The White Cottage

MY DAYS IN RETIREMENT

A Garden Party Wedding

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As you age in life it’s natural that you’ll begin to attend  more funerals than weddings. Not necessarily a good thing to look forward to, but it’s the brutal truth. So when one of your nephews gets married, you tend to get a little excited. Especially true when you’re invited to your first ever Garden Party Wedding. Finally a chance to get all dolled up and wear something bright and summery. Another chance to dust off the fancier jewellery that’s been lingering in your jewel box possibly waiting to be handed down to any grandchildren. Mine, of course, not really worth the wait, but heh, you never know, right?? At least I have some better items that matched!

When Nat and I received our invitation to my nephew’s wedding I was ecstatic that he was finally going to tie the knot with the love of his life and his best friend, Kate. The two had already set up house in Alberta, where they both work, and it was nice to see that they wanted to make it official. Kate, we soon found out, is very creative and imaginative. The wedding invitations were hand-done, right down to their personalized postage stamp, and there was more to come.

As I posted earlier, I found the perfect dress, shoes, purse and shrug which hung in a spare closet for what seemed an eternity. I was dying to put on that dress. The wait was worth it, however, as I began to lose weight which made me feel even “lighter” despite the fact no one would notice a somewhat thinner side view!! I knew where that ugly fat went and that was all that mattered. I had also felt the pain and starvation to get to this point and I’m determined to continue – the feeling just gets better and better. It also helps that if I’m successful a new wardrobe will have to purchased – what a great goal to work towards!!

I also went for another manicure and pedicure. This time the colour purple on the fingers and toes which matched the purple in my dress perfectly. I knew no one would notice – but I was at least putting the finishing touches on the whole ensemble. Nat had even decided on a bright yellow shirt and neutral pants that made him look summery and fresh himself. We were going to be the dapper couple – at least in our own minds.

The Dapper Couple

The Dapper Couple

The big day came and I was excited. It turned out to be a perfect sunny (albeit it bloody hot) day but we still felt great. The hair quaff had so much hair spray on not even Mother Nature was going to be able to blow it out of shape – it would just spring back!!  I don’t have a lot of hair, but what I got I make sure it stays in place!!

Nat and I, as usual, arrived just a tad earlier than we wanted. We had over-estimated our arrival time, but we had a chance to check everything out before the rest of the guests arrived. We walked towards the backyard of a beautiful home, swimming pool, small garden shed and large field adjoining the property. A huge tent was erected with about twelve rectangular dining tables set up. Each table was dressed with centre pieces of white Chrysanthemums and large golden sunflowers in full bloom, small gift jars of home-grown honey, hand-written place cards lying atop a white linen table-cloth and burlap runners. Just looking at the tables you knew someone’s heart and soul had gone into every detail and you certainly felt warm and welcome once you sat down.

Nat and I were soon joined by more of our family – the Irwins, Pearsons, Rouses and Fritshaws – with the “Northern” Rouses arriving later. We noticed the ceremonial area further down the adjoining field with chairs lined up ready for guests, along with a rustic archway constructed of  tree branches and twigs, waiting for the Bride and Groom to say their vows. I do admit to being a bit hesitant walking down there wearing my red 1-1/2″ wedge sandals on the unstable ground. Not having worn heals of any sort for over 10 years, my balance was not to be trusted. I should have trusted my gut and have Nat return to the car for the spare red patent leather flats I brought along just in case.

When the time came, I managed to walk clumsily down to the ceremonial area holding Nat’s helping hand without any mishaps and waited along with the other guests for the Bride and Groom to arrive. It wasn’t long before we turned around and could see my niece (a bridesmaid) and her escort walking towards the archway. Then the Maid of Honour and Best Man were all lined up awaiting for the big moment. A duet of man and woman playing soft violin and guitar would accompany each couple down the aisle. A huge smile soon came across my face as my nephew (the Groom) walked down the grassy aisle with Mom on his right arm and future Mother-In-Law on his left. Different and cute, I thought. Two birds with one stone – Moms escorted to their chairs and Groom now in place. I knew right away this was going to be a much different wedding than all the usual I had been to in the past. Then, at last, the Bride. Walking arm-in-arm with her very nice and friendly father, Kate was a vision of beauty. Creamy coloured lace flowed softly over a body-shaped satin dress with an off-the-shoulder lacy top. Her hair upswept as she held a bouquet of vibrant yellow sunflowers, creamy white daisies and roses. Her shy bowed head only lasted for a few seconds as she approached her now beaming and proud new hubby-to-be waiting at the arch. A twenty-minute ceremony, short, sweet and so befitting such a young cute couple full of life. Hubby even managed to take a great picture of “the kiss”. The Bride looked week in the knees.

The Kiss

The Kiss

Once the guests had all wandered back to the tent area while Bride and Groom had formal pictures taken, it wasn’t long afterward the reception line was taking place across another patch of the field. This is where the fun began. Another manageable moment as Nat escorted me and my wobbly feet and legs wearing my new bright red, open-toed sandals, exposing ten toes in all their purply painted glory. I managed to make it through the entire line, hand-shaking and hugging all ‘n sundry. My nephew could have swallowed me up in his loveable bear hug while Kate was dainty and lady-like. With the congratulatory remarks made, Nat and I began to meander back to our table when, without any sudden notice, warning or even “what the hell” – I fell. The stubbly grassy earth had risen up to snap my foot inward. I landed on my left knee with right foot and ankle twisted underneath itself. Damn! How embarrassing! Nat’s reaction was immediate but I couldn’t get my balance. My lower body was saying “wait a bloody minute – I can’t get steady”. Without further ado, along comes Cousin Val’s hubby and as I told Nat to take off my shoes, the two men began to rescue me from the earth and grass that was now embedded in my knee and foot. Then suddenly along comes Kate’s father, Gerard, to make sure I was all right. At this point, he’s probably thinking law suit, law suit get the old girl up. God, now this is really getting embarrassing. Please, for the love of God, let no one else from the reception line notice this old broad struggling to stand up and looking as if she’d had one too many to drink – despite the absence of any alcohol! By the time we had reached the tent (I walked back bare-footed) and survey the damage my knee was beginning to bleed just a tad and the old ankle was going to be swollen and red by the morning. At least my new red dress would cover the little blood that was oozing and my now flat shoes would keep the swelling foot in tact.

Finally, settled guests were now invited to enjoy the buffet supper laid out consisting of roast beef & gravy, ham slices, corn-on-the-cob in varying sizes, rolls, and an array of salads from pasta, Caesar and potato. A veggie tray also lay alongside for a crunchy accompaniment. Everything was delicious and the white wine topped off our meal just perfectly. Another nice and well thought out event was the speeches and toasting of the Bride and Groom which came after everyone had a chance to enjoy their meal while chit chatting with other guests at their tables. Dessert was another different affair with an array of fruit tarts that hit the mark with a nice sweet or savoury bite after a good meal. The darkness was now setting in as the Bride and Groom had their dances together and with each other’s parents. The duet playing for the reception seemed to have a nice and varied repertoire, but it was shortly thereafter that Nat and I decided to say our goodbyes. My foot was beginning to really throb and since Nat had been up since 6:30 am to play golf, I could tell he, too, was wanting his bed. So we said our goodbyes to everyone and headed home for bed and Nat’s cup of tea.

Sunday morning saw Nat and I sleeping in and using the day for complete relaxation and rest. Nothing unusual from our ordinary days, but heat from Saturday had taken its toll on both of us, along with Nat’s early golf game. I took the time to clean and bandage my now scratchy red knee and to lay in my recliner with my very swollen red right foot above my heart. Prior to going to bed the previous night I popped a couple of Extra Strength Tylenol to ease the pain and help me sleep. It worked. The pain had subsided Sunday morning as I watched my favourite Sunday morning program. I had already taken two days off from my exercise routine and it seems like one more day was being added. Too risky for my foot, as Nat said, and naturally, I always do what hubby suggests!!!!

All rested and refreshed Monday morning, Nat and I slowly began to get back to household affairs. As he worked on the lawn cutting in this bloody heat, I rested my butt in the office getting our wedding pictures uploaded and organized. Along with an obvious blog posting, I managed to get everything done and now have no excuse at all to get back downstairs. The old treadmill must really be getting dusty and rusty with no attention to it being paid after 4 days now. What the hell, I’ve at least lost the 10 pounds required, my blood sugar levels are steady and no one should begrudge me a treat now and again!!

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Author: Twila

Born and raised in a small town in Ontario, Canada, with 5 sisters and a brother. Now retired, my husband and I travel, play golf and am slowly renovating our new (old) home. After my kidney transplant in 1999, we've learned to enjoy life to the fullest. Nat and I have driven across Canada, taken an Alaskan cruise and drove home via the Northern United States. We've also been to Mexico, the Caribbean, the East Coast of Canada and Cape Breton. We've done the "Snowbird" thing, having lived in Destin, Florida for a couple of months of the year. In 2007 we changed our travel plans in order to move into and renovate our new "old" home, but hope to someday get back on the road again. We also love returning to Scotland (Nat's origin of birth) to visit his family and tour the Highlands and surrounding Isles.

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