"But there was nothing about the little, low-rambling, more or less identical homes of Northumberland Estates to interest or to haunt, no chance of loot that would be any more than the ordinary, waking-world kind the cops hauled you in for taking; no
small immunities, no possibilities for hidden life or otherworldly presence; no trees, secret routes, shortcuts, culverts, thickets that could be made hollow in the middle – everything in the place was right out in the open, everything could be seen at a glance; and behind it, under it, around the corners of its houses and down the safe, gentle curves of its streets, you came back, you kept coming back, to nothing; nothing but the cheerless earth."
Thomas Pynchon, "The Secret Integration"
This is Ian Mathers' Tumblr. I live in Canada. I've written about music and other things for Stylus, PopMatters, Resident Advisor, the Village Voice, and a few other places. Hi.
The first time I ever came to visit Canada was a few years ago on Canada Day itself. I was really anxious about meeting Ian’s family and friends, annoying the crap out of my flight seat mate by shaking my leg for the whole trip. Ian and his dad picked me up from the airport and I felt a little more at ease but still internally freaking out for the most part that I was going to meet the rest of his family the next day. That night, Ian’s best friend Julia made me a beautiful turkey dinner (yes, in July) with help from their good friends Lauren and Charlotte to welcome me to Canada; I felt like I was at home with my friends and I could feel how much they loved Ian. Instead of being the kind of people to be wary of this person their good friend was in love with, they welcomed me with open arms. I have rarely felt as comfortable with new friends as quickly as I did with Lauren and Charlotte, primarily because they seemed so comfortable together, at ease and just so generous with their time and kindness.
We were so thrilled when they got engaged last year and I was so glad to be in Canada last year for their engagement party. When they asked me to not only come to their wedding but to be their stylist for the big day, I was so honored; thank god immigration made it so I got here in time! Much like our big day almost two years ago, Lauren and Charlotte were so calm and at peace when their wedding day rolled around. I headed over to their house to help them and Julia get ready and Lauren was the picture of calmness, much like Ian was on our wedding day; Charlotte had a bit more nerves which I could definitely relate to. Not because of the idea of getting married, of course, but just because you want everything to go so perfectly. Helping them all get ready was a pleasure, there’s nothing I love more than helping people feel beautiful on this kind of day. And I got Julia to not only wear but love how she looked in a bright lip which is obviously my main mission in life.
The ceremony and reception were at the Belwood Lake Conservation Area, specifically in Hampton Barn which overlooks a beautiful wooded area and lake. Lauren and Charlotte spent a year thrifting for all the vintage floral plates they used and it looked darling with the bunting and handpainted signs done by their good friend. The ceremony was outside in a grassy area and was short and sweet but lovely. The clouds had looked threatening all day but the light misting rain we got didn’t start until the ceremony was over thank goodness. We quickly took photos and headed inside the barn; lawn games would have to wait till brunch the next day.
Their wedding had so many touches that were just lovely and personal. In order to find your table number, you had to find your photo on this table covered with frames and it would reveal your number on the back. Everyone got to take their photos home too which is such a nice way to always think of the day as well as Lauren and Charlotte. I love how they included their friends and family in every part of the overall design from having me do hair and makeup to their friend who designed the invites and signs to their friend who brews beer providing two delicious beers including a brown ale (“Where the Mild Things Are” it was called) and a hefeweizen that was so, so good; Ian was shocked because he’s not normally a wheaty beer lover. The other beer they had came from a small local brewery called Royal City which had a tasting just the night before the wedding that Ian and I attended. I’m in love with the Morning Stout which has coffee and oatmeal flavors in it.
They had this amazing First Nations food truck do the food and appetizers did not disappoint: asparagus wrapped in wild boar bacon, venison meatballs with a blueberry reduction, and rice paper rolls. All the local Ontario flavors were incredible and the food design was surprising but also just so right once you tasted it. Dinner didn’t disappoint either with deconstructed Indian tacos (fry bread with chili and vegetables and basil creme fraiche), bison sliders with caramelized onions and cheddar on beer/onion/cheddar buns, and heirloom tomato and cucumber salad. I wanted to eat a billion more bison sliders but I knew I’d explode.
I’m a sucker for speeches at weddings. It’s the main reason Ian and I are planning on having a belated wedding reception/anniversary party next year; there’s just something so wonderful about having the people you care about so much telling funny and embarrassing and loving stories about you. I teared up a bit during some of the speeches because I’m generally a crier and because there was just such a beautiful feeling in the room of togetherness and love for these two awesome people. Lauren and Charlotte took such a personal interest in putting together this beautiful day for everyone and their speech definitely made me tear up; I full on started crying when they thanked me for helping with their styling. I told you, I’m a crier.
The night finished with coffee from the lovely coffee truck parked outside the barn (what a great idea!), cupcakes that literally shocked me and Ian, like shocked us out of our previous beliefs about cupcakes (FILLED WITH CARAMEL), and dancing to tons of great music but specifically Faded by Soul Decision which just confirmed how much I am meant to live in Canada due to my shameless love for it. In fact, I danced so aggressively to it that I unbuttoned Ian’s shirt with my shoulder somehow. This day would have been enough to be the most perfect wedding ever but then they hosted us all at the barn the next day for brunch where we ate peanut butter & jelly muffins, sausage rolls the size of my damn head from Eric the Baker, and a rosé/orange juice combination Ian created that was shockingly delicious. Lawn games were on thankfully and we had a great game of croquet in which I not only beat Ian but came in third overall so not bad for someone who hasn’t played since she was six. I think I’d like to get a croquet set so I can play in High Park with friends and also have a picnic with cheese and wine. Any takers?
It was a beautiful weekend and Ian and I are so happy we were able to be a part of Lauren and Charlotte’s day. They are honestly one of the most meant couples I’ve ever met and I’m so excited to see and be a part of the rest of their beautiful life together. Also, the weekend has kind of led to Ian and I beginning to think more seriously about our own belated wedding reception/anniversary party but narrowing down a date/place at the very least: Ontario, November 2015, get ready!
I worry that Anaïs is making me too lazy to write up stuff we do together, but she does it so well! It was also lovely that we were able to stay with my brother and his family this weekend, including having breakfast with my mother when she came to pick up my niece for a weekend together (I had a smoked salmon and goat cheese omelette and if financial and nutritional concerns didn’t prevent it I’d have one of those most mornings). While Anaïs was doing hair and makeup before the wedding I got to hang out with Ben and watch (most of) a charming South Korean movie called The Thieves (think the Ocean’s # series, but less predictable, at least to our sensibilities). I had to leave before the last series of twists, and he tells me it went to some interesting places, so hopefully Anaïs and I can find time to watch it soon.
It was a really great weekend for a lot of reasons, chief among them this great wedding and seeing my friends so happy. We’ve got a number of social things going on this week, but thankfully the weekend is mostly free (and when not free, doesn’t involve quite so much travel), so we might just spend the whole time napping.