Finally, And At Last…..We’re MARRIED!
After months of planning, worry, and writing out so many cheques that a hand cramp would be a blessing, everything came together and we are officially living in one less type of sin . Hey guys, WE’RE MARRIED!!!!! Or rather, as Mike likes to say, “Finally, and at last…”
For all of our fabulous readers who remember how excited I was when Mike proposed, patiently waded through menus and signature cocktails with us, and have provided countless words of support, inspiration, encouragement and understanding, I wanted to share with you a few of our favorite memories from the happiest day of my life.
On November 13, 2010 I married my best friend…..
….and we have a movie poster to prove it.
Yes, a movie poster. No, silly. Not that kind of a movie. Please remember that my mother reads this blog as well. To understand why we made a movie poster, let me start with a brief word about our venue.
Both the ceremony and reception were held at The Eglinton Grand in Toronto. Previously known as The Eglinton Theatre, the building was designed in the late 1920s and erected during the Great Depression in the 1930s to be a spectacular showplace and inspiring morale boost for a city that needed some heart. As soon as the theatre opened it’s doors in 1936, it was such a success that in 1937 it won the Royal Architecture Institute of Canada’s Bronze Medal for the gracious and elegant art deco design and furnishings.
As technology progressed and stadium style theatres starting popping up all over the map, this single stage movie house, Toronto’s previously shining star, decided to close it’s doors in 2002. Within months, the lease was obtained by a hospitality group dedicated to restoring the Eglinton to it’s former grandeur, and re-opening the historic doors as an event venue in 2003. The original murals of the Three Muses were restored as were the large standing bronze sculptures, and the interior of the space was updated with new decor and furnishings that were consistent with the art deco feel of the venue.
For our wedding, we tried to maintain the art deco ambience and “Old Hollywood Glamour” vibe, while incorporating in as many of our own personal elements as we could. The marquis outside the theatre, which displays the movie title, read, “Catch a Falling Star – Mike and Tina, 2010”, which echoes part of the chorus from our first dance. Just outside the theatre and behind glass was our movie poster, giving guests a sneak preview of what they were in for.
But let’s start at the beginning, shall we? After an (abominably) early morning of aesthetic pampering, my bridal party was so beautiful that blind men were swooning in the street. No, really. They were. Those chicks were H.O.T. If I didn’t love them so much, I would have been riddled with jealousy. We won’t have proofs back from the photographers for about a month, so unfortunately you’re just going to have to use your imagination about how awesome 4 heavily pampered girls can look after 5 hours of work…or wait until I harvest more photographs from friend’s FaceBook albums, which is, frankly, where the almost all of the pictures in this post have come from.
I am so glad that a friend captured this picture for us. One of the most poignant and emotional moments for me was when my father walked me down the aisle. To the hauntingly sweet sounds of Cat Power singing her version of, “I Found A Reason”, we both took a deep breath, stood up a little bit straighter, and stepped out to walk down the aisle. My hands were shaking so badly that the feathers in my bouquet started to flutter (yes, there were feathers, and you’ll be seeing plenty more feathers in a moment or two). Standing in front of our family and friends, when my father gave me a kiss and whispered, “I love you, Bettina”, all that I could think of was the fact that this was real, I was about to marry my best friend, and I had made my father so very proud.
After the ceremony, our guests were guided upstairs to the mezzanine for cocktails and hors d’oeuvres while the room was reset. The signature cocktail we decided on was the sweet and simple “Life is Rosy Kir”, with white wine, crème de cassis and rose petals. We drank a lot of kir when we were in France last year, so the saccharine pink sipper has a special place in our hearts.
For hors d’oeuvres, our guests enjoyed:
- Caramelized vidalia onion and warm brie on a buttery tart shell, which was actually an edible spoon
- Shaved phyllo shrimp with sweet Thai chili sauce
- Roasted red pepper bisque soup shots with a mascarpone cream, which were decadent and far and above my favorite
- Open faced sliders with fried vidalia onions, which of course delighted Mike’s carnivorous soul enormously
When the curtain lifted, our loved ones were still upstairs on the balcony looking down at a single spotlight while Mike and I shared our first dance, “The Pageant of the Bizarre” by Zero 7.
It’s never gonna be
Normal, you and me
What you’re signing on for
Is a storm at sea
So if you think you’re tough
Give me all your love
And I’ll give you every little piece of me
Catch a falling star you’ll go far
In the pageant of the bizarre
And tonight I give you my heart
For the table arrangements, you must understand that I have a striking affinity for the ostentatious and over-the-top. I’m like a human magpie, and intrinsically drawn to all things sparkly, dramatic, or in questionable taste. Needless to say, a retro Hollywood glam theme was right in my wheel house with resplendent ostrich feathers and crystal beads.
Instead of numbering the tables traditionally, we assigned each one an iconic Hollywood film from the 1930s-1950s. Mike’s mother is an absolute maestro with Photoshop, and from a few basic posed shots, she painstakingly altered each one of the movie posters to personalize them for us. What a labor of love, and the best gift that we could have asked for. We ran all of the posters (along with a few other pictures) in a slide show in the lobby, and they must have been a hit because there wasn’t a single picture left on any of the tables at the end of the night!
The other big hit was the old fashioned photo booth that we set up in the lobby, along with a few “props” to help people get creative. I had no idea that one of my dear aunties would look so dapper in a top hat, and I’m always up for any excuse to wear a feathered boa. Each strip of pictures included our personalized logo on the bottom which Mike had designed with one of his groomsmen. The pictures printed up twice so that our guests could keep one copy and insert the other with a message into a memory/guest book beside the booth. The booth was in use all night, and considering that I almost choked on a mimosa the next morning while looking at some of the pictures, I’d say that it was just an excellent way to capture funny, touching memories and special moments with our guests.
Now what kind of a wedding would it be without fabulous food? Sadly I don’t have too many pictures to share with you, but we started the meal with a personal touch by asking the chef to prepare Choosy Beggars Roasted Red Pepper, Feta and Walnut Dip to serve with artisinbreads and crackers. For the rest of the meal, we tried to keep things fairly simple and approachable because we had a rather wide range of palates and preferences there, with tables of Lebanese relatives on one side, facing tables of Roast Beef and Beer people across the dance floor. The dinner included:
- Leaves of romaine with caesar dressing, pesto croutons, slivers of grana padano and a balsamic reduction
- Heart shaped agnolotti filled with butternut squash in a roasted red pepper cream sauce, with alternating durum and beet pasta shapes
- Chef’s Grill of a peppered beef tenderloin, rack of lamb and supremed breast of chicken in a port demi-glaze with roasted fingerling potatoes and crispy-tender vegetable bundles
- Petite Gateaux St. Honoré, a traditional French custard filled pastry ring with caramelized profiteroles and crème Anglaise.
- Late night buffet with smoked and cured meats (prosciutto, chorizo, hickory smoked turkey breast, mortadella), marinated artichokes, peppers and antipasto, assorted olives and pickles
- Late night dessert buffet with fresh fruit and a select variety of French pastries
….and finally, last but certainly not least, we have The Cake.
Look, you had to know that it wouldn’t be a traditional wedding cake for us, and it should come as no surprise that the couple who considers cheese and crackers to be an adequate dinner on any given night would choose a cheese cake for their wedding. Yes, those are big ol’ wheels of cheese from The Cheese Boutique, and it was absolutely marvelous.
The cheesemonger that we worked with was Afrim Pristine, who has been honored by The Order of the Confrérie des Chevaliers du Taste Fromage de France as an Ambassador of Cheese. His expertise was deliciously mind and gut blowing, and after selecting our base cheeses, discussing design and details, we left the cake in his infinitely capable hands. Working from top to bottom, the cheese included some of our personal favorites such as:
- Grey Owl (goat – Quebec, Canada)
- Reblochon (cow – Arly valley, France)
- La Sauvagine (cow – Quebec, Canada)
- Triple Cream Delice de Bourgogne (cow – Burgundy, France) layered with a salty aged blue called Roaring Forties (cow – King Island, Australia) and a house made fig and port confit
- gorgeous herbes de Provence packed Le Marechal (cow – Vaud, Switzerland)
- Etorki (sheep – Basque, France)
- Satellite cheeses, including Grand Chevalier, Petite Basque, Chevre and Bucheron
This cake was such a work of edible art that I won’t even get mad when you make a joke about how Mike and I “cut the cheese” on our wedding day. The cheese bathed me in the glow of happy understanding and forgiveness.
The very last dance of our night was to Nat King Cole’s, “The Party’s Over”, and sadly that’s exactly how I feel right now. What a wild ride. What a magnitude of planning, effort and cost. What a year of laughter and tears. What a wonderfully fabulous and memorable day with our loved ones and besties celebrating with and beside us. What a remarkable night, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Eventually we’ll get back into cooking, but for right now we’re still in a happy glow of excessive foods and fine wine. We couldn’t take an official honey-moon right now because of work, but Mike and I still laid tracks and headed to New York city on a whirlwind five day “mini-moon” of sightseeing, food and drink. Our first stop was Iron Chef territory, so stay tuned and we’ll tell you about where we went (and where we wish that we hadn’t gone) in the Big Apple!