Sophie & Derik's Canadian Thanksgiving Elopement

By on Nov. 26th

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The Offbeat Bride: Sophie, call center agent

Her Offbeat Partner: Derik, video game tester and organizational psychology student

Location & date of wedding: Old Montreal, QC, Canada — October 10th 2009 (Canadian Thanksgiving)

What made our wedding offbeat: At first, we were planning a wedding with guests, but we quickly realized that we couldn't agree on anything. Derik wanted something traditional and to invite everyone he had ever talked to, while I wanted a 40-50 guest potluck in a community center.

I had some readings and music in mind, but family was giving me a hard time over it (apparently walking down the aisle to LoveSong by The Cure would have given my grandparents an instant heart attack).
So I decided that my sanity was more precious than songs and readings and we decided to strip it down to the bare minimums. We went to court with our the two legally required witnesses and another friend to take pictures. After the very short ceremony, we took a carriage ride, went to the historical museum to see an exhibit about pirates, and then had dinner at a lovely Holiday Inn in Chinatown where the restaurant has indoor fish ponds.

What I loved about my wedding was that there was absolutely no "show" aspect to it. I'm a very shy person and I'm always feeling awkward at big parties, so I knew for sure that the best day of my life couldn't be one of those. We were able to be truly ourselves because we were not in front of a crowd and didn't have to please anyone.

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Our biggest challenge: Getting my husband to accept an elopement! In this planning, there was a role reversal — he wanted the big fairy tale thing, while I just wanted to go to the courthouse and get it done quickly because it is the way things are done in my family. However, he saw how this decision had instantly improved our relationship, he had no regrets.

Also, as in any other elopement, not hurting anyone's feelings was an issue. My mother-in-law had issues with her friends judging her for "letting us" do it that way. She threw a big engagement party in her backyard so everyone who would have been invited to an actual wedding could still celebrate with us. On that day, I had to go through some of the stuff I wanted to avoid in the first place, such as people clinking on glasses for us to kiss.

My favorite moment: I'm usually a waterworks factory, but a civil ceremony is so quick that I didn't have time to cry. However, I started crying outside, in the street, when I realized that it was done, that we were married.

The carriage ride was the only moment of the day when I got to be the center of attention, and I secretly enjoyed it. When we were on a very crowded street and I had my white faux-fur hood on, I heard an elderly lady saying "It's a wedding, quick, Harry, take a picture!"

My advice for other offbeat brides: If you elope, prepare to be told by other people that you will "regret it someday when you see your friends get married" and will "break your parents' heart". Have answers ready, because that kind of situation will happen. For example, explain that if you invite parents, you have to invite grandparents, with your uncles and aunts, who of course want to bring your cousins and their spouses, and soon it's no longer an elopement and you have to please everybody. Tell people that you would rather spend the 30K that a wedding costs on things that will last a lifetime, such as a house, going back to school, an emergency fund, staying home with your kids, etc.

Oh, and the advice to "eat something" is true. Even if you are not hungry. I had no appetite on that day and ended up feeling very weak. Even in the evening, at the premium-quality chinese restaurant, I couldn't take more than two or three bites.

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?:

Enough talk — show me the Thanksgiving wedding porn!:

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