Dancing up the aisle
The offbeat bride: Franki, Student Extraordinaire (and OBT Member)

Her offbeat partner: Jay, Acupuncturist and TCM practitioner

Location & date of wedding: Chinese Gazebo/Garden in Louise McKinney Park, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada — July 10, 2010

What made our wedding offbeat: We had a first sword-fight before our first dance, with foam swords that we picked up at the local Save-On-Foods. We didn't pick one or two colors; we wanted (and used!) them all! Everyone in the wedding party danced down the aisle to Michael Franti's “Say Hey (I Love You),” including me and Jay. Ceremony 7

I had a two-piece dress made (so that I could wear the various parts of it again) in blue shot silk, which is green, blue or purple, depending which way you look at the fabric. It was made by a fantastic local corsetiere who read my mind and came up with a jaw-droppingly gorgeous design.

Basically, we wanted to have a giant dance party with all of our friends and family, and that's exactly what we got. Our families were included in the ceremony and we snagged bits and pieces of things here and there to write our own ceremony. Bridal posse 1

My bridal posse got to wear whatever they wanted – they both ended up wearing different vintage 1940's style dresses that looked absolutely smokin'! Our cake was made by one of my best friends – three different flavors for each layer! It was so well-received, we didn't even get a piece. πŸ˜›

Tell us about the ceremony: The ceremony was a mishmash of what was legally required by our local paper-pushers, some stuff that our officiant (who is a dear friend of Jay's mum) wanted to include, ceremonial wording that I found here and there on the webbernets and the readings “Why Marriage?” and “A Marriage Blessing.”
Cake cutting
We wrote our own vows, only to forget to bring them with us! I think it worked out better, as the ceremony was long enough with everything that did get said. We had read our vows to each other beforehand, anyway. Head table with favours

Our biggest challenge: The biggest challenge we faced was probably the fact that I was in school and working full time when we started planning the wedding. I lost my job, which meant we had to re-think a lot of stuff and make some budgetary adjustments. Fortunately, we were (mostly) in agreement about what we saw as important.

The art of compromise and *listening* to your partner, can never be overestimated. Similarly, be clear about why something is important to you and explore options to make it happen. We ended up DIYing a bunch of stuff and it added a nice, personal touch. secret cell call

Never, ever be afraid to ask for help! It's been said before, but I'll say it again – you will be amazed at how willing people are to step up and lend a hand with putting things together, growing flowers to cut down on expenses, gluing, cutting, etc., etc.

My favorite moment: The first moment that Jay saw me in the dress; he looked stunned and said, “Wow.” The reading Dara Lee did during the ceremony, she got choked up and blurted out, “I just love you guys so much and I'm so happy for you!” Having some unexpected “crashers” show up, who were actually people we'd been wanting to invite to the ceremony, anyway!

My father-in-law's welcoming me to the family, where he got all choked up but soldiered on through. The time after the ceremony when it was just Jay and I in our own little world, grinning like idiots and kissing in the sunshine. Being able to celebrate with all of the people who have genuinely been supportive and loving. Our first dance together. My parents giving a speech welcoming Jay to the family – even though they're both quite shy and hate speaking in public. Dancing up the aisle with my future spouse while smiling my face off, and many, many more. first dance group 2

My funniest moment: For me, there were two: The first was when we announced to everyone, that the table (which were delineated by our favorite authors) that got to eat first, would be determined by the table that first writes a list of the works done by the author of their table. We allowed the use of iPhones, Crackberries, etc., but people still looked like we had asked them to perform vector calculus … and then they got right into it! wine & favours

The second one would be when we announced that we were about to start the first dance; Jay and I kissed, then whipped foam swords out from behind our backs. We commenced a sword-fight, which we ended by kissing again (he dipped me). The laughter, applause and enthusiasm of everyone cheering us on was a joy to experience.

My advice for offbeat brides: As many before have said, something *will* go wrong. Don't sweat it; people will absolutely step up to assist you in dealing with it. Alternatively, it may not matter. We forgot to play the carefully crafted “cocktail/supper music” playlist – and no one noticed.
swordfight 2
Other than that, make sure to delegate someone to handle the little things that will come up, so that you're not interrupted by people asking you where the paper towels are, if the hall has corkscrews, etc. the shoes 2

Leave yourself some money in your hotel room so that you can order room service if, like us, you spent the entire night dancing and you're starving by the time you leave.

Oh, and make sure to arrange a time with your significant other to meet up, outside of the hall/away from the guests to take a short little walk, just the two of you. Everyone will want to talk to you and visit, which makes it hard to spend time enjoying the moment together. Cake 2

Don't worry about making sure everyone “gets” what you're trying to do – chances are they'll enjoy it anyway. I came up with the sword-fight-before-the-first-dance idea, and a lot of my family thought I was off my rocker. But when we did it, they were laughing and cheering their heads off!

What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? That it will all work out. People will step in to lend a hand if necessary, and you're likely the only one stressing out about whether or not people are going to notice there's a smudge on the wall by the entryway.

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

  • Ceremony Dress: Elise Troung of Sweet Carousel
  • Shiny hair stuff: Free-trade, hand-beaded Guatemalan anklets
  • Hair/Makeup: The amazing Jolan Magnan!
  • Cake: The amazing Jolan Magnan!
  • Shoes: Iron Fist
  • Photos: Jim Whitesell
  • Bracelets: The Artworks in Edmonton AB Favors
  • Plants: Grown by my fabulous Mother-in-law, Vivien McCoy
  • Catering: Pat Prendergast Music: Le iPod and by request
  • Venue: Gold Bar Hall in Edmonton AB, which I highly recommend!

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Comments on Franki & Jay’s colorful wedding meets sword-fighting dancefest

  1. Gorgeous wedding, I love your dress! πŸ™‚
    Also thanks for mentioning your venue — have a friend who’s desperately trying to find somewhere in Edmonton for her reception & ceremony, I’ll pass this info on!

    • Try the UofA faculty club. I am having mine there and they dont charge you reception (cermony is rather cheap, I believe it was 250.. but I am not positive!) the main floor room is for 50-100 people and the upstairs is for larger groups.. it is right along the river valley, so great views!

      • Thanks, I’ll pass that info on! Her main issue has been trying to find a venue she likes that can fit 200 people since they are both very ‘family’ people. Any tips/inside knowledge on how their food service was? My friend has lots of allergies (read: at least 30… it’s a medical condition)

  2. Where did you get the purple dress in the reception phots? It’s amazing! I’ve never seen anything like it!

    • I got the dress from, of all places, Sears. It was completely a last-minute purchase; I walked in 2 days before the wedding, saw it and fell in love!

  3. The bridesmaid in the black dress…….that dress is GORGEOUS! Details, by chance? That isn’t to say that your dresses aren’t gorgeous, because trust me they are! Ok, so let’s just say all the dresses were fabulous!

    • Seconded! I’ve been looking for one like that for engagement photos and law school prom.

    • I’ve let my MOA know that people are asking about the dress – here’s hoping she’ll chime in, ’cause all I know is that she got it at Mars & Venus here in Edmonton. It might be Pinup Couture, it might be Dixiefried – that’s all I’ve got to go on, sorry!

  4. Franki,
    You come off as so chill, it is charming.
    Making the who eats first thing a random event based on a bibliography listing contest is so smart. It’s a great idea for a problem I did not know I had.

    • Thanks! It turned out to be a fairly good ice breaker, as well as letting us solve the problem of having a line-up at the buffet table and without accusations of favouratism. πŸ˜‰ We even had our parents do it (although they got ‘lucky’ with A. A. Milne).

  5. I love that idea about writing the author list! Original ideas like that really make it a stand out night don’t they? Love the photos. πŸ™‚

      • Hi-wedding looks fab-this is gona sound weird but is ure mother in law VIvien Mccoy? im her cousin neils daughter from england and desp trying to get in contact with her and came accross this on google.

        • Yup, Vivien McCoy is my mum-in-law! I’ll let her know that you’re trying to get in touch with her. πŸ™‚

  6. MOA here, made the mistake of looking up the label of my dress on the internet. I think I need to do some more shopping!
    I bought the dress at Mars & Venus on Whyte here in Edmonton, the label is Stop Staring!
    I can’t find that particular dress on the website, but they did have an awful lot more that are gorgeous!

  7. The internet is a small world! How did you end up with Pat Prendergast? Do you know her somehow, or did she come as a recommendation? Just curious πŸ™‚

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