The offbeat bride: Mandy, floral and web designer

Her offbeat partner: Jamie, chef

Date and location of wedding: My parent's cottage and Nordlaw Lodge, Westport, ON — August 13, 2011

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: I work as a florist, and working in the wedding industry and hearing the words “simple and elegant” all the time was what really convinced me to go our own way. We chose to follow our gothic and rustic styles to suit our ceremony and reception locations. I also didn't believe in spending all of our money on one day, so we set a $5000 budget for 70 people and I made sure every step of the way we were on par to meet our budget.

Flowers were one of the top priorities for me, and they were a gift from my mom. But I got to pick out the selections for the bouquets and boutonnieres.

For the rest of the decor, we DIYed as much as possible. We made 50+ Martha Stewart coffin box favours, skull chocolates (made using skull-shaped ice cube trays), a large coffin-shaped card box complete with studs, studded ribbon to go around our cake tiers and bouquets, designed invitations, designed the wedsite with custom gift registry and RSVP, wine labels, and handmade fascinators for me and the girls.

Tell us about the ceremony: We had a non-denominational ceremony mostly written by us, and I chose to have both of my parents walk me down the aisle as they are equally important to me.

We chose to do a rose ceremony. I had never heard of it before meeting our officiant but she had included it in some sample ceremonies she sent us. Dark red roses are one of my favorite flowers, so this type of ceremony seemed fitting. We now have them dried in a vase in our living room which will always be a nice reminder of our ceremony.

Our biggest challenge: The biggest challenge was not exceeding our budget. I learned quickly that we could save a lot by having our wedding outside of the city. Small towns charge a lot less for most services, and we definitely saved a lot there. For example, the cost for hair-styling for me AND my two bridesmaids was a total of $170.

Our initial photographer would have cost half our budget, so we were in a bit of a panic trying to find another one in the last couple of months of planning. We checked out eBay Classifieds and found one who was more within our budget.

My favorite moment: It was very meaningful to me that our ceremony was held at my parent's cottage with only 20 people in attendance (the rest came for the reception). Originally we were going to have the ceremony at the same location as our reception with all of our guests, but the significance of having it at our family cottage and having an intimate ceremony was much more important to us.

Also, getting ready at the hair salon with all the girls in the morning was great. I knew the exact times that I had set out on our schedule would not be met, so I just let everything be. Once all of our hair was done, we picked up some smoothies at the small cafe next door and made our way back to do our makeup. It was so nice being in town that morning and really reminded me that I'm a small town girl at heart.

My funniest moment: One of the funniest moments was during my maid of honour/sister's speech. She pulled out a pair of her blue panties claiming I needed my “something old and something blue.” Also, during the groom's parents' speech, they brought out his time-out chair when he was young. Who knew props would be a big thing during the speeches?

My advice for Offbeat Brides: For brides having a budget wedding, I would recommend having a longer engagement to give you enough time to do a lot of research to find those great deals. Plus, the small town versus big city costs were a lifesaver, if you have that option.


What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? We were told by certain family members that the guests who were excluded from the ceremony would be really upset and would no longer invite us to family gatherings. But it turned out that nobody was mad at all. I'm glad we just didn't do everything for everybody else and end up regretting it, only to have those “consequences” not actually pan out.

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Comments on Mandy & Jamie’s skulls and roses cottage wedding

  1. Very nice! Such a great view on the lake, a nice choice & the props, I lol! Congratulations

  2. Love this – well done execution ; )
    everything is very goth while still elegant and beautiful – really love the invitations – your wording is so well chosen. now to find MSE coffin favor boxes…

  3. LOVE this wedding!! Everything is amazing!!

    Btw, I used the same ice cube tray and coffin boxes to make crayon favors for my sons class last year. Don’t know if the other parents appreciated it, but I loved them. Haha.

  4. Thanks so much for telling us about your idea of having 20 intimates at the ceremony and the rest of the guests for the reception. My great niece had that arrangement for her wedding last weekend and I totally didn’t get it. Now, I understand why she did that.

  5. LOVE the chocolate skull favours and that cake is to die for! i particularly love the first picture of the bouquet too, beautiful and gloomy; sets a great mood xx

  6. Thanks guys for the wonderful comments! A lot of the ideas and inspiration came from weddings on this site and the help of the tribe :). I’ve come to love weddings since planning ours and can’t wait to help my friends plan theirs :).

  7. I’m loving the metal studs. Something new to think about! I never even considered them before. Gorgeous wedding 🙂

  8. Love this! I am so excited to see other brides accomplishing the elegant yet skull infused wedding that I’m planning for next Halloween. 🙂 some people have been worried that I can make it awesome and not cheeseball (not that there’s anything wrong with that if that’s what you want!) but I’m so glad I’m ignoring them and doing what we want!

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