I am happy to share that Matt and I are officially Mr. & Mrs – although I will be keeping my last name for all the reasons laid out here 🙂
We had a beautiful ceremony and evening celebrating with our nearest and dearest along the Ottawa River on July 15th. Family and friends travelled far and near (including from New Zealand, Australia, London, Russia, the US, and West Coast of Canada) to be with us on our special day. In planning our wedding we took care to give our guests a taste of who we are as a couple, and we choose not to conform to typical wedding customs. Let me walk you through some of the highlights.
Walking down the aisle together
In order to symbolise that we were entering into this marriage as equals, Matt and I elected to walk down the aisle together. As a woman, this also empowered me to push back against the patriarchal tradition of the bride being given away. It was super cute. Matt came to get from inside the boathouse (he even knocked on the door….it melted my heart instantly), and we walked down the aisle hand in hand. I now know why most brides go with arm in arm though, my beautiful bouquet was waved all over the place.
Sharing vows that will make you feel born again
Matt and I wrote our own vows for the ceremony. Have a read of both below and you will catch a glimpse of how we feel about one another and our existence. Interestingly, we didn’t share our vows with one another ahead of the wedding, yet they ended up being so similar…. almost as if we were saying the same thing, just in the opposite way. But then again, if how we feel about each other and this existence is true, than I wouldn’t expect otherwise. Reflecting on this the week after the wedding literally made me break into tears of joy multiple times. It was if I was born again. The content of our vows and the process of making them to one another gave me complete affirmation of our evolving philosophical understanding.
Matt, everything in this infinity literally has an exact match. You are mine – my exact opposite – the ying to my yang, the acid to my alkaline, the disciple to my prophet. Together we form a binary system. We are each other’s one true love. Given this sole truth, I vow to complete you forever.
If there wasn’t you, there would be nobody. With you, I can truly be myself, and having experienced this pure joy, I promise to always have absolute faith in us.
As your best friend and confidant I vow to always try to see what you see, to support and encourage you in all your endeavours, and to question you often in order to push you to your ever evolving potential.
I’ll be with you for eternity – In sickness and in health, in successes and in failures, in harmony and in chaos. Through it all and from this day forward, I promise to keep learning what it means to be in love with you.
Robyn, Thank you for choosing me to share your wedding day with, and for gifting me our future together.
You are my muse. You bring me life, love, song, contradiction and completeness – and I am so honoured to be partners in this journey.
I promise to empower you and protect you; to challenge you, learn from you, and teach you; to let you grow as an individual; and grow with you. I promise you a bond that will not break, that will grow stronger and deeper, and that you can rely on, always.
In chaos, you are my constant – and I promise to be your anchor to a reality filled with love, happiness, excitement and adventure. This is why I’m marrying you. We connect like no other.
A bubbly ceremony
Everyone was greeted with a glass of prosecco upon arrival so that they could drink in celebration with us and raise a toast during our first kiss. Rather than have everyone sit during the ceremony, people crowded around and stood to watch (expect of course those that needed to sit). We also didn’t have a traditional wedding party as part of the ceremony. We wanted to keep the focus on us and really couldn’t see the purpose of having more than our witnesses (my beautiful sister and Matt’s bro) up there with us. We kept the ceremony short and sweet and included a cultural blessing from Matt’s mom to honour the diverse cultures our union has, and will continue to bring together.
Food and drink that tell our story
The food and drink we had on offer was carefully thought out in order to tell our story. We elected not to have a sit down dinner and instead turned our wedding into our favourite Street Feast in London. This way our guests were free to socialise the entire evening. Food was passed throughout the course of the entire event, ranging from canapés to street feast bites, a taco stand, dessert bar, and poutinerie. Matt and I met in India so we made sure to have a curry on offer; we currently live in London England so included fish and chips; Matt is from New Zealand (NZ) so we naturally served up NZ lamb chops; and all Canadians will advise poutine after a night out of drinking so that was definitely on offer as a late night snack. For drink, we went with wines from vineyards we visited while in NZ last year, and his and her local Ontario craft beer (we of course also had bubbly and a selection of cocktails on offer).
Entertainment that tells our story
For music, we had the DJ mix our London Town Spotify playlist, which we have been cultivating for three years now. We wanted everything about the day to reflect us and our journey together, so when the DJ went down an MJ or Pink path a few times in an attempt to get people dancing, we quickly reigned that in.
Our first dance was epic. We danced and sang along like know one was watching to “Love on the Brain” by Rihanna. If you know the song you might think “but really…isn’t that a little raunchy and less than PG”?? Yup…but we didn’t care. As a song it speaks to us, which we thought was the point of a first dance. A lot of people thought we might have choreographed our dance – we didn’t – we just dance like that together at home all the time so it comes naturally now.
For speeches, we had two of our great (and dramatic) friends MC, and people came up to give what we called “quick fire” speeches. We didn’t want anyone going on for too long and made sure guests knew that they didn’t have to stop what they were doing in order to listen. The venue’s stairs ended up offering a great platform for speeches and it was cool how guests casually sat on the steps to watch and listen. Just in case anyone got bored during the day we also had life size Jenga and bean bag toss for garden games.
It’s the people that count
Matt and I had an amazing day. Although a lot of thought went into making sure our day was a reflection of us, it was all done with the intention of sharing a piece of ourselves with our guests. We weren’t in the least bit stressed leading up to the big day (seriously I got “you are the most chilled bride ever” on more than one occasion). Ultimately, we knew that all that really mattered was the people that would be there to celebrate with us. We wanted an intimate wedding so we only had about 80 of our nearest and dearest in attendance. These were the people that really made our day. We love you all dearly and are so grateful to have you in our lives!
Photographer: Agatha Rowland
Catering: Thyme & Again
Makeup: Done by Amber from Liana LaCroix Beauty
Florist: Harmony Florals
Officiant: Paul Racine, Doulous Ministries (and my past football coach)
Venue: Ottawa Rowing Club
~ Robyn Waite (September 8, 2017)