multicultural wedding on offbeat wed alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)

The offbeat bride: Verity

Her offbeat partner: Lucky

Location & date of wedding: My parents' hobby farm in Victoria, BC — August 1, 2009

What made our wedding offbeat: Our “wedding” was really a fun, relaxed party-that-happened-to-include-a-wedding. My parents were paying and hosting, so it was important to keep costs super low and be strategic about where we spent money. Did we need an expensive tent? Yes — it rains a lot in BC. Did I need a dress that cost more than a month's rent? No — thank you Ebay, for my $200 Nicole Miller dress-that-felt-like-pyjamas. What about a florist? Um, no — the wedding is IN a flower garden. Did we need a spendy mariachi band, the only one in Western Canada? Why yes, we certainly did! My family is from England and I grew up in Canada, and Lucky's family is Mexican and he grew up in San Diego, so we drew on our combined cultures for inspiration and ideas, but didn't stick too closely to any formula.

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The best thing we did was draw on the talents of our families and friends. People love you and they WANT to help. My Mums' musician friends from Seattle arranged and played an amazing, haunting version of “She Moves Through the Fair” on Irish pipes and flute to play me down the mown hayfield “aisle.” (The mariachi popped out of the bushes for the recessional, leading a parade to sangria and ice cream cones – yum!) My cousins were bartenders, my sister's hospitality buds from Whistler provided a fresh, delicious and simple meal for a deal. Family friends offered to help with the wedding coordination, ice cream scooping, and bunting-hanging help.


Tell us about your ceremony: Our ceremony was performed by Lucky's old friend and the father of his best man who is a really great person and used to be a pastor in Hawaii. I am not religious at all, and Lucky's family is Catholic, so he struck a good balance. We wrote our own vows (well we cribbed a bit from the OBBT). Lucky said his in English and I said mine in Spanish. We used a Quaker-type wedding certificate, which we and our entire wedding party signed during the ceremony, and then all the guests signed it afterwards during the ice cream and sangria hour.

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Our biggest challenge: Our biggest challenge was underestimating how much time we would all spend socialising BEFORE the wedding and how it would impact our preparations. Our wedding was essentially a destination wedding. My parents live in Victoria, but everyone else came from the UK, Vancouver, San Diego, and all over. People started arriving a week prior, and even though no one was actually sleeping there, the house was basically a party from then on, from eight am till midnight, every night. We ran out of beer and all the cheap wine we'd bought for the sangria by Thursday, and there was never enough to eat. All we felt like doing was relaxing in the garden catching up, but we had tons of last-minute projects to do.

A lot of things didn't get done! We took a deep breath and let it go, because we were having such a great time, but it would have been nice to feel a bit less frantic and have more done ahead of time. Having a wedding “at home” is a LOT or work – don't underestimate it!

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My funniest moment: There were so many hilarious moments. A chimney sweep materialised during the speeches and gave me a kiss – an old “good luck” tradition from the UK. Watching the mariachi and the Irish band jamming was pretty entertaining. Listening to my tough-looking, heavily tattooed friend Chris pump my grandmother and aunt for the latest Coronation Street update (Canada is six months behind). Watching my in-laws whooping it up to the band.

My advice for offbeat brides: For us, our wedding was not all about “do what you want.” Ariel has talked about this a lot and I couldn't agree more: If your parents are paying, chances are you will need to consider their wishes, unless they just hand you a cheque and say: “have at ‘er!”

We wanted to throw a fun party that everyone would enjoy and feel a part of. At the same time, my Mum and Dad really felt that they were the “hosts.” I think that is partly because, well, they WERE hosting, but it is also a cultural thing.

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Only (and youngest) Mariachi Band in Western Canada

So I think my advice, if your families are like ours, is: “Don't be too strident in your assertation that your wedding is ‘just about the two of you.'” Our wedding was a celebration of family and friends — a chance for the people we care about the most to support us in our promise. Yes, it was obviously about us too, but ultimately, we didn't want our loved ones to be observers in our personal, special daaaayyyy. We pushed for the things that were really important to us (like the mariachi) and gave in on the things that were not (like my Mum's desire to have a traditional currant wedding cake to cut). Ultimately, we are lucky that both our families are hella cool and not traditional types anyway.

Just plan like you would any great party.

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Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

  • Dress: Nicole Miller on Ebay
  • Shoes: Had 'em for years – TJ Maxx for $18
  • Veil: DIY this is SO EASY
  • Headpiece: DIY
  • Boys' outfits: Banana Republic clearance
  • Boys' Shoes: Vans (our Dads and our officiant wore them too)
  • Girls' dresses: Monsoon, in UK and Old Navy for the flowergirls
  • Catering: Cracked Pepper Cafe and Catering in Whistler, BC
  • Mariachi: Mariachi Los Dorados
  • Photography: Stichpixie – There are one or two pics from friends in there too.
  • Paper stuff: I designed and then printed with Vistaprint using their “free” offers. The free templates are SO much more customizable than you might think. Play around with them. You can add photos to some of them and then maximize so it covers the entire template. They also have some really surprisingly nice clip art you can use.
  • Ebay, Ebay, Ebay.
  • Chairs: My parents bought these from an old church. It was cheaper than renting and now they are renting them out to others.
  • Dishes: My Mum's own gigantic collection.

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Comments on A backyard bbq multicultural wedding

  1. BlueyJ, I think I could watch that wedding video a thousand times! Your wedding was really fantastic, I am still so happy it all went beautifully.

  2. I don’t know if I missed it in the photo pool, but what does this “Quaker marriage certificate” look like? What’s the difference between it and a normal marriage certificate (aside from all the guests signing it)? Is it still legally admissible?

    I’m fascinated!

    • i did a bit of googling and they look beautiful! i would love to know the if it works as a legal document, and such, as well.

      • Hey Briana,
        No, they aren’t legal, as far as I know. We had a whole immigration mess to deal with so we’d made it legal beforehand. I really wanted to make a beautiful one like the examples you probably saw online, but…you guessed it, I ran out of time. I designed a simple one on Zazzle. I think during an actual Quaker ceremony, everyone at the wedding signs, but we just had our wedding party sign it at the time and then everyone else signed during cocktails. It still looks pretty cool.

  3. Aw, this looks great! I can really feel personalities coming through in the photos and writing. Congrats!

  4. We’re getting married in my parents’ back yard on July 31st – and I hope it feels a lot like this looks like it feels. So fun!

  5. I love the combination and celebration of two cultures in this wedding. In the midst of my wedding planning, I keep finding myself pushing “me” out of the day and trying to make it more about “him” – maybe some overcompensation in response to the “It’s HER/THE BRIDE’S Day!” traditional marketing stuffs. The problem is, I’m pushing so much “me” out of the ceremony that it’s no longer “us.” This wedding reminds me that it’s about celebrating two people, and that means it’s okay – and important! – to celebrate me too (case in point? it’s okay to have pink!).

    Also: those save the dates? Fantastic.

  6. Those save the dates blew my mind. As did the collection of flower dishes!!! This wedding is actually what I would have liked to have, but we just didn’t have the resources to make it happen the way I would have wanted. You did such a beautiful job. It’s really just lovely!

  7. This is my favorite wedding EVER. Congrats, kudos; you two are AWESOME!

    Also, mariachi rocks my everylasting world. And not even in a vaguely ironic way. I seriously love everything about mariachi music.

  8. Oh Verity it’s so nice to see your beautiful day on here:) I totally have you’re “How To” make a ‘boring veil’ saved – so helpful! Love the Quaker marriage too – I’ll also be boring that philosophy, since they’re not legal here in MA…. Congratulations and thanks for the inspiration!

  9. Congratulations!
    I loved so many parts of your wedding I made a list.:
    Your hayfield “aisle”,that your mariachi popped out of the bushes for the recessional, and that a chimney sweep materialized during the speeches and gave you a kiss. So much epic!

    • Thank you for saying it was relaxing! You were running around like crazy in the hot sun photographing everything beautifully, so if you thought it was relaxing, then our guests must have! Thanks again, especially for the super-surprise video – it’s perfect.

    • Thanks Kat – I’ve missed you guys too, especially after I made a big deal about my “comeback”. And look, you have a peanut! Will send you a message soon. xx

  10. I had the pleasure of attending this wedding, and it was as magical as it looks. My favorite detail isn’t shown in the photo montage, but it was a huge collection of snapshots of V and Lucky through the years, each photo clothespinned to a wire garden fence. This was truly the most beautiful wedding I’ve been to. I love you, V 🙂

    • Thanks Marv. I love you too. AND, I like you. I really like you! Ha. Thanks for reading “I like You” at the wedding:) And I added some pictures of the pictures.

  11. I LOVE this wedding! It was so alive! So joyful! Everything and everyone looked so beautiful. It made me happy just viewing the photos. Congratulations and thanks for the inspiration!

  12. Oh such a beautiful wedding. I love it! You and your husband look so relaxed and blissfully happy.

  13. This is my favourite wedding yet. I love your priorities.

    Kate, Shropshire, England.

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