Serena & Chris's pirates-meets-renfest forest wedding

Updated Oct 12 2015

gratuitous pose for the parents
The offbeat bride: Serena, Builder Admin

Her offbeat partner: Chris, TAD in the film industry

Location & date of wedding: Best Western and Convention Centre, Coquitlam BC — September 6, 2009

What made our wedding offbeat: From the start, I opted to go against tradition by choosing to wear a dark green wedding dress. My girlfriends thought I was nuts, and convinced me to go to a couple bridal stores and try on traditional white… not one stood out as "the dress." I simply wasn't inspired. B&W waterfall

My husband also didn't want to be stuck in a "penguin suit." So the fashion part decided the overall theme. I was aiming for an earthy, fairy flavor. We also agreed that we wanted to keep religion out of our celebration, and used a marriage commissioner. Of course, after seeing the wonderful ribbon veils on this site, I opted to make my own, since I didn't want the traditional one.

Tell us about the ceremony: The ceremony felt like a blur to a certain point, then it felt like time stood still… sounds odd right? While the wedding party got set up we played the song "Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride" from the Disney movie, Lilo & Stitch. My entrance song was Israel K's version of "Over The Rainbow." It took me until the day before the wedding to find the perfect song, and when I heard it, I thought it was perfect! Couple shot

Our vows were beautiful, and this reading seemed to fit us: When there is beauty all around, When there is life, vibrant and full,
When Nature is crowned in all her glory,
and all the world seems at peace –
Then you have love. Treasure it. Guard it. Nurture it. And above all respect it.
It is the greatest gift one can give. It is the happiness two can share.

Our biggest challenge: We really had a limited budget to work with by the time we started to look for a photographer. I finally found one, through a referral from a local renfest. His website showcased several shots of various Renfests, and one wedding. He'd never done a "hetero" wedding, so we worked a deal, that gave us his services for the full day. From me getting ready, to the end of the reception.

Paper Roses
Paper roses -- They look so real!

Well, let me tell you, I was certainly surprised when I was getting my hair done, to see his wife instead. She's a very loud, outspoken/direct personality. Me being the amiable type, decided, what the heck, it's only us girls in the salon, hopefully she can get a couple nice shots. She starts in on horrible inappropriate jokes, and colorful stories from her wedding night. She had my girls be her gopher, to go get her drinks and snacks while I was stuck in the chair getting pretty.

Don't get me wrong, I love a bawdy joke, but.. I started sweating, when she got a call from her husband. She yells across the salon, the hotel doesn't have record of our reservation, and didn't know we were having the ceremony there. After moments of near heart failure, I manage to get ahold of one of the groomsmen, and he assures me everything is fine, they're decorating the ceremony area. Overcome it? My girls had a quick talk with her, and she managed to tone it down a little. The wedding party

My favorite moment: Finally finding the perfect picture of my dream wedding dress, and making it for only $50! Also, spending time with everyone, making the decorations… paper roses are very time consuming!! Also, being able to gather all our loved ones into one room, and share our joy.

My Poppet Sorren, with the Bouquet!
The Bride's 'Poppet' Sorren. She used scraps from her wedding dress to put together Sorren's dress.

My funniest moment: The funniest moments were when one of the bridesmaids opted to do a Bride and Groom Q&A, with the two of us sitting back to back on the dance floor. We swapped one shoe each, and held them in each hand, ready to raise in answer to questions like – Who said I love you first? Who is the bigger Disney fan? Who made the first move? It was a lot of fun, and it allowed the guests to get an insight into what kind of folks we are.

My advice for offbeat brides: Never second guess yourself or the decisions you and your partner have made regarding the wedding, guests, or decor! It really is about putting your personal stamp on the day. You can't be authentic unless you follow your gut instinct, and do things your way. There's no following the leader when you want to go your own way. Elfin cake toppers

What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? Take time to stop every so often, leading up to the wedding to spend time with everyone, even if it's a phone call to say hi, or an hour sitting in a coffee shop, sharing your nervous energy. You can't do it all yourself, and it's okay to ask for help. People are always willing to lend a hand, and will follow direction and respect your vision.

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

  • My corset, my husband's whole outfit, the bridesmaids dresses, and groomsmen's shirts: The wonderfully exuberant Kitty, of Felix&Kitty
  • The majority of my decor was either crafted (table runners, paper roses, invites/inserts/programs), purchased at the local Michael's and dollar store (favor boxes, silver platters, candle lanterns, bubbles), or borrowed from friends

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

  1. I'm always a huge fan of brides who dare to wear the dress of THEIR dreams, not someone else's. Love the paper roses, too – and the vows?! To die for. You don't have those copywritten, do you? Say, in case someone who loved them maybe wanted to borrow from them because she saw them on OBB and really thought the sentiment was right on and couldn't articulate it better herself?! Cheers on your wedding, and congratulations to you both!

    • Thanks! the vows were suggested to us by our commisioner, so I'm fairly certain they're public domain. Feel free!

  2. great wedding!!! I just love your wedding dress, I think you did a fab job on it!! Congrats to the couple!!

  3. Not to cause a stink, but really, name the photographer! I wouldn't want to hire them :- (

    I'm really glad everything turned out great in the end! You looked gorgeous in the green dress! I love Renaissance garb, and it's especially nice if you get something you can wear again!

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