Candace & Colin's music-meets-geeky budget Mennonite wedding

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Photos by Matthew Ryan Photography

The Offbeat Bride: Candace, Student/piano teacher

Her offbeat partner: Colin, Tire specialist

Date and location of wedding: Glencross Mennonite Church, Morden, Manitoba, Canada — 05/26/2012

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: These two wanted to honor their Mennonite background with their own personal interests — and did it all for 200 on a $5000 budget! Colin loves gaming, so for the day I bought him Super Mario cufflinks. He also wore grey and lime green skater shoes. I'm more vintage and crafty, so I wore vintage earrings from Britain. We tied toy cars to the ring bearer pillow (partially to occupy my lovely little nephews!), painted canvases with our silhouettes to serve as a guestbook, and had board games out for guests to play in between the ceremony and reception.

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Blue and green are Colin's favorite colors, and I'm a music major, so we mixed in those things everywhere we could. I also love thrift stores, so all of the bottles, the teacups, and the random little things like the watering can and old buttons were thrift store finds. We used paper pinwheels for a lot of our wedding decor, and hand-painted our programs with a pencil eraser. I arranged the music that our bridesmaids walked in to, and had my own aisle march composed by a very dear friend. We each had a couple that had been influential in our lives stand up for us. At the reception, my dad led the doxology, we had other dear friends give the speeches, and as favors we had old-fashioned candy sticks (one of our favorite candies and something Colin introduced me to on a choir tour).

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Tell us about the ceremony: One thing we added to the ceremony was a prayer of blessing, in which we knelt, had our parents lay hands on us, and were prayed for in front of the congregation. Obviously that ties into our religious background, but it was really beautiful.

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Our biggest challenge: That's easy! There were three big challenges we dealt with in planning the wedding: adapting a lot of our ideas to a church setting, figuring out how to combine our very different styles, and the biggest one, budget. Our budget for the entire wedding (not including the honeymoon) was five thousand dollars, and considering we had 200 guests, a lot of compromises and cuts had to be made.

We got around the money issues, weirdly enough, by doing more of what we wanted! I couldn't find a dress I liked, so my mom made it, and it was one of my favorite parts of the wedding. We used a lot of paper for the decor, which was super cheap, and easy to recycle afterwards. I scoured thrift stores to find bottles in our colors, and got some old barnwood from a lovely aunt and uncle to make signs.

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The biggest thing that cut costs was actually the food. Neither Colin and I like traditional wedding dinners, and it would have been costly anyway. So instead we went back to our (quite Mennonite) roots, and did a big Faspa (cold meats, different buns, cheeses, salads, etc.). My mom made everything including all of the desserts. Since we had a morning wedding and lunch reception, it worked well.

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My funniest moment: First, our MC came up with these signs (which we had no idea about), and the wedding party all held them up to score our kisses at the reception. Second, I have a large group of musical friends, and they took our kissing game (singing a song with the word love in it) to the extreme, including an Elvis impersonator, rewriting the lyrics to several of the songs we'd done in choir, singing childhood songs complete with over-the-top actions, and having a sing-along to The Beatles.

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Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? I was worried about having an hour break between the ceremony and reception because both were in the same place. But we put out the guest book after the ceremony, had board games for our guests, built a display to introduce ourselves and tell our story, and it seemed to work out just fine.

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What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? Compromise is key. So many people tell you that you should do what you want, but in the end I do not regret choosing to keep the wedding reasonably priced, even though it meant giving up some of the details I was originally going for. Compromising with Colin and our families also made the day feel more like we were a community because we took the time to work it through. I know it's not possible for everyone, but it did really help for us.

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Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

  1. This was a really sweet wedding. I love how you incorporated the blessing and kept what was most important to you.

  2. The men at work photo is so funny. Looks like they had a blast taking the photo. The wedding looks elegant. A Monet wedding is something my cousin and many other people in my circle would have dreamed of (am a band nerd, married a band nerd… who's father is a band director…)

    Stunning! Thanks for sharing.

  3. Your mom rocks so hard for being such an integral creative and spiritual supporter to your wedding — from the dress to the displayed dishes to those cupcakes? AMAZING!

  4. Awesome! I'm from a large Mennonite family in BC, and though I don't practice the religion the culture is a big part of my family gatherings. Faspah would have been a great idea! Sad I didn't think of that. Trying to get my gramma to make rohlkuchen for the dessert though 🙂 instead we opted to honour my fiances Muslim roots and serve a Sri Lankan buffet.

    • Hi! Sorry I don't visit the site much anymore….cause, well, I'm married and off the cuff busy! But, menu: homemade buns, assorted cold meats, different types of pickles (the man is a pickle fiend 🙂 ) two different cold salads, cheese platters, and veggie platters. Dessert was brownies, candy, skor cracker bars, cupcakes, lemon squares, and 2 other things I can't remember off the top of my head. Shows how with it I was at the wedding! As far as budget, I don't remember what exactly we spent on everything, but I can tell you that it was less than $7,000 all told including not wedding things such as honeymoon and engagement ring etc. etc. etc. $2500 of that was the photographer..he was our splurge. The dress was about $300, venue rental $500, food was about $1000 including food and serving staff (we had our church food committee do it), paper goods was about 100, and we got all of those bottles for about 50 cents apiece at various thrift stores. The cobalt ones are now sitting in my house. The bridesmaid dresses were $40 each from Target.

  5. "Compromising with Colin and our families also made the day feel more like we were a community because we took the time to work it through. "

    I love the notion that compromising can make it feel more like a community event. beautiful wedding and ceremony. Congratulations!

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