Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Wedding and a Flood

Where to begin? It has been a crazy weekend to say the least, and we're still in a little shock as to what went down over such a short period of time.
Let me try and start from the beginning. I've known Crystal and Andrew for almost 10 years now, and they are such an amazing couple. Nick and I know Andrew from High School, as he was just a year ahead of us and Nick worked with Andrew at the McDonald's in Okotoks. I knew Andrew threw mutual friends and as the awesome drummer who did drum solos during our gym assembly's.
I meet Crystal around the same time, as my family moved to Okotoks. I meet her and her sister Bianca at church on our first Sunday there. Initially we both thought the other was a snob, but we quickly became best friends, and the rest is sort of history.
Crystal and Andrew meet through the same mutual friends that I know, and boy was Crystal smitten from the beginning. They have been together for almost 6 years and have traveled the globe together including China, Vancouver, and living in Australia for a year just to name a few. Last August, Andrew finally popped the question on a hike down in Waterton, and I screamed with excitement when I got the text showing the ring (Andrew did a very good job).  
Crystal quickly started putting together wedding plans, which included a ceremony on a mountaintop by helicopter in Canmore, followed by a reception downtown Calgary at The Belvedere on Stephen Avenue where we were to be served a delicious gourmet dinner.
Then disaster struck. On Thursday (June 20th), news started coming in that Canmore was being flooded, and access to the town was impossible. No letting this flood get in the way, plans quickly were changed (just as a side note, Andrew and Crystal planned to get married in the town of Canmore as a back-up if it was too windy or rainy to take the helicopter up to the mountain, but she didn't plan for a downright flood!). With options being explored (including having just the Ceremony at my Aunt and Uncle's place), they decided to just have the ceremony an hour before the reception downtown Calgary at the same restaurant as their reception.
So Thursday night plans continued with a dinner and a sleepover with the girls at the Fairmont Palliser. It was a fun night, and in no way did we expect what was to come next.
Then next morning (Friday, June 21st - the day of the wedding) we woke up and started getting ready for breakfast. Just before 8am, the power went off. We ventured out downtown looking for breakfast in hopes that the power was going to be restored relatively soon. We found a Starbucks close by and we took the last of tea and coffee they had along with some pastries for breakfast. We sat around searching twitter and Facebook for weather, road and power updates. Crystal had Andrew find a way to drive from Southeast Calgary to downtown so they could give their guests directions to the reception later that night (which wasn't easy due to the fact that practically every bridge was closed).
Around 9:30am, we headed back to the hotel and decided to start getting the bride ready for her big day! Danika first did her make-up, and then at 11am decided that her hair had to be done without power. The original plan of curling her hair into a big up-do was changed to a simple French twist because the power still had not come back on.
Just before noon, I decided that we had to leave so the other girls and I could get back home so we could start getting ready ourselves. So we left. Within 5 minutes of leaving the hotel we got a phone call from the bride and her sister stating that downtown was being evacuated, and Crystal and Bianca had to leave the Palliser. This also lead us to the conclusion that we no longer could go through with the reception at The Belvedere and we needed a whole new plan. The girls asked me to call my Aunt to see if their house and acreage was still available, and if we could do the entire wedding there. So I made a quick phone to my Aunt Wanda, and told her the situation. She automatically said yes and a plan was quickly formed.
It took us (me, my sister Danika, baby Alexa, Bev and Ashley) almost 2 hours to get from the Palliser to Okotoks. On the way to Okotoks however, we found out that some homes had lost power in Okotoks, and we panicked a little as we wondered what else could go wrong. However my Aunt's house never lost power, and power soon resumed  in all of the homes in Okotoks.
My mom and Bev's mom Denise quickly headed over to Costco to start getting food for the reception. Bianca meet up with them to make final decisions and make the final purchase. I called up my father-in-law Ray who also happened to be attending the wedding, and asked him to bring drinks. He owns a liquor store in DeWinton, and we asked him to start loading up his vehicle with wine, beer and coolers, as we now didn't have any drinks for the guests.
I got the girls to my parent’s house and we began getting hair and makeup done, while I had Nick head over with mason jars and candles from our wedding last year to add to the decor. Meanwhile Bianca, Crystal, Andrew, and some of the boys were at my Aunts getting things ready. There was a bit of a mix-up and miscommunication at one point, but once my Aunt got home, everything got straightened out. To be honest, there was bound to be some confusion at one point or another - we were re-planning and relocating an entire wedding in under 6 hours!!
My dad offered to grab chairs from the church, but we decided we didn't need them, and we sent Chad and Calvin (Ashley's boyfriend) over to the acreage to help with the setting up. My mom got home after helping with food to finish getting ready, and once she was ready, she filled a bin with her white dishes and left with my dad and Ashley to also help setting up and prep food.
I finished Bev's hair, and once her date arrived and Danika was ready with Alexa, I sent the four of them over to the acreage with a hair kit in hand to help finish in getting the bride and her sister ready for the wedding.
I was finally able to finish getting ready myself, and once my in-laws and Whitney showed up just after 5pm, I lead them out to the acreage to help get last minute things done. I arrived to a busy house with people all around getting things done. My husband was behind the bar cutting meat, and others like Andrew and Crystal's family, my brother-in-law Kris and my in-laws were all helping prep food and putting out drinks.
After handing over the food in my arms to Nick, I headed upstairs to where the bride was and made sure everything was starting to come together. She looked beautiful. Danika and Bianca were in the bathroom helping with last minute touches on Bianca (originally there wasn't going to be a wedding party as the mountaintop ceremony couldn't really accommodate one, but with obvious changes, Andrew and Crystal quickly decided to have one maid of honour and one best man to stand up there with them). I got to help Jennie (Guenard Photography) set up and arrange first looks, and even my cousins helped out in moving coffee tables and holding the bouquet during photos.
Finally at 6:30pm, after all the guests finished arriving and we finished getting everything set up, we were good to go. After quickly rounding up Bev (she was out front directing traffic), Sean started the music and the ceremony officially started.
It was such a beautiful ceremony that was officiated my Andrew's dad (another minor but for the better change) and the two exchanged vows, rings and then a kiss! 

The party began, and it was nice to see everyone having a fun time. My Aunt was upstairs hosting a Bridal Shower for her other niece, but she still helped put the lamb ribs into the oven, which was the only thing I ate all night. 
The evening turned out so beautifully, that you wouldn't have even known that a flood was happening at that very moment. The sun came out, and we got tons of beautiful pictures taken. 

 The bride having a moment with her mom
 The Groom Andrew!
Crystal and Claire
All the girls!
 The newlyweds with the Kyle Family
 Crystal with her Mom, Grandma and sister Bianca
 The Irvine Family
 Nick and I with the Bride and Groom
 Nick and I in our coordinating outfits - we're so cute
 My favourite sneak peek photo by Jennie (Guenard Photography)

Crystal's story also made the Calgary Herald, and Crystal submitted my photo, which they used as the main picture. You can see and read about it here. I'm published!
I would just like to add a big thank you to everyone that pitched in and helped make this wedding memorable. I think the biggest surprise was not once did Crystal complain about her plans being washed away, and was so humble about the whole situation. She kept saying "it's okay, everyone we know is safe, and so many people lost there homes today". I think I just fell in love with this girl a little more. I hope she is happy with how everything turned out, and it still amazes me what we pulled off in a mere 6 hours.

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