My younger daughter got married on August 10th and it was the greatest wedding, ever! Seriously. I know what you’re saying; “Everyone says that about their wedding.” Well not everyone. Some go horribly wrong. The rain. The blown-over tents. The feuding in-laws. We have, on occasion, watched a certain TV show where 4 brides attend and critique each others’ weddings. Every bride is convinced that her wedding was the best while the others manage to find fault with everything from the appetizers to the venue.

I loved Katie’s wedding because she and my new son-in-law Dhruva did such a great job of planning it. The wedding ceremony was held outside at the Kortright Center in Toronto in the afternoon. The chairs and archway were set up in a cathedral of hardwood trees and it was really was quite lovely. Mother Nature also cooperated and the day was sunny with no humidity. Dhruva’s friend Sahil (https://www.facebook.com/FluteHypnosia) played the Bansuri (a type of flute) and it was all quite surreal. Since Katie and Dhruva had actually already been married in India in February (see this post for that story) they didn’t need to have anyone officiate. So instead, we parents got to pass along words of wisdom on love and marriage and then the bride and groom exchanged vows that they had written themselves. It was short and sweet and very personal. Between the flute music and the sunlight being filtered through the trees – it was truly beautiful. Afterwards Dhruva asked everyone to get out of his or her chair, face the camera and put their hands up in the air in time to some music. He wanted to use the footage for the “highlights video” of the wedding. People seemed to like being asked to participate. I liked it!

procession

It was a very non-traditional wedding. Michelle and I walked Katie down the aisle together, and for Katie and Dhruva’s first dance, they danced first to a country song that Katie likes, and then to an Indian dance song that Dhruva likes… very cross-cultural.

ceremony

But the best part of their wedding was the reception. It was held at Chandni Gateway (http://www.chandnibanquethalls.com/chandni_gateway/main.html), which helped set the scene for a South Asian-themed experience. In fact it turned out to be quite a Bollywood-like production. Dhruva is an exceptional dancer so there were a lot of dance performances. He belongs to some dance groups in Toronto and he arranged for them to perform, and it was awesome. He also roped family members into performing various dances. That included me, and it wasn’t pretty. But people seem to give you credit for trying, which is important when you prepare as poorly as I did.

In my defense, our only practice of the family dance was using a tutorial that Dhruva had posted on YouTube. Michelle and I practiced the moves and then realized just a day or two before the wedding that somehow the video had been flipped and we’d been practicing the moves in a reversed fashion and so at the reception I had to do them the opposite way to how I’d been practicing. All this to say I had an excuse to be bad.

family dance

During dessert they showed a movie they had put together about their meeting … and their romance … and past lives. It was really well done and a lot of fun. They shot some of the scenes here at Sunflower Farm last fall. I was actually in the movie. I played Katie’s father (quite a stretch for me) in a past life where I was a mean plantation owner who absolutely forbids my daughter from being with an Indian worker (Dhruva) on the farm. So yes, I played a schmuck… but all the great actors will tell you playing a villain is a much bigger challenge than playing a nice guy. Here’s a trailer for the movie; http://youtu.be/DMMUSwkk-k4

movie

Dhruva had choreographed a number of dance performances that included quite a few friends and family members. When the performances were finished he invited anyone who wanted to learn some Bhangra dance moves to come up and get a lesson before the DJ took over. I think he was expecting 20 or 30 people but I think about 150 headed on to the dance floor. After watching so much great Bhangra dancing it was hard not to want to try it yourself.

Katie and Dhruva decided to put together their own centerpieces. I cut some thin slices from a maple tree and they planed them on one side to make them smooth to use as the bases. Then we cut some birch on an angle and they burned the table numbers into them. They also cut a slit at the top to hold the program for the night. There was a lantern with a candle and a mason jar filled with sunflowers that Michelle had grown for them. The centerpieces were beautiful. They were very reasonably priced and “green” to boot! The jars and lanterns will be re-used and the wood base and birch stand will be burned in our woodstove and heat our home. It was a very cool, green, no-waste, low carbon centerpiece.

So yes, I had a blast. Events like these are so far out of my norm, that they always have a twilight-zone feel to them. I’m usually in bed by 9:30 p.m. On the night of the wedding, I think we were barely finished dinner by then. After midnight I was past the point of no return and so I decided to stay for the clean up. I got back to the hotel at 2 am, but it’s not like I was going to sleep.

It is the summer, and we are right in the middle of our CSA season. The weeds are winning the war in the garden and August has been fairly dry so we are watering like crazy. I need to focus more on succession planting. So the timing of the wedding wasn’t great in some respects, but in reality it was wonderful because it was a perfect distraction and I’ve had a huge buzz on ever since, which helps motivate me when I’m tired of irrigating.

The wedding ceremony was great, the reception was awesome, the food was amazing, the dancing was sublime, the people were wonderful … it was just an awesome event. The Greatest Day of my Life, so far!

Oh, and then there was the dance Michelle and I choreographed and performed as a surprise for our new son-in-law… but that’s for another blog…

(Photos courtesy of Cam’s sister Cindy. Thanks Cindy! There were not one but TWO professional photographers at the event, but apparently it is their busiest season of the year and it will be some time before we get to see their shots from the day!)