Chapter 28: We got married!
Surprise! Tyler and I decided to get hitched this past summer. We were married on the dock of our neighbor's lake, just walking distance from our farm on September 9, 2022 surrounded by our parents, Tyler's brother and my dear friends Jen and Marty. The reception was held at our little work in progress homestead, with some friends new and old joining us for dinner and a bonfire afterwards.
We just wanted to get married, well, because we wanted to be married. I could write long justifications about the financial benefits of being married, the legal protection it provides to both of us and the social perceptions of married couples versus life partners (not that we agree with it), but ultimately it was just founded on a desire to commit to one another in a special way.
Our wedding had the the spirit of an elopement as we did not tell anyone outside our parents and Jen that we were getting married. We wanted to get married without a big fuss - it was daunting enough to stand in front of nine people, nevermind our extended families and friends. In the end, we had both of our parents, Tyler's brother, Nick, and my dear friends Jen and Marty joining us.
There was also an appreciation that we moved pretty far away from the rest of our family and friends and to arrange the travel for their growing families was going to be a lot of work and would probably mean we would have to wait longer to find a time that would work for everyone. Now we hope to welcome our friends and family and celebrate one on one with them when it works best for them.
It was also pretty fun keeping it a secret, especially when I got to share a photo in our family Whatsapp Chat and blow the minds of my siblings. I was worried people would feel excluded but now I think most people love a surprise wedding!
Descending on Duskwood
Both our parents made the trek across the country to come from Alberta (my parents) and Ontario (Tyler's parents) in their respective rigs for a week long visit on our farm. It was SO FUN to have family here camping and sharing our new lifestyle. It also took the pressure off of us to "prepare" for guests - everyone knew what was available and just took care of their own things while they were here. We don't have a lot to offer guests yet so this really was a key part of making the whole experience enjoyable.
Tyler's brother Nick flew in from Ontario to Halifax for a few days. We had a great time with him here as Tyler got a chance to take him out to the ocean and lunch for a day, go fishing and swimming and mountain biking on my parents' electric mountain bikes.
Jen and Marty powered through a 19 hour drive in a single day to get here after work so that they could turn around and do it again to get back to work for the following Monday. They also did this just shy of a month before their own wedding. Many thanks to them for making the effort for us.
Needless to say we were super grateful for everyone making the effort to come and share our special day because traveling that far is takes so much time and money and it was a big request. We were so happy to share the day with them.
A Wedding by the Community
The actual wedding itself was simple, but we managed to pull together a pretty special day that we will remember with fondness for the rest of our lives. It was reminiscent of the the weddings I admire where the whole community came together to help a young couple start their new lives on the right foot back before everything was commercialized.
Getting Read: Early in the morning, Tyler's mum Sue came with me to go pick up corn on the cob and flowers from two neighboring farms. We were lucky to have perfect weather for our big day. When Sue dropped the bomb that we were using the corn on the cob for our WEDDING reception, Jenni DeLong pulled together a full bucket of flowers for us to use as a gift. Thanks Jenni!
One of my new friends in New Germany, Ilona, came to help me get ready by doing my hair. She also took most of the photos you see here just with my cell phone. Ilona was so kind and helpful throughout the whole process as she actually had me over to do a "test" hairstyle. Thanks Ilona!
Tyler got ready (read: dressed and beard trimmed) and came out of the camper to hold the mirror for me as I applied my make up. The family loved it! I helped my mum with her make up and hair. The whole process of getting ready took less than an hour.
Jen put together the flowers while I had my hair done in a pretty arrangement in one of the buckets that Tyler made at Ross Farm Museum. That was an impromptu decision that really stole the show. Thanks Jen!
The venue: Our neighbors Nancy and Garnet generously let us use their cottage for a few hours because its beautiful and on the water and reminded Tyler of the many years he spent camping at Algonquin with his family. We left from our property to walk through the woods to the lake and back again for dinner. Thanks Nancy and Garnet!
The decorations: We placed two barrels made by Tyler at the end of the dock with my bucket (also made by Tyler) of flowers for garnish. The beauty of the landscape did most of the heavy lifting here.
The dress: Bought online for $110. I plan to dye the dress (or even Tie-Dye) the dress for future use. Our wonderful friend Brynn (from this post) fitted it better for me with their great sewing skills. Thanks Brynn!
The suit: Tyler and I discussed a suit- it just didn't really fit our vibe and its tough to justify spending money on an outfit he'd probably never wear again. Enter Ross Farm Museum - I suggested perhaps he could wear his work uniform since it would tie in so nicely with the environment. Tyler asked the team at Ross Farm Museum he could borrow his outfit for the weekend for his wedding and the seamstress at the museum did one better- she pulled out a new outfit not yet used for him to use. Thanks Ross Farm Museum!
The Cake: Also done by Ilona, it was a work of art. When I told Ilona we were getting married her first reaction was "Can I make your cake?!". I have to say, if you ever get the honor of having Ilona make you a cake you should say yes. She interrogated me on our favorite flavors (Tyler's is a Mars Bar), taught herself how to pipe flowers (yes, this is her first attempt!) and even made a test cake that I had to bring back to Tyler for feedback. She does NOT mess around. The cake was a masterpiece (see below) and she outdid herself. Thanks Ilona!
The Officiant: We welcomed the local New Germany Officiant, Lori Ehler, to conduct our ceremony as the justice of the peace. We were able to plan everything with Lori by phone and email and she was perfect at the ceremony. Thanks Lori!
The Photography: Ilona (here for #3) stayed after doing my hair to take photos of the whole event for us. Neither Tyler nor I really enjoy having our photo taken and I would not have arranged for a paid photographer because we would have been too uncomfortable. The photos we got from her were perfect and we really appreciate having nice candid memories from the day.
Of course, this wouldn't be much of a Tikvah post if I didn't break down the wedding in costs for others to consider. Here's the breakdown of everything:
Total Wedding Cost for us: $707.70
You may remember that we made arrangements to buy the butcher shop equipment from Tyler's parents when they retired. As our wedding gift, his parents decided to gift us the equipment. This was so unexpected and kind of them and is going to help move forward our plans more quickly. We are so grateful to them for giving us such a generous opportunity. Its also a real privilege to get a leg up in the world this way so I think its important to acknowledge it specifically in this project of building an off-grid butcher shop and farm.
There were other gifts and kindnesses shared that I don't necessarily think is polite to write about online but for those that supported us in other ways we just wanted to say thank you (you know who you are). We really felt that the day wasn't stressful, was a lot of fun and helped us kick off our marriage in the best way possible. It really is a memory we are going to look back on fondly FOREVER.
The Value of Community
In the example of our wedding, the people in our lives came together to offer us support that would have cost us dearly if we wanted the same thing done by professionals. It was also more special than outsourcing it because every act of service or gift of time or resources came with the knowledge that it was given with the loving kindness of people who care about us. I think this is really the value of community, we all give and take at different times and if everyone participates over time, it is never a huge burden on any particularly person. I fully intend on continuing our marriage in this spirit and hope we can make others feel as special as we did when the opportunity comes knocking.
Just two working class kids living off-grid. Follow us on our journey building a sustainable farm and butcher shop in the South Shore of Nova Scotia, Canada.