Something Cold, Something Blue

So far in our wedding plans, David and I haven’t really encountered too many challenges. Well, other than losing half the wedding party and my dress disappearing along with the retailer – but that’s all part of the fun, right? Though we’ve become hooked on Say Yes to the Dress as well as Rich Bride, Poor Bride (don’t tell, but I may have received a text message now and then making sure I set the PVR!), the thing that’s surprised me the most is the lack of drama that seems to go along with wedding planning on these shows.  But that’s not to say there isn’t one teensy issue proving a little difficult: the whole ‘winter’ thing.

At the beginning of my blogging journey here, one of the big issues was finding outerwear for the wedding party, which proved quite the challenge. You were all rock stars in helping me out – and a HUGE thank you must be said for all the comments (and e-mails, with more online shopping options than I could shake a credit card at)! Outerwear for us has since been located – we found perfect coats (at Superstore of all places!), but that’s not where the challenge ended. We have guests to keep warm! One of the biggest things we want to ensure in this winter wedding is everyone’s comfort.

Wind chills in December, as you can see above, can be absolutely bitter. And this expat’s still undergoing acclimatization (terrifyingly, a process that I’m told could very well take a lifetime!). Traditionally, the bride and groom exit the church post-ceremony to some sort of confetti, or bubbles – but since our wedding is days before the winter equinox, daylight is going to be scarce. We thought sparklers would be a lovely way to exit festively – but not at the expense of sensation in our guests’ extremities, so we’re going to place Little Hotties hand warmers at every seat. (See! Isn’t the Internet wonderful?)

The reception is where we’re really going to try and keep things cozy, and have hot chocolate, eggnog and perhaps some warm apple cider ready for guests upon their arrival.  Candlelight is going to be a big part of our centrepieces, and we’ll try and add things like pumpkin or butternut squash soup to the menu, too.

But aside from avoiding frostbite, one of the biggest challenges accompanying the winter season for me is an issue I’ve been dealing with for the last 10 or so years: chronic back pain.  I’ve seen countless specialists in an ongoing endeavour to get a solid diagnosis, but nobody seems able to agree. I use electric heat pads and tennis balls (seriously!) regularly to get through the day. Unfortunately, the pain is exacerbated by the cold – and it’s the last thing I want to be worrying about on my wedding day.  I’ve tried therapeutic massage, chiropractic, physiotherapy, and even one rather traumatic incident involving going for cortisone injections all the way down my back and promptly going into shock. Fun times! Though this did numb the pain for a full 24 hours, uncontrollable convulsions isn’t going to make for the most attractive of brides, so I’m seeking out other options. Heat helps – and I’ve found in a few pharmacies here they sell some sort of adhesive heat pack that you can place on the inside of your clothes, which radiate heat for a few hours.  Which sounds a heck of a lot better than strapping on my electric one and moving the ceremony to the nearest plug socket.

The other problem we’re facing is the fact that at the end of our ceremony, it’s going to be dark outside. David, sweetheart that he is, really wants the first time we see each other that day to be at the altar – so taking pictures beforehand is out of the question.  We’ve phoned around various places in the city – hotels, heritage sites, the Conservatory, and the Legislative building, all of which would have been wonderful options… and all of which have functions already booked for December 4th!

This is where I ask for your help – can you think of another option we may be able to use for indoor pictures? For keeping everyone warm… how are we doing? And does anyone else have experience with chronic pain? If so, how did/will you deal with it on your wedding day? Suggestions would be hugely appreciated, but please, no pity party – if I have to say my vows lying down on tennis balls, it will be done!


48 comments on “Something Cold, Something Blue
  1. Micheline says:

    Hi Emily, so sorry to hear about your back! I feel for ya…having issues myself! Have you checked at the downtown library for pics? or how about the U of M? there are some really nice old buildings here! Good luck to you!

  2. Tash says:

    Sorry your fellow contestant stole your idea in today’s post on recapping all the contest’s posts. Yours were way more entertaining!

  3. michelle says:

    wow! i would love to be a guest at your wedding; you’ve thought of everything :) i wish i could provide some suggestions on the back pain. i’ve used thermacare packs for death cramps, but i don’t know how’d they’d do against severe chronic pain. maybe take them for a test drive before the wedding so you can a) see how effective they’ll be and b) figure out of to strategically place them in your wedding dress :)

    good luck and congratulations!

  4. Max says:

    I so enjoy reading your updates…you’ve turned a generally stressful event into a fun one and an adventure, despite some challenges you’ve had. Is the Art Gallery available for your pics??? Any trendy places in the Village? or at David’s work? I know it will all work out for you-and at least the important things are in place- a loving suportive partner who’s happy to be marrying you no matter where the pics are taken-the memories will forever be in your hearts!

  5. phampants says:

    I’ve been searching for this and I finally found it. 2 people who I knew got married a few years ago.

    What about a barn for pictures?

  6. Robin – unfortunately the Conservatory is booked for a function that day. We inquired last YEAR! :( Layne – thanks so much for the suggestions! I’ve only seen one type of heat patch here – they don’t seem WIDELY available… samples would be INCREDIBLY kind of you!! I recently bought a cream of topical anaesthetic which is lidocaine-based for my tattoo but I was told it wouldn’t be a good idea for large tattoos as it wears off after about 45 minutes :(

  7. Layne says:

    Oops, I’m a little late to the party here… but oh my gosh, it sounds like you’ve had quite your share of drama already. Hopefully that means you got it out of the way good and early!

    And my goodness, I can’t even begin to fathom being in temps that frigid. Those nifty hand warmers sound like a great idea! I think your guests will be VERY grateful you put so much thought into their comfort.

    As for the back pain, I think your best bet for temporary relief during the ceremony and reception may be those adhesive pain relief patches you mentioned. Not sure what kind of selection you have there, but here we have lots of brands in many different sizes. I think I have a few I can send you to try out (my mom gives them to me for the boyfriend, but they don’t do much for his kind of pain).

    Also, have you tried lidocaine patches? They are similar to the adhesive heat patches, only instead of heat they give localized lidocaine through the skin. They’re supposed to be great for back pain, but my dad isn’t a big fan and gives some of his to my boyfriend as well. They’re also white, so will match your dress. :)

  8. Robin says:

    Isn’t there a indoor green house garden at Assinaboine Park? That might be nice for pics.

  9. Emily says:

    Kay – I meant with us! It seems like every episode is full of drama!!

  10. Kay says:

    Hey Em,

    Seems like you have not seen enough episodes of Rich Bride, Poor Bride if you think there is a lack of drama. Keep watching. They may not loose half of their wedding party, but there are some great episodes!

    All the Best,

  11. Heather says:

    I don’t have any suggestions to add…. you’ve already got quite a few here! :) Just wanted to say that I love how you are concerned for the warmth of your wedding party. that’s something that many brides wouldn’t consider. Kudos to you and your thoughtfulness!

  12. Lisa says:

    Oooh I wish that I had a suggestion for you, for the back pain! I am just not good at this suggestion stuff. :( But the adhesive heat pack seems like a great idea!! Maybe you could try that beforehand to see how it works? Either way…I think once the day comes, everything will work itself out. You’re going to make such a beautiful bride! <3

  13. Talia says:

    Everything sounds amazing Em:) Tom and I cannot wait for your wedding:) I have never been to one in the winter:):) Sounds like you have so many great ideas:) p.s. love the boots:) xo

  14. Oh wow you guys are AMAZING for suggestions!! Ashley…. that “wrapped in lights” idea is SO cool… I remember seeing one (,lights,love,amor,kissing,couple-c48a3770241c2380e1a8274b50827c0f_h.jpg) that was dreamy though obviously it would have to be far less risqué lol!!

    Little cafe idea is great too – there’s a small pizza place on the street where we’re having the ceremony, and it has a huge tree in the middle going up into leaves and branches around the ceiling and it’s COVERED in little lights. I wonder if we might be able to go in there… lots of good ideas!! Thanks everyone!! xxx

  15. Holly Renee says:

    I love the ideas/solutions you have come up with. I use to have chronic back pain after my accident (for about two years it would keep me up at night). I am really trying to think of what would help with the pain during a particular event. The heat is good. Have you tried arnica gel? You can apply it right on the back. It might be worth a try. I’ve found it helps at times but I don’t think it would relieve it all together. I love the idea of hot cider and cocoa. Mmmmmmmm. As far as a place to take pictures I just can’t even think of one. I will keep pondering it though. I feel like your wedding is getting closer and closer. How exciting!

  16. Jessyca says:

    Hey Em,
    Great post!! Do you have a ski lodge nearby? or are there any older hotel buildings, with good architecture?

    I don’t know your area too well… *sigh* But a nice cafe could be nice too.

    For the back pain, I think the heat wraps might be your best bet. Hopefully it decides to disappear for the day :)

  17. ashley says:

    I think you should take pictures in random indoor places…like maybe a cafe? Or somewhere with a fireplace? I know you’ll get creative! And if worst comes to worst, you can always bring in lights. I can just see a really cool pic with white christmas lights wrapped around you and David. It might be cool :)

  18. K says:

    How thoughtful of you to want to put your guests’ comfort first. I’ve been to one winter wedding and it was awfully uncomfortable: standing room only, in wet, cold winter boots, snow dripping all over the place and nowhere to sit down. Your guests are very lucky!

  19. Becky says:

    I’m a big fan of the Thermacare heat wraps. I use them when I have cramps each month – they are a godsend! Just be sure to get the ones that adhese to your clothing. There are some that wrap around and velcro but sometimes those can slip and you probably don’t want to be adjusting them all day. I would just suggest to put your hair up and I hope your dress is strapless/sleeveless because they will definitely keep you warm – at least for 8 hours at a time! :)

  20. Joanne says:

    Sorry to hear about your back. Haven’t tried those hot pads but I have a bit of back pain too and I find hot water bottles work and hot baths. I’m sure you’ll be filled with joy that day so the pain will have to take a backseat! Love the coat and boots!

  21. Candice says:

    I don’t know if you’ve ever been to Shelmerdine’s in Headingly, but it’s gardening center that is done up beautifully in December. Unfortunately, there are absolutely no pictures of it online, so you’d have to go and scope it out. Also unfortunate is the fact that it looks nothing now like it would in December. They mainly focus on fall and winter decor, so right now it’s mostly plants. In December, though, It’s got a Charles Dickensian sort of look, smell and feel, to sum it up. If you don’t like Christmas, it would not be a good choice. It’s usually dimly lit, with fresh cider brewing, and sometimes hot chocolate. The colouring changes from year to year, but typically, it’s reds, whites and silvers. It might be worth looking into. Best of luck!!

  22. ..judith.. says:

    Oh Em! Everyone starts off as a noob at some point. I was concerned the first few times as well as I’m sure most people do. The studio I went to was on Nassau and the girls there were wonderful. They move through the positions slowly and expect that you do only what’s right for you and for some, it means just lying on your back, breathing and enjoying the heat which is COMPLETELY allowed (just standing there breathing gets you sweating :p). I’m sure if you talked to the instructor before class, they can give you modifications during the class to make it comfortable for you. Any more questions, please feel free to FB me :). Best of luck hon!

  23. amy says:

    Your wedding sounds so nice…hot chocolate! Butternut squash soup! You guys have thought of everything :) Good luck with finding an indoor venue. I’m not too familiar with that area. What about an art gallery? Sometimes they have cool indoor spaces.

  24. Jenny says:

    Hi Emily. Have you considered the Fort Garry Hotel Mall for pics? It’s quite stunning with light.

  25. Your reception sounds like it will be incredibly cozy. I love winter weddings. I would love to get married in the winter. I just think it’s such a romantic time of the year!

    I wish I was of some help w/ choosing a place for your photos. :( That is the tough part about weddings in the winter. I am sure you’ll come up with something great, though!

  26. Ashley says:

    Seriously!? Little Hotties!? Hot Chocolate!? Adorable, and I love it.

    Is it possible for just YOU AND DAVID to sneak into a nearby museum, or library to take a couple of pictures? So you don’t actually have to BOOK anything, but can be in and out in 45 minutes, or less? And then take the rest of the family/wedding party pictures in a more remote place at the reception? Mike and I didn’t sneak off and get any JUST US pictures after the ceremony, and I think that’s my biggest regret.

    I love the idea of sparklers! Especially because I know you love them!

    Another commenter mentioned Hot Yoga, and you told me before that you always wanted to try it…let’s both go this week! What’s up, accountability!!? Your exercises are helping, right? What about stretching + exercises? Can’t hurt? As far as beeing a n00b – the class I went to was DARK and for ALL levels, so, while I’m SURE i looked RIDICULOUS, no one really noticed.

    PIRATE SHIP?! Retro theatre!? YES PLEASE.

  27. hillary says:

    I love the idea of little hotties! Such a cute idea.

  28. Karen says:

    I can’t help you with the location as I’ve never been that far up north but I hope you find a great one. I love how much thought you are putting into this, even the tiniest details!
    And I really hope that you will find a solution for your back so you can enjoy your big day without being in pain!

  29. Elly says:

    LOVE the idea of sparklers, thats really lovely! I was watching a tv show (can’t remember which. The L Word, maybe?) and they had a winter wedding, outside, and all the guests chairs were covered in lovely warm blankets, and had heaters up and down the aisles, between the chairs. It looked really lovely. :)

  30. Jen says:

    Ah! Hard questions! I’m struggling with back pain right now! Poor Chad thinks I’m crazy because all I want to do is sit lately. I get up for two seconds and then am out of breath and ready to sit down again. Anyway…I would try and be off your feet or in a comfy position as long as you can all day so you aren’t on your feet until the ceremony and reception. Not sure if that is possible, but I feel like that would help.

    As far as taking pictures…I’ve never been where you live so I feel like I’m stuck there, too. You need like a conservatory or an indoor garden or something like that…but I think you said you tried those. Sorry I can’t be more help!!!

  31. Krystal says:

    ohhhhhh emily, your coats are perfect!!! And all of the little details seem to really be coming together – I would just be so excited over the hand warmers alone =)

  32. Gnetch says:

    I really think you’re gonna have a fabulous wedding. And I agree with everyone who commented about the hand warmer. It’s really thoughtful of you. :)

  33. Kara says:

    You are so brave, not only with the back pain issue, but the whole minus 36 thing! But then again, this is coming from the girl who got married in the South, in July, when it was 31C with 90% humidity. I could’ve gotten married in a swimsuit!

    The ideas about checking universities for photos would be great. They often have some beautiful buildings. Is there an art museum nearby? That might be an option, as well. Or you can just hold out hope that the Doctor shows up. You could have the photos taken in the TARDIS. It’s bigger on the inside!

  34. faye d. says:

    LOVE all your ideas for keeping ppl warm em!! so thoughtfull!!!

    really hope you figure out something for your back before the wedding, but I agree w SK that you’ll probably be so happy that day you won’t even think about it! xoxo

  35. Emily says:

    LiLu – They’re from Spring! GREAT shoes and pretty cheap too :)

    Kelly – thanks for the suggestions! And to everyone else who suggested universities and colleges – I’m going to take a look at Red River on Thursday when I have class to see if it’s got some wedding-friendly areas, and the outside of the U of W is really pretty so I’d assume inside would be too – I have some new inquiries to make! :)

    Thank you Sandra and everyone for your kind comments, Aaron I will DEFINITELY be in touch with You-Know-Who regarding pilates – it’s one of the only things I haven’t tried.

    Brittney some “samples” would be AMAZING!! <3 <3 Thank you!!

    Jennifer thanks so much for your suggestions! I hadn't heard of that museum – will definitely have to check it out.

    Judith – I've been meaning to try hot yoga forever!! There's one quite close to us over on Pembina – I can't remember the name of it but I've heard from other people it might help as well. My worry is just that my movement is so restricted that I'd just look like "the yoga noob" in front of people but I guess I could have a word with the instructor before the class? I'll let you know how it works out!

    Thank you everyone!! :)

  36. casey says:

    Hey Emily!
    you can always rent out our studio for your pics! Although we are getting booked quick with weddings all summer and winter so let us know soon!

  37. AD says:

    Hey Em! Location: Have you looked at the Millennium Center? Heritage building, all marble inside the old banking hall.

    p.s. I also hear that regular Pilates exercises might help back-pain and really strengthen your back and core muscles. he he I might know a teacher…lol

  38. Brittney says:

    Hi Miss! So, when I hurt my shoulder, I found these $1 heating pads that are super thin, just stick right on, have some mild heating and last about 3-4 hours and are made from capcaisin (peppers)! I’m sure I spelled that wrong? Anyhow, they rock! Remind me, I’ll mail you some to test run!! Plus they’re white lol, so they will match? <3

  39. S. K. says:

    I hope you do not mind I read about the “cortisone” experience and some of your other posts about the pain and I am sorry you must continue to go through this. It is difficult to understand sometimes why those with such good hearts and spirits such as yourself must ensure ongoing pain when those who contribute little to the world are untouched. But that is a discussion for another time. You should not have to worry yourself with thoughts of pain on your wedding day but I hope that you will be so overwhelmed with happiness that it overrides the hurt.

    For the photographs I would have to agree with some of the other commenters, most colleges or universities are quite attractive and could make for nice shots, and I don’t believe you would have to get “permission” as it seems you are having difficulty obtaining from these other places.

    Best of luck as always, and your thoughtfulness and care for other people is as admirable as ever.

  40. Jennifer says:

    The museum is a great suggestion. Have you thought about the art gallery? Oh, and the Bannatyne campus building for Red River College has some really interesting looking places inside to take pictures too. In the portfolio my photographer showed us, she had taken some pictures of a couple who ended up taking pictures inside portage place downtown, by the fountain and by the clock in the centre court. And they looked amazing. There’s also a small museum called Dalnavert house that could work.

  41. Hannah Katy says:

    Love David’s comment as well! Ha ha. Oh my gosh, your wedding sounds amazing! I loveee that you are giving guests hot chocolate, eggnog, cider and such. What a cozy treat.


    Hannah Katy

  42. Jessica says:

    LOL @ David’s comment! You should TOTALLY do pirate ship pics. Yarrr!!!

  43. KJ says:

    Try the Admin building at the University of Manitoba. Beautiful staircases :)

  44. ..judith.. says:

    You and David are such a brave couple to test out our wonderful weather, but hey, the heat radiating from your shared happiness should help right? Hehe. Chronic back pain hey? DITTO. The only thing that has helped actually relieve it was hot yoga and due to time and distance, I had to quit :(. The heat helps loosen your muscles for the stretches and the stretches strengthened not only the muscles in your back, but also the core that helps support your back. Did I mention it’s a great detoxifier and made my skin flawless?? I swear by it and wished I lived closer to ALL the hot yoga studios. Totally worth it and each studio has a cheaper introductory rate to try it out. I can tell you though that my back hurt the first week or so but once the muscles have strengthened, I swear the pain was gone! OH! And yes on the museum! There’s also the cutest little old fashioned town in the museum with a retro theatre :).

    Good luck my dear!

  45. David says:

    See, Sweetheart, it’s okay because the weather report you put up is for December 12th and we’re getting married on the 4th, so it will practically be like Hawaii out there! ;)
    And by the way, you forgot to mention the pirate ship at the Manitoba Museum as a possible picture location!

  46. Sandra says:

    You did say “no pity party” but I just have to say how proud I am of your determination – reading some of your old blogs about your journey to overcome the pain is nothing short of inspiring and everyone here should really go take a look at your (personal) blog to see how much of an inspiration you are. I hope the heat pads do the trick for you on the wedding day. Have you tried acupuncture?

    For your photos what about just taking them in the church? Not sure what it’s like inside but hubby and I did that (was absolutely pouring on our wedding day) and they turned out just fine.

    Best of luck dear, and your guests are so lucky to have such a thoughtful bride.

  47. kelly says:

    em your wedding is going to be so lovely with all the warm touches for your guests – minus 36 YIKES!!!! the sparklers will look lovely and I bet everyone will really apprecaite all the little touches like the handwarmers. been reading about your back struggles a bit on your blog and it sucks so much nobody can figure out a solid diagnosis. those heat pads sound like a good idea (do they come in white? ha ha) maybe going for a massage the night before might be a good idea or even on the morning of the wedding if you have time. does your photographer have any ideas for picture locations??? what about either of the universirities or the college they might let you take some & you prob wouldn’t have to book??

  48. LiLu says:

    I think you are beyond sweet to be so concerned about everyone! The hand warmers are freaking adorable.

    And um, WHERE ARE THOSE BOOTS FROM?!?!?! I must know!!!

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