The offbeat bride: Sophiya, IT Project Manager
Her offbeat partner: Delphine, Property Manager
Date and location of wedding: Park Jean Drapeau on St. Helene Island just off Montreal, Quebec, Canada — September 16, 2012
Our offbeat wedding at a glance: We were born and raised in two completely different parts of the world. We don't belong to the same race, speak the same language, or share the same culture. Delphine was born and raised in Anjou, France and I grew up in New Delhi, India. We both moved to New York at different points in our life, but never met, until we finally met online. Our first date, which was only supposed to be a drink, turned into a dinner lasting for hours.
After immigrating to Canada together, we decided to get married in a city park on an island just off of Montreal. It was a small, private wedding with some of our closest friends and family present. Our wedding was put together with the help and support of our new Canadian friends who have accepted us into their families.
Delphine's background in hospitality and my life spent on Excel spreadsheets came in very handy. We both wanted something outdoors, so the venue could not have been more perfect for us. The ceremony was held in a small garden under a willow tree, followed by a cocktail dinner in the adjoining chalet. We ditched the table seating charts for an all-white lounge décor where guests could walk around, mingle, and relax.
Our guest book was a painting that Delphine painted to represent the tree under which we got married. We did lots of the decorations ourselves and recycled our outfits to come within budget. Delphine's dress was actually a bridesmaid's gown, and my traditional red lehenga was something I bought seven years ago in India. The true miracle was still being able to zip it up!
We did take a lot of liberties with some of the traditions: we got dressed together at our place, came to the venue together, did not carry any bouquet, or toss one. We even walked down the aisle together and decided we will give away each to the other.
We did a melange of both our cultures as much as possible through the outfits, food, and music. We had our brides “men” in both Eastern and Western outfits. The food consisted of elements from India, France, and Canada with dishes like Coquilles Saint-Jacques in lemongrass with fresh mango julienne, smoked salmon tartare with chives and mint, goat cheese-crusted with toasted pecans dipped in maple syrup, and filet of beef on skewers with spicy cumin and fresh sapote.
Our biggest challenge: Our biggest challenge was coming to terms with the fact that there are miles, countries, and oceans between us and our close friends and family. I took solace in the fact that my own parents hardly had any family or friends present at their wedding. They eloped because my dad was a Roman Catholic and my mother was a Hindu. In those days, inter-religion marriages were not acceptable in India. But my parents saved up, did their own little offbeat wedding, and later their families reconciled. They are still together, very happily married, with a very supportive circle of family and friends, none of whom were physical present at their wedding.
My favorite moment: The most meaningful moment for us from our wedding was signing our names on the marriage certificate. We are very grateful knowing that our marriage will be recognised just like everybody else's marriage here in Canada. It is a larger than life dream come true for girl born in India who fell in love with a girl from France she met in New York. Not for minute do either of us take this privilege afforded to us for granted.
My funniest moment: We had one of the most unexpected wedding crashers: a real fox who lives on the island. During our photo shoot after the ceremony, we noticed someone's dog without a leash in the background of our pictures but as we got closer we saw it was a fox with a rather spotty tail. Our photographer was quick on his feet to snap the little fella before he split and took off.
Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? The weather was the one thing that no one can control. The predictions for our wedding were to brace ourselves for rain showers. The more obsessively we checked, the more grim the weather forecast got. At one point, we just decided to accept it. But in the end, Mother Nature smiled on us with a bright, sunny day.
My advice for Offbeat Brides: Try to be flexible with vendors and suppliers. Ask about their signature touches and most tried and tested, stress-free options. It will make things easier on you in the end.
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Florist: Le Myosotis
- Photographer: Patrick Schmitt
- Furniture Rental: Sofa to Go
- Caterer: Bernard & Fils Traiteur
Enough talk — show me the wedding inspo!