* The photos in this blog post are from the lovely Jorja Coral Photography.
In just a few short cold winter days, 2020’s sun will set one last time and though I want to spit on, blow up and bury this god-forsaken year as much as anyone else, I know that the struggles of the year don’t end with that sunset or when the ball drops that midnight. No, even when the time comes to step into the world, now protected by a vaccine that, amazingly, has taught our bodies to fight and survive the bane of our 2020 days, cleaning up the chaos and destruction surrounding us and rebuilding our lives and our business and our hope and our trust in humanity will certainly be an arduous and tedious task. I don’t have any solutions to offer you, but I did discover this year the healing power of celebrating especially in the face of struggle and darkness.
This year brought our ten year wedding anniversary and my thirtieth birthday. At the end of 2019, I looked at the year ahead with glee at the potential celebrations that awaited us. I started planning our vow renewal, dreaming about the food and decorations that would fill our home. I mused about the ways I wanted to bring in my thirtieth year of life, the indulgences I’d claim for a truly unforgettable night with friends. But as those dates neared it became more and more apparent that my plans were not to be. Months of loss work and profit made money too tight for the decorations and food and indulgences I’d dreamt up. With restrictions and the fear of spreading a deadly virus looming over us, our vow renewal guestlist shrunk and shrunk, and so did our plans which we trimmed to fit a new budget.
There were moments when I hesitated and reconsidered, almost canceling the plans altogether, but in the end, I knew I needed this celebration, especially this year. I needed to reminisce about these ten years, enjoy good food and wine, and surround myself with beautiful things and people and moments. I needed to defy the sadness, anxiety, and hardship this year had brought, to practice finding joy in their midst, to prove to them that I was still alive.
So we made our plans; we filled our house with flowers, we ordered our favourite dishes and more than enough wine for our table of six. I dressed in white and wrote new vows. I hired a photographer to capture a small and lovely celebration in our home. We cleaned the house and the dogs and even made a special “flower cat” basket for our fierce and stubborn feline. We played a suitable song as Lacy rushed me down the stairs to Ben and Brie waiting in our living room by the mantle under a giant metal.
Our table was set for six of us, with white fabric and a garland of greenery running down the middle speckled with pink and white flowers. New flatware and dinnerware created our tablescape (because there were so few of us, we opted to purchase rather than rent). I made stained glass keepsakes as favours for our four guests.
Ben and I exchanged the vows we’d finished writing just hours before, so different from those we shared on our wedding day ten years ago and I realized that we managed to become more in love with each other than we were on that day in 2010. And that was worth celebrating, even during a pandemic. Celebrating was different and it didn’t chase the anxiety and sadness away, but it was a bright spot in an otherwise dark few months. I recommend finding ways to celebrate, to celebrate even the seemingly “small” things because a bunch of little bright spots can really make a difference.
Photography by Jorja Coral Photography | White gown from Hush Collection and alterations by Sewrenity Creations | Blue suit from RW&Co | Christina's hair by Carly Alary Hair and makeup by Karla Chin Artistry | Ben's hair by Bless the Barber | Flowers from Costco and designed by Christina | Flatware and Dinnerware from Ikea | Stained glass favours by Christina W. Kroeker Creative | Necklace from Luna and Stone |