- 4 years ago
- Wedding: October 2012
Okay so some of you might have seen that recently I had the opportunity to be a guest blogger and share my story about how my husband and I combined our last names into one new one, which you can see here. That’s the context for this promised recap!
I’m also the one who did a recap of our first wedding here, which was just about one year before to the day, so this ended up being a fun kind of one year anniversary celebration.
So, here it is, as promised – a recap of the few days we spent in Niagara Falls making our new last name legal, and enjoying the area as well. Again, I suggest bees read my blog post for context on why we did this. Hopefully this will also help any brides out there thinking about honeymoons in the Niagara area.
On to the photos! These are a mix of pro via Drade Photography & Films (of which my DH is half partner, thus his pics) and non-pro via my handy handy phone.
First cool thing about this whole thing: while it may not look it, this was actually a courthouse ceremony! The clerks in Niagara, NY give you the option of going to Terrapin Point overlooking Horseshoe Falls and doing the ceremony there for the same price as in the courthouse. When they asked which option we preferred, what do you think we said?
Not that their city hall is ugly:
The town clerks were some of the nicest people we’d ever met, they made our ridiculous situation a million times less stressful the minute we started dealing with them. The only people at our ceremony was us, the officiating clerk, and another clerk that stood as our witness. Here’s our whole bridal party:
As you can see, we did dress up and have a bouquet for our little ceremony. I wore an embroidered sheer top I got an ebay (shapewear corset underneath) with a skirt I already owned, an AC Moore plain ribbon as a belt, and my shoes from my first wedding.
These are the shoes, which the year before I’d created myself on Milk and Honey:
And DH had some fun dressing up too…
Suspenders and a bow tie and his pants and shoes from our first wedding. He enjoyed that bow tie very much.
Our whole theme for our remarriage was our paper anniversary, because it was our first anniversary and we want to follow the traditional gifts. I really wanted a bouquet for selfish reasons – in another post I discussed that I hated my bouquet the first time around, this felt like a way to redo it. So I chose this Etsy vendor who made me a bouquet (technically smaller bridesmaid one) using paper roses made of paper that say our vows from the first time around, along with dried lavender and wheat.
Bees, I’m so in love with this bouquet, way more than I was the first time around. Just look!
The same vendor made DH’s boutonniere, which also had a vow paper leaf:
If you don’t mind, here’s another of our bouquet, because I truly am in loooove with it:
We got our ceremony done nice and quick (with a tourist trolley driving by and honking!) and got our most important paper of the day:
Afterwards, DH surprised me with another cute paper object – he’d made us paper airplanes out of the same vow paper to throw into the falls:
We threw them in, they didn’t necessarily go anywhere, but hey it was cute.
We took a few photos, set up one or two with a tripod of ourselves, and then got out of there because there were so many people and we were kind of in the way. Note: Terrapin Point is great for weddings, but don’t expect ANY privacy!
We crossed the border to Canada because as anyone who’s been to the area will tell you, all the best hotels are on the Canada side, there is nothing good on the U.S side.
We wanted something nice but not too expensive (this wasn’t our real honeymoon!) and found a great deal for a Fallsview King Room with a jacuzzi at the Radisson Hotel. I highly recommend this hotel, it was great and just look at our 7th floor view:
You see the patch of green on the left? That’s Terrapin Point, where we’d gotten remarried an hour before! We thought it was funny we could see it our whole 3 night stay.
We set up our little reception for two in our lovely room:
The cake was a great deal through our first wedding’s bakery: rather than freezing your top layer, they bake you a complimentary fresh 6″ cake for your first anniversary. The champagne flutes and cake cutting set were from our first wedding too. We spent 3 days eating that delicious thing!
We also exchanged our paper anniversary gifts – I made DH a hidden stash box in a book called “Wilderness Empire” which had a map inside that had Niagara on it, inside the book were 3 cigars, because my DH loves cigars for special occasions. I found the cigars he’d smoked with my dad the night after he proposed and we celebrated with my family (a Cohiba), at his bachelor party in New Orleans (an EloGio), and at our wedding reception (Ashton Classic).
DH made me several prints from our first wedding and honeymoon that you can’t tell in this picture, but are actually mosaics made up hundreds of tiny images from those events:
We were really excited to have a picture our last night of him smoking by the falls all lit up in various colors and with a little “1” sparkler we had (you can see it in the cake) but alas, it rained our last night and was so foggy you couldn’t see the falls! Here’s how pretty is at night though with all the colors:
There were even fireworks that night after our ceremony! It was so perfect! And yet I didn’t get a picture, of course. We really thought we’d come back and so said “we’ll take better pictures on the SLR on our last night”. Oh well, I couldn’t have known the weather would suck.
All right, so now my honeymoon/mini-moon tips.
Firstly, have a good hotel room with a fallsview. I loved the view from our room almost more than going to it in person, it was just so magical. We didn’t even close our blinds the whole time and so one morning woke up to this beautiful sunrise:
If it was our actual honeymoon, I’d splurge even farther and do the Sheraton, although again, we loved the Radisson.
Secondly, do at least one cheesy Niagara-related activity. We chose the Journey Behind the Falls – it’s literally a tunnel behind/underneath the falls. It’s cheesy and overpriced but definitely unforgettable:
Oh, did I not mention the ponchos? Yeah, you get to have one of those great plastic ponchos you’ve always dreamed of wearing so you don’t get soaked:
Also you get to live out your Jim and Pam fantasies if you’re dorks like us:
We probably would’ve done the Maid of the Mist if we were there longer and it was our real honeymoon, but we were happy enough with the Journey. And hey we still got great views minus the motion sickness. Spot the boat:
My third piece of advice is that once you’ve done your super Niagara tourist stuff, get the heck out of there! We found some great stuff to do in the area, and found we only needed one day with the actual falls, our hotel view satisfied the rest. Within 15-20 minutes driving from the falls, there’s a botanical garden, bird conservatory, butterfly conservatory, lovely river drives, cute tourist and antique shops, and lots of lovely parks, such as the Niagara glen where we went on a great little hike:
I can’t imagine we were there in a better season, this was fall in all its glory:
On our rainy day, we drove to Niagara, had lunch there and walked around a bit, and then drove through wine country and stopped at wineries on the way back. The region around Niagara-on-the-Lake/St. Catherine/Lake Ontatrio is pretty much Canada’s wine country – they’re EVERYWHERE. We brought some bottles back with us and loved this part of the trip. There’s lots of guides online to the wineries, here’s one with a map.
In terms of food: our favorite was Syndicate Restaurant which was only 10 minutes off the main Niagara strip and yet far enough way to not try to rip you off with exorbitant prices like the rest will . Their $22 3-course pre-fixe menu was such great value for the quality, we were really impressed. Oh and if you’re not convinced: duck poutine. Our least favorite was one of the $6 breakfast buffets of which there are many in Niagara. Let me warn you – there’s a reason it’s so cheap. Your better breakfast option is someplace we went for their Thanksgiving dinner special (did I mention it was Canadian Thanksgiving the weekend we were there? Yep) and that was just plain fun, the Flying Saucer, a UFO-shaped diner. Oh and of course, you have to go to Tim Horton’s even though honestly, it’s nothing all that exceptional.
Finally, we did one last super corny thing which was the Oh Canada! Eh? dinner show. SO. DAMN. CORNEY. The only thing that made it worth it was seeing DH put an Anne of Green Gables wig on at the end: