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It's the hot topic these days. How'd you meet? Well, hopefully this will clear it all up and give you a little background at the same time. At the very least, it will give everyone something to talk about.
Brigitte and I met through a friend and began our mostly "online" relationship on March 6, 2000. Take "online relationship" anyway you want to take it, but basically we were just using technology to our advantage. Basically, the same way people used to write love letters to keep in touch, we wrote love emails. Afterall, Brigitte lived on the east coast of Canada and I lived on the west coast of the United States. Could we be farther apart and still be on the same continent? Well, I'm sure we could, but we did what we needed to do to keep in touch.
Now, I've always been pretty savvy about new technology, but this brought me to a whole new level of expertise. At first Brigitte and I tried talking through AOL Instant Messenger, which allows you to type message to each other in realtime. Unfortunately, you can't really get much emotion out of an instant message and things can be misconstrued quite easily. Hmm.. next came a free Internet to phone service which would allow me to call her from my computer to her telephone, which worked well for a little bit, but eventually my voice would end up breaking up so badly that she wouldn't be able to understand me that we'd both end up on the telephone. So, as the telephone bills got higher and higher, we knew we'd have to find a new way to talk and found that using NetMeeting, we could not only talk to each other in realtime, but could also see each other through the use of webcams. Score!!!
Okay, probably too much technological information for everyone but that was basically our relationship for the year and a half before she finally moved out here. Well, aside from a two week visit in August 2000, and a one week visit in December 2000 and then one more in February 2001.
We have our critics and have heard it all from people that think we are crazy, but we are doing what we feel is right. We've been asked a million times how we can be certain that we'd get along, having only been together for a total of four weeks before Brigitte finally moved out here, and our answer is simple: We dont. It's a chance, sure, but sometimes the only way to find out anything is to take a chance and we were both up for it. We understand that people are concerned for us, but to be honest, it's our lives and we're the ones taking the chance. To those that criticize, we dont need them. To everyone else, we appreciate your support and the happiness you should feel that we found each other and our happiness.

We were engaged on December 31, 2000, the last day of the old millennium, so that on January 1, 2001, we'd start the new millennium off engaged. Kind of like starting the new millennium off on the right foot. It took place in a small restaurant in St. Sauveur Des Monts, Quebec, Canada, and right after we finished our dinner, before dessert. The restaurant was small and cozy, and warm since there was about a foot of snow outside.
Of course, after letting everyone know about it and deciding that October 6th would be our wedding date, the planning began. With only eight months to plan a wedding and Brigitte unable to really be involved, since it would be long distance, we called my mom into action and everyone else we could possibly get help from to get it done. Thank God for my mom.
The first task was finding a wedding dress for Brigitte and doing it long distance. After doing alot of searching, we found an online wedding dress provider that really was our savior. Although we were taking a big chance, we found designer labeled dresses at about 50-70% off the prices you'd pay in stores. And the best part was that it arrived in time for Brigitte's February trip to San Francisco.
With that done, the second big tasks were finding a place for the ceremony and a place for the reception. We knew we wanted an outdoor wedding ceremony, but had no clue where it could be done and how much trouble we'd have to go through to get it to work out. Luckily, we came across the Japanese Tea Garden in San Mateo, after Brigitte mentioned using a japanese tea garden in one of our conversations. The rental was rather inexpensive and would be beautiful for an October wedding. Whew.. one thing down, one more to go.
Finding a place for the reception could have been a daunting task on eight months notice, since most places require a year or so, but luckily a restaurant named the Vans had been suggested by someone and after Brigitte and I ate there we knew we had to have it there. Not only was the restaurant the Japanese Tea House, as a part of the San Francisco Exposition, but with the great food, we knew we couldnt go wrong. It all seemed to fall into place.
Of course, we also called in a million favors, for which we are forever thankful and appreciative. My mom's friends sister-in-law is a florist and provided beautiful flower arrangements to us, and my stepmother's nephew is a DJ, which also helped us out a great deal, along with the Minister she recommended. My mom also made all the favors and provided a ton of support in getting everything organized. Everyone's help is greatly appreciated.
Brigitte flew in at the end of September just weeks before the wedding and just in time to help out with the final details of the wedding. [Because she's from Canada, we had to deal with alot of INS issues, which held us up - the reason she arrived only two weeks before the wedding. We were sweating bullets, literally.]
Also, I should add that up to the last minute we didnt have a photographer, and I ended up finding one online just two weeks before the wedding happened. He ended up turning out to be awesome.

Well, October 6th finally came and it was one of the best days of our lives. Brigitte had spend the night at my mom's house because of an early hair appointment - 7AM. They'd be busy the morning of the wedding getting their hair and makeup on, while I'd also be waking up early to leisurely wake up and have a hearty breakfast, which Brigitte's 14 year old brother, Nicholas, made for me early that morning.
Around 9AM, my best man, my groomsman, Nicholas and I headed out to the garden to greet people and to wait for the show to begin. Well, we ended up being the first one's there, aside from the photographer, who had arrived about ten minutes before us to set up. We began the process of getting things ready and finding out about the chairs that should have been setup, while the family and friends began to arrive.
The ceremony was really great. The minister was someone that my stepmother had suggested and she was really a doll. We'd only met the minister the weekend before at the rehearsal, but she really had a great personality and we immediately knew we'd made a great choice. As with all ceremonies, or at least we like to think so, we had our share of goof ups... of course, that's what makes them memorable. I couldnt remember half the lines that the minister was feeding me when it came time to repeat them. I like to think that she was giving me too many syllables at one bite, but for some reason Brigitte didnt seem to have the same problem, so maybe it's something else. Of course, I wasnt the only one to screw up. Brigitte put my ring on the wrong hand, which I knew was wrong when she was putting it on, but didnt want to make it into a big deal during the ceremony, so I let it go until we were done. We also had a minor issue with the music, but none of that really mattered much, since the point of being there was that we were getting married in front of those people that meant the most to us, minus a few that we really wanted to have there, like Brigitte's parents.
As you'll see by the photographs, the day was perfect for taking pictures, although a little on the cold side for having a wedding outdoors. It also seemed like people had a fun time dancing at the reception later on, and the food was wonderful.
Overall, we couldn't have asked for a more spectacular wedding, planned as a group effort. And although it was a headache most of the time, the end result proved it to be well worth it.
There are a few people we wanted to thank for all their help and so we hope they'll see it here:
Sydney: My mom couldnt have a better friend to help her get through this. You've always been there through the years when we needed you most and thank you from the bottom of our hearts. I dont think I know anyone more giving and willing to jump right in when help is needed. We just wanted you to know how much we appreciate everything you've done to help us with the wedding, as well as everything you've ever done in the past. We love you.
Carole and Jim: Taking care of video and pictures was a great help to us during the ceremony and reception. The video let us relive some of the funnier moments of the day. Also, the photos were wonderful and you guys were great for making copies for everyone and sending them out. Thanks so much for all your help and giving us memories we'll cherish forever.
Lynne and Chuck: You guys really came through for us when we needed it. The cost of the reception alone helped us use our money for other things, and Lynne, your suggestion to use both Twyla and Terry was right on. They were awesome and you were awesome for your willingness to help us out when we needed it. We appreciate everything you guys did to make this the success it was.
Dani: Thank you so much for all your help with the wedding, the bridal party and all the little things you bought to make our day so special. I know you bought alot of the little things like the knife and server, the little cameras, the wine glasses and a bunch of other things and they really did make the event so much nicer. I couldnt have asked for a better sister and really do appreciate everything you did for me and to help make Brigitte feel welcomed. We both thank you very much.
Mom: Well, where do I begin. I guess I could start by saying that you might go get some Kleenex right away because even if I just say thank you, you'll start crying, but I've got pages I could say instead. From the beginning, its always been the three of us making it work the only way we knew how. We've had our good times and bad, our hard times and easier times, but somehow we always stuck together. I know it wasnt always easy having to raise two kids by yourself but somehow you did it and because of you we turned out to be good people. I wanted to thank you for everything you did to put this wedding together, but more importantly to thank you for everything you've done in my life. I only hope that I can do as terrific a job at raising my kids as you did with us. Brigitte and I both thank you for everything you've done and continue to do.
Everyone else: We thank you for helping and supporting us during this transition in our lives. We are thoroughly enjoying our lives together and are happy we could share this exciting day with you.