Our Late Summer Wedding

A huge thank you to our amazing Photographer  Brandon Werth  For capturing these beautiful Images from our wedding day. ALl images are © Brandon Werth .

A huge thank you to our amazing Photographer Brandon Werth For capturing these beautiful Images from our wedding day. ALl images are ©Brandon Werth.

As our families might tell you, our wedding day, August 11th, was a long time coming. After dating for eight and a half years (surviving two years long distance, five moves between three cities, and buying a house together), the question wasn’t if Chris and I were going to get married, but when.

After finding out we were joyously expecting (!), our growing family gave us the nudge we needed to set a date and start planning. We both knew we wanted a small, intimate ceremony with our immediate family. Sharing our day with our closest loved ones felt the most special to us.

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With a wedding date set for little more than two months away, we threw ourselves into planning mode and managed to have a majority of the details solidified within a week. Growing up, I had dreams of an outdoor wedding. So, we crossed our fingers against the rain and chose a local arboretum for our ceremony, hoping to enjoy the garden in full bloom.

I thought my wedding dress would prove to be the most difficult, knowing that I had to buy a style off the rack (due to the short deadline) that would also accommodate a baby bump. Moreover, I am notoriously “particular” (as my mother would say). When my sister was married a couple years earlier, we joked how I would have to try on every dress in the city before I would find one.

Yet, despite the restrictions (or perhaps because of them), the second dress I tried on was “the one.”

Although we were working on a short timeline, the ease at which everything came together made it feel as if this was the way it was supposed to be.

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Unfortunately, the groom came down with the flu a few days before our wedding day. I kept myself quarantined, making frequent trips to the drug store hoping for some miracle medicine that would quickly cure him. Despite our best efforts, Chris still woke up with a fever on our wedding day. We half-joked that we would have a “first hug” instead of a “first kiss.”

While we had crossed our fingers against rain, we had forgotten to cross them against the flu as well. But, after all, we are committing in sickness and in health, right?

Even so, once the day got started, the whirlwind of getting ready and setting everything up captured our attention and left little room for worrying.

Although I expected to feel nervous about getting married, when the moment was in front of me I found I was pretty calm. After spending so many years together, our life together was already comforting and familiar.

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We blocked off a couple hours before the ceremony for photographs, starting with a “first look” in the fern garden. The day may have been hot and humid, but the light was perfect (scattered gently through a Canadian wildfire haze that dappled the ground with occasional pockets of sunlight, before breaking against a clear sky). The time flew by as we wandered the grounds, laughing with our photographer (illness forgotten), and enjoying the last few moments before becoming husband and wife. We picked up a few “friends” along the way, as the tulle on my dress proved to be excellent material for capturing insects of all shapes and sizes.

After taking a few minutes to freshen up (and for my mother to guide the bug friends out from under the layers of tulle), it was time for the big event.

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A month earlier, Chris and I made the decision to write our own ceremony, personalizing the details and readings on our relationship together. Instead of the traditional exchange of rings, we chose to “tie the knot,” to signify our two separate lives becoming one. The ceremony ended with our exchange of personal vows. It was short, sweet, and sentimental.

With Ella Fitzgerald’s At Last to send us off—after eight years together it was about time—we were official.

We ended the evening in a private room at a local restuarant, enjoying the several courses of food and family in equal measure.

Our wedding day may have been untraditional in many ways, but it was perfect for us.

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The Calm of the Coast

“I actually attack the concept of happiness. The idea that - I don’t mind people being happy - but the idea that everything we do is part of the pursuit of happiness seems to me a really dangerous idea and has led to a contemporary disease in Western society, which is fear of sadness. It’s a really odd thing that we’re now seeing people saying “write down 3 things that made you happy today before you go to sleep”, and “cheer up” and “happiness is our birthright” and so on. We’re kind of teaching our kids that happiness is the default position - it’s rubbish. Wholeness is what we ought to be striving for and part of that is sadness, disappointment, frustration, failure; all of those things which make us who we are. 

“Happiness and victory and fulfillment are nice little things that also happen to us, but they don’t teach us much. Everyone says we grow through pain and then as soon as they experience pain they say “Quick! Move on! Cheer up!” I’d like just for a year to have a moratorium on the word “happiness” and to replace it with the word “wholeness”. Ask yourself “is this contributing to my wholeness?” and if you’re having a bad day, it is.”

― Hugh Mackay

In August, my boyfriend and I took a long drive along the Oregon coast. It is the third time I have taken this trip in the last five years, which feels remarkable since this small stretch of coast is so far away from the place I call home. Though the company for each drive may have changed, the shoreline has stayed the same. It is the same whispering waves and coniferous trees that call me back to them, reminding me that I can never stray for long.

Reminding me that this place is a space where I belong.

The air hung heavy with fog during the three day's drive, obscuring the ocean from the vistas and beaches. I have long felt that the ocean holds many mysteries and this time it seemed to be holding its cards close. Surrounded by a thick, unrelenting fog, the world felt smaller and intimate. I could hear the vast ocean roar with its melodic fierceness, but I could not see it. Periodically another person would walk by along the beach, a shadowy ghost in the distance, the fog disguising any details. 

It was beautifula heart-wrenching beauty that drills into your very soul.

Despite the fact that it was late summer, the beach was cold, accompanied by an uncomfortably brisk wind. I had my windbreaker zipped up to my chin, hands in my pockets to keep in the warmth. With the fog wrapped around me, I was more or less alone, left to my own thoughts with little distraction. 

After dealing with feelings of depression on and off for the last year, the smell of the ocean brine and the rhythmic waves brought on a sense of calm. I did not feel the joy I thought I would when I planned this trip months earlier, but I did feel more at peace. The beauty of nature has its own restorative powers. The laughter at the sea lions' bark, the disappointing hunt for a sand dollar, the loneliness of the fog, and the sadness of the sea all brought me closer to myself. 

I felt whole.

Provence & The French Riviera

After a whirlwind of a week in Paris, my mother and I appreciated the more laidback lifestyle found in southern France. During the second half of our holiday, we traveled through Provence and the French Rivieraa  more colorful side to France. The first night away from Paris was spent in Arles, a small Provence town dotted with Roman archaeological sites and the birthplace of Van Gogh's many prized paintings. Though it was only a few hours away by train, Arles stood in stark contrast to Paris. Where the muted colors of Paris so beautifully matched the rain-streaked skies, the bright reds and blues of Arles complemented the warm sun and radiant demeanor of the residents. The streets of Arles were made for walking, as they meandered throughout the old city, encouraging pedestrians to stroll leisurely through the web of cobblestone paths.

It was an instantaneous love.

Where Paris had been difficult to love, Arles was effortless. My mother and I ate pear sorbet through the streets, wondering how many women had broken their ankles walking in heels on the rough stone paths. We dined with a guitar serenade in the most charming restaurant of the trip, enjoying pockets of warm goat cheese with olive tapenade. The rush of Paris had dissipated and the slow moving lifestyle of Provence had filled its place. Arles was the change of tune I needed. When the time came, it was difficult to leave. 

Aix-en-Provence was next on the list, a larger city than Arles, filled with restaurants and outdoor markets. We used it as a base to tour Cassis and the Luberon Villages of Lourmarin, Roussillon, and Gordes. Even though each town was a short drive from the next, each location was so vastly different in architecture and history. I found it astounding.

Roussillon was painted in reds and oranges, each building an homage to the rouged dirt beneath. The white cliffs of the small fishing town of Cassis contrasted against the brightly colored yellow and pink buildings. The tight-knit community of Lourmarin made me imagine a simpler time and place. Truthfully, all of these cities felt like a pull back into the past, a glimpse of life hundreds of years ago.

The last stop of the trip was in Nice. A sunny city on the Mediterranean, it was a lovely place to spend our last few days in France. We stayed with a friendly host who prepared fantastic breakfasts from fresh, local ingredients and helped us find our way around the city. Everything about Nice was pleasant, from the maze of small streets in Old Town to the Promenade des Anglais along the Mediterranean sea. Full of Italian pasta, we laid on the rocky beach, took a nap in the sun, and did plenty of people watching.

We found little to complain about, enjoying the slow speed life seemed to move at here.

From Nice, my mother and I took one last day trip to Villefranche-sur-Mer and Monaco before our trip came to a close. While Monaco was my least favorite stop of the tripin part due to the industrialized look and feel and a case of low blood sugarVillefranche-sur-Mer was one of the most treasured. The multicolored umbrellas lining the sandy beach made for a beautiful sight and an even better place to spend an afternoon. Looking back, the memory has a warm, fuzzy haze around the edges, a dreamy feel for a dreamy moment. 

Overall, the trip to France was a wonderful holiday. I loved getting to spend time with my mother, who was (and will always be) a great travel companion and friend. The pastries were rich and sweet, the sights were larger than life, and the people were friendly and kind.

Someday, someday, I'll come back and do it all again.