When Tyson and I got engaged in 2008, the first thing we decided was that we wanted to invite as many friends and family members as possible. Sharing such a special moment with the people we love was of the utmost importance. Since both of us have large families and many friends — most of whom live in or around Montreal — we decided that an informal country style wedding would be the most cost efficient way to deal with an extensive guest list.
As Tyson and I are self-employed, our wedding budget was very modest. We knew right off the bat that we would have to get creative. But really, would we want it any other way?
The first thing we decided on was the location. My parents live just outside of a very small town in rural Manitoba (population: 300). They have a large yard, so we knew this was the perfect solution. From there we thought about what was truly necessary for people to have a great time. We came up with three essentials: food, drink and shelter.
Food and drink were easy enough. We decided that a giant tent was the best way to keep everyone warm and dry, in case of bad weather. We spent the majority of our budget on those three main points, giving us the opportunity to be creative with everything else. We wanted this day to be a true reflection of us as a couple. Time and time again we felt pressure to do things a certain way. In the end, the question we asked ourselves was, “Are we doing this because we want to, or because we think we should?” By keeping this question in our minds while making decisions, we were able to stay focused on creating the wedding we truly wanted.
The bright colours of the wedding are an homage to Tyson’s colourful art, as well as a practical solution to the problem of finding affordable seating for so many people. The orange, yellow, and turquoise chairs belong to the town where our wedding took place. Growing up, I spent several nights arranging and stacking those very same chairs at town events in our local hall.
We took the DIY approach to almost everything. We created our own table arrangements using mason jars filled with flowers from my mom’s garden and greenery cut from the ditches along my parents’ yard. We even snuck in some canola from my grandpa’s field — sorry, Gramps! With the help of my bridesmaids, I did my own makeup, hair, and nails. The cake was made by my sister, and the cupcakes and macaroons were the creation of my bridesmaids, Yana and Elaine. Prior to the wedding, I held a few crafting parties with my bridesmaids. Together we created the decorations, as well as the bridesmaids’ dresses which we cut from a vintage Butterick sewing pattern.
My dress was a vintage find at a used clothing wholesaler that sells clothing by weight. Thankfully, tulle is quite light so my dress ended up costing around $5! I accessorized with a vintage belt and jewelry, as well as a headpiece I made myself. One of my favorite details were the laser cut wooden medals made for the entire wedding party. This was a collaboration between myself and Mike & Judy of Miji. I was so happy with how they came out — just as I imagined them! After many requests, we’re now offering versions of them in both of our shops!
The ceremony was short and sweet. Our large bridal party filed down the aisle playing “Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da” on kazoos — yes, kazoos. Tyson’s brother officiated and his little sister was the ring bearer. Our parents and elderly relatives sat on chairs, while the rest of our guests either stood or spread out vintage quilts and took a seat on the grass. After the ceremony, the guests mingled around my parents’ yard, and then filtered into the tent for dinner, speeches and dancing.
In lieu of hiring a band or DJ for the event, we created playlists on our iPod titled, “Dinner/mingling,” “First Dances,” and “Dance/party.” We received many compliments on the music, and felt happy to hear all of our favorite songs throughout the day. This method also made for some serendipitous moments, such as when the entire wedding party approached the buffet to start the meal and “Crimson and Clover” cued up just as everyone began walking. Pretty epic song to start a meal!
Because I am a designer, photography is very important to me. I felt it was crucial that we hire photographers who truly understood our style and the look we wanted to achieve. I was so happy when I found Jake and Jess of KampPhotography. They were exactly what I was looking for. After all, if you’re going to invest so much effort in planning a magical day, shouldn’t it be documented perfectly?