The offbeat bride: Amy, high school science teacher (and Tribe member)
Her offbeat partner: Ian, high school math teacher
Location & date of wedding: Stanley’s Olde Maple Lane Farm, Ottawa – August 7, 2010
What made our wedding offbeat: Our goals for the wedding were: to have it in Ottawa so our families could be there, to minimize the carbon footprint, and to have as little stress as possible in planning. We also wanted to have fun and stick in little details that represented us whenever we could!
We planned the wedding in five months from the other side of Canada. Our venue was pretty much all-inclusive and took care of just about everything for us, to the point where we didn’t even remember to find out what exactly was on our vegetarian menu until the day before the wedding.
We sent out our invitations by email to save paper, but printed a few for older family members.
There were lots of other details we focused on, like the hundred vegan cupcakes in six different flavours we baked the day before the wedding. My dad built the cupcake stand, using rungs from my old rope ladder swing as supports.
We also bought carbon offsets for our wedding and our travel to get back home to Ottawa.
I bought my dress from an ad on craigslist. There were no restrictions on the bridesmaids’ dresses, except to not buy dresses of the same-color-but-different-shades! They each chose a dress that they loved and can re-wear, and somehow ended up matching the groomsmen who wore their own suits and had no idea what the girls were wearing.
At dinner, we played a trivia game to determine the first table to get to the buffet. Afterward there was dancing, photo-boothing and I got to throw the bouquet. This was only the second wedding I’d ever been to, but I’ve always wanted to throw a bouquet. Throwing something backwards at a crowd of people was as awesome as I’d suspected. We made it clear though that this was a “good luck” bouquet and not a “getting married next” kind of deal, so everyone could get in on it.
A week after the wedding, we threw a non-official wedding party at a bar in Vancouver, so all the friends who weren’t at our wedding could celebrate with us. I got to wear my dress again! We played the video of our ceremony and then karaoke’d all night.
Tell us about the ceremony: Our ceremony was based around a non-religious handfasting. We used six cords (we bought small diameter cords that looked like climbing rope) and had our parents and wedding party drape them over our hands during the ceremony. We kept the cords on during the vows (it made unfolding my paper difficult), and while we signed the paperwork.
Other little touches in our ceremony were our Dr. Seuss quotes to open and close, the readings by our siblings, and the vows we wrote for each other.
My favorite moment: The ceremony — hearing what we’d written together and being able to finally share our vows — was very powerful for me. I knew all along that the ceremony was going to be my favorite part of the day, but I was surprised that the photo session ended up being the next best part. Our photographer was so unobtrusive that it really felt like alone time for the two of us.
My funniest moment: My favourite funny memory is a tiny little thing most people probably didn’t even notice. Our officiant mispronounced “inevitable” during the ceremony and we both instantly mouthed the correction at each other. It happened so fast, but I was feeling a bit of stage fright and it totally took the edge off.
Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? The first dance. I’m not a good dancer and have hardly ever danced in public. We picked a slow song for our first dance so I didn’t have to stress about my moves, but I was still worried about stepping on toes or tripping on my dress. So I changed into my street shoes before the dance and Ian quietly asked his parents to come out and start the group dancing after a short time. Dancing on the porch with everyone dancing around us, to a song we chose together, turned out to be easy.
My advice for offbeat brides: Planning a long-distance wedding doesn’t have to be more stressful. Everything is on the internet. If you know people in the city you’re planning the wedding in, ask a supportive family member/friend to check stuff out for you. And think ahead about how you’re going to transport squishy or breakable items of decor or wardrobe to your destination.
DIY is way more fun if you have helpers! Make sure you aren’t getting into more than you can handle on your own. And if the budget is tight, it can be worth checking if your DIY projects are actually saving you money.
What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? When you’re planning a big event like a wedding, let go of things that aren’t super important to you. Neither of us have ever decorated an apartment, so we let our venue do whatever decorating was included. We focused on the parts that really mattered to us.
And this isn’t really a new lesson, but I was reminded that Ian always comes through for me. He’s always there for me when I’m overwhelmed or excited or just need somebody to talk to. That’s why I asked him to marry me.
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!
This post features Offbeat Vendors! Check out their vendor listing to see how they cater to Offbeat Brides: