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Monday, 8 June 2015

The Wedding of Mike and Sarah, Part III: The Wedding Itself

Finally, the big day had arrived! On the first weekend of May, 2015, I had the honour of being Best Man at the wedding of two of my dearest friends, Mike and Sarah. It was a fantastic weekend full of planning, craziness, happiness, excitement, and mirth and I would like to take a moment and commemorate it here. Prepare yourself for a lot of beautiful photos!


The days leading up to the wedding were extremely fun and extremely busy. In a way, they reminded me of the days Mike and I lived on campus, running events for university students. Long days and long nights full of laughter, stress, and excitement. The groomsmen and bridesmaids were running around gathering supplies, working on decorations, getting ready. Mike's mom, Peggy, converted her hotel room into a seamstress' suite, complete with sewing machine, and we had another room full of plastic sheeting so we could paint decorations without worrying about the mess.

Breezy, after working on too many graphic design pieces
Fiona and Sarah, painting shoes

The theme of the wedding was general nerdiness. That being said, Sarah is a big Doctor Who fan so two big features were the bridesmaids' shoes, and the card box. Both were painted blue, and made to look like the Doctor's "blue box", the TARDIS, his time machine. There were a lot of decorations and it was truly impressive seeing everyone come together and work all night long.

The Dress Rehearsal

The evening before the wedding, we all took a break from our decoration-making, and went down to the dress rehearsal. People were still stressed, but it was nice to just walk through the steps and make sure everyone knew where they needed to be.

Probably Mike's first calm moment all day.
Peggy, Mike's mom, in her best "June Cleaver" look.
Leading the ring-bearers to the front
Ever since I decided to let my hair grow long, people have been calling me Jesus. Most of the time, I just laugh politely, but I must say, sometimes I do understand what they mean...

Like here...
And here, where everyone sneaked behind me and posed for this "Last Supper"

"Surely, everything will work out, right?"
Dinner was quite nice...I see you Dom!
Ladies and gentlemen, this man was getting married the next day.
I guess playing the ninja didn't help, so Mike tried an all-out escape.

Getting Dressed

The Groomsmen

On the big day, we separated Mike and Sarah. It's considered bad luck that they see each other and, while Sarah wasn't too concerned with this tradition, Mike and I agreed that it would be fun, and worth doing. I liked the idea that the boys were in one room, the girls in another, and that Mike and Sarah wouldn't see each other until the wedding ceremony. Still, it wasn't easy. I had to run back and forth several times, trying to coordinate, and meet the needs of both sides of the wedding party.

Once the photographer arrived, I began to relax a little, have some fun. Walking the photographer down the hall toward Mike's room, it was clear that this man wasn't very nerdy. He saw me carrying the ring-bearer outfit, and asked about it. The theme of the wedding was nerdy and, going along with this, Peggy made the ring-bearer outfits to match the hobbits, complete with cloak and tunic. The photographer just kind of laughed dismissively and shook his head.

However, when he got to our room, where the groomsmen were changing, I think the fun atmosphere affected him. All of a sudden, the photographer was getting excited, taking fun, silly, nerdy pictures with us.

Alex Adams, doing what he does best, putting on a show
At first, I didn't think the photographer would take too much time with us, the groomsmen. But, when you put that many nerds together. we start to become entertaining, to ourselves at least.

We had candid shots of getting ready, individual poses, shaking hands with Mike, then, when the photographer saw our groomsmen gifts, he became really excited. 

James Hubbard
Jeff McKenna
Mike McKenna, the groom
Dominic Matte

We all look to be agreeing on some new piece of information

For quite some time now, Mike and Alex have this handshake ritual that they do. Not so secret, they do it every time they meet, now you can follow along at home!

I like how they look like they're sliding away from each other here.

A joke, among our group, refers to a very tiny scene in the show Futurama, where future president Al Gore promises to reward the one who solves the Global Warming problem with Moon sapphires. The audience then gasps and you see this weird, 1980s-style fantasy wizard laugh maniacally and exclaim, "Sapphires!". Now, we all do it, and Alex just so happen to find some blue gems.


"Don't waste my time!" Alex's fighter motto and stance

I especially love these next photos.

That shared look has matched many an evil plan, and awesome party!

Mike and Dom's signature handshake

The Bridesmaids

Now, I wasn't present while the girls were getting ready, but it does seem like they had quite a good time getting ready, judging from the photos.
Sarah Morgan, the bride.
Fiona Sloan, the Maid of Honour, and Sarah

I don't know what happened here, but I'm glad it all worked out in the end

So meta!

All dressed up and ready to go!
The Ceremony

Finally, everyone was dressed, everyone was ready. Wait, where's Mike? A few times throughout the day, Mike vanished. disappeared quietly, pretending to run away. Once, he called me from a pay phone, quoted Indiana Jones. and said he was already long-gone. Turns out he was calling from the hotel lobby and that it was really expensive to use their payphone, haha.

♪ It's a nice day for a, white wedding! ♪
Earlier in the day, Mike looked at me, showed me an envelope, and said, "This, is very important. It contains the marriage licence, we need to bring it with us." And we were halfway to the venue when I realized I had forgotten it. I felt terrible; I had been really good all weekend, acting as Mike's second brain and coordinating things with everyone. I was on my game, cataloging, remembering, and solving problems before anyone else released a problem existed. 

But, I had forgotten the marriage licence.

Thankfully, the bridesmaids were leaving later than the groomsmen and they were able to pick it up.

The venue looked amazing! The ceremony was outside, and the walkway was decorated with ribbon, beautiful chairs, music was playing, and everyone was standing around, waiting for us to arrive. It was really nice seeing so many of my friends again, wearing smiles and nice clothes, ready to celebrate this big moment. I cannot imagine how Mike and Sarah felt but I felt elated, and ready to start! Everyone took their seats, the bridesmaids and groomsmen linked arms, and the music began.

Brandy and Jason Brennan

The ceremony was quite beautiful, and I was truly honoured to be a part of it. I had attended weddings before, but now I was right up front, next to the groom. I have to admit that I was pretty emotional. I laugh now, but there are many pictures of the happy bride and groom, with me frowning in the background.

I started thinking about Mike and Sarah, how good they have been to me over the years, how I've watched their relationship grow, and realizing This is it! This is an integral moment for them. Tears formed in my eyes. I tried to smile, but that put pressure on my eyes, threatening a downpour. So, I did my best to remain neutral, but I'm fairly certain my face was more easily mistaken for somber, rather than the happiness I was feeling.

The officiant's words, as well as Mike and Sarah's vows, were well written, marking the beauty of the occasion, and the unique nerdiness of the couple. I smiled a lot, despite my tears. 

Mike and his mom, Peggy

My big moment involved taking the rings from the bearers and handing them to the officiant. While the original plan called for the boys to be wearing the rings around their neck, I realized no one had given the boys necklaces. Before we walked to the front, I had handed the boys each a ring, put it on their thumb, and made them promise to hold their hand closed, and tight, and not opening it for anyone but me. The lads did their job well, handing me their clenched fists, rings still safe and secure.

The penultimate experience of the ceremony involved signing the marriage licence. As the officiant was telling me where to sign, I laughed to myself thinking about how I was signing something I had never read. In the middle of my musing, I sensed the photographer wanting to take my picture, and this is the face I made.

Finally, everything was signed, the final words were exchanged, the groom kissed his bride, and everybody cheered! For some reason, I like being present for the exact moment when someone's status or title changes. Whether it be receiving a diploma, or getting married, I always like looking at someone and thinking, Now. Now it is real.

As I thought this, the music started, and the bride and groom danced their way back down the aisle, happy to start their new life together.

More photos

Before they would be allowed to really celebrate, we had many pictures to take. It was a slightly laborious affair, fun, but everyone was excited to start the Reception!

The Reception

Finally, after so many photos, the wedding party made its way inside the reception hall. Known as the "Starlight room" in St. Catharines' Club Roma, the room lived up to its name by featuring a beautiful ceiling decorated with LED lights shimmering on a felt field of bluish black. The effect was quite hypnotic, drawing the eye in with its twinkling lights and shooting stars. Among the other decorations, the head table was covered in a nice ribbon, with accenting lights, and each of the nine tables were custom-decorated suiting the nerdy theme.

Each table's place-setting was a clear glass cylinder full of figurines and decorations reminiscent of a nerdy place. We had Mos Eisley from Star Wars,  Ceti Alpha 5 from Star TrekHogwarts from Harry Potter, Gallifrey from Doctor Who, Ori from Dungeons and Dragons, Knowhere from Guardians of the Galaxy, The Watchtower from The Justice League, Crystal Palace from Sailor Moon, and Skylanders and Jurassic Park from their eponymous locations. 

The Justice League
Doctor Who
Dungeons and Dragons
Guardians of the Galaxy
Star Wars
Sailor Moon
Harry Potter
Star Trek
Jurassic Park
Once the guests had taken their seats, it was time for the wedding party to make its entrance. Amusingly, each member of the party entered the room to the sounds of music personally chosen for them. We had nerdy songs from TV shows, video games, and movies, mine was the theme to Star Trek: The Next Generation, a favourite of mine.

James, wondering what music is playing
Dom, recognizing The Imperial March from Star Wars

Me, looking entirely too serious

After that, the food began. There were several courses, all delicious, and I used mingling as a way to burn off calories, digest and ready myself for the next item of food. It was my first time all night talking to my other friends and it was nice to smile and relax a little.

Our friend, Alex, was the emcee for the evening, and he did an amazing job! Alex is exceptionally gifted in many ways, but one of his most formidable talents is his ability to put on a grand show with little warning or preparation. He outdid himself that night, telling great stories, leading the crowd from one event to the next, he was so good that even the DJ told him so, asking if he'd be available for later events.

Between some of the courses were the speeches. I had only met Sarah's dad the day before, so it was nice getting to know him a little more through his speech. It was heartwarming, fun, and a little nerdy. He shook Mike's hand, and kissed Sarah, another beautiful moment.

Mike's mom, Peggy, had a speech which moved between funny, silly, serious, and touching. I have seen more of her in the last few years and it has been very clear to me that she and Sarah get along, and this was reflected in her speech. Mike acted embarrassed by some of her words, but the love was definitely there.

Then, it came time for my speech. I had been working on this for quite a while. I've seen videos of amazing speeches, drew inspiration from a certain speech from a certain British detective show I like (staying vague so as to avoid spoilers), and shunned the many websites which offered to write Best Man speeches for you, in exchange for money.

What was I going to say? Mike has been my best friend for almost a decade. He has been there through the good times and the bad, and he has never failed to be there when I needed him. We've had so many moments together, how was I going to sum this up? Sarah started off quiet, but has grown with our friend group, proving herself to be just as generous, kind, supportive, and fun as Mike. The two of them have been through a lot together already, and I was proud to be their friend. 

So, of course, I told them that!

I had been making the joke, often, that as the Best Man, I was in fact the best man, and I made a placard to go along with this joke during my speech. In the end, my speech was well-delivered (thankfully, I was worried), heartfelt, and showed my love, pride, and continual support for the bride and groom. The speech was the best $10 I ever spent, haha, just kidding!

After the speeches and the eating came more fun and games. Mike and Sarah cut their cakes...

Answered silly questions in front of an audience, tossed their bouquet and garter...

and had their first dance, among the clouds...

And then, finally, we were all encouraged to dance! Everyone was in fine form, and in great spirits. I danced until my ankles hurt, and my socks had holes in them. The music was fantastic, the people were great, and it was wonderful to dance under the stars.

Dominic Matte, standing still, you can't prove otherwise!

I cried again, later, as I requested a song for Mike and Sarah. In university, I remember Mike and I sitting in his room, he strumming his guitar, saying he really wanted to learn Lovers in a dangerous time by The Barenaked Ladies. He only mentioned it a few times, but it has always stuck with me, making me think of him when I heard it. Well, when Mike and Sarah told me they were engaged, I knew that I had to see them dance to this song. They did, I cried, then laughed, again, another beautiful moment in a night of beautiful moments.


Some silly pictures before I wrap this up...

I have heard a lot about weddings. I am at the age where many of my friends have or are getting married. I have spoken with older couples, cynical single people, and newer couples, and I've heard a vast spectrum of opinions. In the end, I think a wedding, like pretty much anything in life, is exactly what you make of it.

So it was no surprise that Mike and Sarah's wedding was a fantastically fun, beautiful, stressfully exciting nerdy experience, full of continual laughter that I will always remember.

Thanks for reading!


  1. Good walkthrough but did you really have to put up THAT photo? :p

    1. If it's the photo I'm thinking of, I think I fixed it!