The Offbeat Bride: Nathalie, Environmental Education
Her offbeat partner: Stephen, Wildlife Biologist
Date and location of wedding: Our family farm, Camrose, Alberta, Canada — September 20, 2014
Our offbeat rustic wedding at a glance:
The night before the wedding, rather than a rehearsal dinner, we hosted dinner for about 25 immediate family members. So many had come from so far we just wanted to spend more time with them. After dinner, the women had an herbal beauty party thanks to one of my talented friends, and the men had a drum circle. It was a great opportunity to spend time with close friends and family and getting mentally prepped for the next day.
We hosted the entire wedding on our farm. It was A LOT of work leading up to it, but it was all worth it. We got to do everything exactly the way we wanted. The reception was held in the barn Stephen's grandfather built in 1955. We live in an old farm-house in the same yard as the barn and enjoy reliving the reception every time we walk into the barn.
We also had a polka band. I was surprised that so many people (even the young ones) knew how to polka and waltz! It was great to have a live band and music that everyone could enjoy. I have heard so many people say how DJs are too loud and the music can be so hit and miss. We played some popular dance songs during the bands breaks and after 2am when the band was done, but for most of the night everyone could dance and have fun.
We brewed all our own wine and beer for the wedding and used the hand-painted artwork from our invitations for our labels.
Stephen was barefoot for the whole day. We had planned to be barefoot for the ceremony but he had actually forgotten to take his shoes from our house the night before when he went and spent the night at his parents.
Tell us about the ceremony:
Our wedding ceremony was really important to us and worked out perfectly. It was conducted in a natural clearing in the aspen forest on the Olson family farm. The grass was high and the fall colours were vibrant. We smudged with sweet grass and all of our family and friends sat in a circle around us.
We decided to include two small ceremonies that meant a lot to us, the Celtic tradition of the Loving cup with our mothers and the tree planting with our fathers. At the end of the ceremony our friend lead the group in a three-part song that she had written the day before as she walked on the land. The whole group sang to us as we walked out of the circle beneath the arch the groom had made.
Our biggest challenge:
Getting our venue ready was a huge challenge. The barn had been used for storage of old farm equipment for decades and it took months to get it cleaned out. Most of the work (new floors, water, electrical, etc.) was completed in the 12 days prior to the wedding. The only thing that got us through was lots of help from our families and friends. Don't turn down someone who has offered to help.
My funniest moment:
I didn't want to use the term “bridesmaids” for my friends who were part of the wedding, so I coined the term “Bride's Bees.” The groomsmen then naturally were called “The Birds” so that we had our “Birds and the Bees.” During our thank you speech when I was thanking everyone, I thanked my Bees, then realized, and said aloud “Oh, I should tell you about the Birds and the Bees.” The room went up in laughter.
- Photography: Lauren Hannah Photography