A few years ago I thought about moving to Canada. And maybe I should have. Because perhaps I would have met today's couple, Amy and Marcus, and scored a spot on their wedding guest list. Yup, that's how badly I wanted to attend this fun, festive, and joyful wedding! I mean, the bride wore yellow sunglasses and served pulled pork sandwiches- what more could you want? Check out this wedding to experience all the fun for yourself, while also getting some budget-friendly ideas to make your day memorable yet simple, and focused on LOVE. Take it away, Amy...
I grew up on a farm in a small town in Nova Scotia, Canada, and over the course of my life, my home and the land on which it stood held many valuable experiences and memories. For that reason, and its evident natural beauty, on top of our hill seemed like the most obvious place to hold our celebration.
And that’s exactly what we wanted from our wedding – a celebration that truly reflected who we are and our love for each other. We wanted the day to echo our happiness, and we wanted our guests to have fun and enjoy the moment with us.
We figured out what was important to us and that’s where we spent the majority of our budget; for us, that was location, people and food. Since we wanted to have the wedding at my parent’s property, we were going to have to get a tent. There are definitely some benefits and challenges to going this route. There’s a lot of flexibility – different tent styles, sizes and lay outs. However, we also needed things to put inside the tent – chairs, tables, linens, dishes, glasses and cutlery, dance floor, lights – these things all cost extra. It’s easy to rack up the cost when it comes to filling the tent. So, we looked at what we thought were extra frills we could do without. We opted out of the chair covers, our caterer supplied the cutlery, and we used plastic cups.
We are very laid back and fun loving people, so that was the kind of environment we wanted to create. What goes better with a backyard wedding than a backyard BBQ! We found Blazin’ Barlow, who shows up with his ‘BBQ truck of wonders’ early that morning to prepare the feast. Throughout the evening people could go up to the trailer and get potato salad, baked beans, garlic cheese bread, slow roasted pulled pork sandwiches, gourmet hamburgers and hotdogs with a WIDE variety of toppings. Everyone still talks about those pulled pork sandwiches – amazing. The menu and atmosphere made it easy to pull off paper plates and plastic utensils.
We often joked that our wedding was more like a circus. We had a canoe full of ice and beer, popcorn machine, and candy bar (as our favors). To save time cutting the cake, we went with cute and delicious cupcakes, which offered us the option of multiple flavors. Our center pieces were decorated tin buckets holding a bottle of Yellow Tail bubbly, and laminated copies of an article written about our farm in Canadian Geographic. In what some may call a bold move, we had our twoonie bar (all drinks were $2) open as soon as guests started to arrive, so that they could have a drink and mingle before the event got underway. When we were ready people lined up outside the chalk drawn aisle, gathered on the veranda, and felt free to move around and take pictures of the ceremony.
One thing I love – surprises! Most brides would probably say surprises on your wedding day are not really something you want. I went to a highly recommended local florist and told him how many bouquets and things we needed, and that I wanted them in yellow. After telling him some details of what we wanted our wedding to be like, I left the rest up to him. And on the day of the wedding, when a friend brought the flowers to my house, I really enjoyed the excitement of seeing them for the first time!
The guest list was definitely our biggest challenge. We decided early on that this was going to be our only wedding, and it was going to be a big one. But as our guest list climbed to 250, I began to wonder if we were out of control. In the end, we agreed, we wanted who we wanted there. And I accepted the fact that there will always be people you should have invited, or wish you could have.
Both Marcus and I are only children, and so friends mean a lot to us – which is probably why we had a decent size wedding party of ten. I wanted to buy the dresses for my bridesmaids, something they could wear again – a little black dress! J.Crew has a great wedding selection, and I got an amazing deal on their sales page for all of the girls’ dresses.
I can’t recommend online wedding shopping enough! My entire wedding attire was purchased online. I tried on a bunch of dresses around here, and all of them were beautiful – everyone looks stunning in a long fancy wedding gown. But none of them really felt like me. I had always loved Audrey Hepburn’s wedding dress in “Funny Face” and thought it would be the perfect style to wear to my backyard wedding. One of my bridesmaids is an online shopping Queen, and knowing that I was in the market for something different, sent me the link to the website Dolly Couture. I had a wedding dress, designed just for me, to my exact measurements, and delivered to my door in two months, for $700 – AND I avoided all those fittings! A lot of people thought I was crazy, ordering a wedding dress online without trying it on– but like they say, I just knew! Oddly enough, I always vowed never to get a strapless wedding dress, but I thought the tea length and yellow petticoat set it apart enough that I felt ok to go with the popular (and flattering!) strapless style.
Really what I love is shoes, so I needed a dress that would really rock a pair of yellow peep toe wedges! (P.S. Wedges are key for a wedding on grassy terrain.) I still love to wear those shoes!
Marcus is a high school phys. Ed teacher and coach. One of the best things we did was hire a few girls from his basketball team of the previous year. They were so helpful: running to the house to get more ice and mix for the bartenders, managing the popcorn machine, moving the gifts inside, making sure there was always toilet paper in the port-a-potties! We figured we weren’t paying for this big party and
then be too busy to enjoy it! We also hired a local cab company to shuttle guests home after the festivities shut down for the night – well worth it to know our loved ones were safe.
At 4:30am, after the band had left and people had slowly began to make their way home, my new husband and I turned off the lights in the tent, and headed back to our family’s cabin in the woods to spend our wedding night. The night really did go by in a flash, but I embraced every second of the amazing experience, shared with friends and family. The best word I can use to describe my wedding is FUN – pure enjoyment.
My parents told me later that they often just shook their head when I told them about some of my ideas, but they were amazed at how it all came together. The biggest piece of advice I can give to all the brides out there – make the day a celebration of your love. Don’t get caught up in what other people want, or what other people think. If you’re true to yourself and stay focused on what’s important – your marariage – everything else is just details. A lot of people commented on how calm and laid back I was, and I think that having my wedding at my home made everything feel so comfortable. It was the personal touches that meant the most; the wooden sign my dad painted “Happily Ever After” – like the ones we used to make that said “Christmas Trees For Sale”; riding off in the little John Deer Gator dragging pots and pans behind it; and getting our wedding pictures taken in front of the barn I used to play in as a kid. It was simple but classy, large but intimate, and one hell of a good time!