The Piano Man

Well, we survived the wedding, had a blast on the honeymoon, but now it’s time for real life. And something special for you-all.

Time for hockey, you ask.

Sure. That’ll come.

Time for tales about school?

You bet, but that’ll have to wait.

In the meantime, please check out The-Oldest’s latest video. Remember, he’s only been that this since April.🙂 I wish he’d shown his fingers at work, but whatever, it’s still awesome playing.


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Wedding Advice, Anyone?

All of me, loves all of her.

All of me, loves all of her.

I know what you’re thinking.

Joe, I need to know how to do the best wedding possible. How do I do that? How?

So let me tell you some things I learned. Not like I’m going to have another wedding, but for anyone else thinking about it, read on, cuz I is gonna get out my wisdom stick and hit you with it.

  • Never eat 2 plates of food while wearing a tuxedo and vest. Or a corset-like wedding dress. Unless you’re super fit or as lean as a zombie left out in the sun for 2 years. At our wedding, we were served 2 plates of food. 2! My buttons were one wafer-thin mint away from exploding out and killing someone. So, for safety reasons, go with one plate. Of salad.
  • Delegate! Have backup to look after the kids. Have someone assigned, multiple someones to help meet and greet people. Have someone to take care of the projector. To help set up decorations. To find the groom when he goes for a long walk with a bottle of jack in his hands. Like sex, do NOT do this by yourself no matter how much you think you need to.
  • Do a rehearsal at the wedding location with the wedding planner or co-ordinator. Know where the bar is. Know where people should go. Know where the bride will come from, where she will fine-tune her dress and make-up, where the groom and his party will gather to wait for her.
  • Find a good photographer. A good DJ. A good cake balls person. Make friends with the room captain (or buffet manager). Mike did our photography. Linda was our DJ. Jes did our balls. See, these people can make the wedding so much better and help alleviate the stress. They’ve been there. Done that. And they can ensure some of the most important moving parts of a wedding go smoothly. Find people you would LOVE to work with. Check out their reviews. Take the time to get this right. Trust me, it’ll make a huge difference.
  • Plan as far in advance as you can do it. The day after I proposed, I started looking into venues and many were already booked 12 months in advance. Some were booked into 2017. Go to the places. Walk around. Get a sense of what it will FEEL like when you have your wedding there.
  • Have a dinner party before or afterwards. You won’t be able to talk to all the people you want to talk to. Maybe postpone the honeymoon by a day. Maybe have someone host a gathering the night before. We both missed talking to so many of our friends and family because we ran out of time. And there was dancing to do.
  • Eat something before the wedding. Oh, I know what I said about the dangers of bursting at the seams, but the preparation takes time, a wedding ceremony takes time, and the photographs before and after take time, and that last thing you need is to run out of energy or get a case of the hangries. This really applies if you have children. Like 2 boys. Eat well, even if you think you’re not hungry.
  • If you’re a groom, help out as much as possible. There are phone calls that can be made, RSVP envelopes that can be stuffed. Spreadsheets made. I tell you, it’s so much easier to just show up, but so much more rewarding to have been a part of the process. Not in control of the process, you understand.. A. Part. Of it.
  • “Go with your gut.” This from the bride. Pick your favourite colors even if they don’t match. Pick a theme that someone might not think is cool. Do something unconventional. Have or don’t have bridesmaids or a maid of honor/best man. Wear a purple vest or funky socks. Do the chicken dance. Don’t put baby in a corner.
  • Don’t sweat the small stuff. A bit of dirt on your shoe. One of your best men with his fly unzipped. A goofed up slideshow. Too tight underwear. Just remember people are here to share a moment with you. To be a part of something special. Something magical. It’s all about love. Not the weather or the food or even the dancing.

Links are below.

Newlands – great food, honestly. A bright venue, made magnificent by the autumn colors. Christa was awesome and always seemed excited by what we were planning to do. And Lynda, the DJ, did the most fantastic job of not only playing music but ensuring so much ran smoothly. She even found where us boys had been hiding, and pinned the boutonnieres on us.

The wedding cake (a book) and the incredible cake balls of Jes

The wedding cake (a book) and the incredible cake balls of Jes

Jes (Coat the Cakes) – OMG, good. If you didn’t get a chance to try one, I’m so sorry. They were to-die-for. She made an amazing book-cake, then created an outstanding display to surround it.

Mike K Photography – Maybe it was his time as a pastor or rock star, but he was both to me on that day. He went the extra mile and by all accounts, his pictures are brilliant.

Dress from Action Bridal and Formal Liquidators. And for the seamstress used, contact ABFL for a referral, she too, did such a great job. It was such an amazing dress and made The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World look so incredibly beautiful.

For me, the wedding was the best I could have hoped for and I want to thank everyone who could be there to share it with us.

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Top 10 “Did you know?” Wedding Facts.

We had such a great time

We had such a great time

So, now follow me as I take you behind the scenes of our wedding to reveal some of the things you may not have known went on.

  • The bride-to-be wouldn’t let me see the dress until the wedding. I was banned from looking at the pictures on her phone. A whole section of the closet was off-limits to me. I would be sent out of the room when her friends came over. Like a bad dog.
  • I was on the verge of being a complete groomzilla. I blame my OCD need to control things, but the truth is, I simply wanted it to be the most amazing wedding for The Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World. Every time I came into to see the decorations people, they would wince. Or try to run away.
  • The week before, I’d spent days on the slideshow, first bothering the bride’s family for photos, then going through my own in dusty albums, then scanning them, then making a slideshow. I had a complete meltdown when 6 hours of work crashed and hadn’t been saved. I may have used bad words I was so mad, I even went for a run. A. Run. However, the next day, I was able to redo it all and have a good show for the wedding.
  • The-Oldest chose all of the classical music used in the beginning, putting his vast knowledge of that genre to good use. The dancing music…that was 99% The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World. I think that I, maybe, picked one song that was subsequently dropped. The 2nd -to-last song was the Hungarian Rhapsody, chosen by The-Oldest. His most favourite song of all time. He may have been the only one dancing to it by then, though.
  • I told The-Youngest that if he was a goofball while walking his mom down the aisle, I would go to school with him every day, give him a kiss on the forehead, go over and tell the girls he liked them and wanted a kiss from them, too. I told them we would shout “we love you snookumbums!” when he was playing goalie. We’d even make a sign. And post a youtube video. I told him we’d never buy him new pants so the cuffs would gradually creep up his legs, and the crotch would tighten on his balls slowly, but painfully. In other words, I would make his life HELL, until he got married.
  • It was a nightmare to carry the wedding dress when we made the outdoor photoshoot. OMG the photos turned out amazing, but finally, the bride gave up on me or the junior bridesmaids trying to lift her train, and she gathered it up in her arms like a baby and marched from one location to the next. Still radiant. Still so beautiful.
  • At the outdoor shoot, the junior bridesmaids and The-Boyz mistakenly took that time as play time. There was a lot of shouting things like, “Get out of the pond!” “Stop throwing rocks into the mud, you’ll splash the bride!” or “Joe, stop making faces at the photographers!”
  • img_1804

    My incredibly funny brother, Michael, making everyone laugh.

    Both the MC, (my brother, Michael), and the bride’s father were sick on the day of the wedding. Probably a few others as well. But mad love to them for being there, and I have to say, my brother did an absolutely incredible job as MC. He was funny, charming, and did such an amazing toast to the boys.

  • We had no idea that the bride’s mom (and official officiant) would don a bishop’s hat when it came time to read the Princess Bride Mawwage speech. We knew she’d do the speech ‘cuz we had bugged her to, but the hat was a great addition and made us both laugh.
  • It was our Great Baba that got the dancing started. Without her, both The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World and I would have chatted forever.

img_1798All-in-all, so many things happened that day that it’s hard to narrow them down to a small list. When we took our pictures outside, the photographer decided to use leaves. Pick them up, throw them into the air, he said, and so The-Youngest gathered up HUGE fistfuls and threw them at his mom, giggling like crazy, ‘cuz, you know, the photographer told him he could.

But nothing bad happened at all.

It was such a great wedding.




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The Wedding Ceremony

OMG! The bride looked absolutely gorgeous!

OMG! The bride looked absolutely gorgeous!

From the moment the bride glided in, looking so exquisite, so graceful, the wedding became something amazing.

All the stress of the day melted away when I saw her, radiant in her stunning dress, escorted by her two boys.

I could tell she was fighting tears. As was The-Oldest. And The-Youngest was doing his best to be mature.

My world telescoped just to her. All I could see was her face. Her smile. She looked so very, very beautiful.

I took a deep breath, fighting the tears of happiness that built behind my eyes.

We were officially getting married.

This was it.

The girl I knew I’d marry the moment I met her, three years, ago, Feb 26th, at 3:15 in a small coffee shop in Langley.

I felt so happy to be here. I felt so lucky to have found her.


My cutie.



She stopped beside me, only glancing in my direction. Her beautiful blue eyes shone. She was trying to hold it together. She feared a mascara disaster if she let go and just let the emotion overwhelm her. Behind her, the junior bridesmaids took up their station and, her boys – both as handsome as I’ve ever seen them – went to stand beside me.

The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World and I listened together as her mom began the ceremony.  All else faded into a blur around me.

We laughed when her mom put on her hat and recited the Princess Bride marriage speech. Her mom had been nervous about this part, but she carried it off with great humour and dignity.

It was so wonderful to see The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World laugh. I would be happy to make her laugh like that for her entire life.

When it came time to say my vows, I belted them out. Proudly. Happily. The Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World whispered hers. Nervous. In her head, she said later, she thought she was shouting them out.

Then it came time to make my vows to the boys. Not something every groom does, but The-Boyz are such an important part of my life, I wanted to ensure they knew how much I’d come to love them, too. I’d spent a night figuring out what to say, then passed it along to the officiant to whisper to me so I wouldn’t forget.

The-Oldest listened, then nodded his approval. Or just nodded ‘cuz it was over. I don’t know. The-Youngest didn’t pull a face until the end, not sure, I think, what to feel. What to say or do.

But it felt good to tell them how I felt. It felt right.

So, so beautiful!!!!!

So, so beautiful!!!!!

Then I turned back to my gorgeous bride, we exchanged rings after the boys fought to get them out of their pockets and we were pronounced man and wife.

I couldn’t have asked for a better ceremony.

I kissed my new wife like I want to kiss her every day. With passion and love.

Then we turned to the room.

A room full of smiles and cheers and applause.

Joe 3.0 had been upgraded to Joe 4.0. A newer, greyer, wrinklier version that will likely crash a lot.

I doubt there was a happier man in the world than I was at that moment.


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Wedding Challenges

deal-with-itLet’s call this one, nobody told me I’d have to deal with this!

At my best friend’s house (m), the boys and I got ready. As I started to get ready, I found two of the tuxedo shirts had come off their hangers and lay in a heap at the bottom of the bag. It was a harbinger of things to come. Nobody told me I’d have to iron at the last second.

But I can do that and I did just that, making the shirts so crisp, they could have cut tomatoes. Then we worked on connecting the slide projector to the computer. I’d spent the last 3 days making the world’s greatest slide show, so it was super important that people actually, uhm see it.

It should have been easy, but it was the day of my wedding and nothing was coming easily. We downloaded videos to show us how to get the projector to work and all we did failed. In the end, we switched out cords and it worked.

Nobody said, I’d have to deal with stupid projectors.

Then we drove off to the wedding, the boys dressed and looking amazing!

I’d been told not to stress out too much about having to meet everyone and direct them to their seats. The wedding advisor would be there. The officiant would be there. I’d have help. Don’t worry, they said. It’ll all be fine, they said.

Instead, none of those things happened – it was just me and my brother and no clue what to do, where people had to go or what THEY were supposed to do until the wedding kind of started.

Plus, I had the boys with me. In tuxes.

Give The-Youngest 5 min unsupervised and he’ll find a way to get mud on his shoes, a frog in his shirt pocket and jello stuffed into pants. How could I leave them alone?

Nobody told me I’d have to deal with having to leave the kids! (My brother stepped in here and kept an eye on them).

So, my sincere apologies to everyone who arrived and didn’t know where they had to go and didn’t have someone in a logical place saying hi, thanks for coming.

Then, with me running around trying to find the wedding advisor, img_1565with people coming in and trying to figure out what’s what, a friend told me that some of the signs put out about the wedding are wrong.

Some said a 4 start, some a 5.

What the hell? No one told me I’d have to deal with wrong signage, the one thing that should have provided a bit of vital information in case, you know, the groom wasn’t greeting anyone.

So now I am really on a hunt for our wedding coordinator. I even enlisted the aid of our photographer. And the staff at the bar. And someone clearing the tables in the reception area. Everyone tried to help. They saw the panic on my face. The twitch in my eye. the look of someone about to run far, far away.

But no one had seen her.

Nor had any of my help arrived.

People arriving at this point saw a chubby guy in a tux blur by a lot, moving just under the speed of light. If you got a hug or a welcome, hey, hi, thanks for coming, then that was the Christmas miracle of the decade cuz I was in high panic.

Then the unflappable photographer, Mike K (see website cuz he’s awesome), came and told me that picture time had come.

But what about the wrong time on the signs, what about no wedding coordinator, what about the fact most of the arrivals had gone to the bar, what about the projector and my slideshow, what about Trump as president, what about …????

He said it would be fine, but we needed to do pictures. Now. Before we lost good light. Before, you know, the ceremony started.

I came back to find The-Oldest had managed to untuck his suit pocket  square and then stuffed it back in like some sort of softball. The-Youngest, however, was still in perfect condition. Like a miniature 007.

I fixed the pocket square. Praised The-Youngest (and God), and roared off with the kids in tow. Off we marched to have our pictures taken, wading through the chaos of people wanting to say hi, or wish me well or ask what was up with the signs.

After taking 2000 pictures, some of them actually fun, I came back in and was politely informed by my brother that I had squished a spider with my back and my suit was now covered in spider goo.

F*ing spider goo.

Heroically, he set out to find a wet cloth while I tried to find my friend who had the projector and slideshow. Of course, the bride had arrived and the computer which held the slides was in that bridal room.


And that little part of my brain still working said, hey, joe, listen, man, going into that room might not be the best idea.

However, I still had options so I asked my other best friend, (f) to get my backpack out of that room, please. (though, in hindsight, I might not have said please, I might have said, oh my f*ing god, the slides are in the bridesroom. Go up there now. Get it now. Now. Fast. I need that laptop. arg! ack! grurg!)

What I really needed was a drink at this moment.

Nobody told me I’d have to deal with all of this without a drink.

I’d wanted this to be the most perfect wedding of all time and it seemed to be teetering on disaster.

In the end, people made their own way to the conservatory lit by the bright sunlight, framed by wondrous fall colors, found their own seats and were ready for the ceremony to begin.

I waved at a few people, said hi to a few, shook hands with several and tried not to look like a guy on the verge of a complete mental collapse.

Then I finally found the coordinator. She gathered the mothers and fathers, the junior bridesmaids, and one Great Baba in the hallway. When the music began, my heart still pounding in my chest from all the adrenaline, I followed the parents in, escorting Great Baba to her chair.

I joined the officiant, the bride’s mother, at the front, turned to face the room and waited.

Then I saw the Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World come in, her boys escorting her.

img_1664She literally took my breath away she looked so incredibly beautiful.

At that moment, I knew none of that other stuff had mattered at all.

She was here. She was so, so beautiful.

And it was all I could do not to let happy tears flow down my face.

Nobody told me that I’d have to deal with tears.

But I was ok with that.

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The Wedding Day

game-of-thrones-meme-red-wedding-rob-starks-weddings-family-wedding-jokes-memes-addictedtoeverything-ateHave you ever wanted to know what it’s like in the groom’s mind on the day of the wedding?


Well, ah, that’s a little awkward because that’s what’s on the agenda for this blog post.

Let’s face it, a wedding isn’t something you do every day. It’s something you plan for, you organize, and when the day arrives, you hope it will be everything you wished it would be.

And I can’t speak for the bride, but for the groom it’s stressful.

At least for this groom.

I mean, hey, I’m the guy who gets stressed when they change the menu at McDonalds or I have to watch a Game of Thrones episode.

When people would ask if I was excited, I would tell the truth. “I wasn’t, yet.”

But when the day arrived, despite my stress levels being so high, I think I my entire suit was dripping with sweat, I actually did feel excited. I couldn’t wait to see The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World in her wedding dress and I couldn’t wait to officially be her husband.

The stress, though, came from a few things. Unlike my first wedding, where I simply showed up and smiled a lot, this time I had jobs to do!

First, I had to do a speech in front of about 150 people and it had to be a great speech that made people laugh and cry, but I had no ability to memorize that many words (hell, I still can’t sing our national anthem without forgetting if we still praise the queen or if that had been replaced by some indigenous people reference or ode to the LGBT community), and I didn’t want to read from a written script since i wanted to speak from the heart, but if I did that, then I might forget to thank someone or mind-blank on a name or simply start laughing hysterically!

So, somehow, I would have to say something amazing, off-the-cuff and not throw up at any point in the speech. Yeah. Not easy to do.

Then there was the whole meeting and greeting everyone. Sadly, my idea of setting up a rope line and hiring a greeter was not meet with a lot of enthusiasm. Nor was the idea that I hide in the bathroom stall until someone called my name and said the bride was waiting for me at the alter.

No, I was supposed to say hi to everyone, give them some directions on on where to go, and remember their names. The latter caused me all kinds of grief since I feared that mental state would be so bad, I would barely remember my own name. I had a great fear that someone I’d known for 50 years would walk up to me, and I would say, hi, errr, uhm… you.

Lastly, there was this, whole, you know, wedding thing. What if everyone could see how much i was swearing in my suit? What if I buggered up the vows or when asked if I do, I forgot how to say, I do?

What if i fainted at the alter? Farted? Giggled? What if The-Youngest had an attack of goofiness and did a clown walk in with his mom? What if it rained and rain leaked through the roof and dripped down my back at the moment I was to kiss the bride and instead head butted her as I yelled, what the f*ck?

princess-brideSo you see, at the end of the day, I just wanted it to be the best wedding a bride could ever have. I wanted The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World to remember this day with fondness and not in tears while talking to a therapist (or criminal lawyer if she murdered me.)

And how did it all go, you ask?

Oh, boy, were there some surprises.

Good and bad.

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Wedding Bells Will Soon Be Ringing

Apparently, I can't wear a uniform like this for the wedding. :(

Apparently, I can’t wear a uniform like this for the wedding.😦

By this time next week, we’ll be married and heading off to San Francisco for our honeymoon.

But are we ready?

Uh, lemme see.

All the RSVPs have been accounted for. We have a final list. We know who’ll be coming. That’s a good start.

Ring. Check. Wedding Dress, check (and apparently amazing.) Braces off. Flower-girl outfits and jewelry picked out. Wedding cake and sculpture decided upon. Photographer, flowers, wedding commissionaire, decorations, venue, all booked. Food sampled and chosen. Tuxes fitted. Marriage license purchased. Projector ordered. Music selected (a lot by The-Oldest). Honeymoon hotel reserved.

Whew, who knew it was so much work? The first time around, my mom and mother-in-law did it all, and I basically just showed up and smiled a lot. Now, we had to do it all ourselves, organizing, ordering, and researching everything to make sure this would be the best wedding possible. Hell, I even discovered that wedding porn has a different meaning for men and women.

But it’s finally coming together.

Only a few challenges.

After we finalized the guest list, we had to do up a seating chart. You know, for the tables and stuff. Not as easy as you might think since not everyone comes pre-packaged in groups of 8.

Oh, we could have had free seating but at this event, we didn’t want a mad mosh pit around the head table or everyone hiding in the back by the baron of beef. Of course, we could have also gone with the idea of who is most likely to NOT get along with who, but we decided to have a relatively fight-free wedding.

Being us, we wanted to make sure everyone has the most amazing time possible. And, being us, we decided to make an excel spreadsheet, a huge map and 18 tables cut from orange cardstock. Then we went about figuring it all out.

First, we worked on what combinations of people would be the best. Writers with writers. Victoria people with Victoria people. Davidsons with Davidsons. Bonars with Bonars. McKelvey’s with McKelveys. The same branch of family all stuffed together with liquor nearby.

That took care of about half the people. But that left half that we had to fit in.

We looked at putting people together with similar interests. We put together old acquaintances that might not have seen each other for a long time. We shifted people from one table to the next to balance out the numbers (I mean, hey, having 22 at a table for 8 wasn’t working. Not at all.)

And then, just like that, it all came together. Like a puzzle with all the pieces finally in place. The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World worked hard to create a seating masterpiece. Di Vinci, Michelangelo, or Martha Steward would have all been impressed.

But that left one big task. We had planned to have (spoiler alert, spoiler alert) books on every table. Books from our own library. Books that would mean something to the people seated there. AND books that would match our color scheme.

A book for everyone.

A book for everyone.

Now, for those who know me, know I have a pretty good library. But making all those things work on every table…Yikes!

We spent a slightly drunken evening hauling out books, taking off dust covers, matching up colors and sizes and specific books for specific tables.

It looked like Harry Potter had fought Voldemort in a library. Books were strewn everywhere. Small piles lay next to scattered individual books looking for a home. Dust jackets (The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World working in a library and all) were neatly stacked in one corner.

We hummed over who would get the coveted Game of Thrones book or the super funny Mindy Memoire. We found a place for an antique book of fables translated from German. We snuck in a travel book about the highlands into one pile. We desperately tried to find a table for the Princess Bride (and, in the end, decided to place that book, that most romantic book at our table, all by itself).

But in the end, despite us having to give up on our color scheme a bit, we found a nice stack for every table.

Now, we’re down to the last few things. Nails. Hair. Suit final-fitting. A speech by me. Slideshow created (oh, hell, I forgot to confirm the projector, yesterday!!!)

Can you guess what is stressing me out?

But I think it’ll be a good wedding. So many wonderful people are coming to see us exchange our vows, express out love, then drink and dance the night away.

This is happening, people!

And now for some Mike Tyson, cuz he’s the real wedding singer…

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