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Flashback: Our Cape Breton Wedding

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A year ago today Patrick and I got married. The wedding was in Cape Breton and it was the hottest, sunniest day of the summer.

We got married in a little church in Iona, next to the Bras D’or Lakes. My friends Rosie and Laura provided beautiful folk and fiddle music and nearly all of Patrick’s family (as well as a few close friends) made the massive trip to the East Coast to witness our nuptials. I got my dress from Cabaret Vintage on Queen West in Toronto and – get this – we forged our own wedding rings at The Devil’s Workshop (also found on Queen West in Toronto and highly recommended!).

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After the ceremony, we went to the two big red barns, where our highland cattle used to live, to have our photos taken. The hay was high and my cousin Sandy had put off mowing that field so our pictures would be *just right*. We then moved on to my community’s tiny gathering hall for the dinner and dance.

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A good friend and amazing chef (and owner of Charlene’s Bayside in Whycocomagh) catered our dinner – there were Cape Breton fishcakes, salmon, pork loin, bruschetta and, of course, plenty of biscuits and rolls to be enjoyed. We got our wines from Grand Pre Winery in Wolfville, Nova Scotia where I went to university (the area has it’s own appellation – Tidal Bay – and the wines are gorgeous). Dessert was provided by my family and friends and served buffet-style after the meal. No fuss; delicious.

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After dinner the tables were cleared and the dance floor made ready. My friend Rosie took the stage once more with her fiddle and we had a bit of a ceilidh before the DJ took over and everyone got way too drunk. It was an awesome wedding.

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It wasn’t perfect; there were hiccups. There was no air conditioning in the community hall so people were literally sweating buckets. I gave up on shoes by 10 pm and spent the rest of the night waltzing around in my bare feet. We forgot about cutting the cake til about 11 pm (lovingly made by my Aunt Joan and simply decorated by me). But I wouldn’t change a thing; it was just so much fun.

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A Cape Breton wedding can get a little out of hand at the best of times. We like to drink (usually out the trunks of our cars in the parking lot) and make a lot of noise, and we generally don’t like our fun to be interrupted. The Irish are the same. Combining the two was both the best party imaginable and serious trouble, all wrapped into one. I remember when the DJ announced it was last call at the bar, Patrick’s siblings and cousins bought about 30 beer. When the lights came on a few minutes later, they announced they weren’t leaving until the beers were finished. Because he’s a team player, my dad helped them drink their beverages before they were driven back to their hotel.

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Over lobster dinners, BBQ’s and singalongs, a lot of lifelong friendships were made that week (including the marriage of my friend and brother-in-law). My mom arrives in Ireland on Wednesday morning to be here for the birth of her first grandchild, and everyone can’t wait to see her again (my dad and eldest brother will join the fun in September).

Patrick and I will celebrate our first anniversary over home-cooked meals, a nice slice of cake and imaginings of how much our lives will be changed over the next few weeks.

Slàinte Mhath

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*All photos were taken by Brad Sampson Photography, Cape Breton

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