Throughout our entire engagement, there was one thing that always stood out in the back of my mind. Regardless of where, when and how we would get and be married, it was important to somehow pay tribute to my sweet Nan; she was one of the most important people in my life and losing her is still something I often struggle with emotionally. The problem however, was finding a way to incorporate her into our celebration in a private and meaningful way. I needed something that was equally as special as she was. Something just as close to the heart as she was to mine. One day during endless thoughts of all things wedding, it came to my mind.
Those two giant peachy balloons weren’t just props for pretty pictures but were instead our way of including Nan and her spirit into our wedding. When she passed away in May of 2008, it was only two days before my birthday. In lieu of a funeral we had a little get together at my Grandpa’s house where we ate food, shared memorable stories about Nan and as a symbolic nod to her life, we released thirty pink balloons into the heavens; each balloon carrying a handwritten note from the friends and family that had gathered in her honour. I remember saying a few words to the group of forty plus people that had stood in the backyard, before we each let go of our notes. And as soon as released our ribbons, all at once the balloons clustered together into the clouds. One giant pink cluster bright against the blue sky. We watched in silence until the cluster of pink turned into a colourless speck and we stood still until that colourless speck was no longer in view. I was the last to leave the backyard that day.

On September 24th, there weren’t any notes sent up into the sky via helium filled balloons. But instead, I stood in front of the man I was about to marry, and whispered a few unrehearsed words that came from both my heart and from the most tender part of my soul. Andrew listened patiently. He told me he missed her too. And I think I let one single tear slide down my cheek just before I looked up to catch a few rays of sunlight finally shining through those rain clouds that had forced our wedding inside. Our guest list was finally complete.