinner.

I'll be honest, the rest of the night became a bit of a blur. LOL. I had a few too many drink and based on what I remember, everyone had a great time. The older crowd started to leave in groups and the younger crowd began to party. The DJ played good music and Kim arranged for a dance instructor to come in and get everyone, I mean everyone, involved in line dancing. I'm not into that type of thing, but I joined in. I'm lucky Chris was outside for his smoking habit, or else he would have filmed it.

Near the end of the night was the cake cutting. It was delicious and made especially by the maid of honor. The night was winding down and it was time to go. We said our goodbyes and thanks to Wes and Kim and left with some bottles of wine and some table flower arrangement for my parents.

It was a great wedding, and proud to be my first.

But my story isn't over yet. During the preparations for Wes and Kim's wedding, there was another wedding in the works. Chris and I met Mel through friends some years ago, and she was engaged to John. They don't live in our area, so we did not get to see them often. But when we did, it was always a great time and we have a great friendship with them.

I don't really know the story or history of how they got together. They both have children of their own and are really great parents together. They have big hearts and are so kind to everyone. We love their honesty and compassion for all. I went along for Mel's bachelorette party in Kitchener, where we went to a comedy club. That was such a new experience for me.

They had selected a very different kind of ceremony. A Destination wedding in Cuba in November 2011, with a reception back home in March 2012.

During this time, I went through financial hardships of being laid off from my job and pounding hard at the search for new employment. The Cuba trip would have been too much strain for us, so we passed on it. But when we were at their stag and doe, we confirmed we would definitely attend the March reception.

So yeah, we had to do things low-budget for March. We decided to do pretty much the same outfits from Wes and Kim's wedding; my dress was too beautiful to leave in the closet. But we accessorized me a little different. I picked up a great necklace and a pair of interesting boots that our friends nicknamed 'hooker boots.' To top it off, I added accessories to my straight and flat hairstyle. Kim mentioned that she wore hair extension at her own wedding. To add, I had gone for a hair trim, and the hairstylist cut more off than I would had liked. I began researching hair extensions and discovered your amazing website. My first purchase was red and purple highlights, which I love. But for this wedding, I wanted to use blondes as a lowlight effect to my hair. I ordered a set of Platinum 20" from your site and I love it.

This wedding was in Kitchener and it seemed like it was becoming a routine with how I got ready. We were ready with my platinum lowlights and went.

We arrived at a moment of drama. There was a dispute with an arriving couple who were not admitted. Thankfully for us, we had no involvement in this moment. But it was so sad to see how it affected the wedding party.

We walked in and took some seats. We happened to turn around and see Chris' ex fiancé there with her husband. No worries, we get along with them.

The ceremony started and I could feel the tension from the crew. John, who has a Scottish background, was very handsome in his kilt. Mel was so beautiful in her dress, with stunning bridesmaids. It was a quick ceremony and at the end of it, everyone was much more relaxed.

The crew left for pictures and everyone else mingled. Mel and John had a great idea of not setting seating assignments. Chris and I joined up at a table with the rest of our friends who were not a part of the wedding party. We definitely became the lively table during dinner, perhaps a little too loud for the others. LOL. Dinner was good and we partied.

Yes, once again, after this point, my night became a little blurry from the drinks. Chris and I got the DJ to play some group favorites and kept it lively.

All in all, it was a great wedding and Mel and John are happily together.

I started this with Wes and Kim's wedding, dated last September 15, 2011. There is one more wedding to discuss, for September 15, 2012. Obviously, it has not occurred yet, but there has been the following series of events leading up to this day.

I knew Heather since high school and Chris knew Dave's family. Heather's personality has a lot of similarities to Mel and John. She is compassionate for all people and has a big caring heart. Dave is very understanding and a great listener. Chris and I take credit for introducing them and it was a great match. But with long-time friendships, it has its ups and downs. Heather approached me last year with being a bridesmaid and I, as politely as possible, turned it down. We were going through a rough patch in our friendship and it didn't feel right to me to do this. No hard feelings and all is well. In my own way, I support the happy couple and they know it. Chris and I had fun at the respective bachelor and bachelorette parties. And the bridal shower at Heather's aunt's home was so elegant.

This upcoming wedding is set at a beautiful golf course and winery in St. Catharines. This time, we decided to find me a new dress. It wasn't so much that we decided we would seek a new one, but lady luck smiled upon me when we stumbled across a sexy black dress at one of my favorite stores, and for an awesome price. Using that dress, we planned everything else from it. One day I tried on a waist cincher under the dress and we took a ride over to visit Heather to see what she thought. I know, a black dress for a wedding is a little dark, but it's such an amazing dress. She loved it and wanted me to wear it with the 'hooker boots.' Hey, the bride loves the look, we can do that. She was asking about my hair, because she loved what I did for the last wedding with the platinum lowlights. We said we were thinking of purple this time and she had a better idea. She cut me a piece of the color fabric sample for the bridesmaid dresses, a royal blue color, and requested the hair extensions in that. We loved the idea and I ordered the blue hair from your site.

That's about as much as I can continue about this wedding. We're very excited about it and looking forward to seeing another happy couple tie the knot. This one year journey has shown me the beauty of weddings in that no two are really the same, but they all have the magical aspect that makes the day so much fun for all.

I guess the next question is when will Chris and I get married? We don't know. We're happy with the way things are at this moment of time. Maybe in the future we'll embark in that big step of total commitment to each other. Right now there are other priorities, such as finding a new job to continue my career. I have been working off and on the past year, but have not found a great place to work at to make into my home away from home. But, we have discussed ideas for a wedding. We're thinking something a lot more intimate, on a much smaller scale. One idea we have agreed on is the possibility of traveling to Las Vegas to get married. Make a trip out of it, an exciting one indeed! I love the idea and it would be memorable for the rest of my life. A wedding is all about that special day where it would be all about Chris and I and how we make it our own. Of course, we'd invite our family and friends to join us in this great Las Vegas adventure.

But it's still a dream and fantasy at this stage. But it is fun to fantasize about what I would wear and how I would do my hair. My career path doesn't really have room for dying my hair and playing with colors. That's why I love your products so much. I can have that creativity to play with colors and effects with my hair and the extensions, without any permanent issues. My hair extension collection is small and I would love to add to it. Chris and I love the color purple and I think that would be so cool to be in a gleaming white dress, with blonde and purple hair to accent me. I have some purple now, but I think I'd need more to achieve that desired effect.