The Offbeat Bride: Amy, PhD Student (and Offbeat Bride member)
Her offbeat partner: Kim, Quality Manager
Our offbeat wedding at a glance:
Our late September wedding was small-ish (70 people), was held outside in a beautiful stone ruin, and its style was a blend of rustic/natural/classy. Although tradition is important to us in many ways, we opted to do our own thing in place of many wedding traditions: we walked down the aisle together, we had no bridal party, we had a flower granny instead of a flower girl, we had a short and humorous non-denominational ceremony, there was no throwing of a bouquet, no garter toss either, and dinner was a mingling, cocktail, hors d'oeuvres party.
Tell us about the ceremony:
My favourite part of the ceremony was that we walked down the aisle together, and that we were preceded by my wonderfully supportive 93-year-old grandmother as our flower granny. We wrote the ceremony ourselves, pulling from various resources on the internet.
Kim's mom had passed away two years before the wedding, and we had a little “in memory” candle and some pictures at the ceremony. Our officiant read the following while we lit the candle together. It got a lot of tears and started me off for the rest of the ceremony as an emotional wreck:
Although death has separated us physically, faith and love have bound us eternally.
Though we cannot see you, we know you are here.
Though we cannot touch you, we feel the warmth of your smile, as we begin a new chapter in our lives.
Today we pause to reflect upon those who have shaped our character, molded our spirits and touched our hearts.
May the lighting of this candle be a reminder of the memories we have shared, a representation of the everlasting impact you have made upon our lives.
We also used the famous reading from Corelli's Mandolin:
Love is a temporary madness,
it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides.
And when it subsides you have to make a decision.
You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together
that it is inconceivable that you should ever part.
Because this is what love is.
Love is not breathlessness,
it is not excitement,
it is not the promulgation of eternal passion.
That is just being “in love” which any fool can do.
Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away,
and this is both an art and a fortunate accident.
Those that truly love, have roots that grow towards each other underground,
and when all the pretty blossom have fallen from their branches,
they find that they are one tree and not two.
This reading was very appropriate for us because we are very tree-themed people, if that's a thing. We had also been together for six years at the time of the wedding, so we wanted something that represented the long-lasting bond and strength of our partnership.
Our vows were ripped off of the internet… sort of. We found these vows and changed a couple of words to make them more us, and in the end, they were one of the best parts of the wedding because of how well they represented us. I couldn't have written better vows myself… so I didn't.
A: I promise you, until my very last breath, to fight for life, for joy, for us,
K: to never take your actions, words and kindness for granted,
A: to keep leaving you secret notes when we are away from each other.
K: I vow to grow with you and not apart,
A: to make my accomplishments, ours, and your challenges, mine,
K: I will always love you deeply and honestly, as your equal and your partner.
A: I fiercely want to grow old with you;
K: so we can sit on our front porch on a warm summer’s eve,
A: so we can hold our frail hands together and reminisce about September,
K: so I can simply be with you, and know that I am home.
The ceremony will be remembered in my mind by two photos of my mom: one in which she is laughing hysterically and another in which she is wiping away tears with a tissue. Success.
Our biggest challenge:
The one wedding planning step that I found very hard was making the guest list. We had a fire capacity of 80 at our reception venue, and I have a LOT of cousins who all have partners and children. I ended up committing the faux pas of inviting friends and family without their significant others, and I did this inconsistently so only some partners were missing. Also some cousins weren't invited and others were, and I'm sure my reasons seemed completely arbitrary. This was awkward for a while, and I got some flack for it, but it hopefully got better once it was over. If I had unlimited chances to re-do the guest list, even now I think I would make the guest list different every time. That was a tough one.
My favorite moment:
The first look! We had spent the night before the wedding apart, and our photographer and her husband coordinated a romantic first look before the ceremony. I waited in a forested area beside a river, and I wasn't allowed to peek around the trees. Kim was led down the bank to the river, and the photographer and her husband captured our surprise, joy, and bubbling-over-love when I turned around and we saw each other, all done up, for the first time on our wedding day.
The other meaningful parts were the homemade touches. Kim is extremely handy, and she made us an awesome backdrop picture frame that stood six feet high and had to be assembled on site with a drill. She also made us a great rustic ring box to transport our rings to our fingers. Those are just two of my favourites. Everyone also really loved my paper flower bouquet, which I made out of love letters that Kim had written me over the years. That was a very meaningful piece of the wedding.
My funniest moment:
Only because I was inebriated at the time did I find this funny. We had a wedding crasher at our restaurant reception during the drinking and dancing portion of the night, and when my sister-in-law asked him to leave, he talked back to her. My sister-in-law's husband didn't like that… a fight broke out with 5-10 of my toughest wedding guests ganging up on this poor wedding crasher, and he ended up flat on his butt on the street. I am not a partier in my regular life, and drama like this would have ordinarily been very stressful. But because I had been drinking and partying, I had a great time watching my loyal loved ones protect my wedding from a crasher.
What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding?
That I can express my emotions and affections in front of people. I was concerned that I would be cold at our wedding because I don't express my softer side in front of my family. To my surprise, I forgot about all the people sitting there watching us, and I was completely open and emotional as I am when I am alone with Kim. In the end, it felt humanizing rather than embarrassing, and it made me more willing to take my emotions and affections public more often.
- Amy's dress: Sue Wong from The Brides Project
- Kim's outfit: Banana Republic
- Photographer: Karolina Kuras
- Ceremony location: Goldie Mill Ruin
- Officiant: Mari Sargent
- Reception Location: Atmosphere Cafe
- Florist: Robyn Scott, Blooms and Flora
- Wedding coordinator: Danielle, Dreamstyle Weddings
- Hair and makeup: Acqua Salon