4227054608 a4f3263373 o alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)

The offbeat bride: Oonagh, Documentary Theatre Artist and Personal Trainer (and Tribesmaid OonaghDuncan)

Her offbeat partner: Dylan, Engineering Technologist

Location & date of wedding: Gladstone Hotel in Toronto — 12 September 2009


What made our wedding offbeat: Dylan and I walked down the aisle together (me in a $199 gold tutu) towards my Dad (a judge) who was marrying us. We wrote our own vows that had ended with me launching myself on Dylan with emotion before we were officially instructed to kiss.

All the flowers were “ditch flowers” from the roads near my Mum's farm, except for my bouquet, which she had created from paper printed with Harlequin romance novel cover art.

4226285831 a63053f0c2 o alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)

4227033322 4c9d0826e5 m alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)Guests were instructed to wear Creative Black Tie, which resulted Hawaiian shirts with bowties, maximum colour, boas and general silly luxuriousness. Some artsy friends were also asked to create a centrepiece in lieu of a present so we walked into a room with the most glorious creations; a personalized board game (“Altered States”), He Man marrying She Ra in Castle Greyskull, parachutists “taking the plunge,” paper dolls, etc. etc.

The food was vegetarian and local, the song list was collaborative, the people were drunk, I felt so connected to my husband… a good time was had by all!


Our biggest challenge: We ran into a few challenges on the day of the wedding — the photographer mistakenly set up for pre-wedding family photos in the ceremony room, causing a bit of a traffic jam as people arrived and were sent back out… (but this resulted in a very memorable moment of Dylan and I hiding in the woman's washroom from our guests while they sat down and we tried to calm our nerves).

4227051600 f1a40f002f m alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)We also were surprised to find that there were very few servers assigned to our event so dinner took MUCH longer than expected, leaving only the truly rowdy up for post-dinner dancing.

In both cases, I guess I wish I had been more specific about exactly how I envisioned the day when I was communicating with the people entrusted to make it happen. I also wish I had assigned someone a bit removed to be the official co-ordinator of those intentions on the day as my mum ended up doing a lot of running around when she should have been having fun.3-111_2

Oh, we also had a receiving line, which was great to say hi to everyone officially but slowed things down and made people wait around when they too should have been having fun. Live and learn!

My favorite moment: The ceremony. Dylan's vows were so beautiful, I was so proud of my dad conducting the ceremony, the room looked, smelled and sounded (scented oils in a little fountain) magical and I felt so in love that I thought my smile would explode off my face.

The fifteen minutes that Dylan and I took in our room after the ceremony to just be with each other and smile and look at our rings and call each other husband and wife for the first time.

Walking into the dining room and seeing all these amazing creations that people had done for centerpieces. I was so touched at how much work had gone into them and impressed by how clever and fun and creative they were. I felt really honoured.

4227025718 917b174756 m alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)We were again honoured with some wicked speeches (best friend holding up the plaid bellbottom pants I had worn on the day I picked Dylan up at the bar) and my sister brought her guitar to the mic and sang an hilarious and touching song she had written about us in her full length sequin gown and red top hat. Amazing.

My offbeat advice: I enjoyed getting other people involved and delighted in the fruits of their creative labours, but you have to be super organized in order to know who should be doing what when.

At the end of the day, there are lots of little precious details I loved about my wedding, and some niggling things that didn't go as planned that can still bug me when I let it. But the most important and beautiful thing about my wedding was how incredibly connected to my husband I was on that day. My advice to any bride is to prioritize that and your day will be awesome.

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?:

  • Our photographer was Brian Tao at Luxography
  • I have no idea who designed my dress but I saw it everywhere last season (one girl was wearing it at my little sister's grade 8 graduation party! Ha!)
  • Venue: Gladstone Hotel

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Comments on Oonagh & Dylan’s collaborative, creative, black-tie wedding with eco-considerations

  1. "Creative Black Tie", Love it! We have been searching for wording, that will make our guests realize we want everyone dressed up, but still have fun with it. Congrats on your beautiful day. (BTW – my first comment ever, I am new to the OBT)

  2. Absolutely gorgeous. You and your husband look fantastic in those photos. I’m especially digging the gold dress.

  3. You have such amazing legs and the dress does a fabulous job of showing them off! LOVE IT!

  4. lovely wedding, and great center-pieces. I was very relieved to see that He-man was not, in fact, marrying She-ra, and that he was instead marrying Evil-Lynn, because She-ra is He-man's sister. Yes, I'm a huge dork 😉 congrats and thanks for sharing!

    • I was so relieved to see the same… dorks unite! i tried to induce She-ra into our retro themed wedding but my HTB said no…. he's just not that kinda "geek" … apparently 🙁 hehe!! she'll be my cake topper (me) though!
      Oonagh congrats to you on your big day, I cannot wait to be proper planning my own soon! Thanks for sharing and for the inspiration!!

  5. I love the fact that your dad married you! Mine will hopefully be doing the same for us in September (if his health permits…)!

    Also love your colour scheme and extremely festive, yet absolutely-not-over-the-top dress! You go, both of you!

  6. Hey guys! Thanks so much for all your kind comments! It's like getting married/engaged all over again with the swell of good wishes! Very funny note about She-ra and He Man. You definitely out-dorked me on that one, Anon, as I had no idea-but I'm relieved that the centrepiece's creator (my brother) saw to propriety there. Incestuous centrepieces are too offbeat..even for me.

  7. Hey guys,
    Thanks so much for all the lovely comments! It's like getting married/engaged all over again with the swell of good wishes! You definitely outdid me on the She-Ra/He-Man comment, Anon-I had no idea they were brother and sister. Fortunately, MY brother, the centrepeice's creator, was in the know and observed propriety there. Incestuous centrepieces would be a little too offbeat…even for me.

  8. ahahaha i was thinking about the same thing regarding he-man and she-ra
    anyway, AMAZING wedding, i'm in love with all of it. i live near toronto too and will definitely consider the gladstone when i get married. love love love the centrepieces, the dress, and all the creativity that went into this wedding.

  9. That dress is so adorable!!! Look at those GAMS!!! Where did you get your hair fascinator?! I am in need of something like that.

  10. This is my favorite wedding too!!! Well it's a tie between this one and the couple that got married in the desert in vegas and surprised their family with a wedding video! The look and style are exactly what I want when I get married and I could not love your dress more!!! Its sooo cute and fantastique!! This style of wedding and dress would look perfect for an xmas wedding too. Congrats and good luck!! 🙂

  11. Agree with everyone who loved the dress – so gorgeous – and love that you had some amazing toasts including props!

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