Heather & Ian's goth with a splash of purple wedding

January 23 |
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Photos by Melissa Johnstone

The Offbeat Bride: Heather, PhD student (and Tribesmaid)

Her offbeat partner: Ian, Web developer

Date and location of wedding: Millennium Centre in Winnipeg, MB, Canada — 10/29/2011

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: We had our wedding in a beautiful heritage building that used to be an old bank. I wore a purple dress and stomping boots. Ian wore a suit with Transformers cufflinks and a boutonniere that he made from clock gears. We wrote our own ceremony, had a good family friend officiate and chose a handful of readings that fit with our views on love. For the recessional, the whole wedding party danced out with us to deadmau5.

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We tried to make things ourselves or purchase them from other crafty individuals. Etsy is an Offbeat Bride's best friend. We had a topsy-turvy cake with a crocheted version of ourselves made by a friend. I am a huge nerd scientist and this was highlighted by the insect order seating chart which were complete with descriptions and fun facts. My father-in-law expressed dismay at having been placed at the Dermaptera (earwigs) table. We couldn't find a favor that we thought people would appreciate so we opted to give a donation to a local cat shelter instead. I threw a plastic bok choy in lieu of flowers since I wasn't about to give up my button bouquet.

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Tell us about the ceremony: We wrote our own ceremony which took a lot of time and thought. We managed to sneak in a Microserfs quote and we had three close friends give readings that really encompassed different perspectives and philosophies on love. Being a scientist, the first was something that I put together using a scientific paper called "The Neurobiology of Love" by Tobias Esch and George B. Stefano, defining the molecules that play a role in love with the caveat that "this deconstruction to the biological level should not take away from what we experience. In Biology, just because we have some understanding of how something works, doesn't make it any less impressive or magical."

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Ian's good friend chose to read an excerpt from Kierkegaard's "Works of Love" and the third reading was a beautiful poem by Margaret Atwood called "Variations on the word love," a poem that has just the right amount of cynicism and mushiness. Then we were declared bonded for life and then we danced out to deadmau5's "Ghost N Stuff."

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Our biggest challenge: I didn't want to succumb to any "have-to's." The biggest challenge was evaluating Wants versus Needs and overcoming the pressure to have everything match or be "perfect." We just talked through decisions and evaluated why we wanted certain things and whether years down the road we would regret not having the coolest napkins. My sister was invaluable for bouncing ideas off of.

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My favorite moment: I have several. The ring exchange meant the world to me because Ian had written the words and I felt every one of them. "I give you this ring to bind us and allow you to be free. Free to know that you need not worry, for you are loved, truly and completely."

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We really wanted some of our friends who weren't part of the wedding party to play a role in our ceremony, so we asked three of them to give readings, which was very special to us. We also started taking dance lessons two months before the wedding, mostly because the opportunity arose and I have always wanted to. We ended up doing a choreographed dance to a song from Edward Scissorhands (Danny Elfman's "The End"). Dancing with Ian is always a pleasure and it was no different on our wedding day.



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Necklace in the shape of Oxytocin? Science is beautiful!
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My funniest moment: While I was walking down the aisle, one of my friends was clearly crying already. Despite being the centre of attention, I scolded her with my finger and said, "No, not yet." It turns out that my friend could see that Ian was already fighting back tears waiting at the front so she was already primed for tears before I even started coming down the aisle.

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My advice for Offbeat Brides: You will only get 80 years (maybe) on this earth and you should spend them being who you are, particularly on such a memorable day. If you aren't the kind of person who sees imperfections or who needs to go for a certain look, there is no need to start becoming that now. It's not so much do what you want, as do what you need.

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What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding?
I learned that I am capable of organizing an event and that we both really thrive on creating things. I am most definitely the list-maker of the relationship but if I delegate Ian is more than happy to help me. Ian learned that if he is good at designing one thing (the invitations), he will be met with more designing work!

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Despite the fact that the tasks involved in planning a wedding were items on a long list, we generally had laughs while doing them. I think that the entire process gave me more respect for Ian and I hope that we continue to have this much fun. During the planning stages I got pretty tired of talking about our wedding. My sister was such an integral part of this whole thing but sometimes I would get off the phone and be so frustrated that we had spent half an hour discussing chair covers but we hadn't managed to talk about anything that was actually going on (e.g. her life, my work). I hope this serves as a lesson to others to find a better balance.

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Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

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  1. Where did you take your dance lessons? My fiancé and I had a failed experiment with taking them through the leisure guide.

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    • We took our dance lessons at Arthur Murray in Montreal but they were private and pretty expensive. Don't give up! Learning to dance with your partner is a wonderful experience.

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  2. I… that dress. Those boots! Asdfgh so much beautiful going on, I can't take it!

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  3. generally when I look at weddings at off beat bride, As Im going through Im already writting my comment going "oh need to mention that I love this or this or this" I basically said this with every aspect of this wedding.
    Love her whole outfit, love her hair, LOVE LOVE LOVE their ring exchange pictures and the words they used for that.
    Who knew something so wonderful could come out of winnipeg?
    ha, jokes coming for a fellow canadian!

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  4. So before I even clicked on the post, I was like "I have to comment on this wedding: her dress is freakishly gorgeous and I love that they're surrounded by books!" And then I clicked and it just kept getting better! From your little cake toppers to your cake itself to your button bouquet–SUCH a beautiful wedding! Congratulations!

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  5. Oooooh – love the aesthetic. You guys are beautiful! The purple takes my breath away.

    Question about the rings – the one with the trillion garnet – did that come from stonefeverjewelry on Etsy? It looks remarkably similar (with a different stone, though) to the engagement ring I gave my fiance.

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    • It's a ruby! The ring was originally designed by a Manitoban jeweler but she closed her business so I had to draw it from memory and had Bijou in Winnipeg create it for me.

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  6. OMG the cake is super cute and yummy looking! LOVE the shot on the stairs…soooooooooo pretty.

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  7. That cake is ADORABLE! Loving the purple, this wedding looked really fun!

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  8. So many things about this are my dream wedding (that I'm in the process of planning), except that I have purple hair and a red dress instead of the other way around. Such a beautiful wedding!

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  9. I love the insect seating chart! We are planning to do insect table number cards (my fiance is an entomologist).

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  10. I hrrrrrnged so hard at the dress. <3 and the button bouquet. Beautiful wedding and I hope you two rest happy :)

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  11. Fishnet table coverings?!?!! OMGoodness….brilliant.

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  12. WHERE were those photos in the blue room? So gorgeous!

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  13. I think y'all need to blow up that last picture, the cut -off of y'all holding hands, and put that up as a focal point. I LOVE IT! Mazel tov on your wedding.

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  14. "You will only get 80 years (maybe) on this earth and you should spend them being who you are, particularly on such a memorable day. If you aren't the kind of person who sees imperfections or who needs to go for a certain look, there is no need to start becoming that now. It's not so much do what you want, as do what you need."

    This is some of the best advice I've ever heard, and not just for weddings either!

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