Emily & Dave's Rainy Cabin Potluck Wedding

Updated Oct 12 2015

The offbeat bride: Emily, Geologist & General Rock Geek

Her offbeat partner: Dave, Environmental Consultant

Location & date of wedding: The deck of my parent's cottage in central Alberta, Canada on June 5th, 2009

What made our wedding offbeat: We both really wanted to have a party with all of our family and friends. The actual ceremony lasted less then 10 minutes, but the party lasted for three days.


My parents have a cottage on Sylvan Lake in central Alberta and it has been my favorite place for as long as I can remember. When we got engaged it was the first place we both though of for the wedding. Our neighbours were gracious enough to lend us thier cottages for family to stay in. We also had more then a few trailers parked in the driveway. In fact their was no room for us to stay, so we ended up staying in our 1972 "honeymoon suite" in the driveway.

Our biggest challenge: Having the wedding at the cottage came with more then a few challenges: Where would everyone stay? (thank goodness for nice neighbours) Would the deck hold all 67 people? Should we rent a port-o-potty? What do we do if it rains?

My parents were a huge help. Shortly after we got engaged and picked our location my Dad started work on rebuilding the deck. It turned out amazing and held everyone with room to spare. We decided against the port-o-potty, but made sure that all the septic tanks were pumped before the wedding (gross I know, but someone has to think of these things).

Finally we dealt with the rain, and rain it did. A couple days before the wedding my dad pre-tarped the entire deck. He set the whole thing up so that if it rained we could tarp in the deck in only a few minutes. Well it did rain, and it was only 4C outside.

Having the wedding at the cottage came with more then a few challenges: Where would everyone stay? (thank goodness for nice neighbours) Would the deck hold all 67 people? Should we rent a port-o-potty? What do we do if it rains?

I refused to get married under anything but the sky, so I bought a bunch of umbrellas the morning of the wedding and we had the ceremony outside. As soon as the kiss was done, my uncle and dad starting making the "deck tent" out of tarps. Everything went exactly as planned and 10 minutes and two propane heaters later it was 18C and dry on the deck. It was so nice in there we were able to have dinner and a slide show outside.

My favorite moment: My dad made me a path of white rock through the woods coming up to the deck. My favorite moment was walking through the bushes listening to my sister play the flute and seeing my dad and Dave waiting for my on the deck. I could see them before they could see me, so it was wonderful watching their reactions as I walked towards them.

Another favorite moment was seeing the tables all set up for dinner. It looked like a circus under our tarps for awhile, but when everyone chipped in it came together wonderfully.

My offbeat advice: Don't let mother nature rain on your parade and always have a back up plan. Most people want nice weather on their wedding day, but that is not always what you are going to get. I was so grateful that my dad had taken the time to pre-tarp, just in case. Because we had a plan everything went so smoothly and turned out just the way we had pictured it.

We also had a few comments about not getting married in a church (my family is very Catholic). We politely explained why we chose a non-religious ceremony to anyone who asked. Most people are more reasonable then you think. On the day of the wedding I don't think they even noticed!

Vendor & Shopping Links:

  • The Cake – Brulee Patisserie in Calgary, Alberta
  • The Dress – Your Wedding Place in Red Deer, Alberta
  • Flowers – Barnyard Floral & Gifts outside of Sylvan Lake, Alberta (She did an amazing job on my flowers. How many brides have bullrushes and berries in their bouquet? Dave's boutonniere was berries and wild lily of the valley.)
  • Rentals – Parkland Rentals in Red Deer, Alberta

Enough talk — show me that wedding porn: Click on the photo below to catch more woodsy, potluck-yummy photos from Emily & Dave's outdoor wedding!

  1. Looking at your wedding pictures make me happy! It's great to see how you didn't let a stupid bit of rain get in the way of having a brilliant day. Oh, and I love the honeymoon suite!

  2. Yay for Alberta weddings! Mine is coming up this weekend in Edmonton and it's been raining for three days. I hope I can handle it as gracefully as you did! Everything looks like fun.

  3. It was a great weekend, even though there was rain. But I think i have had enough Roast Beef for a while. Love to you both!!

  4. It's been CRAZY weather this summer, huh? I can't believe I'm taking a jacket and gloves to Stampede, lol. The wedding was BEAUTIFUL!

    I've always wondered with the saplings – did you have somewhere that guests could plant them? I was heartbroken to attend a green wedding recently and see saplings abandoned all over the property when the night was done by city folks who had nowhere to plant them. Just wondering 🙂

    • Because the wedding was at my parents cottage any lonely trees got planted on their land. We also kept a few in pots for when we get our own house and gave a ton to relatives with land out east.

  5. Emily is a great kid. Oops sorry, she's a beautiful, confident young woman. Dave's alright too. The time that the family has spent at the cabin, Ellen, Emily, Rose, Vannessa, and Pete, made this special. Glad we were invited, and thank the lord above Pete wasn't in his glory (TW)

    Candy and Greg

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