Offbeat partner: Odette, fundraiser + kids' programming
Offbeat partner: Arron, maintenance
Date and location of wedding: Hollyhock Leadership Institute, Cortes Island, British Columbia, Canada — April 15, 2017
Our offbeat wedding at a glance:
Our wedding was all about the core of connection. It's why we wanted to marry, and why we wanted all our oldest friends, family, and island community to share a meal to celebrate and have a potluck reception dinner.
I'm Anishinabe, and Arron has left a resourced-based job and lifestyle to join me in on an island known for simplicity, #grownyourown, and DIY. The connection to nature, earth, and what really matters is what guided us when we fell in love with each other.
The wedding held at Hollyhock, where sharing energy, positivity, and holding strong intention has been the vibe for 35 years. We grew our rhubarb for DIY champagne and raspberries for cider. My thing is coming from a place of gratitude. With this as a foundation, it is easy to keep things genuine: elegance without excess. And, since it was easter weekend, there was this strong theme of fertility symbols: rabbit ears, eggs, rabbit-print ties, etc.
Tell us about the ceremony:
We left the vows to the very last minute. Arron worried that since we were married before, what does “until death do us part” mean? I wanted authentic, so it was all about what are we really promising to each other uniquely? What came out: focusing on the core meant earth, energy, elemental, and potential. Taoist vows focused on being in the present, realizing we each will change, and loving the process.
“Marriage is Potential.” I'm Anishinabe and my "best woman" Sarah has lived, learned, and worked with elders. She has shared wisdom at other life transitions. Her simple advice was reassuring: when I honour the directions, even privately, the space would hold strong energy.
What happened was perfectly tuned in. A friend David offered a gift of calling in the seas with a conch shell. It seemed sweet and kooky (thank you!), but what happened was deeply meaningful. I walked with my women to the beach, looked into Arron's eyes, and felt so content. David announced his intention, and the sound brought everyone into the one moment we were sharing. It couldn't have been more powerful.
Another wonderful local, Salish carver Ken Hanuse, offered a gift of drumming for my women and I walking into the ceremony. As it happens, this beach has been used by Salish people for thousands of years. The resonation was unmistakable. Ken similarly let himself be moved. As we walked through willow arch, he stopped us and drummed a Salish Blessing, honouring the 4 directions. Everyone felt it.
Tell us about your reception:
Arron's manager casually offered to host the salmon BBQ, and another offered to host the famous Hollyhock appetizer: beach fire oysters. Another shared honeymoon accommodation on site, and yet another simply volunteered to be our hands-on reception host. The generosity was so easily extended, that we were moved beyond words. Not only were these components essential, they were beautifully pulled together. Part of this is the fact these are Hollyhock pros. They know how to hold space for a good energy gathering. The other half of it was the love. Our love, friends, family, island community — it all spiraled into the best day we could have had.
The heavy rain week before and the week after broke into a brilliant sparkling rainbow-y beach celebration. Kids ran carefree, even teenagers ran around playing tag and Easter egg hunting. There was a moment on the dance floor, where I looked at saw the lovely hardworking women friends I admire so deeply dancing their freaking asses off alongside their kids who I've read stories to since they were toddlers in my programs. It was pure love!
The first dance included bunny ears for us, Easter egg hunt dessert for kids, and the sweetest rabbit print bow tie for our MC and son, our ring bearer. Our DJ was our favourite radio show DJ at the local coop radio. She rocked it, using a YouTube playlist and an app that skips ads.
What was your most important lesson learned?
Trust your community. Follow your most genuine self — your marriage is about the celebration of your union, NOT that a guest's brother was teased by a kid 30 years ago. Go with the flow: it doesn't matter if the kid's shoes match, let them wear their faves.
I didn't set a budget. Budget templates looked inflated, and I simply prioritized essentials: venue, salmon, wine, and clothes. There was a moment when things started to seem expensive…every time I looked local I found a better price and quality. A bakery cake involving a five-hour delivery with two ferries was replaced by a gorgeous cake made by a local caterer/tree-planting camp chef. Talented people everywhere around you.
- Photography: Darshan Alexander Photography
- Venue: Hollyhock Leadership Institute
- Flower girl dresses: Sondeflor Shop
- Tables: Simply Lit Candle Co
- Ties, bowties: Beau Tie UK
- Gifts: GirlwiththePearl1
- Salmon: St. Jean's
- Upcycled wedding shoes: The White Ribbon
- Planning/positive vibes: Magic Well
- Design help: Divaukas Design