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The Offbeat Bride: Courtney, Conservationist

Her offbeat partner: Carli, Conservationist

Date and location of wedding: Rockwood Park Stables, Rockwood Park, Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada — May 24, 2014

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: We held the wedding at a barn that holds a lot of memories and meaning to both of us. The barn has been a second home, a place of comfort, love, and support, and holding the wedding somewhere that means so much really made the day. Having held it anywhere else simply wouldn't make sense, because of who we are.

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We DIYed everything. And I mean everything. We cleaned the hay loft of the barn to turn it into a wedding venue (hanging lights is treacherous), we made all of the decorations (lanterns, hanging yarn balls, archway of fallen branches from a recent ice storm, an “Our Story” banner), and we made all the food. We incorporated a lot of aspects of who we are into the decor: we are from different countries and we created invitations as world map postcards, and our guest book was a large old-fashioned world map. We are both book worms, so we used stacks of old books tied in twine as decoration. An old suitcase stood as a testament to our wanderlust, and it was secretly filled with letters we had sent back and forth while long distance.

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In the end, everything was perfect for us, from the hand written menu cards, to walking down the aisle to a Led Zeppelin instrumental to using hay bales as seating.

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Tell us about the ceremony:
We were given a template for the ceremony by our officiant, but we changed a lot of it. We changed the reading to one from Les Misérables that was read by a long time friend:

The future belongs to hearts even more than it does to minds. Love- that is the only thing that can occupy and fill eternity. In the infinite, the inexhaustible is requisite.

Love participates of the soul itself. It is of the same nature. Like it, it is the divine spark; like it, it is incorruptible, indivisible, and imperishable. It is a point of fire that exists within us, which is immortal and infinite, which nothing can confine, and which nothing can extinguish. We feel it burning even to the very marrow of our bones, and we see it beaming in the very depths of heaven…

What a grand thing it is to be loved! What a far grander thing it is to love! The heart becomes heroic, by dint of passion. It is no longer composed of anything but what is pure; it no longer rests on anything that is not elevated and great. The serene and lofty soul no longer feels anything but profound and subterranean shocks of destiny, as the crests of mountains feel the shocks of earthquake.

If there did not exist someone who loved, the sun would become extinct.

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We also changed the bit about the ring being a perfect circle symbolizing… whatever they symbolize… to this, more realistic (and we thought touching) piece:

This is the point in the ceremony where we usually talk about the wedding bands being a perfect circle, with no beginning and no end. But we all know that these rings do have a beginning. Rock is dug up from the earth. Metal is liquefied, molded, cooled, and polished. Something beautiful created from raw elements. Love is like that. It comes from humble beginnings, made by imperfect beings. It is the process of making something beautiful where once there was nothing at all. These rings represent your promise to each other, to continuously refine the beauty you have created with your love.

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And because we are both book worms, we snuck in a Jack Kerouac quote. Instead of saying “I do” as we exchanged rings, we said “I agree to love you madly,” from On The Road (“and we agreed to love each other madly.”)

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My favorite moment:
Having rewritten the ceremony, it was really wonderful to hear and feel it come to life. We had written our vows the night before, in the same room, but without knowing what the other was writing, and it was very touching and exciting to read them to each other. We had a very small wedding with fewer than 30 guests which made everything very intimate, and that really made the day. A very close friend was unable to make it, but her family organized a surprise FaceTime call just after the ceremony and it meant so, so much to have had that surprise.

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My funniest moment:
The funniest moment of the reception would have to be our dog, Kobane. We let him into the loft after the ceremony, and our guests were blowing bubbles around us as we had our first (and only) dance. Kobane, dressed up in his bow tie for the big day, ran around madly chasing the bubbles.

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Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

Comments on Courtney & Carli’s DIYed rustic barn wedding

  1. SUCH a beautiful, personal, intimate day! I love it – many congratulations to the both of you. So much fun on your faces and so much love in your eyes xxx

  2. I’m absolutely in love with everything about this wedding…dat barn tho, omg. <3

    • The barn was amazing.. such a perfect venue! If possible, I think everyone should use a place that means a lot to them. Having it there made everything so much more personal… worth every hour of cleaning it!

  3. OMG, their wedding happened in my hometown! It looks like (hopefully) the notorious Saint John fog held off for your special day. Rockwood Park is gorgeous and so are the brides (and their wedding). So nice to see some more representation of the Canadian Maritimes and I loved the symbolism they imparted about their wedding rings. Congratulations!

    • The fog did hold off for the wedding, but it was cold for the photos! It’s really nice to see the maritimes anywhere… show other people that we actually exist! Thank you 🙂

  4. That picture of them on the horse? Love defined. Amazing that that moment was captured on film (well, in pixels).

    • Thank you! I wish there were behind-the-scenes photos of this… it’s difficult to get on a horse that big in dresses!

  5. The picture of them on the horse is breath-taking and the photography in general is lovely! I also really like their alternate take on what the rings symbolize!

  6. The photo on the horse is, hands down, the best photo to come out of the wedding. Our photographer was amazing, and so helpful! I don’t think we could have been happier.

    We are both so happy we rewrote the ceremony 🙂

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