Erin & Jeff's Scottish tartan and balloon animal wedding

January 4 |
Jeff and Erin at Parliament Hill - Hallway to Library
Photos by Jessica Blaine Smith

The offbeat bride: Erin, Project Officer

Her offbeat partner: Jeff, Computer Systems Technician

Date and location of wedding: University of Ottawa, Tabaret Chapel, Ottawa, Ontario Canada — June 3, 2006

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: I worked hard to keep my dress a secret and had my sister wear white. My husband and the groomsmen would be wearing kilts, and none of them matched. In a traditional Scottish wedding, everyone would be wearing their own tartans, so I wanted to make sure that was the case with our friends as well.

Our piper!

We also had a bagpiper play while guests were arriving and to pipe us out of the chapel. It was really handy to have her there as there was a fine mist and it helped guests find the ceremony.

Brigitte and Thea and the Dragonfly

My DJ happened also to be a professional balloon artist, and he did some really cool animals for us. I was also able to take advantage of using a site for pictures that usually doesn't allow wedding photos.

Waiting to walk in

Tell us about the ceremony: We were very lucky and had an officiant that had also been an actor (like me!). He had a fabulous British accent and was very eloquent.

the vows

During our ceremony we did a handfasting and Jeff's parents presented me with their tartan to wear.

Erin and Jeff off to Parliament Hill (in the rain) for pictures!

Jeff and Erin dancing in Center Block on Parliament Hill

Our biggest challenge: The biggest challenge was the rain, but I didn't care. I had a beautiful venue in which to take pictures, and a good friend offered to get us into Parliament Hill for pictures inside Center Block, which is usually no longer allowing wedding photos. We were very lucky!

The other challenge was to find a black limo since I didn't want many white elements. Most places in Ottawa carried white ones, but no black ones. I almost resorted to calling funeral homes, but found one at the last minute.

My grandparents couldn't come at the last minute. My grandfather went into the hospital two days before, so he was really upset he could not be at the wedding. My husband and I set up a video camera for the ceremony, and played it back to them once he was out of the hospital.

Up Your Kilt!

Jason teaching us how

My favorite moment: The handfasting that we did in the middle of our ceremony. I also loved that everyone learned to line dance!

Brian and Carrie and the Octopus

My funniest moment: The Orange Octopus, courtesy of our DJ, that keep surfacing in pictures!

Erin's Hair piece

The Boys

My advice for offbeat brides: I looked at my wedding as the ultimate performance, so I made sure that everyone would be entertained at every step (including us), and it paid off. There were people who were dancing that I never thought I would see dancing! Also the key is to be yourselves. Even if you think it might be over-the-top, most of your guests know you, so they will roll with it.

Signing the paperwork

What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? It pays to be prepared and always count on your friends to come up with other options. Otherwise we would never have had a great wedding picture venue beside our wedding site.

Husband and Wife

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

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  1. Ottawa Wedding FTW! :D Loved your dress! and OMg I can't believe you got to take pics in parliament :D Awesome stuff!

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  2. That red dress is to die for! I also really love the top photo (in the chapel?) It's very romantic.

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    • The top photo was taken in the Center Block of the Canadian Parliament. I used to be a tour guide there, it's a stunning space! Not gonna lie, I'm jealous of her pics :)

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  3. Oh. My. GOD – that dress is absolutely STUNNING!!! You look absolutely amazing. Wow, girl – gorgeous wedding! Well done, and congratulations!!

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  4. Gorgeous Dress! I love me a big stunning red dress!

    Is it just me or are some posts with embedded pics looking funny lately? The picture of the bag piper is off to the right of the page under the site ads, etc when I view it, and I saw it on another post the other day…

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  5. I'm breaking my stalker-esque-ness (ie. never commented) to say: I. Love. That. Dress.
    Love. Love. Love.

    Love.
    That is all.

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  6. YOUR DRESS YOUR DRESS YOUR DRESS

    Also, the tartans!! My manfriend is a Buchanan, and I've been getting a serious education in tartans lately. I love that his parents presented you with their tartan to wear– what a great symbol! :)

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  7. What are the odds of the first wedding website I look at, this is the first story I see??? Maybe soon I will be posting a story of this same balloon guy's wedding :)
    You and Jeff sure do have a lot of style :)
    – Stacey and Brad

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  8. Amazing wedding! When I was a student at UO I used to dream of getting married in Tabaret. It's such an awesome building.

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  9. FAB, what a venue and what a dress! looks wet enough to be Scotland but it doesn't look like any spirits where dampened. Erin looks stunning and so happy, beautiful pictures thank you for sharing your story x

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  10. I love weddings with tartans! When I was a groomschick a few years ago, I made MadCat wear a tartan for the first time in his life, like the rest of the men in the wedding party. Nothing looks as cool as a set of men in different tartans, all striving to look as Highlander as possible.

    And that dress! One of the most beautiful I've ever seen. You're both stunning!

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  11. Oh my goodness, it never even occurred to me to ask about having a ceremony at Tabaret! Do you have a contact name? I checked the website and didn't see anything. I'm an alumna, so that would be a super location.

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