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Photo by Kyle Hamilton
This August will mark Fernie’s Wapiti Music Festival’s first anniversary. But another special party happened in Annex Park last August too. Another awesome celebration. And I mean “awesome” in both the, “like, totally epic, man,” and the, “inspiring reverential awe,” senses of the word. The celebration continued with a backyard gathering, where the greatest people I know played ladder-ball and washer-toss around a canoe full of beer. Afterward, the celebration continued at Fernie’s Clubhouse, where the crowd danced their legs off to Shred Kelly. Everyone, including the band, proceeded to dress up with costumes from a full tickle trunk. Reverentially epic, man. The day turned out just as hoped: special, relaxed, and comfortable. The day… was our wedding day.
This month, in addition to celebrating our first wedding anniversary, my partner Annie and I also celebrate ten years as a couple. Ten years ago we met as counsellors at a Tim Horton Children’s Camp in Nova Scotia. Ten years. Having been together for ten years, I did not think marriage would change us. I was excited for friends and family and fun, but minus the official piece of paper, I already felt married. I expected to wake up the next morning feeling the same.
I was wrong. We did change.
I do not mean we became, “one person.” Anyone who knows us knows we are different people. In my vows, I gave Annie a pair of brown and turquoise earrings, our favourite colours. Yes, my favourite colour is brown. I spoke about how the colours represent us. She is the fun and cheery turquoise, fitting so much life into every moment. I am the grounded (sometimes boring) brown. Even for our anniversary day, we will disagree. I will want to stay in and do something special but quiet. She will want to go out and do something loud and crazy. We are one couple, but we are different people.
Before the wedding, we were a couple. A strong, loving couple (most days), but a couple nonetheless. Now, we are a family. We don’t have kids, but we are a family, a family of two (Annie would say three, because she would count Lexi, our Labrador Retriever). Annie and I each came from our own lives, from our own friends and our own families. On our wedding day, those two worlds met and blended, and a new family was born. Our family. My family. Her family. She is no longer my girlfriend, or my partner – she is my wife. I am her husband.
Our wedding day was awesome, one of my favourite days ever. Surrounded by family and friends, we danced all night to Shred Kelly. But it was only one day. If it rained, or if the canoe broke, or if Shred Kelly forgot to show up, we would still be a family. I would still wake up the next day, excited to call Annie, “wife”. A wedding day is 24 hours long; a marriage is for life. We made a commitment in front of people we love, to living our lives together. And I’m looking forward to a lifetime with my wife.
Happy Anniversary, Turquoise.