Her offbeat partner: Nicole
Date and location of wedding: Fairmont Banff Springs, Banff, Alberta, Canada — September 22, 2012
Our offbeat wedding at a glance: Nicole and I got married in the mountains in Banff, which made for amazing scenery. We booked the famous Fairmont Banff Springs hotel for our reception. We put a lot of our budget into photography. Since it was a budget breaker, we decided to do all the planning and decoration ourselves. We made the wish tree, table hearts, name tags on corks, and bride sign on the back of the chairs. We even had a friend of ours bake vegan cupcakes for our dessert, Oreo cookie and lime margarita flavor!
Tell us about the ceremony: We had the ceremony on a dock outside of the hotel with the mountains as the backdrop. Here was our favorite reading from The Velveteen Rabbit:
'What is REAL?' asked the Rabbit one day… 'Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?'
'Real isn't how you are made,' said the Horse. 'It's a thing that happens to you. When someone loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.'
'Does it hurt?' asked the Rabbit.
'Sometimes," said the Horse. 'When you are Real you don't mind being hurt.'
'Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,' he asked, 'or bit by bit?'
'It doesn't happen all at once,' said the Horse. 'You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't often happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand… once you are Real you can't become unreal again. It lasts for always.'
Our biggest challenge: Being a lesbian isn't something with which all of the family members were the most comfortable, especially Nicole's family. She has always had trouble being herself and being gay, especially around family members. This was such an incredible experience for the both of us. It both forced us "out of the closet" even more than we already were. We had to buy two gowns and tell the whole store we were the ones getting married… to each other! Buying wedding bands, booking a limo, booking the reception room… everything was a challenge of talking about being gay.
Walking around holding hands in two white dresses in a fully booked hotel, and having to kiss in front of everyone watching was new, too. People even took pictures of us because they couldn't believe it was two women getting married. It was amazing, and even Nicole feels more comfortable being herself and holding my hand in public. It was such a beautiful experience to not only marry my best friend but also to become less afraid of being who we are.
My favorite moment: Staying in the honeymoon suite at the Fairmont was incredible. It was definitely a once in a lifetime experience at that cost, but so worth it. We even had a spiral staircase up to the bedroom — I felt like a princess.
My funniest moment: We realized that the water level had dropped since we had picked out our ceremony location four months prior. We actually had to be lifted down onto the dock! Then the dock almost went under the water from all the family and friends on it! Thankfully, no one fell in.
My advice for Offbeat Brides: Just remember to breathe on the day of, even though things get stressful and vendors are late, it will be fine as long as you remember why you're there.
What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding?
You truly realize how much your friends and family love you, and who really loves and supports you for being yourself and no one else. Although there were a few "non-accepting" individuals at the wedding, I couldn't believe the support and love from the rest of our families. It felt like what we had wanted our whole lives, and finally it was okay to be just the way we are.
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Photography: Lisa Redfern
- Dresses, veil, and hair accessories: The Bridal and Tuxedo House
- Cupcakes: Heritage Baked Goods
Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!