Mike & Chantale's Wedding
Thoughts From The Groom

Thinking of You

Journal Entries:

  • Important Places of our courtship
  • Our visit to the Gallant Inn
  • The Wedding Registry
  • Wedding on the Brain (October 10, 2006)

    "There are places I'll remember…"

    Starbucks Café at Chapters Bookstore is definitely one of those. It was there I would retreat to during my lunch time while working at DPM Financial Planning Group Inc. I took a late lunch in order to avoid the crowds and spent my time working on Comicopia while enjoying a relaxing coffee. It was also there where, months later, I would meet up with Chantale and just unwind. She talked about her workload at school, I talked about my workload at work. Just being in each other's company in such a comforting and comfortable atmosphere would help us both relax tremendously…

    Shakespeare Park is another of those places. During the summer of the year Chantale was also working at DPM, we went there once to just relax in the sun and get away from the daily grind of work. Truthfully, I often went there on my own to lie back and read a book in the sun (I only started going to Chapters once the weather started getting a little colder). It was my quiet spot away from the noise of people and computers at work. How much more calming can it be than to be away from computers and out in the green grass of nature? (grin). Chantale was the first person who knew about the Park and the first person I brought there. Her presence was always calming. We spent many afternoons lying the grass on the hill just talking and making out shapes in the clouds. Co-incidentally enough, being fans of William Shakespeare made this park more special to us. In fact, it was where we shared our first kiss. (smile)

    It was also at this Park that I gave Chantale a copy of the Songbook I used to sing with my friends and introduced her to "In My Life" by the Beatles. In fact, I sang it to her there (grin)

    "…all my life, though some have changed…some for ever not for better, some have gone and some remain…"

    How true that is. Chapters was bought out by Indigo Books and Starbucks Café, although it still exists, it has shrunk. DPM was bought out by Assante Capital Management and changed radically until 3 years later it disappeared. The only thing which has remained has been the Park…

    "…All these places have their moments, with lovers and friends.... I still can recall, some are dead and some are living.... In my life, I've loved them all…"

    Having spent 5 years with DPM, of course I have memories. Many memories. Some really nice ones, some rather bad ones. New friends, old friends, good friends and some that are gone forever…

    "…But of all these friends and lovers, there is no one compares with you and these memories lose their meaning, when I think of love as something new…"

    December 4th, 1998. Chantale gave me a Friendship bracelet that I absolutely adored. It came wrapped with a piece of paper containing some lyrics from a song I knew oh-so-well… "In My Life" (smile). I knew that day that come what may, we would be friends forever and regardless of what changed around us, that friendship would endure. Out of all the friends and memories I'd made during my time at DPM, nothing compared with her.

    "…Though I know I'll never lose affection, for people and things that went before, I know I'll often stop and think about them… In my life, I love you more…"

    Although many friends I made at DPM have slowly filtered out of my life, there are still enough of them left that we sometimes think back to our days there and all the trials and tribulations we had to endure. And although many bad times were had, there were so many good ones as well. Those of us who went through it all forged deep friendships. None so deeper than the friendship I forged with Chantale…

    (Instrumental interlude)

    The times passed and more memories were made. Chantale was always there as first my Best Friend, then eventually as my Girlfriend, and now as my Fiancee. We enjoyed many Shakespeare moments and movies such as Shakespeare in Love, Romeo & Juliet, and A Midsummer's Night Dream which she took me to on my birthday. When I was working for the Navy through NETE and in Victoria for training, I brought her back the movie tie-in and scripts to both Shakespeare in Love and A Midsummer's Night Dream. A pleasant surprise for her which was also a locking moment to times we shared.

    "…Though I know I'll never lose affection, for people and things that went before, I know I'll often stop and think about them… In my life, I love you more…"

    As I've mentioned before, we still have friends from our DPM days with whom we keep in touch and sometimes do things together. Each day Chantale and I spend together, I grow to love her more than the previous day. My desire to be with her (and, luckily enough, her for me!) is never-ending. These days, we look to the future more than we look to the past. But, it's true, we do sometimes go back and re-live and laugh about those "glory days" of DPM (smile)

    "…In my life, I love you more…"

    December 4th, 2001. I met up with Chantale and after a late lunch at Cora's Breakfast, we hung around and drove around for a bit, eventually ending up at Café Depot. Café Depot was the place that replaced Starbucks when we began to get together during the evenings. Chapters/ Starbucks always felt like the type of place to go relax in the afternoons. But when we just wanted to go someplace for Coffee, Café Depot was the place to go. A bonus was that it was even closer to Shakespeare Park than Starbucks! (grin) In fact, during the beginning of our courtship, it was outside of Café Depot where she first answered in the affirmative if she would marry me. I would ask/tease about it and always get "nah… not now… not today… maybe… etc". But one afternoon, she shocked me by saying "Yes". We laughed quite a bit at my reaction (grin)

    It was a very beautiful and sunny day (almost like every year on that date!) and we spent the time going over what we mean to each other, how far we've come in our relationship, and all the events we've lived through together. It was a beautiful time of reminiscing and affirmation of our lives together with a nod back as we looked forward.

    Since we had plans to go watch Monsters Inc that night (and a truly enjoyable movie it was, too!), we headed over to the Park because we hadn't been there in a very long time. We parked in our usual spot and went to the top of the hill to look out over the park. We chatted and eventually the subject came up of the Friendship bracelet. She slipped a box into my hand and I opened it up to see the bracelet, once again wrapped up in that familiar song. That bracelet had never come off my wrist until it eventually broke through wear and tear. But, of course, a bracelet that important could not be thrown out by me! Nope, I kept it! And Chantale had gone ahead and dug it up to give it to me again as a reminder of the first time 3 years prior. Up until that point, I had no idea that it had been 3 years to the day of the first gift! As we laughed over the fact that we each still had our broken bracelets, she said, "I want to give you a more permanent one".

    I admit, I was confused and didn't understand what she meant. But, when she was able to pry her fingers out of my iron grip, she reached into her purse and pulled out another box. Tears in our eyes, I opened it up to see a very handsome, striking, and beautifully elegant Kenneth Cole wristwatch. Not only was it the most precious gift I've ever received, it was the most emotional one, too! This was her engagement gift to me.

    Before putting it on, she told me to read the back. I turned it over, wiping tears, and broke down even harder as I read "In My Life…"

    Nothing else needed to be said. Those three simple words said it all. They summed up our lives together, the growth and strengthening of our love, and the promise of a wonderful future together.

    "…I Love You more…"

    And I will. Come What May. Until the end of time… (smile)

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    The Wedding Show at The Gallant Inn - February 2, 2002

    After months of waiting it was time for the Gallant Country Inn Wedding Show! Francisco and Line picked up Chantale and I at 8:30am and we drove off to a wonderful day! We got to the Inn with time enough to look around the lounge area in front of the fireplace before checking in and seeing what was available. The first ballroom we entered was where we got to meet some photographers as well as taste the alcoholic and non-alcoholic punches the Inn serves. From there, we went and visited the various suites available. Beautiful, cozy, and quite charming! The gym and spa wasn't overwhelming and had everything you would need if you wanted to work out or simply enjoy a luxurious massage. With that tour over came the main event - the tasting of the various dishes! Succulent chicken breasts and veal with various sauces, salad platters, entrees, and desserts… mmm!! The place settings looked amazing and the dishes we tried were phenomenal! The desserts were fun to try but we did indeed decide on what we'll be serving. You'll have to wait to be there to find out, though :) We got to sit with a florist (which was actually the longest thing we had to wait for while we were there) and got a good idea on the costs of what we wanted. After wondering what kind of flower arrangements we would get, we decided pretty much on which types. And they're beautiful!

    With the dining room finished, we had 2 more destinations: the wine-tasting and a visit to the actual Lodge where we'll be having the reception. But first, we looked at the bonbonnieres and I explained to Francisco and Line what we would be using. They heartily agreed :) We then made our way over to the fruit, cheese, and finger foods table and spoke with the woman there. She explained to us the various platters we could choose and we all thoroughly enjoyed what was offered. The cheeses were SO fresh and tasty that I must admit to having done quite a bit of tasting… (smile)

    The wine-tasting was an interesting experience. Having the Sommellier from the Mount Stephen's Club as my Best Man sure came in handy :) We reviewed the options and tasted a variety of white and red wines and made a preliminary choice. Preliminary because what they serve might change by the time we get married and we will make our final choice next February. But, also, because we want to see if we can actually choose something else altogether. We also tasted a nice Maury dessert wine which I really liked. Hadn't thought of serving one at first, but now I'm not sure…

    And then, another moment we'd been waiting for: the visit to the Maple Lodge. Here, we were able to see the way the place settings will look during our reception and try out the chairs and everything else. It was nice to see some updated touches from our initial visit (we had mentioned how having candle-light or lamps would help enhance the table settings and there they were!). Seeing Francisco and Line's reactions was also quite nice. We spoke with a few more people there, musicians, DJs, and actually may have chosen a photographer with whom we hit if off right away! We took a break near the side fireplace next to the bar and chatted a bit while we some more finger foods (and cheese!). It was coming upon 3 hours that we'd been there and so decided to head back to town.

    The rest of the day was spent by having brunch at Chez Cora's, shopping at Ikea, and finally relaxing at home playing board games. It was a long, relaxing, and fun time spent talking about the future and all our plans, hopes, and dreams. It was a truly wonderful day and one that filled me (and Chantale) with plenty of energy and eagerness towards our Blessed Event. I think Francisco and Line were also quite energized and infused by our energy. This event was a total joy. Exactly the way planning for a Wedding SHOULD be!! :)

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    The Wedding Registry at the Bay - February 20, 2002

    A little while ago we were informed of a Wedding Registry Event at The Bay. We signed up for it and tonight headed over for what we thought was an extended fashion show with possible door prizes. It was, but also so much more!

    When we arrived, we were warmly greeted, given some punch, and escorted to a Registry Assistant who explained to us how everything worked. Chantale's mom joined us at this point and once we were finished, we headed towards the Registry corner. We signed in, were given a hand-scanner, and were off and wish-list shopping! We walked around the entire floor dreaming of the things we'd love to receive as gifts and mentally picturing how everything will be used, when, and how. Things we'd never before really considered (like crystal glassware and china) began to take form and substance in our imaginations as we envisioned family get-togethers and celebrations. Beautiful yet practical objects came into view and we all practically Ooo-ed and Aaa-ed while discussing our "home" needs as a married couple and adding them to the registry. What I found interesting is that the majority of time was spent on items for the kitchen or entertaining. I guess the fact that we already live together and thus have furniture was quite obvious :)

    Before we knew it, two and a half hours had passed and it was time to give up our scanner so the information could be registered! And we weren't totally finished, either! But, it was almost time for the door prizes and we all clustered around the Registry corner to hear the drawing. We've both been to a number of events already, but we'd never seen so many prizes! Within ten minutes, most of the prizes had been awarded as Chantale and I just waited and hoped. "I never win anything," she said, "probably because I think too much about what they're giving away and don't want to be stuck with something I don't want". "Don't think about it," I answered, "just listen for the name, not the prize." 3 prizes later, Chantale's name is spoken over the intercom. A set of Pearl Earrings and a Pearl Necklace! The most beautiful and best gift of the night and she won it! She blushed such a crimson shade that her skin-tone didn't get back to normal until a good twenty minutes later when we were in the car going home! (grin)

    For an event we thought would simply be "fun", this turned out to be a blast! A very joyous experience which filled us with more hope and longing for our future home and life which ended on a very upbeat note! And the Pearls? They look gorgeous and make Chantale look even MORE gorgeous than she normally does! (big grin). I'm a very lucky man :)

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    Wedding on the Brain - October 10, 2006

    This weekend, one of Chantale's oldest friend of the family got married. Friday night, we went for cocktails at their suite at the St. Sulpice Hotel (top floor - balcony on the roof overlooking old Montreal) which also was something of a Birthday party for her. Saturday was a whirlwind of activity as we went to my parent's in the morning, followed by a hairdresser's appointment, followed by packing overnight bags, followed by driving to St. Hubert where Kyle and Casey would be staying with Francisco and Line, followed by getting ready for the wedding and finally heading out! :) The wedding was very nice and we had a great time - staying at the reception until it closed down at 2:30am. Those of us left at that time went back to the hotel suite but by 3am Chantale had finally hit a wall and needed sleep. So, we got another cab and headed to St. Hubert to crawl into bed at 4am. We slept on the futon in the basement with Kyle in his playpen next to us. At 6am, he was up and wanting out. We pulled him into bed and I hummed and calmed him down for another hour until we all finally got up. At 7am. After only sleeping 2 hours. :) We spent a few quite hours with Francisco and Line and then headed back to the hotel for a brunch and the showing off of Kyle. We hung out with the family for a few more hours until heading back to St. Hubert in the late afternoon to pick up Casey and, finally, go on home. Sunday night, we passed out for about 10 hours. I don't remember when I did that last. Monday was spent doing a ton of yardwork followed by a great Turkey dinner at my in-laws. What a weekend! :)

    It's quite tiring to think of all we did, but it was also quite amazing. It was really special to be at the wedding on Saturday. Especially touching to see how much the couple - Michelle and Casey - really loved each other. I watched Casey choke up when Michelle walked in and remembered how I felt when Chantale walked onto the aisle at our wedding. I smiled when he had to hold himself back from kissing her as her father handed her over and I knew exactly what he was feeling - having gone through it myself the same way. And I had to continue smiling when he lost his composure during his vows, again, remembering me doing the same thing.

    The magic of this weekend wedding and the spending of time with their family and ours, sharing stories, anecdotes, and realzing how the last time we were all together like that was at OUR Wedding over 3 years ago, really struck home. I spent the entire weekend remembering how wonderful life was during the planning and execution phase of our wedding. I found it funny that I could not remember any of the insignificant details of the time - such as where I was working or what I was doing - but could only remember how wonderful life was and all the work that went into putting that wedding together. I remember how much I loved Chantale and our time together and could not imagine loving her any less. This weekend made me realize that although you expect to love your partner more as the years go by, you can't always measure it. But it did strike me at the level of intensity that my love has grown. The life we have now is quite different than 3 years ago - especially when you bring in all the family growth and changes - but the beauty of it is that the amount of love I feel has quadrupled and more (if I really have to quantify it).

    As I spent last night looking through the thousands of photographs we took on our wedding weekend, re-reading through the wedding pamphlet we had put together with the ceremony, giggling at the various notes and plans now cobbled together in a scrapbook, I realized how truly great and special our night was. The memories are enduring, and they continue to bring a smile to many faces. And, based on the regular hits to the website still on the net, there are still some out there who continue to visit it! :) It might be years gone by, but the memories are as fresh as today and the desire to continue printing up and putting up photographs of that day still amazes me. It wasn't the climax of our courtship, it was the prologue to an amazing adventure.

    If that isn't the mark of a truly great, beautiful, amazing, and enduring relationship, I'd like to know what is. It's not sappy at all to be as in love as I am :) We are truly blessed :)

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