Wednesday, May 25, 2016

A marriage made in heaven — or close to it

When we went to see the Mary Pratt exhibition at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, I was drawn to the picture of the wedding dress hanging on the door.

It looked quite a lot like my wedding dress which was also hanging on a door. We live in one of the old houses and closets were not part of the building plan in those days so a lot of things hang on the doors.

I took this photo yesterday although I admit, this is not the door it usually hangs on. I moved it around, tried it on several doors, looking for the best light.

The dress looks better against the darkness of the room but not enough like Mary Pratt's painting to suit my scenario.

It's a sweet dress, made from a fine ivory-coloured cotton. The sleeves and the bottom of the skirt are scalloped with decorative appliqués — they didn't have to be added, it's just the way the material was made.

The dress was made by my friend, Joanne Lamey, from a sketch I made on the back of an envelope. (That may be a slight exaggeration. She did make it from my sketch though.)

I wore it 28 years ago today, May 26, 1988.

It was a Thursday, just as it is this year. We got married at seven o'clock in the evening. I think it was around three when Joanne arrived with my dress. I tried it on and although we could have made do, it just wasn't a good fit around the hips. No worries, said Joanne. Before she left, I suddenly announced I didn't have anything to wear on my head. "I'll take care of it. I'll be back!" she called out over her shoulder as she left.

Of course, she was as good as her word. Whatever she did to the dress, it fit perfectly and she had brought a little bandeau hat that she'd covered with the same fabric as the dress and had added a little blue ribbon.

So the bride was ready and made it to the church on time. We took the family photo before we left.

Left to right: Dan's brother John, Dan's Mom, Dan, Sharon, my sister Marilyn, my brother-in-law Tom, my beautiful niece Lori who passed away in 2011, my lovely niece Lisa and my little nephew Matthew in front.

I was not yet Catholic but we were regulars at St. Mary's Basilica in downtown Halifax and the rector there, Monsignor O'Driscoll, liked us. He married us in the beautiful tiny chapel in the Rectory, so tiny that only my sister Marilyn and Dan's Mom and brother John could fit in (along with our friend, Valerie Mansour, who took all the wedding photos.)

We found the ceremony very lovely, with meaningful readings and vows the way we hadn't heard them at other weddings. He asked us to say our vows together: "Sharon and Daniel, do you take each other. . ." It sounded really nice.

And then he said, "You may kiss each other."

We made it official. . .

. . .and although it sounds kind of corny, it had been lightly raining most of the day but when we stepped out after the ceremony, the sun was out!

We had a wedding dinner that evening for family and a few friends and then the bride and groom went to the Prince George Hotel. As we walked into the lobby, we were met by staff with two glasses of champagne. Wow! We thought someone must have alerted them that it was our wedding day but it turned out the hotel was celebrating its first anniversary. They let us take the champagne to our room though, once they found out.

The next day, Friday, we had a lovely big party for friends, acquaintances, co-workers. The current premier of Prince Edward Island, Wade MacLauchlan, was a friend who somehow, didn't get our open-house invitation and he light-heartedly held it against us for several years. Sorry, Wade!

The little step-ladder was a wedding present for me from Dan because I couldn't reach the top cupboards in the kitchen. It also became the speaker's ladder at the party.

I was one of the speakers:

And so was Alexa McDonough, then leader of the Nova Scotia NDP. (And there's cousin Dale Estey in the background.)

It was a lovely party and I expect we needed the weekend to rest up because we both went back to work on Monday morning. A couple of weeks later, we went on a honeymoon trip to the NDP convention in Wolfville. That sounds about right.

We stayed in the Blomidon Inn, a gift from Dan's co-workers.

The others all stayed in residence at Acadia University. I preferred our accommodation.

I always used to tell people that I had married the perfect husband. I haven't come up with any reason to change that declaration. But there are probably many definitions of "perfect" as it pertains to husbands. Let's say he's perfect for me.

Here's one reason: he's the only person ever who can make me laugh when I'm in a really bad mood. Most people would not even dare try. And here's one more: he has the uncanny ability to take my most annoying characteristics and make them seem adorable. Can you imagine how nice that is?


  1. Happy, happy Anniversary. You surely do give marriage a good name!