Nautical & Retro Wedding in Canada

Maddie Mills Photography

December 7, 2017

Sarah and Drew wanted their wedding to really showcase where they grew up (and hosted their wedding): Newfoundland and Labrador. Although they had been living in Alberta for a number of years, they wanted their wedding to reflect their love of the most easterly province of Canada. “We had been living in Alberta for a number of years, and wanted our wedding to reflect our East Coast roots, so we included elements that evoked the island everywhere we could, “said Sarah. “The aisle was lined with rubber boots, we used a lobster trap as a card holder and the reception tables were named after Newfoundland communities. The head table was named Heart’s Content.”

“We also wanted the wedding to have a retro vibe, and that was reflected in the outfit choices. I wore a tea length, polka dot dress and the bridesmaids were in short, polka dot dresses with scalloped necklines from Lindybop. The groomspeoples’ suspender and polka dot tie combination matched us perfectly.”

The ceremony was held in the groom’s family back garden. “It is a cottage right beside the ocean. Drew’s dad, who is a Master Mariner, married us (while in uniform), which tied in with our nautical theme. Our love for post-punk and new wave music showed during the ceremony, which featured songs by the Talking Heads, The Cure and Modern English. Neither one of us is particularly religious, so we chose secular readings that represented how we feel about each other. We wrote heartfelt vows to each other and teared up while reading them. We also let our pug, Sassy, roam around while we were getting married and she ended up walking me down the aisle with my parents and leading the recessional at the end.”

The reception décor, a lot of it homemade, featured lots of fun polka dot and floral prints. “We were inspired by many of the bold and brightly coloured weddings that we had seen in Rock n Roll Bride. We transformed the reception hall into the whimsical, nautical event we had envisioned.”

“The wedding was truly a labour of love and I wish I’d started the DIY projects earlier! I’m a procrastinator, and leave everything until the last minute. So naturally, I didn’t start a lot of the projects until a few weeks before the wedding. If I had known how much work goes into a DIY wedding, I would’ve started preparing much earlier so I could’ve saved myself some sleepless nights! I designed the invitations, programs, and table cards. I also turned a plain blue photo album into a cute guest book, tailored our marquee letters to match our theme, and hand-painted our cake topper.”

“My friends and bridesmaids helped make and customise so much of the decor. We made the knot balls that were placed on the table and banners for the candy buffet and receiving tables. We also assembled the centrepieces, painted and decorated the lobster trap, and Drew’s dad made seating chart and our head table backdrop from old pallets.”

“Our wedding was far from traditional and we added our own twist to as much of it as possible. For catering we hired a chip van. Our guests were served onion rings, deep fried pickles and fish n chips! In lieu of a best man or maid of honour speech, our sisters decided to give us a ‘roast and toast’, which was both sweet and super embarrassing. My aunt performed a Screech-In ceremony which is a local ritual performed on folks from out of the province so that they can become honorary Newfoundlanders. It involves shooting awful rum and kissing a fish! Drew and I are both really into karaoke so we had to include some during the last hours of the reception too!”

“The best thing about planning the wedding was seeing everyone we love come together to help us pull off the perfect day”, she concluded. “My advice to future brides and grooms is to never be afraid to ask for help. Thinking I would just be a burden on everyone, I tried doing everything myself initially, but once I reached out to my friends and family for help, the whole process became way less stressful and way more fun!”