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Published in: on November 12, 2009 at 8:45  Leave a Comment  

Hi – I’m Gordon, welcome to my blog!

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This is my first post and I’ve decided that doing a commentary on Catherine’s, and my son Martin’s wedding, with photos, would be a good way to start. The wedding was great and the entire five days of celebration an adventure. The photo on the right is of Martin and Catherine, the soon to be bride and groom. It was taken at their engagement party in Ottawa a few months before the wedding.

I spent a good part of four years in Winnipeg–between 1950 and 1954– as  a dancer with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. I left in ’54, to try my luck in England. I worked in England and on the continent for ten years and then traveled on to South Africa; where I spent the next 13 year. I worked in and out of the theater while there. I met my wife, Janet, when we were both employed at a theater/restaurant. Our two sons, Martin and Dominic, were born in Johannesburg, as were my stepsons, Simon and Jonathan. In 1976, I returned to Canada with my new family.

The above short bio must wait for later clarification (maybe) for we must now, on to the ‘Saga-of-the-Wedding’, go.

Published in: on March 23, 2009 at 8:45  Leave a Comment  

Beginning at the Beginning

Five days before the wedding, we, that is Janet and I, flew from Comox on Vancouver Island to Calgary, Alberta, then, after a short stop on the tarmac, carried on to Winnipeg, the largest city in Manitoba, located almost dead center of Canada. There we were met by Martin, and whisked off to our hotel, The Radisson. We learned from him that most of the guests would be staying there. (Below is a night time shot of downtown Winnipeg as seen from the hotel). After arranging to meet Martin and Catherine, and her parents, in the hotel dining room for dinner, he left us to get ourselves settled.A couple of hours later we finally met Catherine’s mother and father; our new in-laws–Laurie and Bill Chochinov. They had arrived earlier, from Ottawa–Canada’s capital. With them living at the opposite end of the country from us it was going to make stopping in for a chat of an afternoon quite difficult. Brushing that problem aside, we went on to have a memorable dinner; and an excellent opportunity to get to know each other. And we did, finding that both families had chosen well! It was a lovely evening.

Published in: on March 23, 2009 at 8:45  Leave a Comment  

Friday – The non-stop activity begins

Breakfast over, Dominic, Martin’s brother–our youngest son–and I set off together to find Moores, a men’s outfitters. We were to have the final fitting of our tuxedos. Dominic and I had the original fittings in Nanaimo, a city about an hours drive south from Comox.  All the different Moores locations, in Canada and the States, wherever the tuxedoes had been first fitted, had shipped them off to Winnipeg for the wedding. Dominic’s and mine, from Nanaimo; Simon’s, from Victoria; Michael’s, (Catherine’s brother) and his father’s, from Ottawa, and Jonathan’s, from Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A. n610906420_1376945_49471Simon and Martin had gone to organize their’s earlier in the day. Here you see him all dolled up and looking elegant as he primps in front of the mirror at the outfitters I should have asked him what he was thinking at that moment. The walk down the aisle, perhaps.n610906420_1376948_58351 And for the fun of it here’s a shot of  Simon and him taken a short while later, divested of their tuxes, shopping for odds and ends needed for the wedding and the gathering of the clans;  a much anticipated introductory event; n610906420_1376946_5237 being  held at Martin and Catherine’s apartment later that evening.

Published in: on March 23, 2009 at 8:45  Leave a Comment  

Family Meets Family

The happy couple!

The happy couple!

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Carol & Dominic - expertise shared!

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First of many great displays!

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  • Marty with his Mom and Dad
  • The Friday evening get together had the Chochinov’s meeting the Wales’ and vice versa! All’s well, we got along famously; as I knew we would.

    Martin and Shane

    Martin and Shane

    My inability to remember names took a beating, fortunately Janet has a gift for retaining names. Anyway I take comfort in the knowledge that I’m not alone in that department. I’ve found the best way to answer this problem is with a different take on an old adage: If at first you don’t succeed, ask, ask again! Everyone got along famously from the get go, and we had a wonderful evening. Well, when you meet a ‘Lady of Laughter’ such as Catherine’s aunt Carol you have to know the party will be filled with good humor and warmth. What was so great for our family was that the four boy’s, our sons, were  in the same room and together for the first time in 8 years! Too long apart, too long!  They, of course, had a terrific time gabbing about everything that’s happened to them over those years, and there respective attitudes to the changes in their lives likes, dislikes, involvements etc., etc. They talked the proverbial hind leg off many a donkey; in other words, they had a ball. (Enough with the cliches!) To see them bonding again as though hardly any time had gone by was heartwarming; and for Janet and I to have them around us (en masse, so to speak), was a joy in itself. We certainly are blessed; they’re great guys!

    Brie, Dominic, Janet and Martin

    Brie, Dom and Marty with Mom

    Outside of David (a.k.a Luke) Mann, arriving from Los Angeles, the arrival of Janet’s brother, David Emanuel, was the corker. That he came all the way from South Africa to attend the wedding was not only a great and special pleasure for all of us, it was for Martin a knock out thrill. His Uncle had made the long trip (20 some hours altogether) to be in Winnipeg to see his nephew wed his great love.

    David, Janet & Martin
    David with his sister and nephew

    David got along beautifully with everyone, and was a wonderful addition to the Wales’ wedding party.

    David, Martha, me, Brie & Dom

    David, Martha, me, Brie & Dom

    The inability of other members of the family and dear friends to attend–distance and time keeping them away–was totally understood; but their presence, in spirit, was acknowledged by all. The evening, of course, was Friday–the Jewish Sabbath–and everyone joined in to share in the blessing ceremony performed each Friday evening before the meal. Jonathan recited the one for the wine and bread, and Catherine the one for the lighting of the Shabbat [sic] candles.   The tradition of this ceremony is thousands of years old; and it was especially moving to be celebrating it with our new extended family.

    Sarah, Catherine & Deborah

    Sara, Catherine & Deborah

    Bill, Laurie, Sophie and Michael

    Bill, Laurie, Sophie and Michael

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    Catherine blessing the Shabbat candles

    All in in all it was a great evening: the wine flowed, the food was delicious; and the blending of the families was all that was hoped for. Catherine and Martin were congratulated over and over again for their first-rate planning. I certainly echo that. Although I’ve gone on about family and all it would appear that I had forgotten the many friends of the bride and groom, who were such an important part of the happy group. Shane, Martin’s friend of many years had come from Victoria to be there for his chum, as was Alex, a new friend since his arrival in Winnipeg. Catherine’s girl friend’s, Sara, Deborah and Naomi, lent their beauty, humor and assistance, (along with others not pictured here. Sorry!) in helping to put the evenings get together, together. Deborah–who is studying to be a Rabbi–flew in from New York to be with Catherine and to assist at the upcoming wedding.

    Jonathan blessing the bread & wine (Simon watches)

    Jonathan blessing the bread & wine (Simon watches)

    Published in: on March 22, 2009 at 8:45  Leave a Comment  

    Friday – Wedding Rehearsal

    After a relaxed breakfast with David at the hotel we taxied to the Synagogue, an impressive building, located on the south side of the Winnipeg river. I was about to attend my  first Jewish wedding! I know, I know, it was only the rehearsal, and the real thing wouldn’t be for a couple of days; but there was a sense of excitement and firstness (!) in it for this Goy. We entered into the lower section of the Synagogue through a door at the rear of the building, followed the hallway leading from it, and found ourselves in an attractive foyer. Paintings, reproductions and photographs lined the walls, beneath them comfortable arm chairs, sofas and various other sitting arrangements. Opening from the hallway and foyer were other rooms of varying sizes; and each obviously having a different function.

    Marin, Dominic & Me in the Synagogue foyer

    Martin, Dominic & me in the Synagogue foyer

    Martin was in the foyer, handing out neat red yarmulkes to all the men: it was expected that we would keep our heads covered while we were in the building. All the fellows in the wedding party: best man; groom’s men; fathers; pole bearers etc., wore red yarmulkes. Martin sported a white one–naturally, after all he was the groom! More of these red skull caps were laid out on a table by the entrance, available for any man in need of one. Many were, as can be seen in the audience photos: red domes popping up all over the Synagogue.

    A flight of stairs led up from the foyer directly into the main entrance of the Synagogue, across from which were four glass doors leading into the Synagogue proper. This area was the foyer for the main part of the Synagogue, a much larger gathering area than the one we had been in downstairs. We were to rehearse here as it was where we would gather and wait to begin the wedding procession on Sunday afternoon. It was also where we would find ourselves Sunday morning, garbed in our finest, poised and ready to be photographed for the wedding photos.  A large dedication mural attached to a wall on the left side of the foyer held dozens of small brass plaques with the names of the dedicatees. As I stood studying it Catherine came over to show me where her plaque was –well nearly, we were called on to begin rehearsing before we finished our search.

    Catherine and me at the Dedication plaque.

    Catherine and me at the Dedication plaque.

    A hallway to the right of the mural showed a glimpse of a large room where, we were informed, the post wedding reception would be held. Though much humorous  banter was voiced during the rehearsal it became quite tiring–no, not the banter– especially for the older participants. (Older! Who you talkin ’bout?) It lasted about 2 hours, with a lot of going in and out of the Synagogue’s wood framed, glass doors.

    The Doors

    The Doors

    Formed into various sized groups we paraded back and forth through these  doors for most of the 2 hours. Through the doors, into the auditorium, down the aisle, up the stairs of the dais, back to the foyer, auditorium, aisle, up the stairs, back to the foyer, auditorium, aisle, up the stairs, back to the foyer, time after time after time, until eventually we got it right. The Rabbi was finally satisfied with our efforts and confident there would be no disastrous errors made when we passed through those same  doors in a couple of days. The entrances of each group of participants, those representing either the bride or the groom, or the brides parent’s and the grooms, the entire procession, was timed to recorded music. Each group or person had to attempt to make their entrance coincide with the right spot in the music, so that the last footstep and the the music would end together. The pole bearers, Simon, Dominic, Jonathan and Michael entered first. When they arrived at the bimah, (a platform in a synagogue holding the reading table used when chanting or reading portions of the Torah and the Prophets), each grasped a pole of the chuppah, (chuppah literally means a canopy or a covering, it symbolizes the home the couple would build together), then moving apart to preset positions, raised the canopy over the ceremony area. Then came the cantor, the rabbi, and the rest of the procession, following in rehearsed order. Chris Cowley, the best man, had not arrived from Victoria as yet, nor had Jonathan from Baltimore–they would receive a quick lesson on their positioning in the procession, and where they would stand on the bimah, before the actual ceremony on Sunday.

    Martin supervising (?) the Chuppa

    Martin supervising (?) the Chuppa

    My newly acquired knee replacement was really complaining by the time the rehearsal was finished, and I was leaning rather heavily on my cane. Janet was also feeling the painful effects of the long standing: walking up and down the aisle of the Synagogue; climbing up and down the stairs onto the dais. What a relief when everyone, echoing the Rabbi, agreed that all was tickety-boo, and any errors that might occur would be forgiven by the guests at the ceremony. I doubt very much there were any errors; or if there were, no one noticed.

    Published in: on March 22, 2009 at 8:45  Leave a Comment  

    Saturday – Synagogue & Dinner

    The morning after the great get together at Martin & Catherine’s we were off to Shule, (i.e Synagogue or Temple). Only a few of the wedding party were there; many of us not quite sure what the gathering was about. It was my first attendance at a Synagogue, and I was looking forward to it with great interest. When the Rabbi beckoned Martin and Catherine to join him on the bimah we soon learned we had gathered there to witness an “auf ruf”, literally a ‘calling up’; a strong custom–particularly among conservative Jews–“bordering” on an institution. It is perhaps an important option; for it enables the family of the groom–assuming that the wedding is being held in the bride’s synagogue–to invite many of their friends to a service and kiddush (i.e.sanctification),whom they cannot invite to the actual wedding. Often these auf ruf guests can include the bride’s family, and guests who won’t be invited to the wedding.

    Auf-ruf is a Yiddish term, taken from German, which means “to be called up.” Auf Ruf is generally an Ashkenazi or European custom in which a groom – or both the groom and bride in egalitarian congregations – is called up to the Torah (aliyah l’Torah) during a worship service when the Torah scroll is being read as an honor before the wedding. After the Torah reading, a blessing (berakha) known as a MiSheBerakh is recited in which members of the congregation ask for God’s blessings for the bride and groom on their forthcoming marriage and life together as husband and wife. This auf-ruf generally occurs the Sabbath morning before the wedding or perhaps the week in advance.

    In the Sefardi tradition, on the Sabbath following the wedding, the couple comes to the synagogue for Shabbat Chatan (groom) and once again the families have an opportunity to wish the bride and groom well with the recitation of a MiSheBerakh blessing”.

    But first we sat through a young Jewish girl’s Bat Mitzvah, a solemn ceremony–chiefly among Reform and Conservative Jews–that is held in the synagogue on Friday night or Saturday morning to admit formally, as an adult member of the Jewish community, a girl 12 to 13 years old.

    The Bat Mitzvah  involved most of the service that morning. The auf-ruf was over in less than half and hour; certainly of an equally solemn nature as the young girls;  but like her’s, also a time of great joy. Of course, for myself and others who had never attended any kind of activity in a Synagogue, it was quite fascinating, and edifying.

    Those who could, took advantage of the ‘day of rest’; and after lunch napped, strolled, shopped, or attended to all the last minute items needing  to be taken care of before the wedding. The ladies–treated to manicures by Catherine–went off to have their hands prettified; and those men who had not as yet finalized their tux fittings made their way to the outfitters for a final tuck here and there; then, the finished product tucked under their arms,they headed back to their respective hotels, or as in Simon’s case, to his B&B. As the time grew near, and with everyone looking spiffy, we arrived at the dining room in the Raddison Hotel, for another ‘special occassion’.

    Catherine & Shane

    Catherine & Shane

    Grandpa (Catherine’s grandfather, Bob Levenstein) hosted the lavish dinner for the two families and their close friends; and I must say, it was a wonderful evening, made more wonderful as our four boys were together again.

    The four 'boys'!

    The four boys!

    How they went on, chatting away, hardly letting a word from each other squeeze through as they reviewed the years that had flown by; and how those years had treated them. They were a joy, everyone was taken by the camaraderie that flowed between them and it was easy to tell–by the amused glances and positive vibes coming from the guests–that there is a lot of warmth and love in the Wales and Katz families. People they met found their humor and laughter infectious; and in no way offensive. These guys know how to have fun without disturbing anyone’s equilibrium.

    Janet & her boys!

    Janet & her boys!

    For Janet it was a moment that she had longed for; and now had arrived.

    ASSORTED PARTY PHOTOS

    Every event (everything was so well managed and catered that I must use the word event), was a party; and like the terrific spread laid out at Martin’s and Catherine’s the night before, this too was excellent. These photos hardly do justice to what was presented to us. Here are a few shots of the food served, and the folks who were there.

    There they are!

    There they are!

    Well, there was Luke showing off his painted toe-nails. I had to put that in. I mean! The laden tables; the gourmandizing guests; the happy families and celebrating friends–filled with the pleasure of being a part of it, and in each others company. A building excitement in everyone about THE DAY coming up, filled the air.

    Mike, hard at it!

    Alex, hard at it!

    Uncle David was such a great part of the evening. He is a terrific story teller, and certainly knows how to tell a joke or relate an amusing story. His Canadian family gravitated around him, and their affection for him was most apparent. He loved it, and I know was very moved.

    Photos, photos, photos!

    Martin, Catherine,

    Sara, Catherine, Martin & Shane

    Martin asked everyone who snapped pictures of the different gatherings to send a copy along to him; he had it in mind to create a CD of as many as possible to send to family and friends; that they might remember again, the many wonderful moments that made up the five days of the wedding.

    Chocolate coated Sunflower seeds!

    Chocolate coated Sunflower seeds!

    The 'boys' - A handsome lot!

    The 'boys' - A handsome group.

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    Grandpa & Marsha

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    Carol and many more. Bon Appettit!

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    Alex, Shane & Michael Sheridan

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    Coffee anyone?

    I’ll include a few so you can get an idea of the fun time it was. (Over a thousand photos ended up in Martin’s computer! Oy!

    Martin and Debora

    Martin and Debora!

    Published in: on March 22, 2009 at 8:45  Leave a Comment  

    THE DAY ARRIVES

    It has come at last! The months of planning, preparing, and arranging: venue; catering; guest lists; hotels and other accommodations; flowers, etc., etc., etc., are past, the great day, the memorable moment has arrived! April 13th, 2008! A day to live in memories; and packed photo albums, 2825941046_345ffb52c1_o4where, a crushed flower or two, an invitation or silver bow, all carefully saved and tucked between the pages, wait for perusal in quiet times to come. Saved also for the future children and grandchildren to wonderingly pore over; including this marvelous shot of Martin shortly after rising on that special morning.

    Yep, Martin, today's the day!

    Yep, Martin, today

    I’m not sure if he’s dazed or trying to comprehend the amazing truth–the the day has actually arrived! After a quiet  breakfast at the hotel with Alex, he gathers his strength, girds his loins (that sounds ominous), and journeys forth.

    A helping hand

    A helping hand

    Catherine–her handmaiden’s in attendance–waits in delicious anticipation of being primped, pampered and pompadoured in a manner proper for her presentation. For soon she will step solemnly down the aisle, her stunning gown flowing around her, a beautiful bride ready to hold out her hand and. . . . . BUT the wedding is not until 2 p.m.,

    We're ready!

    We're ready!

    and it is now only 11 a.m., so why the rush? Well, for ‘The Special Photos’! Candid shots of both bride and groom preparing; touching up this and that; a stray thread here; a make-up smudge there, before hurrying out to incorporate some city scenes into the wedding day pictures. Fun shots in an  alley way; imaginative shots in front of an appropriately named shop; shots in a park caught between two seasons–coming out of winter into spring. Fun shots to add to other memories of this special time.

    The final touches

    The final touches

    The best man, the bridesmaid and others were on hand to help the couple enjoy the occasion, as a multitude of pictures were taken.

    Party in the alley!

    Party in the alley!

    Photos of The Day

    Filed under: Uncategorized — ispahan @ 12:48 am Edit This

    A lovely moment taken at the Photo Shoot that morning.

    Martin and Catherine had decided that they would like their wedding photos to begin with the photographer taking pictures of them at different locales in Winnipeg. A great idea and one that led to a lot of fun for the couple and for their wedding group. I’m putting a few of them here for you to enjoy.                           A John Lennon moment!

    Dramatic is it not? Looking towards the future or just looking? The fellows looked great; and their boutonierres were unique and a great choice. Three beautiful ladies.

    This is one of my favorites.  
    A great staging. A picture that is truly worth a thousand words!

    I mean, after all, a girl has to be prepared! Love this 'before the ceremony picture'!

    I mean, after all, a girl has to be prepared! Love this.

    But now the session done, there was just enough time left for a quick lunch; and to prepare for the wedding itself.

    Heading for the Synagogue.

    Heading for the Synagogue.

    The Synagogue, situated on the banks of the Assiniboine River, is an attractive enlargement of the original built many years before when Winnipeg was a much younger city. Amazing to me that I often passed by the old one–when I lived in the city 60 years previously–and now I was entering into it with Janet and our family, to witness the marriage of our son. The future is certainly not ours to see!

    The nervous bride.

    The nervous bride.

    Now, what tingling anticipation (which I might add, was disguised behind nervous smiles, assuring hugs and much smiling and subdued laughter), filled the lower floor of the Synagogue; where we now awaited a call from the Rabbi to tell us the moment had arrived.

    Dom 'n Brie sit patiently.

    Dom 'n Brie sit patiently.

    The nervous groom.

    The nervous groom.

    How orderly yet nervous everyone was; the excitement of the celebration bubbling underneath.

    Even the parents are nervous!

    Even the parents are nervous!

    The Rabbi; a kind and amusing fellow, was totally in charge, filled with solemnity and joyousness so appropriate for the occasion.

    Now it begins!

    Now it begins!

    Published in: on March 22, 2009 at 8:45  Leave a Comment  

    BEFORE THE WEDDING SHOOT

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    Laurie is waiting,

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    Brie and Dominic too.

    Well, well, I find I left out a whole part of the day on Sunday, April 13th; all that happened after the morning shoot. So, and therefore, I shall go back. . . before going on to the wedding again. On arrival at the Synagogue Sunday morning for the ‘FAMILY SHOOT’, we were informed that there would be a bit a delay while the staging area was being prepared.

    The happy couple!

    The happy couple!

    The bride and groom and those who had been in the earlier session took the opportunity now to powder their collective noses: straighten or fluff up suits and gowns; dust shoes; adjust crooked ties; re-arrange bouquets and boutonnierse, and …well…those other necessary etceteras. After the primping and gussying came the wait. People stood singly, or in groups, leaned against walls, or doorways, sank into sofas, plunked themselves on chairs, soft or hard and, for lack of other accommodation; arranged themselves on the stairs leading to the Synagogue. There was excited chatter, whispered gossipings, nervous walkings back and forth from those unable to be still; as well as much checking of watches and stretching of limbs. Everyone seemed involved in doing something; even if the something appeared to be nothing. In actual time it was not a long wait, but any delay from one point to the next seemed endless. Watching the bride and groom, you wondered how much more anxious and nervous they must be. All of us who have been there know the answer to that one.

    Sarah, Deborah and Naomi with the Bride

    Naomi, Deborah and Sara with the Bride

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    Michael, Jonathan, Martin, Dominic, Simon, Chris and Alex kneeling.

    Finally, the Photo Lady sent word that all was ready. Moving with controlled haste, we made our way by stair or elevator to the Synagogue entrance foyer. ‘Mlle Photo Maestro’ had her equipment set up in the large open area the foyer provided, and group by group, large and small, she snapped session after session. The accompanying pictures, taken by that talented young woman, whose expertise orchestrated the posings, are a legacy for all of us who attended and for future generations to come. A lasting record of a truly beautiful wedding, captured by the magic of her camera.

    Published in: on March 21, 2009 at 8:45  Leave a Comment  

    The Photo Shoot – Families and Wedding Party Members

    The pictures from the session with the photographer are more numerous than I can put here, but all were excellent and so well staged. The women beautiful, the men handsome, the parents proud and the bride and groom elegant and composed.2830698157_b9f23c8e06_o1 What more could a photo shoot want? The mixture was superb and the outcome. . . well. . .marvelous! It seems that everyone in that large ensemble were photogenic. Not only were they high cheek-boned and lovely; they were enjoying it immensely. Black and white as the chosen 2830693417_509372d10a_o1theme colour for a wedding might strike most of us as odd; and I was no exception on that point, but the outcome? Striking! I seem to be using the word elegant a great deal, but it seems the best and most proper way to describe the choice of those tones is and can only be elegant! But the touch that brought it all together, the piece de resistance? The shades of rusts and browns, russets and yellows, plum and purples; found in the flowers, and choice of flowers. I am still a bit flabergasted when I look at these photos; they stand out so much by the quality shown in the selection of colour and design. Kudos and more to Martin and Catherine, they certainly knew what they wanted and they hit it right in the bullseye. Now what about the man in the gray suit? How right, how very right that he was included with all the black and white, what is gray but a mixture of black and white. David Emanuel, came from halfway around the 2831527404_95f7a703f7_o2world to be at his nephews wedding. Brother, Uncle and brother-in-law and now a featured player in the photo shoot. 2831530326_19bd0619ee_o1What about that pic wtih his sister Janet? A stand out, knock-out or whatever you want to call it, it’s just plain great! These pictures are such a delight, couplings, doublings, guadrupelings etc., etc., a panorama of top notch wedding pictures, capturing a wonderful and momentous moment in the lives of the Bride and Groom and a precious memory for everyone who was a part of that moment.2830696343_9b1f60b1f1_o

    Published in: on March 21, 2009 at 8:45  Leave a Comment