Erin & Matt's crafty music-inspired quirky wedding

By on Mar. 27th

This couple's bouncy castle and knitted bouquets were featured in recent Monday Montages. Here's the whole story behind this crafty New Zealand bash.

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Photos by Paula Shannon

The offbeat bride: Erin, government writer and editor

Her offbeat partner: Matt, kids' swimming teacher

Date and location of wedding: The Dell in the Wellington Botanic Garden and the Tussock Cafe, Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand — January 14, 2012

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: I dubbed our wedding traditional but quirky. We kept some of the elements of a traditional wedding such as being given away, exchanging of rings, a sit-down reception dinner with toasts, speeches, and cake-cutting, and we had a first dance. However, we had a lot of details which made the day more personalized.

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I wore an emerald green wedding dress as a nod to my Irish heritage, and because white looks dreadful on me. With the help of some great mates, I knitted flowers for mine and the girls' bouquets, the men's and family buttonholes, flowers for the bridesmaids' hair, and more flowers to decorate the aisle. Speaking of knitting, we later discovered that our mates who helped set up the Dell had yarn-bombed the place, and weaved hearts into one of the fences! Matt also proposed to me with a knitted engagement ring he made all by himself!

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I knitted our cake toppers, which were a pair of adorable toy mice in a veil and bow tie, as a reference to the fact Matt and I met online (using a mouse!). Our baker (my brilliant friend Ellen) also made our other cake tiers to look like wheels of cheese. I also made yarn ball fairy lights, as a tribute to my love of knitting!

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E&M 486I (again with the help of my friends) made roses out of sheet music for the centrepieces, table runners out of sheet music, and Duraseal and CD "mobiles" out of blank CDs and yarn. My amazing maid of honour made all the place cards, which featured little quilled music notes.

Matt and I are massive music nuts, so we went for a musical theme for our reception. The tables were named after albums we love such as Blonde on Blonde, Elephant, Electric Ladyland, If You're Feeling Sinister, and Oh, Inverted World. We ran a music quiz for our guests before dinner. Everyone got really into it, especially Matt's extended family, and some people even did really well on the answers.

Save The Date- E&MBoth our save-the-dates and invites were music-themed. The save-the-dates, which featured little cartoon versions of Matt and I, were based on a Decemberists gig poster, and we designed our invites to look like a CD cover.

Apart from a set from a friend, who's a local folk musician, we self-DJed using our iPods. We had our first dance to "Sweet Child O' Mine" by Guns N' Roses, and our dance playlist featured The Kinks, The Pixies, The Smiths, Joy Division, Def Leppard, and Bon Jovi. We also put a lot of thought into our ceremony music. I walked in to "All I Want Is You" by U2, we signed the register to "1234" by Feist and Sufjan Stevens' "The Dress Looks Nice on You," and exited to Frank Ocean's cover of "Strawberry Swing."

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Tell us about the ceremony: I walked up the aisle on the arm of my strapping 13-year-old brother, and he and my little sister "presented" me to be married to Matt. Our ceremony was officiated by Rev. Dr. Margaret Mayman, from the local liberal church St. Andrews on The Terrace, and she was an absolute delight! We wrote the ceremony ourselves, and expressed our own thoughts and visions of marriage which included a little piece of advice from my mum, who once said that "Falling in love is an act of faith, but staying in love is an act of will." Mum looked like she was about to burst with pride when this was mentioned. We also included my favourite quote from the movie Juno, where Juno's dad tells her that the right person will always think "the sun shines out of your ass."

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We had a ring warming, and three gorgeous readings: an excerpt on marriage by the Unitarian Minister Robert Fulghum, a beautiful children's picture book called "No Matter What," which is about the unconditional love between a small fox and big fox. We also read a poem I wrote for Matt's birthday:

We fit.
We go together
like Lego, the blocks
clicking softly, stacks
on stacks, reds on blues.
Sweeping the sky, scattering
the naysayers.

E&M 190We are joined at the hip.
And at the elbow.
The cheek, the wrist
and the knee.  
Puzzle pieces,
curled at the
edges, mashed

into place like Play-Doh,
rolled in
young fists, a swirl
of colour
and salt. Delightful
mess.

We go together.
Same sheets,
same pillows, ribbon arms
wrapping brown paper
bodies. Pefect
parcel. Our lips meet and make
a postmark.  Headed straight
for our letterbox.  One

flesh. Your flesh
comforts. My back.
Your hand.
Steadying.

Later, our records
will fit
side by side on towers, sweeping
the sky as we keep sharing.
And our clothes end
up on the same carpet.

We embrace.
Blur and smudge. Inky
fingers stamping red
with blue, criss-crossing
into bold violet.

Later to be hung
on the fridge, for all
to admire.

We are
a creation to be proud of.

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Our biggest challenge: Money was a real headache. At the time we were planning our wedding, Matt was studying full-time and I was the only breadwinner, and we were living right in the middle of the city. So, with rent and bills gobbling up our money, saving for a wedding was pretty tough. We didn't want to spend bazillions of dollars on our wedding, but still, the cost of feeding and watering over 100 people blew us away!

In the end, we decided on three things to splurge on: food, our outfits, and the photography. We worked hard to cut costs on other things. For example, we got our good mate (a film school graduate) to video, our friend and my stepmum baked the cakes, we didn't hire a florist, and we didn't bother hiring fancy cars. We were very lucky that our parents helped us out A LOT with money, for which we'll always be grateful.

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My favorite moment: The whole ceremony. But particularly meeting Matt at the end of the aisle. We had spent the night apart, and I couldn't wait to get to him! He wrapped me in his arms and whispered in my ear, "You look fucking stunning, darling!"

The speeches. Everyone said some absolutely beautiful things, especially my mum and my maid of honour, which almost had me bawling with happiness. During my speech, I serenaded Matt with the first verse of "Teenage Dream" by Katy Perry.

Probably my absolute favourite moment was when Matt and I got to our hotel room afterwards. We collapsed on the bed, had a huge cuddle, looked down at our rings and were just like, "Holy shit. We're MARRIED!" And we held each other, had a big snog, and I felt my love for him quadruple for him with every second. 

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My funniest moment: For me, it was when my little brother kept doing devil horns and bunny ears above our photographer's head during the family photos. It helped make our smiles a bit more natural. For Matt, it was during the ceremony, when our celebrant talked about us sharing jokes only we understood. At that point, I leaned over and whispered one of our favourite nonsense phrases in his ear, which I think helped him relax.

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My advice for Offbeat Brides: It's easier said than done, but try not to fret too much about what other people are going to think. Everyone and their hamster has an opinion on how a wedding should go, and haters gonna hate. I got several raised eyebrows in response to some of our choices. But in the end, everyone seemed to have a brilliant time. The best moment was when my grandma, who I was convinced was going to hate my dress, hugged me and said, "You look wonderful, dear, but I always knew you would!"

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Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!