We’ve all heard of “DIY Weddings” where, in lieu of a wedding planner, the bride and groom and maybe the odd mother-of-the-bride or maid-of-honour do the planning and preparations for the big event. Well, my wedding was not DIY, it was DIYWTHOYWV (do it yourself with the help of your whole village). Our wedding took a village, and the village made the wedding a joyous and memorable occasion which we will treasure for years to come.
Our wedding rings were handmade with care by our friends at Derek Birch Jewellers on Guernsey in the Channel Islands. We opted for rose gold and, as we originally met on the water stand-up paddle boarding, aquamarine.
After our eight month engagement, our wedding reception was held at Windhorse Farm in Nova Scotia. The ceremony was held at a barn and the reception was held at a lodge. The men (the groom, groomsmen, army buddies and my uncle) prepared the barn for the big day (shifting hay bails, sweeping out, heavy lifting) and my merry band of bridesmaids (there were TWENTY ONE bridesmaids in total along with five flower-children!) helped decorate the barn with homemade bunting, hand-crafted dream catchers, and lovely flower arrangements.
Homemade wooden hand-painted signs (made by my brother and I) were put out to indicate to guests where the ceremony was and where the reception was (not to say that some didn’t get lost in the woods!).
We also rented a couple bits-and-bobs from Make Merry Events:
My wedding dress was a last-minute, thrown together the week of the wedding with little bits-and-bobs number that my mother helped me create with her divine seamstress skills. Included in the ensemble was my late maternal grandmothers lace slip, some lace from my aunt and God-mother’s wedding dress, and a lace bralette from Urban Outfitters.
In my hair (which was swiftly styled by my aunt the hectic morning of the wedding), instead of a traditional veil or the recently trendy flower crown, I opted for a beautiful embroidered pearl and crystal lace headband I acquired from Lady Luck Boutique in Halifax Nova Scotia. The second I saw it I was in love and when I tried it on I had tears in my eyes, it was truly special.
My three sisters wore flower crowns in their hair from Oh Dina!
One of my beautiful bridesmaids brought me this lovely flower arrangement which was tied up with a tartan ribbon our wonderful friends had brought in our family clan tartan which matched the family tartan kilts donned by my brother and dad.
Hair and make-up for the 21 bridesmaids was DIY, and the theme was boots and dresses.
One of our neighbours and dear friends paid the piper.
Our ceremony was held in the doorway of a barn by a native elder and justice of the peace by the name of Daniel Paul. It was a beautiful ceremony and my dashing groom who donned a Black Watch kilt and I were married in front of 100 wedding guests made up of family, friends, and neighbours who travelled as far as British Columbia (including the maid-of-honour) and the UK (including the grooms family and best-man) to be there for us.
My maid-of-honour read the following blessing:
During the ceremony, one of my wonderful and talented sisters and her lovely musical friend sang and played guitar, making beautiful music as we all walked down the isle.
One of my wonderful bridesmaids painted and decorated wine bottles for the many beautiful flowers that the bridesmaids brought and during the ceremony the bridesmaids descended down the isle (field) with their bottle of flowers and dropped it off at the barn door to become part of the decor.
Our wedding reception was made complete when a dear friend of ours took on the massive undertaking of The Pig Roaster. He purchased the pig which was deboned and seasoned by his Italian friend of many talents, found a way to transport and store it, (not an easy feat, and woke up before the birds on the wedding day to start roasting) and roasted it to perfection. It was more delicious than I ever imagined.
The rest of the wedding feast was made up of corn, gluten free buns, gravy, salads and treats that our guests had brought. Two of our dearest friends made us homemade wedding wine! They made both white and red with a homemade label just for us. We bought an arrangement of cider and beer, and we had pina-coladas on tap.
Our gluten free wedding cake was brought by one of my wonderful bridesmaids and was absolutely scrumptious, decorated in white icing and lavender. This wedding feast was a community effort and it was delicious!
We set up a teepee for the kids to play in and do arts and crafts. We had no interest in one of those “mature, child-free receptions” as we know well that children are often the life of the party!
We chose not to hire an expensive wedding photographer, and instead asked a friend who was getting into professional photography to take on the task (see his facebook page below). We also had one of the bridesmaids volunteer to spend her day diligently capturing the whole event and making sure everyone was included in the pictures which was fantastic. We had a third camera on the go as we passed off our camera to my sister and her boyfriend who took some great shots for us as well. Needless to say, it was a well captured event, especially in this day and age of the smart phone.
After the wedding feast there was dancing, impromptu speeches, and merriment, and the night concluded with guitar songs by the bonfire and fun with sparklers.
Instead of hiring a DJ, we had a wedding playlist on Spotify.
Our first dance was “Forever and Ever Amen” by Randy Travis, and everyone started singing!
A year later we are still hearing about the fun times and adventures our wedding guests had at our wedding.
We are so grateful to all the hard-work our friends and family members put into it. We didn’t hire a catering company but we had dear friends rolling up their sleeves, slaving away in the kitchen and filling the place with light and laughter (not to mention food including a S’MORE CASSEROLE, WHAT!!) that we are forever grateful.
Besides being surrounded by such an amazing bride-tribe (so wonderful I was in tears the day after wondering How am I so lucky?) the most wonderful part of it all was having such a wonderful man by my side who I now get to live the rest of my life with.