Would You Like Some Cheese to Go with Your Whine?

We thought we’d share some exciting plans we have so far for our upcoming nuptials.

When: February 2013. Why a winter wedding you ask? Well there are 3 good reasons:

1. Graduate students don’t get many vacation days and since we both attend university year-round the only time we know we will have time off is our reading week, which happens to fall in February.

2. The venue we picked is amazing (see below) but is only available in the winter season.

3. We want to honeymoon somewhere exotic so why not go when it will be cold here?

Where: We are getting married at Loretta’s church, Westminister United Church in St. Catharines. Loretta has many fond memories at the church growing up, so it was a natural choice. Our reception will be held in the former Niagara District Courthouse in the beautiful Niagara-on-the-Lake. Originally built in the mid 19th century it was once a courthouse, jail, and town hall. The courthouse is now designated a national historic site of Canada and currently is home to the Shaw Festival during the summer months. Niagara-on-the-Lake has a special place in our hearts (as you read about in our engagement story) and we fell in love with the venue instantly!

Niagara District Courthouse in the heart of Niagara-on-the-Lake is the venue for our wedding reception

Our Wedding Theme: We love our wine. From our first date to wine tours in the summer, we’ve (mostly responsibly) had our fill of wine – mostly white, mostly Riesling, to be specific. Jackson even bought Loretta a giant wine glass where we keep every cork – if it’s for a special day, we write the date and the occasion on it! Given this, plus the fact that our wedding is in the heart of wine country, we naturally decided that our theme should be wine and cheese – inclusive of a cocktail hour wine tasting with a wine barrel bar, some wine themed decor, a cheese wedding cake and wine and cheese themed favors.

We opted to skip the traditional wedding cake and have a wedding cake made out of cheese wheels!!!

Cheese Spreaders and Wine Corks as Wedding Favors

A wine barrel bar to serve a wine tasting during cocktail hour

Jackson and Loretta save all of their wine corks!

Some wine themed decor

How it all Began – The Story of our First Date

Jackson here. This is the story of our first date – from my perspective.

It was mid-March, 2009 when Loretta and I had our first date. I was super nervous. My hands were sweaty, my voice was shaking. I was in trouble.

However, as luck would have it, I was guided by some excellent advice (and even a prop) given to me by Miles, one of my amazing groomsmen. He suggested that if you’re really nervous on a first date, it’s good to have some kind of an activity do so that you can fill in any possible awkward moments with a turn at the activity – and for those who know me well, you know that I have a tendency to be a little awkward at times.

For Loretta and I, this activity was Boggle – Miles actually lent me his personal copy for that night. But even though I had this genius crutch, I don’t think I actually needed it as Loretta and I hit it off tremendously (though, I probably had a little extra confidence having that awkward-saver as a back-up if I needed it!).

Boggle - great first date activity!

Loretta set out some treats for us to munch on – white wine (Riesling, at least a 2) and some pineapple with chocolate dipping sauce (mmmm).

We played a few rounds of Boggle as we munched on pineapple and sipped on Late Autumn Riesling. As I kept winning round after round of boggle (I’m a words-guy!), I could tell that Loretta wasn’t really fond of losing – so I let her win a couple of rounds. Good thing the conversation came so easily, because the Boggle may not have been the perfect fall-back crutch that I had hoped it would be!

Loretta had a great sense of humour and seemed to really take a shining to my goofiness and especially liked my Mike Tyson impersonation – I had been working on it earlier that week. As the night wore on, I noticed that if she got up off the couch to do something, when she came back she would sit down closer and closer to me every time. I thought – she likes me, awesome!

The defining moment must have been when Mr. Deeds unexpectedly came on the TV. Prior to our first date, we had talked about how we loved comedy movies and Adam Sandler’s Mr. Deeds was one of the films at the top of our lists – this couldn’t be just a coincidence!

'The hideousness of that foot will haunt my dreams forever'

When the night was over, Loretta showed me to the door.  This was it – the ‘make-it or break-it’ moment – time to leave a lasting impression. As we both went in for the kiss goodnight, Loretta went for the lips – and I went for the cheek. The kiss ended up being an awkward combination of a half-cheek, half-lip kiss.

I thought to myself – ‘I blew it, best just to get out without any more awkwardness.’ So then I turned to the door and pulled on the handle and it wouldn’t move – it was locked.  Of course it was. Loretta unlocked the door opened it up for me and as my face burned with embarrassment, I thanked her and walked out the door. Way to go, Jackson – way to leave a ‘lasting impression.’

Fortunately for me, Loretta (obviously) overlooked that awkward ending – she actually found my nervousness and awkwardness to be kind of endearing. And look at us now, more than three years later and engaged to be married!

It only took about 15-20 dates for me to stop shaking like a leaf every time I went to knock on her door.

A picture of us during our first summer together

Loretta’s Love to Cheer

Ok, I had to feature these guys. I love Jackson, I love Wern – our pup, I love planning for our wedding… but I also love working with these athletes. I spend up to 6 hours a week coaching a high school competitive cheerleading team with 3 amazing coaches. I can’t believe how far these kids have come over the past 3 years… building a team that can execute elite level tumbling and acrobatic skills is not an easy feat. We started with a group of kids with virtually no experience and this year our team will be traveling all the way to Montreal to compete in the Canadian National Championships. The students were all too happy to try to help us win the contest. Many of them participated in the ‘pimp’ phase as to many 14-18 year olds, Facebook is totally their thing. They even wanted to help us out in phase 2! Here is their contribution to our blog:

If we win, it will make a whole lot of high school girls and boys happy!

They are still holding me to my promise – If Jackson and I win, they get a pizza party in Montreal for all of their help! Jay, Mary, and Rick – you can come too and get in the on the pizza party action if you’d like, we need some more chaperones. Chaperoning a group of 30 teenage boys and girls in Montreal – sounds like an easy task, right? 😉

A ‘Decent’ Proposal

We know you’ve all been waiting on bated breath to hear about how Jackson popped ‘the question’ to Loretta. Well, without further ado, here’s the story of ‘The Proposal.’

It all began in early October, when Jackson was plotting and scheming on how he would possibly get Loretta to the place where he knew was the perfect place to ask her to be his wife.

Jackson had a plan to take Loretta away for a romantic weekend in Niagara-on-the-Lake (NOTL), but the tricky part was trying to get Loretta to agree to it without her being suspicious that something was up, as she is usually the one to plan the getaways.

Needless to say, Loretta knew, or at least hoped that something was up. However, as she was the one to pack all of the luggage – and she went through every piece, item by item – her hopes were deflated as she found no evidence of what she was hoping to find (i.e. a little jewelry box). Note to the guys: the ladies never check the inside jacket pocket.

As we drove down the highway, Loretta started to get nervous as we approached the U.S. border – she kept telling Jackson she didn’t pack her passport. Jackson started to sweat as it started to rain a little. Jackson turned off the highway at the last exit before the U.S. border and the rain had stopped. Thank god – says Jackson. Jackson suggested we take a walk – a walk in 10 degree drizzly weather. We pulled into Queenston Heights – a park in Queenston near NOTL. We had been there before – maybe 6 months into our relationship, Loretta brought Jackson there to have a picnic. In our first visit there we set-up our blanket right near the bandshell under a beautiful tree on the most perfect summer day. That was the day – the day that we both knew, the day that Jackson knew Loretta was the one and the day that Loretta knew Jackson was the one.

So, 2 ½ years later as Loretta reluctantly went on that walk in the miserable weather, Jackson found that tree we sat under on that nice summer afternoon and he got down on one knee.

Jackson was so nervous and Loretta was so excited that neither Loretta nor Jackson really know what he said to this day – but whatever he did say, it must have worked. Loretta said yes – obviously, that’s kind of why you’re reading this.

Loretta at the hotel just after agreeing to be Jackson's wife - she looks excited!

Loretta and Jackson spent the rest of the weekend celebrating NOTL style. Loretta bought Jackson an amazing umbrella, they went to a fancy dinner and they stayed at the Queen’s Landing Hotel. It’s so fitting that NOTL is where we’ve decided to celebrate our love on our big day – almost exactly 4 years from our first date!

Loretta couldn't help herself. She had to sneakily send this picture to her maid of honour while Jackson was in the bathroom.

All Request Thursday

Hey everybody,

We sure hope you’ve enjoyed learning more about us, both as a couple and as individual people. We’ve had some real dandy posts from some people who are really special to us – and it means a lot to us that they would take the time to say a few words, just to help us out with this contest.

If you just started following us recently, we’ll fill you in on what the contest is all about. We are going head-to-head with three other couples to win a prize pack of Wedding Day Photography (from Rick Denham), Cinema (from Captivate Bridal), and Planning + Coordination (from WeddingGirl.ca) – valued at over $10,000! Thanks to many of you, we’ve made it to the second phase – which has us writing this wedding blog for three weeks. Our goal is to be the couple to get the most amount of views on their blog. That means, every time you come and read it – you might be helping us win!

We thought that with today’s post, we would give all of our faithful followers a chance to have a say on a little part of our big day. That means you all can be special guest posters today!

When the vows have been said, the cake has been cut and all of the speeches have been said – we really want to have fun. A special occasion like this should be a celebration and we want everybody to have a good time. This is where you all come in. We want you to post a reply with a song that you think will really get people into the mood to party. If you can’t narrow it down to one song, pick two! Heck, pick as many as you want – as long as you think it’ll get the party going!

To make a suggestion, simply click reply just below this post and fill in the blanks.

Thanks, everybody!

Loretta and Jackson know how to party - Halloween style. Loretta's a kitty cat and Jackson is a dirty-moustache zebra muscles... guy... thing.

Meet the Cast – Mandatory Blog Post #1 for the Wedding Threesome Contest

Our Wedding Threesome Contest-Masters, Rick from Rick Denham, Jay from Captivate Bridal Cinema, and Mary from WeddingGirl.ca have charged us with our very first mandatory blog topic! They want to know all about our wedding party!

Without further ado, we present the cast of who will be starring in Loretta and Jackson’s big day:

Tawnyah (aka Tawn or T) is Loretta’s Maid of Honor. We met on the Brock cheerleading team. I was a top (the girl who flies in the air) and Tawn was a 3rd on the team (the 3rd is the one who basically protects your back and head), needless to say we became friends instantly and she has saved my life on numerous occasions. After Brock we went on to cheer competitively with an all-star team and travelled all over North America and have even coached our own program. From funny moments at airport security to many 3am adventures (in several different cities) Tawn and I have done it all. Tawn is the life of the party, the fun, free-spirited personality. She has the funniest stories – things that can only happen to her. She will be the one at the wedding who will lighten the mood and calm me down if something goes wrong. However she will not be the one who will keep us on time. Sorry Mary, that has to be your job – if we leave it to Tawn we may not make it to the church (but we’d definitely make it to the after-party)!

Loretta and Tawnyah, our Maid of Honour

 

Jen (aka JZ) is one of our Bridesmaids. JZ and Loretta have known each other since our Brock cheerleading days and then again in all-star cheerleading. We also worked at summer camp together – I of course was the science instructor while JZ worked as the high ropes instructor (basically she was way cooler). No wonder she is currently an elementary school gym teacher.  JZ is our world traveller, from Alaska to Australia, she has been everywhere – and I always get a souvenir. JZ has been on all kinds of crazy adventures with Tawn and me and is probably the best at keeping us from not getting arrested – hopefully she is instrumental in this task at the wedding – she may be able to keep the reception PG13 or at least prevent some streaking in downtown Niagara-on-the-Lake.

JZ in Australia

 

Darby is a bridesmaid and Loretta’s oldest friend. Darby and I go way back… all the way back to Mrs. Trush’s senior kindergarten class.  We grew up together, through elementary school, high school orientation twice at two different high schools, and even went to university together. We have so many memories together growing up including her mooning some boys in another car while my mom was driving us home from the movies to getting lost in the woods on a grade 10 fieldtrip. She is a lovely and brilliant young woman who has gone from student council president to working for the Niagara Region Emergency Management Response Team. On the big day Darby will be our go-to for any emergency situation from having emergency personnel on stand-by in case Jackson passes out to calling in a favour just in case of a winter wedding blizzard (that better not happen)!

Loretta and Darby in a 'wayback playback'

 

Penny is also one of our fabulous bridesmaids. She is the younger sister of the groom (Jackson to me but Tom to her – which leads to all kinds of funny conversations). She also happens to be the proud momma of our ring bearer Jack. Penny is our resident wedding guru. She will be (by our wedding date) a newlywed herself. In addition to planning her own nuptials she is also involved in many other wedding parties this year. We are hoping to be pros after being involved in Penny’s wedding but I’m sure she will be the go-to for all kinds of questions that pop up along the way.

Penny's 'Garth' impression

 

Isabella (aka Bean) is our flowergirl and is the daughter to my brother Andrew and Jhoanna. Isabella was chosen because she loves to be on stage – literally, she will make a stage in the living room and place all of the chairs around and you must sit and watch her perform. We are so excited to see her performance at our wedding. Bean will be instrumental in the seating plan design because if she doesn’t like where you are sitting she will be sure to tell you to ‘get out!’

Bean. She's already picked the right team!

 

Brian our MC is Loretta’s closest and most fav cousin. Brian will be no doubt the BEST MC ever! He is the most hilarious, sarcastic, and quick-witted person you will ever meet. He will do a fantastic job and will be able to ‘roll with the punches’ if something unexpected happens because he is so good on his feet.  Often at weddings, speeches can be a bit dry but Brian will get everyone laughing and engaged. Nothing is ever off limits for Brian and we are looking forward to hearing some of our hilarious adventures together… you may even get to hear the one about locking Loretta’s mom in an outhouse in the middle of night – we’ll see!

Brian, our Emcee 'princess' 😉

 

Jeff – The best man. Jeff and I met during grade 10 chemistry when another friend and I thought it would be a good idea to invite that ‘really smart guy from class’ over to my mom’s so he could help us with studying.  Well, the studying idea kind of backfired as we ended up spending the evening in my mom’s hot tub – wishing we knew some girls who would join us – and not studying at all. Even though I lost out on the good chemistry grades – I gained a really great, lasting friendship. Jeff and I have done many things together – playing hockey, partying, fishing, camping trips, we even had a band together called ‘Ass Notes and the Shitty Beats.’ Jeff was chosen as the ‘main man’ because of our rich history and his capacity to keep me ‘on the level’ – which is certainly going to come in handy as I tend to get a little anxious in important situations. On our day, Jeff will help get the party going as he’s pretty unabashed on the dance floor – some may even say that he’s got moves like Jagger. I can’t wait to hear Jeff’s speech – which he’s been working really hard on, right Jeff?

 

Jackson and Jeff, The Best Man

 

Eric – a.k.a. ‘Miles’ is a groomsman. Miles and I also met in high school – it was in Clarkey’s communications class, the best class ever. Him and I have been known to ‘fire it up’ from time to time. I particularly (sort of) remember him and I having a few (too many) beers on St. Patty’s one year and sleeping in his car. This was actually two days before I met Loretta (with which, Miles actually had a role in!) – I’m sure Miles heard his share of how excited I was to meet her that night. Our friendship really solidified during our time at McMaster University together as we shared a class and many bro-mantic coffee dates on campus. Miles is certainly going to lighten the mood on the day with his quick-witted humour. I’m convinced that he will perform as a stand-up comedian some day.

 

Miles. Thug life

 

Tom – a.k.a. ‘Moonbeam,’ or ‘Beamer’ is a groomsman. Beamer and I met through a friend at my old job and we’ve been ‘toit’ ever since. Beamer and I share many traits – we’re both pale, we have red hair, we’re of similar heritage (pale, red hair, you figure it out!), we love hockey, well-brewed beer and having a good time. Back in our younger days – Beamer and I used to play soccer for 4 hours during the day and then go out and dance until the lights came on. Our idea of a good time (and subsequently, our body shapes) has since evolved somewhat as lately we’ve taken to performing marathon jam sessions with our ‘band’ – Circa 1981. I’m using the word band loosely here – most of us barely play an instrument. Beamer is definitely going to ‘kick it up a notch!’ on our wedding day and make sure that everybody is having a good time. I’m sure we’ll take some notes from our younger selves and dance until the lights come on.

Beamer as Ron Burgundy

 

Andrew – a.k.a ‘Drew.’ Drew knows me as ‘Rocco’ – you’ll have to get him to tell you the story. Who knows, maybe he’ll write a special guest blog about it. Drew is the younger brother of the bride, father of our flower girl and a fellow Montreal Canadiens lover. The first time that Loretta told me about her brother, she told me that he was a habs fan. I knew right away that I was going to like this guy. Drew and I got along pretty well right off the bat – we’ve watched many a sporting event together. I remember the time that Loretta and I came down for the super bowl and Shirl’ (Loretta’s mom) had written ‘Packers’ in green food colouring in the snowbank because she thought everybody was going for the packers. She was pretty disappointed that only Drew was going for the Packers. I told her not to worry as I would gladly write ‘Steelers’ in it’s place using my own yellow-coloured liquid.  As the family liaison, Drew’s jobs will be to help all of our guests have a good time and most importantly, to make sure that he doesn’t Rocco the wedding.

 

Drew definitely Rocco'ed this picture!

 

Jack – a.k.a. ‘the little man.’ Jack is Jackson’s nephew, Penny’s son and our ring bearer. Jack is almost 2 years old and he’s learning so much. According to my sister (Penny), he has recently learned how to feed their dog ‘Kanin’ treats. He knows where the cookies are kept, and he gets one out of the cupboard and stands their yelling “BUBBYYYYYY,” until the dog comes. I think this is pretty darn cool, and I think Kanin probably does too – I doubt either of them get bored of this activity. Jack’s job on our day is to make sure the rings get to the alter – hopefully he doesn’t try to feed them to the dog before he gets there.

Jack, our Ring Bearer. What a cutie!

 

We would like to give a special ‘thanks’ to Facebook for providing us with most of these hilarious photos.

A Campfire Tale… a post from Loretta’s cousin Brian

How Loretta & Jackson Met by Brian Scriver…[since you have all been dying to know how we met we have given Brian artistic licence to interpret our first meeting ;P]

Many people ask how Loretta and Jackson met… Many do not know how they actually met.  However, Loretta and I have known each other all our lives.  So, I have it on good authority to know the saga of how Loretta and Jackson met.

It all started on an early crisp day in March 2009.  Loretta was going through the Tim Horton’s drive through on her way to school.  There was a Honda Civic in line ahead of her.  Little did she know, a couple of years later, she would be engaged to the driver of this car.  Jackson of course was the driver of that car.  He saw in his rear-view mirror, while waiting for his morning java someone who peaked his interest.  Jackson did not go unnoticed to Loretta either.

Not knowing what to do, the quick-thinking Jackson decided to give the girl at the window a nice tip, and a note, written on a receipt.  It simply read: “You’re beautiful, and I’d like to buy you a coffee sometime, and actually be able to get to know you. – Jackson”.  Of course his number was also included.  He “paid it backwards”, and bought Loretta her hot apple cider, and asked for the doughnut dealer to pass along the note, with her cider.

The Tim Bit teller complied with Jackson’s wishes.  When Loretta arrived at the window, she gave Loretta the note, along with her gratis beverage.  Intrigued by who this mystery man was, she pondered for quite some time.  Questions ran through her head.  Who was this man?  Why would he do such a thing?  How desperate could he be?  What’s wrong with him?  And most importantly – how could I not call him?

Jackson waited anxiously.  He went back to the same Tim Hortons, every day until he received that call from Loretta – nearly two weeks later.

They chatted that first evening on the telephone for nearly an hour.  Jackson made Loretta laugh.  Loretta made Jackson laugh.  There was instant chemistry.  A coffee (or cider) date was arranged shortly thereafter…

A match made in a Tim Horton’s Drive Thru – now that’s a double-double!

Now isn’t that just the most perfect fairytale meeting one could possibly tell their mom? 😛

 

Our first campfire! Arrowhead Provincial Park 2009. Photography courtesy of Brian Scriver

 

This message was brought to you by  Rick Denham Photography, Captivate Bridal Cinema, and WeddingGirl.ca

A ‘Couple’ of Nuts – In a Nutshell

If you couldn’t tell from the punny headline (Jackson loves puns – he’s a pretty punny guy), this post is designed to kind of graze the surface of who we are as a couple.

Our first date was March 19, 2009 (as for how that date came to happen… well, we’ll leave that story for a another day).

Loretta: I remember Jackson did his hilarious Mike Tyson impression which to this day still makes me laugh. I remember thinking this guy is nice, he’s polite, funny, and good-looking. That’s it! I decided I like him – actually, I super liked him. I decided right then I was keeping him! I remember him leaving that night and a funny awkward moment at the door…

Jackson: I remember thinking ‘dayyyyyom, this girl has got it goin’ on!’ But not only is she smokin’ – she’s very intelligent and articulate and has a great sense of humour. This girl is definitely here to stay. I knew that it wasn’t just a coincidence that Mr. Deeds was on the TV that night, as we had already talked about our love for Adam Sandler movies prior to our first date. As for the awkward door moment… I’m from a small town, we never lock the door behind us when we come in. Apparently after a date in the ghetto, you have to unlock the door before you try to open it and walk out. So much for a smooth exit.

Reflecting on the past 3 years that we have been together, there have been so many amazing things, wonderful milestones and memories along the way. Here’s a few we thought of today (in no particular order):

– We both graduated university once (with both of us set to graduate again once we are married)

– Became an aunt and an uncle for the first time to a niece, miss Isabella, just known as Bean (from Loretta’s brother Drew and Jho), and our nephew Jack (from Jackson’s sister Penny and Jeremy)

– Moved in together (and out of Loretta’s apartment in the Ghetto) although we still live in EOA its now a cute little house that we rent. We haven’t heard of any drive-by’s or murder suicides at our new place!
 
– Shared in sorrow, losing Loretta’s grandmother just recently
 
– Triumphed in good times
 
– Brought a new puppy home, who is no longer a pup but still thinks he is. At a whopping 85lbs, he gives us both a run for our money.
 
– Vacationed, camped, had barbecues and bonfires
 
– Watched too many ‘say yes to the dress’ wedding dress shows on TLC (Jackson says: “emphasize ‘too many,’ and it wasn’t just ‘shows’ it was marathons!) and a million hockey games (I’m sure there will be a million more). Jackson: I sincerely apologize to Loretta for this. I have been in the most inconsolable state that she’s ever seen me in during hockey games when my team is losing, and let’s just say that my team hasn’t been doing well this season… And no, I am not a Leafs fan! Go Habs Go!
 
– Enjoyed our love for art by visiting the AGO, the ballet, even comedy shows (I would have loved for Gerry Dee to be my teacher growing up)
 
– Most of all we have been 100% in love since that very first dateImage
 

Shout outs to Rick at Rick Denham Photography, Jay at Captivate Bridal Cinema, and Mary at WeddingGirl.ca