What a week! If you have been following me on Facebook or Twitter, then you know that Natalie and I got married on Saturday in Toronto. Yes, that’s where she’s from. I’d always wanted a destination wedding but I always imagined it would be in Australia, Fiji or Italy but I have to tell you, Toronto turned out to be an excellent choice.
All of our friends and family truly had an unforgettable time. For starters, Toronto is an amazing city (minus their horrific traffic). They have tons of great restaurants, museums, theatre (the third best in the world after New York and London) and world-class hotels.
My family and I decided to stay at the Trump Toronto hotel since that’s where our wedding reception was going to be. Natalie and I almost booked our wedding at the beautiful Ritz-Carlton but Natalie didn’t like the carpet in the ballroom, no joke! Natalie scouted a number of venues but when she walked into the Trump Toronto, it was love at first sight. The hotel is stunning and the ballroom elegant. But a huge reason why our weekend was such a success was because of the Trump’s general manager, Mickael Damelincourt. He’s young, still in his thirties and I would argue he’s one of the best in the business; he made sure everything was perfect for us. Writing personal welcome notes to each of our guests was just the tip of the iceberg, but was indicative of the kind of personalized service the hotel provides. For example, when the wedding party arrived at the hotel after taking photos, everyone was starving. My cousin AJ ordered over $100 worth of McDonalds through the concierge and they gave us a private boardroom in which to eat. Later in the evening, AJ had the concierge order a bottle of tequila for the head table; anything you want, the hotel will make sure you get.
Allow me to tell you about this past Saturday, arguably the most important day of my life. I was having a relaxing breakfast at 9:45am in Stock Restaurant on the 31st floor of Trump Toronto with two of my five groomsman. Mickael walked by and I invited him to join us. Moments later, the waitress comes over and says I have a phone call, which I thought was weird. My dad’s wife was on the line saying that I wasn’t going to believe this, but my father forgot his tuxedo pants, can he wear shorts? I thought my sisters were pranking me since we like to joke in my family but they weren’t.
That triggered something my sister Carol had warned me about earlier in the week: be prepared for three things to go wrong on your wedding day because they always do. Tick off number one. I rushed back to the table and told everyone what was going on and Mickael asked what size pants my dad wears. He said he would have the concierge call The Bay’s concierge and bring them over ASAP. FYI: The Bay is short for The Hudson’s Bay Company, a famous Canadian department store similar to Macy’s two blocks away.
My dad wears size 40 waist so he wouldn’t fit into any of our pants but I tried anyway. When he came to my room in his crazy outfit (including a pair of black suspenders that had skulls on one side of them), I almost spit my teeth out. Miraculously, The Bay was able to bring over a hemmed pair and my dad was just a few minutes late for our 10:30am pickup.
Our ceremony took place in Mississauga at Natalie’s childhood church and the city picked our wedding weekend to close part of the main expressway so everyone had to leave much earlier than originally planned. The usual 30-minute drive turned into well over an hour.
I didn’t have to wait long for problem number two. Before our limo driver pulled out of the Trump driveway, my nephew and ring bearer Dane smacked my brother’s cup of coffee out of his hand and it spilled all over his white shirt. We came very close to having a two-year-old walk down the aisle of a Catholic church looking like the youngest Chippendale dancer ever. Fortunately some quick thinking and we washed most of the stains out in the limo’s wine bucket and dried it by holding it out the window. I can only imagine what passersby were thinking when they saw a limo with what looked like a white flag waving out the window.
Number three was a catastrophe and was waiting for me when we pulled into the church parking lot. Someone said that my dad won’t wake up; he was in the second limo. At first I thought it was because he had drank too much the night before but when I saw his tongue sticking out of his mouth, I knew it was much more serious. I quickly called my cousin Art, one of my groomsman and a paramedic for the city of Los Angeles. He immediately made someone call for an ambulance.
The ceremony was starting in twenty minutes and my dad was now obviously not going to make my wedding and quite possibly expire on the same day. Not the wedding present I’d envisioned from him.
I had so many mixed emotions I didn’t know what to do or think. Friends and family who flew in especially for the wedding were arriving and in shock. The last thing they wanted to see was a fire truck and an ambulance blocking the church’s entrance. We couldn’t postpone the ceremony by a few hours because the priest was doing a funeral two hours later so it was either get married without my dad or cancel the wedding altogether. There was no way I was going to ruin Natalie’s day and since I live in Los Angeles, I knew the show must go on.
We told Natalie’s bridesmaids to keep her at her mom’s house a bit longer so she didn’t see any of the commotion and not to tell her what was going on – they told her that traffic had delayed everyone, a totally plausible excuse, especially since the expressway was closed. The two Canadian paramedics (who were kind of jerks, by the way) thought my dad had a stroke but I was mentally sticking with my cousin Art’s diagnosis of too much medication. You see, my dad takes a lot of pills (he’s 83) and his eyes aren’t that great so I was hoping it was something he would snap out of in a few hours. The other thing that kept me sane was something my cousin AJ said just before Natalie walked down the aisle; I can’t share it here but he was my rock and his words helped me cope with an incredibly stressful situation.
Thank God I was able to focus on Natalie for the hour-long ceremony and she had no idea what happened until she was in the receiving line after the ceremony and my sister Georgette apologized for my dad not being there. Natalie, the most perfect bride, was shocked and we would have made a beeline to the hospital if it weren’t for my cousin Nina giving us updates.
Earlier in the ceremony, my brother was feeding me updates and whispered, “Dad is doing better and getting a cat scan.” But he kind of mumbled and I thought he said, “Dad is doing better and resting in a casket.” My brother has a sick sense of humor and if my dad had died, that’s a way he would’ve broken the news to me. After my double take, he repeated with enunciation.
We stuck with our original plan and went back to the Trump Toronto hotel so we could walk to Toronto’s Old City Hall for wedding photos. My dad arrived in a wheel chair a few minutes later and it was a huge relief. He was just so sad he missed our vows and so were we. But what can you do? He went up to the room for a couple hours before the reception to rest and missed our cocktail party. But when my cousin Art and friend Joe Lewis wheeled him into our main dining room, everyone gave him a standing ovation. He later danced and gave a fine toast. What a miracle.
The food, service and event were amazing. I don’t have to words to describe how fantastic the night was. All I remember is that it went by so fast and I kept wishing time would stop.
To top off the made-for-Hollywood wedding, Mickael arranged a huge two-bedroom suite for Natalie and me. It just opened a week ago and we were the second guests to stay in it – Johnny Depp was the first. He and a ton of other celebrities were in the hotel for the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).
Below I’ve included some of our wedding photos that were taken by friends and family on the day. I’ll share some of the professional ones when we get them, but for now I hope you enjoy these.
BTW: I’m writing this post from our Korean Air flight to Seoul where we will be spending the first night of our whirlwind honeymoon. UPDATED: Here are our honeymoon posts: Toronto-Seoul first class on Korean Air | Seoul to Bali on Korean Airlines | Bali to Seoul to New York on Korean | One night in Seoul, Korea | Bali | Our hotels: Amanusa | Amandari | Amankila