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July 7th, 2001

Wedding Morning Preparations

weather: mostly sunny
outside: 15°C
mood: sleepy
I woke up at 4:00am. A full half an hour before the alarm was set to go off. I dozed a bit and finally just got up at 4:30am. I called M (the three of us agreed that I would do a wake-up call that morning). The first thing I said to them was, "I'm SO sorry!!!", we chatted a bit to try to get each other to wake up... "you're not going to go back to sleep, are you?" =D Called B, apologize, chat, joke, etc. I then got up and went to get ready.

I picked up M at 5:15, right on schedule. We got to B's house at about 5:20am or so. B made us Greek Coffee. We took it with us and sped off to Hung Niang. We were slightly late. Mindy did all three of our faces and hair. B and M had really cute loopies done. I had a curly round thing that made it easy for my tiara. And this reminds me, I'm going to go change the Security Level on the Swarovsky Tiara post (I made it private at first).

Mindy didn't give me hair extensions at all. I have a lot of hair and it's mid-back length. I use my own hair for most of these things.

As we were leaving, it was a "right turn only" onto the street with a meridian. There was a break in the meridian about half a block to the left. I looked at the 7:30am traffic (read: none) and said, "Okay, you know what? I'm the Bride and I own the road today." I drove over to the meridian break and went along my merry way home.

We got back to my parents' house at about 8:00am. The limo was scheduled to arrive at 9:30am so we had some time to spare. I got into my wedding gown, we checked out the train and figured out how to carry it around, etc. They changed and tried helping me with it in the bridesmaids' dresses.

Bride Pick-Up

weather: mostly sunny
outside: 15°C
mood: calm
The three of us waited upstairs at the front of my parents' house. We have a balcony so they decided that they were just going to go onto the balcony and make the guys do stuff from there. It's customary to give the Groom and groomsmen a hard time at pick-up time. I've seen red envelopes exchanged and other hoop-jumping things. They just asked W questions about me and to do things like yell "I love you" in Cantonese (W doesn't speak Cantonese). =) They asked him things like: what movie did we see on November 23, 1991 (An American Tail: Fievel Goes West)? What dessert was I having when W proposed (no idea)? What is "Our Song" (Bryan Adams: Everything I Do)? How does it go (Look into my eyes; you will see; what you mean to me...)? and stuff like that =)

After the last question, the bridesmaids and my girl cousins told W to try opening the front door to my house. If the door was open, that meant that they had accepted his answers; if the door was locked, that meant that he should turn around and go home.

In all the excitement, they forgot to unlock the door! =D

They finally got that straightened out, let him in and we had a little bit of a hurrah with photographs and video =) When you look at wedding videos, it looks so nice when the Bride walks down the stairs, into the Groom's arm and they walk out. What you don't see, is them yelling "CUT", then all the bridesmaids and everyone is lugging the purses, emergency kit, extra change of clothes, backup gear and extra supplies. =)

So, we get the limo loaded up and ready to go. At this point, I remember looking at the limo and thinking that it looked wonderful. W, the two groomsmen, three cousins and Ibrehim (pronounced: "Abraham"), the limo driver decorated it. The two Hello Kitty Bride & Groom were on the front and DEFINITELY WERE NOT coming off. =D

The house at the end of my block was being torn down and built anew, so the street became a dead end. Ibrehim had to back all the way up to the top of the hill before he could get out.

The ride over to the church was quiet. In the last days of the insanity, I really cherished the moments of sitting, waiting and doing nothing, just like the ride to the church.

Ceremony - Part I

weather: mostly sunny
outside: 15°C
mood: peaceful
We arrived at 10:30 at the church, bang-on schedule. I hid downstairs in the church's daycare area with B, M, K, B (Da Grrlz), Michelle (flower girl), Alexander (ring bearer), and sometimes Lucille and Gwen (the church hostesses). The kids entertained me and the girls chatted with me and kept me company. =)

When it was time to walk, I made my way upstairs. Guest-Friend-Anthon had just gotten in and saw me as I got to the lobby outside the Sanctuary. I motioned him to sign the Guest Book, then I saw Guest Friends, BK and J, run in. =)

I was pretty much numb at that point. I couldn't really hear much. I wasn't paying much attention to what Roy (the Organist) was playing, but I trusted that it was beautiful =) I could hear the Pachelbel and watched as Gwen did her slow sweeping to signal people into the Sanctuary.

I was trying to greet people by meeting their eyes as I was walking down the aisle. It gave me something to do and kept me smiling. I got passed off from Father Man to Husband Guy and Husband Guy lifted my veil. No problems.

Here, I was in a cap sleeved gown and I was feeling comfortable, temperature-wise. I knew that if I was feeling this comfie, W, in a three layer tux, would be sweating cats and dogs. And that he did. He had water pouring down his face and neck like nothing you've ever seen before. =O At the joining of the hands, when Rev. Miles said, "These are the hands that will countless times wipe the tears from your eyes: tears of sorrow, tears of joy..." I reached up and wiped a bead of sweat off him.

Reverend Miles was kind enough to take a little break for the Best Man, C, to mop W up a little =) Everyone broke into huge laughter... that entertained the crowd for a while =D

Out of the entire ceremony, The Taking of the Hands meant the most to me:

W and S, the hand offered by each of you in this ceremony is an extension of self. Cherish the touch, for you touch not only your own, but also another life. Be ever sensitive to its pulse. Seek always to understand and respect its rhythm. Take each other in gentleness and warmth.

Please face each other and hold both hands so that you may see the gift that they are to you. These are the hands that will express passion, gentleness, and strength for you. These are the hands that will countless times wipe the tears from your eyes: tears of sorrow, tears of joy. These are the hands that will comfort you in illness and grief, and will support and celebrate with you in happiness. These are the hands that, when joined with yours, will help both of you fulfill your greatest dreams.

May your hands always be held by one another. May they have the strength to hold on during the storms of stress and the dark of disillusionment. May they remain tender and gentle, as you nurture each other in your love. May these hands continue building a relationship founded in trust and rich in caring. May you, W and S, always see each others' hands as those of healer, protector, shelter, and guide.


Ceremony - Part II

weather: mostly sunny
outside: 15°C
mood: peaceful
We exchanged vows and exchanged rings. Neither of us fell apart during the vows. I was focussing on the concept of "Kolinahr" in my head, the whole time Reverend Miles was talking, smiling and looking at W. Kolinahr is the Vulcan ritual intended to purge all remaining emotions in pursuit of the ideal of pure logic. Not suppressing my emotions at that point would probably have made me buckle.

We lit the Unity Candle together and walked back to sign the register. Tim was ABSOLUTELY PERFECT in his timing for the Bach/Gounod/Kanawa Ave Maria:

Ave Maria,
Gratia plena,
Dominus tecum.
Benedicta tu
In mulieribus,
Et benedictus
Fructus ventris tui,
Iesus.

Sancta Maria,
Mater Dei,
Ora pro nobis
Peccatoribus,
Nunc, et in hora
Mortis nostrae.
Amen.

We signed all the right names in all the right places =) then took our place at the top of the Communion steps. Reverend Miles announced us and we began walking back down the aisle. It occurred to me that I wanted stop just before the first row and do a bow/curtsey to W's Grandparents and parents, then go to the other side and do the same for my parents. Charles and Diana did this just before they walked out and I thought it looked very respectfully beautiful.

But tugging W back and trying to explain what I wanted him to do would have just been clumsy. I wasn't sure how he would handle the ad-libbing either, so I ended up just pausing slightly to smile at Grandma Lin and walked off with W.

We walked out as the CD deck played The Quiet Mountain, a Chinese traditional arrangement played on a Celtic Harp. Tim timed this perfectly too.


After the Ceremony

weather: mostly sunny
outside: 15°C
mood: relieved
We had a big huge receiving line outside, then took family pictures inside the church. It was way too busy outside... I had a list of what group shots I wanted and who was supposed to be when. Some people tried to barge in: "well, we're already here, let us do it first". I had to do the best I can at the gentle, calm "I picked this order for a reason".

This was about the only time I got slightly upset at people all day.

Johnny and Anna (the photographer and his wife) were wonderful. Andy, the video director, and Chris, the camera guy were also infinitely patient with us. I really appreciated everything they did that day.

We went back to W's house for lunch. I couldn't really eat. I was too nervous to be hungry, but I had to have dumpling balls though. I mostly sat in a corner because my train was huge and my gown was heavy, I didn't feel like moving. I practiced my speech a bit. I was being pretty anti-social. The lack of sleep was starting to wear on me by then and I'm glad I didn't eat much. But, I was too afraid to fall asleep.

At about 2:30pm, most of the lunchers had gone home to take a nap, so the house was quiet. We watched "The NBA At 50" for a while. M and M both fell asleep.

At 3:30p, Johnny, Anna, Chris, Andy and Ibrehim joined us again at W's house. We took one or two pictures at his house, then headed off to QE Park. Holy moly, everyone and their little sister were taking wedding photos there. I knew it would be busy. But Johnny said it would be okay.

The "I hate people" feeling came out again as people cluelessly walked in front of, behind and around us. But we took some photos, met up with my parents at the Rose Garden, took more photos, then left. We made our way back to Richmond. The girls were dropped off at Hung Niang for a touch up. The guys went to check in at the Sheraton just down the street.

Banquet - Part I

weather: mostly sunny
outside: 15°C
mood: happy
We got to Top Gun, got out of the limo and started taking stuff off. C looked funny holding a huge gob of pom-pom flowers =) I was trying to take the Hello Kitty bride and groom off the front. Jeez! Ibrahem tied them on REALLY well. =)

We get upstairs to the restaurant and everything was going smoothly. I took a few minutes to put stuff down in the Bride's Room, get settled and went out to greet guests. W's fatigue was starting to get to him. I was standing close to the registration table, so I was there to witness a few biffs in the table layout. Something got changed in the table layout and the numbers didn't make it onto the list version. But it all got sorted out.

At 7:00pm, we decided that it was time to start. I asked Helen to take over the registration table for about half an hour.

I had the opening theme for Star Trek: First Contact as accompaniment to our entrance. The timing was PERFECT here again. M and M were introduced first. The music crescendo'ed into the first forte burst just as they rounded the corner into the restaurant. C and B were next and then W and me. I don't know how many people actually got the Star Trek reference. I know K, B and G must have. =)

They introduced the families after we got seated at the head table. This went REALLY well. We knew that TP, an old highschool friend of ours, was really nervous about doing the family intros in Cantonese. He said that he hadn't spoken Cantonese in EONS and he thought he didn't speak all that well to begin with. I remembered him being fluent back then. I was beginning to worry too. Not worrying that he would suck but worrying that we were putting too much pressure on him.

But his Chinese is exactly as I remembered it. And it was perfect. TP was perfect too. Throughout the evening, TP and TL introduced/explained everything in three languages. It was just the way I wanted my wedding to go.

After the introductions, they started clinking the dinnerware with the chopsticks to signal that they wanted us to kiss. W and I did a really quick peck that most of the cameras missed. There was a loud "What was THAT?!" from the audience and they started clinking again =P We did another one and held it a bit longer for the cameras =)

Fear of all fears, the food was late.

Banquet - Part II

weather: mostly sunny
outside: 15°C
mood: amused
We decided to play one of the two games first. In a Chinese wedding banquet, there's usually games meant to embarass the couple or put them on the spot. The games at our wedding were, thankfully, very tasteful but entertaining nonetheless =)

They asked W and I to sit in two chairs, back to back. We took off both our shoes and traded one. With one of each our shoes in hand, the MC's asked us a series of questions. If we thought the answer to the question was S, we would raise my shoe. If we thought the answer was W, we would raise his shoe.

Who makes the important decisions? - I raised both shoes. W hesitates and reluctantly raises my shoe.

Who will do the laundry? - I raise my shoe reluctantly. He raises my shoe half way, then thinks about it and raises his own shoe.

Who will do the dishes? - We both raise his shoe.

When you have children, who will change the diapers? - I raised both shoes. W immediately raises my shoe, but then half way, thinks a bit and switches to his own.

Who is the most patient? - We both raise W's shoe. It's true, he is more patient than I am =)

Who is the best kisser? - I raise his shoe and he raises mine. =)

Who will do the cooking? - While I'm hesitating, W thinks about raising mine, but raises his own instead. I finally raise both. For the record, I don't cook well.

Who initiated the first kiss? - We both raise W's shoe.

Who is the better drinker? - W immediately raises my shoe as high as he can. I raised his shoe in sarcasm. =)

All of this was to the guests' great amusement. =)

The food finally started coming out while we were playing, so that was cool. We started eating and all was well. =)

Banquet - Part III

weather: mostly sunny
outside: 15°C
mood: proud
After the second course, I changed into the gold QiPao - the traditional Chinese gown.

We went around to each of the tables and did a toast with each table.

Husband Guy did his speech:

    I would like to begin by welcoming all of you in joining S, me, and our families tonight.

    First of all, I'd like to thank my parents for their support, their kindness and of course, their patience over the years in raising me when I was a child and dealing with me when I was a teenager.

    I wish to thank S's parents, K and B, for allowing me the privilege of taking their daughter's hand in marriage. They've been very supportive to both of us in the (almost) ten years that we've been together and I'm very grateful to have had their advice and insight over the years.

    Many people put in a lot of time and effort to help us. Their contributions are greatly appreciated.

    Bernice for putting together the things that people always expect at weddings, but never actually notice unless they're missing; the pew bows, the flower arrangements, etc. She also helped us out by bringing up all the little details that we had forgetten or simply never thought of.

    We'd like to thank all of our friends and relatives who helped set up and decorate at the church and here at the banquet hall, as well as Te and Tu for being our MCs tonight.

    A special thank you goes out to our wedding party. M, who, when we were younger, always remembered to share with his big brother. *laughter* M (bridesmaid) and B (MOH), for being a great friend to both S and me. And my best man C, who I've known since my first year in high school.

    My biggest thanks must go to S who, over the past 10 years, has been a wonderful companion, a source of inspiration, and a friend who I could depend on when I needed her the most. I cherish the time that we've spent together and look forward to the times ahead.


Then I did my speech in English, Mandarin and Cantonese:

    Good evening everyone and thank you for joining us today.

    I wanted to take the first opportunity to thank my parents for their love and support. They've always been there for me, cared for me, through thick and thin, given me advice... even when I didn't want it.

    爸爸媽媽栽培我長大﹐希望我有良好的教育﹐鼓勵我成為一個有成就的人。我會永遠記得這份恩情。

    [Translation] Mom and Dad raised me with the hope that I would receive a good education and encouraged me to become the best at whatever I wanted to be. I will forever remember their efforts.

    To my father, K, who taught me Math, Electronics and Mil. Spec. soldering in highschool... Thus making me the biggest Geek Girl at Eric Hamber Secondary. But some of my friends would argue that I'm just naturally a Big Geek. *laughter*

    我三歲之前﹐家住在廣州。晚飯後﹐爸爸媽媽常常帶我去風景優美的叫做沙面的小島。這裡有兩座古炮﹐曾經在鴉片戰爭中抵抗過外強侵略的。他們抱我騎在大炮上。至今﹐我還印象深刻。

    [Translation] Before I turned three, my family lived in GuangZhou, China. After dinner, Mom and Dad always took me to ShaMian, a beautiful seaside park. There were two big cannons in the park. These cannons were once used to defend against the Alliance of Eight Nations that invaded China in the Opium War of 1839-1842. I would always ask to sit on top of the cannons, I remember it as if it were yesterday.

    我記得﹐爸爸用冰箱的門當作黑板教我數學比賽題目。高中時﹐林威常常打電話來我們家跟我講功課。爸爸聽我說﹐林威學習不錯﹐所以沒有反對我們交朋友。

    [Translation] I remember my father using the refrigerator door as a whiteboard to explain Math Contest solutions to me. In highschool, W would always phone our house to talk to me about homework. I told Mom and Dad that W did well in school, so they didn't oppose our friendship.

    To my mother, B, who is forever simmering up Chinese health soups for me. It always made me late for the bus, *laughter* but I was the healthiest late person on the next bus. *bigger laughter and applause*

    在媽媽的心目中﹐我永遠都是小孩。今年農曆新年﹐爸爸媽媽還給我紅包﹐說我結婚以後才算是大人。

    [Translation] In my Mother's eyes, I will always be a little girl. Over this last Chinese New Year, they still gave me lucky money and said that I would only count as an adult after I got married.

    To my brother, S, for... well, just being my brother. You're a great kid, thanks for being there. *applause*

    I would also like to thank W's grandparents and parents for their kindness. To my Maid of Honour, B, and my Bridesmaid, M, for keeping my sanity intact. To B, who was there for me throughout this whole thing. And to G, for driving her there. *laughter* I give my heartfelt thanks to you all. *applause*

    感謝林家對我好。林威的爺爺﹐奶奶和父母親都很慈祥﹐和藹可親。

    [Translation] I thank the Lin family for their kindness. W's grandparents and parents are generous and kind.

    In these nine years, W and I have been through a lot together. I thank W for being the person that he is: my best friend, my companion, my life partner.

    感謝各位光臨﹐祝福大家。

    [Translation] Thanks to everyone for the honour of your presence. I wish you all the best.

    Thank you very much.

Banquet - Part IV

weather: mostly sunny
outside: 15°C
mood: happy
I changed yet again into my pink evening gown. Instead of wearing anything for a neck piece, I had a Swarovsky crystal butterfly tattoo. It worked out pretty well, from far away, it just looked like a patch of glittery, shiny things on my skin.

C did his speech:

    Hello family, friends and honoured guests. I first met the groom in Grade 8 on the Bantam Boys Basketball team. I remember he used to be this really skinny guy who couldn't play basketball. [C and W both play basketball very well] Now, he's still a guy who can't play basketball... but he's gained a little bit of weight... about 40 pounds. [That's a very generous estimate.]

    Then I went over to his house and he would beat me at Nintendo and other computer games, but never Street Fighter. [Another dig]

    Then he made the mistake of asking me to stay for dinner and then he could never get rid of me. All of a sudden, I was asked if I could be his Best Man. Of course, this was over dinner at his place. And I thought he was kidding, but then I realized it wasn't a dream at his stag. Let's just say that there were two distinct large marks that he left in the city. Let's just say he had carrots for dinner.

    Tonight, I stand here in front of the bride and groom's closest family and friends and I realize you are turning a new page in this storybook relationship that you have. I may hold the "official" title of "Best Man", but, in my eyes, W is the best man here. And you are marrying a guy who is not only a great person, but a great friend as well. I want to congratulate you both for FINALLY getting married. TEN YEARS?!?! **what-were-you-guys-THINKING??? shrug**

    I just want to say I wish your future is full of joy and good fortune. And I want to toast you both: To the bride and groom!

    [audience: To the bride and groom!]
After the Best Man's speech, we played the second game. They blindfolded Husband Guy and asked for ten "single women" volunteers in the crowd to come up and kiss Husband Guy. I was supposed to be one of the ten and he was supposed to guess which one was me.

After the blindfold went on, they got ten GUYS to come up: Karl, Stephen, Kingsley, Nigel, Allen, Mark, Clarence, Ben, Phil and Jasper. It was a hoot. =) Husband Guy picked #9, Phil. =D

All Is Well That Ends Well

weather: mostly sunny
outside: 15°C
mood: worn out but very happy
The evening ended with yet another line. Everyone got to see the Crystal tattoo up close, "we were wondering what that shiny thing was on your shoulder" =)

We thanked everyone, said our goodbyes and goodnights =) We hung around a little longer to use up the extra film in the disposable cameras, visit a little with people, debriefed ourselves, help clean up, thank everyone again for helping us way into the night.

Then W's brother, M, drove us to the Four Points Sheraton where we stayed for the night. It felt so good to wash the gunk off my face and out of my hair. To get out of the shoes and fall into bed.

M and M picked us up again in the morning. We returned the easle and went for breakfast at White Spot in Richmond Centre.

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eLouai
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The Bride of the First House

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