This blog post isn’t about Vancouver or Canada, as we’ve been here several times before, it’s about two of our close friends coming together in holy matrimony. Or as the invite called it, a Fete of Mutual Fidelity and Affection. So for some of you it’s gonna bore the pants off you. You’ve been warned.
After a three hour stopover in San Salvador where we discovered it’s acceptable to fly with buckets full of Pollo Campero (Central America’s answer to KFC) but not a bottle of duty free Pisco, we had every single microscopic piece of baggage searched by three Customs officers in a four hour stopover in LAX, then finished off with a two hour wait (again) at Vancouver Customs (the world’s worst, trust us we’ve done this more than three times). After trying to decide if we were drug smugglers or just insane, they let us go after a five minute chat and The Groom was finally able to greet us as we walked through the arrivals gate.
Whisked away from YVR to Main Street in downtown Vancouver, the first and only thing on our minds is a visit to the bottle shop for the necessities, Canadian craft beer. Grabbing some session IPAs, hoppier IPA’s and some other random ones, we were like kids in a malt, barley and hop filled candy store.
Waking the next day in the grooms parent’s house, an ex-Burkina Faso embassy, it was good to see familiar faces. Having stayed here many times it’s now become our Vancouver home, which we love, and the smell of the aged timber featured in the period house gets us every time. A smashing breakfast and we’re off with Kyle (the groom) to run some errands, the most imperative being to collect the kegs for the wedding from Four Winds Brewery in Delta.
A drive through the manure stained landscape, the fresh scent of shit stuffing the nostrils, we soon arrive to the small taproom attached to the brewery. Sitting down to a couple of pints whilst the kegs are being sorted, we tried some West Coast IPA’s and an Oat Porter with some salty beer sausages on the side.
Our surrogate Vancouver family are so caring and giving we always spend our time putting on the pounds, due to David’s mad cooking and Mindy’s hospitality, along with inevitably getting schooled by their 7 year old son Jackson (smartest kid ever). So generous they are that we even ended up with the MG for the 4 days to ‘cruise around in’.
That night they’d prepared a feast for guests invited to the wedding the next day. Like we’ve said these guys don’t disappoint, and along with fantastic food there’s always great wines to choose from and brilliant conversations to be had. Afterwards we head out to the Main Street area for more drinks and a catch up with some familiar faces from the past.
Today’s the big day and Matt’s been roped into helping the Uncle set up the bars at Ironworks Studio in Downtown Vancouver. A studio and events space, it’s a fitting setting for the day and Ryan and Matt get to it. Along with the Four Winds brews, Ryan is an aspiring brew master of Luppolos himself, adding to mix with an additional IPA and a zesty cider. Job done with one hour to kick-off, Matt’s back, we’re more suited and booted than we’ve been in months, and we make it out the door with 10 minutes to spare.
The venue’s set and the eclectic crowd has gathered out the back of Ironworks with anticipation for the coming events. Bordered on one side by the main train line in and out of Central Vancouver, a faintly growing sound of hand instruments floats down the side alley as the bridal party procession arrives in musical style, followed by the arm in arm bride and groom.
Taking position for the serious bit, the vows, luck would have it that one of these cross-country beasts comes rolling down the tracks with a multitude of carriages in tow. Now Canadians being Canadians, the driver realises there’s a ceremony in full swing and brings the locomotive to a halt. We then see one of the train staff walking around on a two way radio looking a little uneasy. All our concerns that something is amiss are quashed when the final
‘You may kiss the bride’
is saluted by the timely passing of a solitary engine, its horn at full steam! Nice one, Canadians, eh?
The rest of the night goes pretty much without a hitch. The speeches are piss funny (thanks to ‘Special K’ and ‘E’ aka Keith and Eve), the buffet is awesome (courtesy of the caterers Smoke n’ Bones massive portable BBQ churning out southern style pulled beef, pork and chicken), and the prerequisite solo bloke that’s WAY too drunk keeps people entertained (thanks to….nah, we’ll leave that one alone!).
As the crowd mingles an upbeat jazzy band plays, the prop-filled photo booth is full and the magician and caricature artists are all going down well. Add to this a kissing gong to replace the old glass tap, a deer head piñata and a samarui sword rather than a cake cutting, and miniature dinosaurs in Kate & Kyle printed glasses and you’ll understand why this was a wedding like none other – a real Fete of Mutual Fidelity and Affection.
Closing time and we’re all back to the penthouse suite, a short stroll from The Ironworks, for an afterparty, the details of which didn’t make the directors cut.
Day three and there’s another wedding gathering, this time at Crab Park. Taking the MG for one last spin on this beautiful sunny Sunday afternoon, it’s too much to resist so we take a few ‘accidental’ wrong turns (sorry David!) as people shout things like
‘I went to prom in one of those!’
‘I’ve got one of those at home!’
and our personal favourite from an unwashed bum
‘I crashed one of those once!’
Located on the northern side of downtown, the park’s tucked away from the busy trafficked streets, with magnificent views over to North Vancouver and the surrounding mountains completing the back drop.
The port of Vancouver has to be the only one which can actually make an industrialised docklands look dramatically elegant, for want of a better word. Enjoying the return to summer and the last of our time in Vancouver, not knowing when we’ll be back on her shores, we lazily bask under the glowing afternoon sun. Until a football game gets going, where Mindy shows off her fancy footwork, taking a few people down in the process (go Mindy!).
Our last few hours in town are spent catching up with Sarah’s parents, who randomly had to change the date of a west coast Canada tour to this weekend, at the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel. Making the most of perfect timing we chow down our last Vancouver sushi, catch up on family time and wish them a great trip.
It’s times like these last four days that make leaving Canada harder and harder each time, but it’s onwards and upwards from here, with the same flights facing us in reverse…awesomeness.