The offbeat bride: Nathalie, Physics student
Her offbeat partner: Mathieu, Mathematics student
Location & date of wedding: Chateau Montebello, QC — May 30, 2010
What made our wedding offbeat: We initially tried to do themes, but quickly decided that we loved too many different things to stick to just one all-encompassing theme. We decided to just include everything we wanted whenever we wanted. Our ceremony was held by the Ottawa River at the Chateau Montebello on a beautiful sunny day with forty of our closest family and friends.
We wrote our own vows and had our siblings give a speech. The flower baskets lining our aisle were reused later on as our centerpieces.
We had an outdoor cocktail hour at the hotel's golf club terrace, followed by a BBQ buffet inside the clubhouse. My trusty MacBook (named Aragorn) and I were the DJs. We had the cake custom made in our hometown, Montreal, to showcase our mathematical backgrounds, as well as our two dogs. The dino cake topper was made on Etsy, along with the Transformers' garter belt and the bride's jewelry. The guests' wedding favours were donations made to the World Wildlife Fund made in their name. The entertainment for the night was rocking out on Rockband, and dancing until the break of dawn. All in all, we couldn't be happier. The wedding truly expressed us to everyone we love.
Tell us about your ceremony: It was a legal union (we're both Atheists). We absolutely knew, right from the moment we got engaged, that we wanted an outdoor ceremony. When I was younger, my father took my little sister, grandmother, uncle and me to a chalet in the Montebello region, so we thought that was a great choice.
We are also both bilingual, so it was really important to us that the ceremony (and the whole wedding day, really) be both in English and in French. The officiant switched between languages really nicely! My father refused to walk me down the aisle (he hates the thought that I'm "his" to give away), so he held my hand walking from my hotel room and dropped me off when we got to the aisle. I walked down with the theme from Jurassic Park playing. We played the theme from Jeopardy while we were signing all the legal documents (I'm a huge trivia nerd). The ceremony lasted about fifteen to twenty minutes in total. As we walked down the aisle together to another Jurassic Park song, after having been pronounced "mari et femme", all our guests whipped out these bottles of soap and started blowing bubbles at us. I had no idea this was going to happen, and thought it was sweet.
The ceremony was pretty intimate, a little silly and a lot loving. Badass.
Our biggest challenge: Our biggest challenge was to realize that we were doing this for us. I am constantly trying to get the approval of my family and friends, but you can't please everyone. Some people will just start off against some idea and never change their minds. Some people will go nuts if you do one thing to please them; they will just keep asking for more and more things to be changed. We decided really early on that we were putting our foot down, and it was going to be our way or nothing. The hard part was keeping this promise to ourselves!
My favorite moment: The speeches given by our siblings were especially touching. They are both usually cold and distant individuals, so seeing them open up in front of everyone, and even cry, which they both did, was incredibly touching.For me, it was also really great to see my Dad happy with what I was doing. He is typically against the institution of marriage, and was initially upset when I got engaged. When he saw how happy we were, and that we weren't trying to prove anything to anyone, he seemed to be at peace with the idea and happy for us.
At the very end of the night, we put on "Sam's Town (Abbey Road Version)" by The Killers, expecting everyone to slow dance. It's a song we really love, and that means a lot to us. Instead, as we started dancing, all our loved ones spontaneously formed a circle around us on the dance floor and swayed and sang along as we danced our last dance. We were pretty emotional about the fact, that they would take it upon themselves to do that for us. It meant a lot. When we were done, we both went around the circle, thanking everyone for a beautiful day. It was the perfect way to end our wedding day!
My funniest moment: The groom has two friends who are really TERRIBLE singers, and the moment they got up to sing at RockBand, everyone just fell over in stitches. We set up the mic settings so that the singer's voice would be clearly heard over the vocal track. One friend in particular opted to sing "Just Dance" by Lady GaGa, without knowing any lyrics, or the melody, or anything, and it was shear chaos. It basically sounded like some sort of a cat-pig hybrid dying. Hilarious.
My advice for offbeat brides: My advice to any bride would definitely be to realize what's important and what's not. Don't care about centerpieces? Screw 'em. Think getting your hair professional done is a royal ripoff? Forget it. Splurge on the little details that really let you showcase your personalities. That's what people remember. Sure our centerpieces were nice, but it's our dino cake topper that people remembered. If you can DIY, or get these little things custom made, it really injects your couple into the wedding day, and makes it all your own.
Also, don't get too bogged down with themes. We struggled with that a lot initially. We were wondering whether we should do a space themed wedding, or a dino themed wedding, or a video game themed wedding. Why should you have to leave out parts of your lives just because they don't fit into a theme? We just crammed it all in there, and it was great!
Finally, as a diehard perfectionist, it's hard to realise that sometimes you just have to understand that you won't be able to predict everything that will happen, but that's part of the deal. The sooner you realise this, the better. It's a wedding, and it is a big deal, but it's not the end of the world. Just because your officiant misses a cue or a tablecloth lights on fire doesn't mean you won't live happily ever after. Your wedding is just the start of a great story.
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Venues and catering: All done by the Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello (those guys are ON. THE. BALL.)
Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!