The Offbeat Bride: Laura, photographer/television freelancer
Her offbeat partner: Alex, software developer/hacker
Date and location of wedding: Artscape Gibraltar Point, an artist’s residence on Toronto Island in Toronto, ON, Canada — July 25, 2015
Our offbeat wedding at a glance:
The theme for our wedding was based around one of our favourite activities that we started learning together when we were kids: swing dancing. It was a multifaceted theme that tied in our mutual love of music with my affection for anything vintage. One of my favourite details were the thirty flowers made out of sheet music. I had printed off some of our favourite songs and jazz classics, and a very talented and generous friend crafted them into beautiful flowers for the boutonnieres, my bouquet, and the centerpieces.
It wasn’t easy to stay completely on theme since we’re rather eclectic people, so when you look closer you will notice little touches of other stuff we like, such as bunnies, Bitcoins, Burning Man, and Futurama. We DIYed as much as we could, including designing the invitations, making the centerpieces, stitching the ring pillow, and making our own wedding bands.
We loved the idea of getting married on an island, by a beach, without ever leaving our city. The party started when our guests took a private ferry (with a bar!) for a fifteen minute ride across part of Lake Ontario to our venue, an old school with a beach on one side and a lighthouse on the other. The property felt a bit like summer camp, which was exactly the vibe we were looking for: relaxed, comfortable, and fun.
Tell us about the ceremony:
Our biggest priorities for the ceremony was that it be secular, meaningful, and conducted by someone special. It was decided that our close mutual friend would be the perfect person to marry us, and he was soon dubbed “the Wedding Czar.” Unfortunately, getting him ordained wasn’t feasible, so we found a Humanist officiant who was willing to be a legal representative while letting our friend conduct the ceremony. It was a perfect compromise and we worked with the officiant to build an extremely meaningful ceremony nearly from scratch.
After I walked down the aisle with both my parents, the ceremony began with The Story of Us, a witty version of how we met as kids and came to be a couple, which we had written together. We followed with a few readings from our Bridesbabes and Groomsdudes (located with much help from Offbeat Bride!).
Following the readings was a Blockchain unity ceremony. If you’re not familiar with Bitcoin, it is a decentralized digital currency. Our unity ceremony consisted of writing a message on the Blockchain, the bitcoin’s public database, with both our names and the date.
Probably my favourite part of our ceremony was the “group pronouncement,” where our guests pronounced us married, saying together, “Alex and Laura: We, your friends and family, joyfully pronounce you married!” It was an extremely emotional moment for us.
Tell us about your reception:
Our reception started the best way we could think of, with a swing dance lesson! While we went off for photos with the wedding party, our sister-in-law conducted a beginner lesson for whomever wanted to participate. People really liked the option of something to keep them busy, and my husband put together a beautiful spread of hors d’oeuvres for pre-dinner nibbles. Following the lesson was a delightful catered dinner and a few speeches. I decided that instead of throwing my bouquet I wanted to dedicate it to my aunt who had passed two months prior, and during our speech I gave it to my cousin, her daughter.
Our first dance was extra special. We had worked for months to choreograph and rehearse a swing dance number to a compilation of three songs my husband had mixed together. We even did a “circus break” and performed with our LED poi and hula hoop! After the dance, we enjoyed the moonlit beach, the fire pit, and the dance floor with all of our guests. The night ended with a moonlit boat ride back to the shore.