Thursday, September 13, 2007

Another family wedding


Finally I can boast about visiting the city of Toronto!

I had only ever been within the glass windows of the Toronto Pearson Airport, so it was a real treat to actually be able to“see” what the city was really like outside of it this past weekend, when we traveled to Toronto for the sole purpose of attending our niece Karyn’s wedding. She was to marry her John and we would be there for her.

Trolley transit system was well used day and night.

Restaurants were quaint and fun to note.

The specific weekend chosen was also the focal point for the Toronto film festival, becoming a visible and rather packed city, movie stars and red carpet rolled out all over the entertainment district where our hotel was.
Our hotel

View from our hotel room.

The hospital behind the incinerator
was where my husband was born!

The day before the wedding when we arrived into town, it was fun to take a walk down King Street, (the heart of the entertainment section of the city) to view all the patios filled with restaurant clientèle, and see all of the theaters dedicated to live theater entertainment.

Royal Alexandra Theater

Princess of Wales Theater

A short distance from the hotel, the walk of fame began and there were a myriad of “stars” on the concrete dedicated to famous Canadians. Just as California has "Grauman's Chinese Theatre", so too does Canada have a similar walk of fame!

Canada's Walk of Fame

As each family member also arrived into town, our cell phones began to jingle their tunes to summon us to gather together for stolen moments in what would become, a fast paced and furious weekend where memories were beginning and plenty of family hugs were being gathered. We loved initially checking into our hotel only to find the bride in the lobby, her nails freshly painted in the same hotel, and it was there the pleasant emotions began to stir. This lovely young woman was always so spunky, so wonderful, and so filled with love for everyone and everything, how could it be she was all grown up and soon to be wed already? She left the west coast to attend university in Toronto
seven years ago and remained in the east after a newfound love for the city grew in her heart. Last year we were able to spend time with her and John at my sister’s home in Cape Cod, a reunion of sorts especially not having seen her in well over seven years by then. It was good to be here for her this particular weekend, her wedding weekend where she would pledge her life to John forever and ever.

Two Aunties, Three Nieces!

Paul & Melanie getting to know the groom's
this is his mother in the center.

Later in the evening there was an out-of-towner’s gathering, and so our more formal visiting began in earnest, beginning with meeting the groom’s family, his relatives, and the couple’s good friends, many from all over the world. Our family members attending were happy to reunite once more too in the “Oak room” of the hotel. Precious conversations became the elements of the evening, emotions were gathering steam and all were looking forward to the upcoming wedding day.

Morning came and I had an early breakfast commitment with a friend from the west coast who was also visiting the city, staying with her parents. She too was in town for a wedding, a different one though than ours. She caught the subway and we planned to meet at our hotel, enjoying what would become a long, lingering visit. Slowly other family members began to gather with us at our table and conversations never seemed to cease. How wonderful to be together this day, she and I, taking time to continue building the friendship we have both come to cherish. What a pleasure to spend time with you too!

A long breakfast visit enjoyed by all.

Only in Toronto would they dare close two major thruways during the crowded city’s film festival! The traffic was horrendous and backed up to Tim-buck-two! We were the lucky ones as our taxi ride took under half an hour to travel six miles, but others took up to an hour to arrive at the wedding venue.

Handsome men!
A formal evening attire was required for guests.


Our niece and her husband's two children were flower girls.

The Palais Royale was the venue, an amazing place with a heritage unique to the city’s reputation and now a landmark location.

Originally opened in 1922, the lakeshore's historic Palais Royale became one of Toronto's most famous dance halls. It probably enjoyed its peak popularity in the '30s and '40s when big bands would perform for large crowds on the main floor while boats were built and repaired at lake level in the basement. Count Basie, Frank Sinatra and Louis Armstrong were among the stars to play the Palais during that golden era. Now restored and surpassing its original splendor (as of June 2006), it's once again a premier event destination and a reawakened Toronto landmark.

Similar to Harrison Hotspring’s “Copper Room”, the venue both inside and out was filled with exquisite ambiance, surely intended to create a most memorable atmosphere for all attending the wedding this day.

Grandfather of the bride walking her to the groom.


Lovely bridal party.

The week prior to the wedding day, the weather forecast called for showers, thunderstorms and assorted precipitation patterns, but when the wedding day arrived; it was a glorious and sunshiny day filled with great anticipation for all. Amidst the lake’s body of water, the sun glistened like a mirror’s glow, where one could just sit mesmerized, intent on enjoying the most wonderful view with a continuous landscape of boating vessels drifting slowly nearby.

The wedding ceremony was to be outdoors, sunglasses were a necessary item. Patio umbrellas were located here and there, so we all grabbed one to place near our sitting area to get hubby out of the sun. As soon as the wedding ceremony began, sermon given and vows exchanged, a bit of a glow was developing on the crowd’s faces.

Happy to be there, it was also the same spot where the photographers snapped many of the wedding party photos, trays of champagne fluted glasses were passed around and hors d’oeuvres were served to those enjoying being part of the wedding photo session. For those who preferred to be indoors, couches and settees were located all around the reception area for comfort and visiting pleasures.

Photos were being taken in our midst after the ceremony.

We all noted how organized the bride and groom were, and what fun we had noticing all the little details surrounding the venue. The circle of friends this couple have been blessed with was most noticeable, some taking Polaroid snapshots of each guest and handing out felt pens to place a note along the bottom edge for them to be place into the wedding at a later date.

Photo at yearly intervals for each = table numbers

The seating assignments were delegated and each table had a photo frame with photos of the couple at specific yearly ages, each age year representing the table number.

How to get a couple to kiss!

Instead of tinging the glasses for the couple to plant a kiss on each other’s lips, small bells were located on a table with a large piggy bank, and each kiss would cost a donation to the cancer society on the couple’s behalf. What fun it was to see and hear another person ringing a bell that night!

The fabulous wedding cupcakes!

As the guests were later summoned to the reception hall from outdoors, and as the speeches and dinner was able to begin, the master of ceremonies announced the evening would be a dinner dance night, encouraging all to participate in the live band’s entertainment on the dance floor.

The couple's waltz together.

The bride and groom performed their dance for the evening immediately after entering the reception area, a lovely idea to do this right away. Tenderly John took Karyn into his arms; a deep expression of love filled their eyes for one another as they swayed to the music. Beautiful! Very soon afterwards, crowds gathered on the dance floor with the guests for the evening showing sincere appreciation towards the fantastic live entertainment, talented musicians with a wide range of musical abilities to assure all were well pleased with their offerings.

Flower girl's dancing to the music.

As the evening continued, our table became a wee bit noisy from all the fun we were having alongside the groom’s extended relatives, also at our assigned table. We hit the dance floor, meandered about the outdoor decks to enjoy the sun’s glow on the water during the sunset, and made promises for more future gatherings such as this one.

Our daughter from the west coast with us.

Aunties & Uncle and the lovely couple.

Family surrounding the couple.

The next day we were able to continue sharing stolen moments as we bumped into other out of town guests staying at our hotel. After attending church in the early hours, we were delighted to see the bride and groom shortly before and after our breakfast in the hotel’s restaurant. They were leaving that evening for Paris to have a honeymoon in Europe.

Everyone we spoke to still buzzed with excitement over the wonderful day previous, and in lieu of the cool and rainy day we’d all woken up to, indeed the bride and groom had been blessed with fine weather on their special wedding day. Thunder and lightning began to rock the skies and rain fell intermittently for the rest of the gloomy day, luckily the day AFTER the wedding.

Congratulations to Karyn & John.

We love you!