Lollipop bouquet

The offbeat bride: Melanie, Wedding Planner

Her offbeat partner: Justin, Construction/Personal Trainer

Date and location of wedding: Private barn near Steinbach, Manitoba, Canada — August 27, 2011

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: Justin and I are known for throwing huge parties. This one had to top them all. First, we got married in a barn and drove around in a bus. We went with a bit of a carnival theme with bright colors and lots of fun. We took photos at a local amusement park for kids, had candy centerpieces and caramel apple favors, and even had our own mini carnival in between the ceremony and reception with popcorn, lemonade, and games for our guests to play.


For dinner we had burgers, wedges, and corn on the cob with a massive ice cream bar with all the toppings for dessert. Our goal was to entertain people, from the programs to the kissing game. We made pretty much everything ourselves including 250 caramel apples, all of the centerpieces and carnival decor, a calendar guest book, and the invitations. My mom grew all of the flowers and designed all the boutonnieres.

Table numbers

dfgfgd 053012 alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)

There were hilarious and tear-jerking speeches, great food, a photo booth, break dancing with glow sticks, great conversation, and 230 guests!


Tell us about the ceremony: The first time the two of us hung out was at a youth party, and we asked that same youth pastor to officiate since he is still a dear friend. We wrote our own vows and made promises like “I promise to let you grow a beard… sometimes,” and “I promise to let you tickle me… sometimes.”

The band

Having our huge wedding party standing up for us was amazing, and most of them formed the band that played during the ceremony. We had a time of praise and worship, and then a love song while we signed the registry and did communion together. When we kissed and ran down the aisle, ten confetti canons went off and everyone screamed. That was epic.

Confetti canons

Our biggest challenge: Though our parents helped out, we saved up most of the money ourselves for the wedding. With 230 guests, even DIYing most things couldn't keep our costs as low as we wanted. But in eight months of saving, we managed to save a significant amount of money to cover our expenses.

16 person wedding party

Having such a big wedding party (16 people) was quite difficult to coordinate at times. It was nearly impossible to get them all together, but they were all so willing to help and be there whenever they could. The only thing big enough to transport us was a school bus!

Our mode of transportation

First dance

I vetoed the bouquet toss. Instead, I dedicated it to my grandma who passed away two months before the wedding. That was fairly emotional and one of my favorite moments.

My funniest moment: My other grandma is 85 years old and, though quite old-fashioned, is pretty spunky. To everyone's surprise, she came and joined me on the dance floor for Michael Jackson's “Bad.” Everyone freaked out and made a big circle around us.

Justin and I also surprised everyone with a choreographed dance to “Party Rock Anthem” by LMFAO just as our first dance ended. It was really fun.

Crazy bride

Our kissing game consisted of a “Top 5” at each table with things like “The top 5 worst things that could happen on a honeymoon,” or “The top 5 most ridiculous expressions Justin and Melanie use.” My guy friend from college went up to the mic with “The top 5 best things about Melanie.” It was all very sweet until he got to #2 and #3 which were “her right and left boobs, respectively.”


Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? It was an atrociously hot summer, and our venue did not have air conditioning. I was so worried guests would be too hot and leave early. But it was a gorgeous day, and the fans worked well. Everyone danced the night away, and I was probably the only one who got hot enough to take part of my dress off.


My advice for Offbeat Brides: Make sure you do what reflects your personalities, but keep your guests in mind. Don't make them wait too long for things, make sure they feel comfortable, and fill them up with delicious food.

Taking pre-marital counseling was so helpful for us too, and it always reminded us why we were doing all of this.


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Comments on Melanie & Justin’s colourful carnival love affair wedding

  1. I was at this wedding! I’m very happy it made it onto Offbeat Bride because this wedding was so representative of Melanie & Justin.

    They managed to keep many of the traditional wedding aspects that were important to them – honouring their faith and celebrating their love – while somehow making the wedding totally fun, funky, and outrageous.

    I find that much of the time when I attend weddings, I feel like I’ve walked into the same exact ceremony & reception one thousand times. However, at this wedding anyone with even a passing knowledge of these two lovebirds would immediately be able to identify it as uniquely theirs. The details were interesting, thoughtful, and meaningful, and the colourful decorations made everything cheery without being overpowering.

    Love you two!

  2. I adore your Top 5 idea for the tables! I might have to steal that idea! 🙂 Looks like such a wonderful, happy day. Congratulations!

  3. Love the attitude towards marriage of this couple in keeping it real. Got to say that the confetti cannons and grandma dancing sound like real fun.

  4. I love the hair!! Actually the whole thing looks like a lot of fun. I’m stealing a couple of ideas, kthx 😉

  5. I love the barn setting and we are looking for a barn for our reception in the Steinbach area as well. But so far, no luck.

  6. I love the barn!! does anyone have the contact information!? ive been looking everywhere for their phone number!

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