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The Last Hurrah

I meant to post this earlier but this week got away from me — it’s been busy times! So, this is it! The last Cuba post, and then we’re back to regular life things.

Wednesday was our last full day in Cuba with everyone who was still around. Although I was sad that our Toronto friends and moms were gone, it was really nice to spend a full day with the crew that was left. Aside from Sean, they are the group that we don’t get to see very often, since they live on the other side of the country. I was looking forward to a day of hanging out with them, and it was just really nice. We kicked the day off right by renting scooters (Heather and Brent didn’t come for the scooter excursion, as they had already rented one earlier in the week).

Baddest bike gang on the block. Eric was a little, uh, unsteady at first since he had never driven a scooter before, so Kenya got on the back of Lisa’s and had a much better time. Eric got the hang of it really quickly though!

Oh boy, that is a beard and a half.

Unfortunately I had forgotten my driver’s license, which you needed to rent a scooter, so I saddled up with Evan. We all scooted around the Varadero strip for a couple hours and it was super fun.

A highlight for sure!

Dixon was loving his life on the back of Sean’s scooter, his luscious locks floating in the breeze.

We stopped at the large outdoor market and did a little shopping, and then we headed to the beginning of the peninsula, where the oldest resorts are, and stopped for a break at a pier. Pelican!

Lovers!

LOVED the scooters. It was so much fun ripping around on those.

After we dropped the scooters off, we headed to a little chocolate shop across the street from our resort. Ian told us they had amazing sundaes, and we were hot and ready for ice cream. Ian had really bigged the place up but I was not disappointed! My sundae was even better than I had imagined.

Lisa got a chocolate iced coffee and it was also exceptionally delicious.

It could have just been because we were hot but we loved it all.

After the chocolate fest we met up with Heather and Brent and the 10 of us had lunch together in the buffet. Then we changed into our bathing suits and headed straight to the beach. We spent the rest of the day there and I would give just about anything to be back there right now. Brent brought a kite!

Scott flying that puppy around behind us…

Aww, my baby brother.

The tide was really low that day and it left a sandy island in the middle of the water. We set up shop there for a while and it was glorious.

Evan wearing his wedding ring! And also wearing shorts, although they are being sneaky in that pic.

Dixon got buried.

He was a good sport about it.

This would have been a much better photo if my camera didn’t have water all over the lens, but you get the idea.

We met a group of Americans, two guys and a girl who were touring around Cuba, and they approached us for help finding their GoPro they had lost in the water. Evan and I actually had goggles with us so we let them borrow them and one of the guys found it right away. They said they could tell we were Canadian because we all stopped what we were doing immediately and got in the water to help them. And then when they gave my goggles back I lost those in the water, and none of them offered to help me find them so I could tell they were American (ohh, just kidding just kidding. But they didn’t.) We ended up hanging out with them for a couple hours, hearing about their Cuban adventures and of course talking about the differences in our politics (of which there are MANY).

They offered to take a group photo of us so we took them up on that.

CUBAAAAAA. I love this pic.

At 6pm Evan and I met with Alex, our photographer, in the lobby. All our wedding photos were ready! He had all our pictures on a memory stick (that they had put in a wooden puzzle box with a Cuban flag on it, so that was cute), our videos on a hard drive, and a personalized album with 24 prints. We were so impressed. Alex went through all the photos with us on his Macbook and I may have cried. I couldn’t believe how amazing the pictures were and how quickly we got them. I was so happy.

Then we showered and headed out on the town with our pals. We took three cabs off the resort to a nearby restaurant where we had reservations.

I think the girls had the best car. Pink lightning!

This is what happens in a convertible when you have long hair.

The guys had sweet rides too, though.

We went to Paladar Nonna Tina, an Italian restaurant that Evan and I also went to last year (and he also went earlier in the trip with all the guys) and it has really great food! It was such a lovely family dinner!

And we had an album full of wedding photos with us. Evan and I waited until we were with everyone to look at them so we had a viewing session with the group and that is honestly one of my favourite memories. I love that we got to show our beautiful pictures to that group while eating delicious food and drinking all the beer. Fun times.

We ordered a large olive oil focaccia and two giant pizzas for the table (all delicious) and I ordered the spaghetti bolgonese.

Really good but after the pizza and some of Evan’s gnocchi (REALLY good) I was so full and couldn’t finish it all.

There is a sweet pink cadillac that I had seen driving up and down the street not only this year, but last year as well, and it was my dream to ride in it. That night my dream came true.

We got in there!

It was just as fun as I hoped it would be and the guy even played Summer of ’69 for us as we cruised back to our resort. It was pretty groovy.

Brent, Eric and Dixon ended up in one of the cars that drove us to the restaurant.

And Evan, Scott and Sean somehow ended up in a horse and buggy. They ate our dust. Byeeeeeeee.

Hey girrrrrlllllls.

We ended our night at the Beatles bar, because OF COURSE. There was a different band that night and I was digging them.

I LOVED this girl, she was killing it!!!

I wanted to be her friend.

And the guitar player was really into it.

Our new American friends met us there. We really liked Ashley in the red shirt.

But then the two guys who were with her got sort of weird (pretty sure they were just really drunk), so we didn’t end up hanging around with them for too long.

Sistas.

Once we were back in our rooms packing to leave in the morning, Heather and Brent called us and asked if we wanted to go swimming in the ocean with them. Um, YES. I had my bathing suit on and was ready to go in about 30 seconds. I hadn’t been swimming in the ocean at night that whole trip and it needed to happen. It was a full moon and the water was so beautiful, it was such a good way to end the best trip ever!

I still can’t believe how much fun we had. Ah, I want to go back and do it all again. I’m still hearing stories about things that happened that I didn’t personally witness. And we had quite a large group with us so I’m impressed that everyone got along so well and there was no intergroup drama or conflict or anything (not that I expected that but you never know). Just good times all around. We have a reunion coming up this summer at Brad and Brennie’s cottage and I already can’t wait!

 

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Cruisin’ on the Catamaran

Sadly, Monday was our last day with the group from Toronto. They were all leaving Tuesday morning and Evan and I were not leaving with them. We extended our trip by two days because the flights from Calgary and Vancouver got changed and they arrived two and three days after us, and we wanted to spend more time with Lisa, Scott, Heather, Brent, Eric, Kenya and Dixon. And Sean, he also arrived on Thursday. But we had a full day on the catamaran, so we had a fun time ahead!

The bus picked us up at 8:15am to take us to the catamaran, and let me tell ya I was not feeling it when I woke up at 7:30 that morning. I was just a little tired from the whole wedding thing the day before. But I put on my game face and my favourite mermaid bathing suit and I got on that boat, and I’m so glad. I had the best day. It was sunny, the water was beautiful, the drinks were a’flowin (open bar was included in the price of our catamaran excursion) — that is a recipe for a great day.

Sherrie is the brave one sitting on the very front up there.

Not everyone came but we had about 26 of us, including the moms, so it was a good turn out.

Heather and I getting our sun on.

I never really burned but I tanned very extremely, so much on my back and shoulders that my tan just peeled off like a snakeskin. Leaving me rejuvenated underneath? I’m not sure it works like that, and I’m sure that isn’t great but I did wear sunscreen every day so, what can ya do.

Sherrie driving the boat!

Emily and Corey unfortunately didn’t make it (long story) so the captain’s hat that Brad brought was sort of an ode to our Emily.

We’re on a boat!

About 20 minutes into our ride the crew said there was an emergency and they needed everyone to come inside immediately. An emergency DANCE PARTY.

Will liked!

It was the biggest catamaran I’ve ever been on. There were a lot of seats, which was great ’cause our moms mostly parked themselves in the shade and enjoyed the view. Of the sea, and of us being ridiculous.

Dixon getting his tan on like the bronzed god he is.

We tried to get another Cartwright High School pic but we got photobombed.

About an hour into our sail it was snorkel time.

Varadero isn’t really known for snorkelling — Holguin and even Cayo Coco are known to have better reefs, but it wasn’t bad. Snorkelling is fun anywhere, and we saw some nice fishies.

Hey girl.

Hey Dylan.

I saw a conch shell on the bottom so I mermaided down to retrieve it, as one does, and when I brought it up to the surface I realized it was HUGE. Like the biggest conch shell I’ve ever seen. And it had a critter living in it. I had to put ‘er back, no one likes a reef ravager.

We snorkelled for about half an hour or so and then it was back on the boat. I got to drive this time.

Actually the captain did leave me there by myself for few minutes, I told him I was capable since I’ve driven a houseboat. It’s the same, probably.

I didn’t know where we were going so I just kept it straight and blew the horn a bunch of times.

After a few hours of sailing the ocean we pulled up to Cayo Blanco, a beautiful island off of Matanzas, Cuba.

Hannah and I got adventurous on the front with Sherrie as we approached.

Once we got off the boat we immediately all headed to lunch, which was included in the price of our trip.

It was extensive, there was even lobster, and it was so good!

And there was live music, because it’s Cuba and there’s live music everywhere.

After lunch we headed to the beach and set up shop near the coolest little bar with THE BEST pina coladas.

We got a bit of leisuring in.

We spent the next couple of hours hanging out on the sand and in the water. Some sand castle building went down.

Evan’s contribution was the outhouse.

It had the best landscaping of the entire castle for sure.

Cayo Blanco has a beautiful beach.

And Dixon has beautiful hair.

That he needed to brush.

It’s a beautiful beach but I don’t think it’s quite as nice as Varadero Beach where our resort was. That is truly one of the nicest beaches I’ve seen in my life and I feel like I’ve been spoiled for all beaches now. This one did come close, but it was also more busy.

While we were swimming there was a group of exceptionally beautiful people frolicking in the water beside us and filming everything with a GoPro (think thongs and bathing suit leg holes that go up to your armpits). Joel ended up talking to them, because Joel ends up talking to everyone, and he discovered that they were famous instagrammers and Virgin had paid for them all to come here and film themselves looking young and footloose and fancy free. That is living the dream. Once we found that out we may have put a wrench into their beautiful video footage plans. Dawn and Heather swam behind them and started doing high leg kicks and such, which I’m sure looked just as gorgeous as their slow motion frolicking.

Good times at Cayo Blanco.

And then it was back to the catamaran to sail back to Varadero.

We had quite the treat on the way back — we saw dolphins!

At least three of them came and swam beside the boat and were jumping out of the water. It was so amazing.

Of course, none of my pictures are great. It was so cool to see though.

And then one of the dolphins accidentally jumped into the side of the boat and then they all sort of got awkward for a minute, and then they swam away. We were saying later that the dolphins were probably like “Ugh, way to freakin’ go, Carl! We were being all graceful and then you had to jump into the boat and make us all look like IDIOTS.” I’m sure that’s how it went.

My mom was super excited about the dolphins!!!

It was a highlight for sure.

I made new friends on the way back, and they let me drive again.

It was a really fun day.

The lady behind us starting just dying laughing after she photobombed us. I thought she did something really ridiculous in the photo but nope, just her presence.

It wasn’t a super party catamaran, and actually Brennie said it was the first time she’s ever been on a catamaran where everyone was still able to walk off the boat at the end. But I was okay with that. I like being able to walk.

As soon as we got back to our resort we all headed to the pool to meet up with our friends who didn’t come on the catamaran. It was the last hurrah.

We took over the shallow end and there were many shenanigans.

I do not often see Joel get picked up, so that was a treat.

There may have been a few chicken fights.

I just watched from afar (Evan would never put me on his shoulders in such shallow water, are you kidding? he likes safety) and it was highly entertaining.

I think Brennie, our parental supervisor, was the ultimate winner in her white bikini!

Thank you Evan for your feet.

Leg party.

Aw, Sarah.

What a freakin’ time.

When the pool closed we headed down to the beach to swim in the ocean for a bit.

Evan and I had a pretty early night since we had a big day in Havana on Tuesday, but it was a great last day with the whole group!

I love them! What a time with them all. I am so glad we had a destination wedding and forced them all to come party with us for an ENTIRE WEEK!!! I will never forget it!

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Our Varadero Wedding: Details + Getting Ready

Sunday was wedding day!

I’m going to start with getting ready and the stuff before the actual wedding. I have a million pictures and it seems like the best way to split it up. So, get ready for a ton of pictures. But who doesn’t love wedding pictures?

All photos unless I specify otherwise are by AV Smile, Cuban Wedding Photography and Videography. Alex, Vianca (hence the AV) and their team were AMAZING. Hiring them was the best decision of our lives (aside from getting married). We had a team of five at our resort for the wedding — Alex and his wife Vianca, two videographers, and a lighting guy. Not only did they take beautiful pictures but we had all the edited photos, from both the wedding day and a shoot we did with them a couple days later in Havana, an edited video DVD of the entire day, as well as all the raw footage in case we want to make our own video (we both have video editing experience), and a personalized photo album (with our names on it) including 24 8.5×11 prints in THREE. DAYS. They had editors working overnight to make sure we got everything before we left Cuba. AND they were so nice and wonderful to work with. We were blown away. I feel so, so lucky.

THE DETAILS

First of all, my dress!

I wore a different dress in Cuba than I did for the Toronto wedding. My dress is this one by Morilee Madeline Gardner, in champagne. I loved it so much. I felt really comfortable (and beautiful) in it and it was breezy and light, perfect for the beach.

I also added this belt, to both dresses.

My shoes were like $10 from Ardene and they were super comfy with a little bit of bling.

For the ceremony on the beach the bridesmaids and I all wore these barefoot sandals that I got on Etsy.

On my head I wore a starfish/seashell crown that I also got on Etsy.

Since Evan proposed in a clam shell, in the ocean right where the ceremony was taking place, we put the rings in a clasped clam shell that belonged to Evan’s nana.

I’m not usually a fan of wedding detail shots, and maybe I’m biased because these are mine, but I thought the photographers got exceptionally beautiful shots of everything.

My mom gave me the pearl earrings I wore a couple years ago, and the Starfish necklace was also an Etsy find.

My wifey clutch was from Aldo accessories.

Lisa got me a beautiful bracelet for the Toronto wedding that I wore again in Cuba — it’s a spoon (a big inside joke with us because the neighbourhood’s bully was nicknamed Spoon when we were growing up), and they made the spoon part into a mermaid tail!

I love it.

And the flowers!

They are fake, almost like a rubber material so they’re not only realistic looking but realistic feeling. My bouquet, the bridesmaid bouquets, my toss bouquet (that I threw to everyone for luck, not just the single ladies), the moms’ corsages and the groomsmen boutonnières were all from my friend Ashley at From The Stem Up. She did such a great job! I used my bouquet for the Toronto wedding also, and then I just packed everything up in my suitcase and brought them to Cuba. It was perfect.

And I can keep my bouquet forever!

Emily’s mom got us a frame that people can sign and write well-wishes on, so we brought that along with us.

Except we forgot to change the photo in it to one of us. Whoops. Everyone was like “wow, you guys look really different!”

The other big thing I forgot was part of the sign for the front of the restaurant where the reception was taking place. For my bridal shower Lisa made this amazing sign that said “The Adventure Continues” and each letter was on a triangle cutout of a map. I loved it and I wanted to have it in Cuba, except when I was packing I somehow forgot to include the word “Adventure”. We just had “The” and “Continues”. Will, Kim and Dylan were putting that up while we were getting ready and couldn’t figure out what “The Continues” was supposed to mean. So, they put up what made the most sense which was just “Continues”. That makes me laugh when I think about it now.

THE GIRLS

In my bridal party I had Joanna and Dawn, who I met on the first day of Grade 9 and have been my pals since; Lisa, my MOH, who I grew up with and who has been my bestie for like 25 years; Emily, who has been my good friend since elementary school; Sherrie, who I hit it off with in my first year of journalism in college; and Hannah, who I became close with when I worked at OFSAA.

Joanna, Dawn, Lisa, Me, Emily, Sherrie, Hannah

The seven of us got ready in my room and it was definitely a bit cramped but it was so much fun and I’m so glad we had that time together. We blasted music and just laughed for most of the day. Will and Dylan brought us up fruit and sandwiches that they made for us in the buffet, so that was much appreciated!!!

I didn’t have a picture of this so I took a screenshot from the video

And Brent brought us up a tray of drinks!

We were excited about that.

I did my own makeup…

And Sherrie did my hair. She has such a gift for it. She gave us all the ‘Sherrie pouf.”

I think my hair turned out even better than when she did the trial on me.

I was feeling the love that day.

After our hair and makeup was done we headed down to the moms’ room so I could get into my wedding dress with them.

I should mention that the bridesmaid dresses were from RW&Co and their necklaces were from Etsy.

My mom looked so beautiful and happy!

And so did Cookie, Evan’s mom and my new mom!

I could not ask for a better mother-in-law, and I’m so glad our two moms get along so well.

Once we were ready we galavanted around the resort with our photography team.

The boys were also taking photos around the resort so the photographers all had walkie-talkies to make sure we didn’t see each other.

Randy, our favourite entertainer, came over to see us!

His extreme V needed to be more extreme. He was also wearing a ring on a chain around his neck that he pretended to put on my finger.

Mikey, the pool guy (aka Sexy Position) also dropped by to say hi. He got picked up.

My first love!

Gah, I love the beach shots. It was really sunny which I know is a photographer’s nightmare, but I think they still turned out great.

My favourite part of the video is all of us getting ready and then just walking around getting photos.

The guys

In Evan’s party he had: my brother Eric; his good friends from high school Ian (who lived with us for a while a couple years ago), Jeff, and Sean; and Mark and Corey, who he became close with after hanging out with them all the time because they’re married to Dawn and Emily.

Eric, Ian, Evan, Sean, Mark, Jeff, Corey

Unfortunately Brotherman couldn’t make it to the Cuba wedding, but he stood up there with us in Toronto!

The boys all got ready in Sean’s room.

What a handsome groom I have.

His tie is from Le Chateau (and the bowtie he wore for the Toronto wedding is from there as well).

And then they also traipsed around the resort with their photography team, looking super suave.

What a friggin’ handsome bunch of groomsmen!!

After we were all ready it was time for the ceremony, and I was ready to walk down the aisle!

Again!

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WE’RE MARRIED!!!

We are mawwwwwwwied!!!!

Yep, married!

Sunday went absolutely perfectly!!! I could not be happier. It did feel weird not having certain people with us when we officially tied the knot, like my brother, bestie and the bridal party, so I’m so excited to do it all again in Cuba with most of our best pals! But even if that wedding is a total disaster, I feel like we at least got one right! I’m sure it will be wonderful though because everyone will be there.

I don’t have many pictures yet so I’ll do a more detailed post once I have all those back…but I do have a few so I can give you a little sneak peek!

On Saturday afternoon Evan and I dropped by Globe Bistro (where the ceremony and reception were taking place) so we could drop off some stuff, like our cake!!!

I was SO HAPPY about our cake! My friend Cathy who I worked with at Girl Guides made it (CakesbyNACJ) and it was so much better than I even pictured. I showed her a picture of my bouquet and she matched the flowers so well. I loved it, and it was so delicious! The top was vanilla coconut and the bottom was vanilla with lemon.

It was so nice to go to the venue with Evan and scope out the setup just the two of us.

Isn’t that sign amazing? My friend Melissa made it for us.

It was really coming together in the reception room.

Just missing the centrepieces. Seeing everything set up just made all my nervousness go away and I felt ready to get married!

My mom has been staying with us since Tuesday (she lives in BC) so on Sunday morning we got up at 4am so we could pick up Evan’s mom and head to his cousin Barb’s house to get ready. Apparently when you have a brunch wedding you have to get up super early — our hair and makeup artist Natalie was arriving at 6am to make us presentable!

Getting ready together at Barb’s was awesome — she and her husband were such great hosts and made us smoked salmon and cream cheese on bagels, coffee, and mimosas (it’s never too early for a mimosa!). I was so thankful to them for having us. It was the best place to get ready. My morning was leisurely and stress-free.

Natalie absolutely SLAYED my face and hair, and I was ready to get married before 9am.

Gahh, I looked so good. The best I’ve ever looked (and probably will ever look) for sure. And I could not get over how beautiful my mom looked!!!

She was just glowing. So beautiful. I can’t wait to see the pictures of her helping me into my dress!

I left Barb’s just before 10am, our wedding planner Tracey (one of the best things about our day, seriously) drove me over to Brickworks to meet Evan for a first look and pictures together. I was so glad we did that, even though it was FREEZING. The pics will be worth it. I can’t wait for those. In the meantime, our photographer Nicole got a quick photo of us on my phone that I can share with ya!

Aww. All ready for wedding things. Evan is so damn handsome. My heart skipped a beat when I saw him waiting for me. What a groom I have!

Once we arrived at the restaurant I got a pic of Evan pinning the boutonniere on his brother, aka Brotherman, aka the Best Man.

So cute. I should mention that all our flowers (including my bouquet) were fake flowers (but not silk, almost like a rubber so they even feel real!) and they were done by Ashley at From The Stem Up. She did a great job. I love my bouquet so much.

I’ll share more about the ceremony and reception when I get pictures back but here’s a few guests photos I’ve been able to snag. My handsome and proud dad walking me down the aisle!

Our ceremony was PERFECTION.

I forgot to pass off my bouquet, whoops.

Our Reverend Heather Power was so great. She helped us put together the most perfect ceremony that felt really personal to us. People were raving to us afterwards about how amazing our ceremony was, and maybe they always say that but it did feel really good. I couldn’t keep myself together. Evan’s cousin Barb did a reading during the ceremony and that made me lose it as well. It was so sweet. First kiss as husband and wife!

We’re official! I was very determined to sign those documents. We did a candle lighting for our grandparents and family members who were no longer with us, which was really sweet and also brought some tears to my eyes when I thought of my and Evan’s Nana’s.

Unfortunately my MOH Lisa couldn’t make it to the Toronto wedding (she will be in Cuba!) but I had a fabulous stand-in MOH as my witness, my friend Beth who I met on the very first day of Grade 9.

She brought a great friend of mine from elementary school, Allison, as her date and I was so glad to have them both there.

After the ceremony we ate delicious brunch food and drank mimosas and wine and mingled with our guests. It was wonderful. My cousin Allie and her daughter Nora made it all the way from BC! Actually, her wedding is one of my favourites of all time. This is her and my auntie Nancy.

Evan and I cutting that delicious cake!

It was the perfect day. It was small, intimate and personal and we really felt the love of our families. And I can’t think of one thing that went wrong, which is mostly due to our wedding planner Tracey! I will talk more about her in my official recap but we were SO GLAD to have her help. She was invaluable and I felt like neither of us had to worry about a single thing the entire day. She was always there taking care of things and she even packed up all our stuff at the end of the day! I don’t know what we’re going to do without her in Cuba.

Evan’s grandma unfortunately couldn’t make it so we dropped by her apartment in our wedding attire on our way home. She was so happy to see her grandson on his wedding day. She was so cute.

So, I guess that’s it for now! I’ll be instagramming from Cuba for sure, possibly Snapchat if I can get it to work, their internet is weird so we shall see. Have a great week and a half! Wish us luck on wedding #2.

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Spring Flings

This week has somehow flown by but also dragged on and on. I don’t know how that’s possible but I guess I’m super anxious to get this wedding show on the road and I’ve also been really busy tying up loose ends for the weddings and work. I feel pretty set now and generally less stressed about things, so that’s good! My skin has been having a bit of a freak out though. It’s like it knows the wedding’s coming so it’s rebelling. I have a giant zit on my chin that has been lurking under the surface since MONDAY. Gah. Just friggin’ do your thing and get it over with, zit! Either come to the surface already or get outta here, why are you dragging it out?! I bet it’s just going to turn my entire chin into a zit come Sunday, you just wait.

As of noon today I am officially on vacation! Our family wedding here is on Sunday and then we are off to Cuba for 9 days to do it all again! I’m so excited. I’m going to try to pop in on Monday for a quick update on the Toronto wedding and then I’m probably not going to be blogging for a couple of weeks — Cuban internet is a sketch fest and I’ll be hanging out on the beach with 34 of our friends!!! HEYO!

Anyway, it’s been really wedding heavy around here lately, so let’s talk about other things that have been going on.

A few weekends ago we hit up a Jays game with a bunch of our pals to celebrate my friend Joanna’s birthday. We got a sweet suite, same as last year!

The Jays actually won, which is a rare occurrence for them lately. I don’t know what’s going on with them but they need to step it up. Get it together, boys!

We still love them though.

Joanna had a really great cake at her Jays birthday last year and I didn’t think anything would be able to top it but then I saw this:

And that cake takes the cake. It’s probably one of the greatest cakes I’ve ever seen (and I’ve seen some good cakes!).

It was really delicious, too. Even the fondant was good, and that is rare!

Our Cuba wedding emcee stole my phone and took a bunch of selfies, here is a beautiful sample.

It was a really good time. I love going to games and it’s even better with a group.

Last Monday after work I headed to Hamilton to see the Dixie Chicks with my pals Dawn and Emily, and Emily’s coworker (now our friend) Heather.

Someone missed the plaid memo. But I guess I missed the boot memo.

The Dixie Chicks were FANTASTIC!!

Our seats weren’t wonderful, but we didn’t mind and I have to say that the FirstOntario Centre in Hamilton (where we saw Garth Brooks last year too) is a much better venue than the ACC in Toronto. They also had screens, which was helpful.

I haven’t really listened to the Dixie Chicks lately but I looooove them and they played all their hits! It took me back to high school for sure. I do feel like the Ready To Run song would have been less poignant last year (when their tour started) before Donald Trump won the election. The screens had cartoons of Hillary and the Donald on them during that song, and I think it would have been funny back when there was still hope. But now it was more sad than anything. Goodbye Earl is still my fave and you know we screamed that song! Ah, they were great.

Last Sunday Evan and I went to our friends’ Renee and Dustin’s Jack & Jill (they are also getting married this year).

Pies in the face may have happened.

I’ve talked about Jack & Jill’s before (<- that links to Dawn and Mark’s tropical Jack & Jill which was a super fun time). They’re also known as a Stag & Doe and are basically a fundraiser for the wedding. They’re a ton of fun and pretty much my favourite kind of party. There’s a lot of booze and games and raffles, and it’s a good way to get to know a lot of the wedding guests before the actual wedding. Many of our friends were Renee and Dustin’s though so we knew a lot of the guests already. I took no pictures but luckily our friend Alicia had that covered.

And I don’t know what’s up with her camera but I feel like it was filtering my face and I liked it.

I also got my brows done on Friday for wedding things and I feel like for the first time in my life they’re on fleek.

Anyway, the Jack & Jill was a great time. It was a in a bar that Renee and Dustin had rented out for the occasion so it was just like going to a bar full of all people we knew and then some fun characters we didn’t. Evan and I decided not to have a Jack & Jill since we’re having a destination wedding and it’s not as expensive as your typical wedding, but you better believe if we were having a wedding here we would have had one. They’re always a good party. I love them. And it was fun to commiserate with Renee about the wedding planning process.

Speaking of Jack & Jill’s, one of the best ones I’ve ever been to was my friend Melissa’s up in Muskoka, and it was actually her baby shower the day after Renee and Dustin’s J&J!

I need a new pose for pictures. I should probably work on that before Sunday.

Melissa is one of my oldest friends and I’m so excited for her and her husband Will. You may remember me blogging about her amazing wedding also. The day of her baby shower was GORGEOUS and the shower took place at her dad’s cottage on Lake Simcoe so it could not have been a more perfect setting.

Summer’s comin!

I had a lot of fun celebrating her and her baby-to-be, I can’t wait to meet that little chicken nugget!

Have a great weekend! I KNOW I WILL!!!!!

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The Home Stretch

Remember when I said a while ago that this wedding planning ain’t no thang and I almost didn’t want to say it because I didn’t want to jinx it but the process had been fairly simple? Yeah, I jinxed it. We’re 9 days out now and this week has been the most stressful yet. I think also because work has been really busy and I don’t really have time to think about anything but work at work, and then my evenings have been alllll wedding (okay well Monday I went to the Dixie Chicks concert in Hamilton and that was fantastic).

Anyway, VENTING AHEAD!

On Tuesday I heard from our Cuba wedding coordinator (who is in Canada, she’s the liaise between us and the resort until we actually get on the resort) that the resort had accidentally double-booked our wedding date with ANOTHER wedding. IDIOTS.

So, she asked if we could move our wedding from Saturday to Sunday. I was actually shocked that this happened because I was just going on about how I didn’t think this resort had ever hosted a wedding — and then they have two ON THE SAME DAY?! What are the chances??

Well, here’s what happened. We had to change our wedding date shortly after booking everything because the Sunwing flights from Calgary and Vancouver, that my MOH and brother (and others) were on got cancelled and pushed back two/three days. This had my brother Eric and friends arriving on the same day as the wedding, in the evening though, so they would miss it. Eric is walking me down the aisle at the Cuba wedding and he’s also a groomsman so…he’s a very important fixture and needs to be there. You may remember me going on about this a while ago. So we pushed our wedding date back a day, from the Friday to the Saturday. The resort (my Canadian contact) confirmed this was fine, we rebooked the photographer in Varadero, updated all our attendees, and all was well. Except it wasn’t because I guess somehow the resort’s main calendar did not get updated and they still had our wedding date on Friday, leaving the Saturday open which they then booked with another wedding. Ugh.

Pushing the wedding date back another day is not ideal. That will be five days after we arrive, when I initially wanted it three days after we arrived. I feel like we’re not going to be able to truly relax until the wedding happens, and the Toronto group is probably going to be bloated (alcohol and eating too much) and sunburnt AF by then.

But, what can ya do. It’s not really the same as moving a wedding date here because everyone’s already going to be in Cuba and it’s not like they have plans aside from leisuring on the beach for that day. It’s annoying but it is what it is.

Instead of fighting it I just agreed to the date change because I didn’t want the other group to refuse to move and then we have two weddings on the same day, which, the resort is so small they wouldn’t be able to accommodate that and it would be a total shirtshow. I also know it’s difficult for our wedding planner in Canada to communicate with the resort because you know they’re all on island time over there and probably not getting back to her. Moving seemed like the least disastrous option and our wedding is now on the Sunday.

I did express how disappointed I was about the entire thing, because this is the second time our wedding date has been changed due to external (SUNWING!!) factors and I’m generally feeling like we’re the second rate wedding. Which is sad to me because that resort means so much to us and we booked it almost immediately after returning from getting engaged there last year. I spoke with our wedding coordinator though and we’re not getting charged now for a few aspects of the wedding so I guess I’ll take that.

We also had an unexpected issue with family this weekend. I don’t want to get into it on here but it was really upsetting and isn’t resolved, and I’m not sure if it will be resolved before the wedding, so that sucks. And we had Evan’s family over for Easter brunch at the time so unfortunately I was a mess of tears in front of them (it had nothing to do with them and I was glad they were there, but I hate being upset in front of people). Before that happened I was nothing but excited but that has brought a slight damper. But as I’ve been hearing from many people who are already married, is a wedding really a wedding without a bit of family drama?

Apparently it’s not.

As my friend Sherrie helpfully pointed out, it comes in threes, so I’m bracing myself for something else to go wrong. I’m hoping that maybe the flights initially being changed can count as a thing, so then that’s three and we’re done. Oh! Our labels for the wine favours we’re doing for the Toronto wedding were kind of messed up. Vistaprint left a big white strip at the top when they printed them, so Evan had to cut them all with an exacto knofe. But I’m not sure if that’s a big enough problem to count as a thing. They still look great, I think.

I’ve noticed that as the day gets closer I’m more willing to throw money at problems to make them go away. I was super frugal in the beginning but now I ask myself if paying a bit more means I don’t have to do anything. Yes? Then take my money.

And speaking of money, we’ve heard some rumblings along the lines of “why are you having two weddings, that must be so expensive and you could be using that money for something else.” (you probably know if you’ve planned a wedding that everyone has an opinion about YOUR wedding.) So for anyone thinking about having a destination wedding but wanting to have a small family thing at home first, I’ll just say that having two small weddings like we’re doing is actually less than half the price of the average cost of one wedding. It’s budget-friendly!

We’re also keeping our Toronto wedding at around 30 people, which is very difficult to do. It’s nearly all family — I have one close friend who is coming and she is also my witness and will be standing up there with me. We couldn’t invite everyone who couldn’t make it to Cuba and we have some very close friends who unfortunately just won’t be at our wedding at all. But if you open it up at all, where do you draw the line? Family only (almost), this is the way we chose to do it.

As I said to Evan, we only get to get married twice once so we gotta do what feels right to us!!!

Anywhoozle, other than those things everything has been going pretty swimmingly. I’m so glad we have Tracey for the Toronto wedding because she’s definitely taken a lot of stress off us. I don’t know what I would do without her. I was reading the runsheet she put together for the family wedding and she has even scheduled in some alone time for Evan and I after the ceremony, AND she has scheduled for the restaurant to leave h’ors deouvres for us at our table because we’re going to miss them during cocktail hour when we’re getting pictures. I totally swooned when I read that. She is thinking of everything!

Oh and THANK YOU for all your comments about the name change dilemma! I haven’t had time to respond to them all, but I read them all and so appreciated reading about everyone’s stories and thoughts on the subject. I’m pretttttty sure I’m leaning towards changing it. When I think of us having the same family name it makes me feel safe and warm and fuzzy. I think I’m a little sentimental about it.

9 days out, and then 16 days out!!! It’s happening!

And at least if one wedding is a total disaster we have a second chance to get it right.

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