For Better (not worse!)

John and I had the privilege of emceeing a wedding last month for a couple from our church. It was a beautiful wedding, held at Mt. Lehman Winery in Abbotsford. The ceremony took place in the barrel room, with the huge oak barrels lining the walls and the reception was held under a tent on the winery grounds, overlooking the vineyard. Joel and Breanne’s wedding was very much an expression of their personalities and thrift played an interesting role both in their relationship and in their wedding.

They met via Value Village – Breanne recognized Joel from his bandcamp site while shopping at VV, she contacted him, they got together and the rest is history. That they met in a thrift shop is not that surprising given that they both prefer to shop thrift whenever possible. For both Joel and Breanne, thrift shopping is as much about lifestyle as it is about saving money. This ethic informed how they prepared for their lovely day.

one of the lovliest moments of this wedding was watching Joel and Breanne wash one another’s feet as a sign of humility and service to each other, just as Jesus washed the feet of his disciples. not sure if there was a dry eye in the house during this…

Gift cards were placed in a vintage suitcase displayed on a table covered in vintage linens. The bridesmaids’ dresses were all vintage, purchased through etsy.com (each for under $50) and all different – which surprised me because from a distance they looked as though they’d all been made from the same fabric. Table cloths were actually thrifted bed sheets cut to fit the tables and the afternoon tea was served in vintage china cups, saucers and plates. The centre pieces were made from thrifted vases that Breanne collected, painted and coated with school glue. She also collected different sized glass containers for the serve-yourself candy table. The wedding cake sat on a thrifted plate as well.

One of the neatest displays at the wedding was a hutch that had photos of their parents and grandparents weddings- all in thrifted picture frames; a wonderful way to honour their heritage and highlight the importance of family. They also thrifted the furniture that they used for displays which then simply went to furnish their home. One of Joel and Breanne’s favourite pieces is an old stereo with flowers carved into it, circa 1930s that was used to sign their register.

The centrepieces were made from wildflowers they dried themselves and potted succulents that were then transplanted into their garden. Breanne decided to sell her gorgeous wedding dress so that someone else can enjoy it and she can also earn some money from it. They made sure that all the clothing that the bridesmaids and groomsmen wore could be worn again. A family friend made all the jam served at the wedding.

I asked Breanne why they decided to do their wedding this way. This is what she wrote to me:

One, it was frugal. Since we are both poor students with tight budgets we didn’t want to financially overburden our parents. Two, we really value simplicity and wanted our wedding to reflect that. Three, we love old things and love being able to support organizations like MCC and Bibles for Missions which donate their proceeds to important causes. Four, we were turned off by the mass consumerism that has been generated by weddings and wanted to avoid getting sucked into it. Five, I just love crafting and if I can make something myself, I am all over it! And six, we really wanted our wedding to be reflective of our values, lifestyles and who we are as a couple.

I believe that they accomplished all their goals and they had a beautiful, unique, personal wedding.

If you’re married – were you intentional about saving money or did you choose to go all out for that special day? If you’re not married – would a thrift-consciousness factor into your decision making?

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11 Responses to For Better (not worse!)

  1. Heidi says:

    Hi, I’m a friend of Cyndy and Gareth (actually I had Gareth as a professor at CBC), and I recently got married (Jan.2012), and I handmade a lot of the elements of our wedding. I made my bouquet as well as the bridesmaids bouquets, out of thrifted material from our local MCC store! I made fabric flowers out of lace and light fabrics. All our table cloths were vintage lace tablecloths that I got at MCC and a local antique store, as well as the centrepiece items which followed our vintage theme! We were trying to save money, but I also design and sell clothing and accessories that uses purely second hand items because I believe in recycling!
    Here’s a few posts I did about our wedding, At some point i will do a post on the little details and handmade items as well 🙂
    http://heidi-and-seek.blogspot.ca/2012/06/getting-ready.html
    http://heidi-and-seek.blogspot.ca/2012/07/ceremony.html
    http://heidi-and-seek.blogspot.ca/2012/07/getting-ready-pt2.html

  2. Hi Angelika – I love this piece–your descriptions, photos, the words from Breanne all make for a great “thrifty” profile of the wedding and a wonderful newly-wed couple. thanks!

  3. Siobhan Hiles says:

    My husband and I were among the very lucky to be invited to Bre and Joels weddimg…it was amazing..it was so nice to see 2 people so in love and ready to share their lives together and not afraid to show just how much in love they are…not by spending thousands on the wedding just making it so special for each other and their guests! We are friends of the brides parents and were so proud of their daughter that day I sopped through many a kleenex…It was a true sign of the great value system they have instilled in their children! We love them and were very thrilled to be a part of their special day.

  4. I love this post. I had a small (12 people including us and the kids) thrifty wedding but not as thrifty as it would be these days as I am much better at buying used and finding deals now.

    • we had a small wedding too – by Mennonite standards – ‘only’ 200 people! (tough when the bride has 45 first cousins…) my dress was sewn by my awesome maid of honour and we had the reception in our church basement, catered by the women of the church. so we did a few things that were frugal but i think i could have done much more too had i really taken the time to think it through the way joel and breanne did. live and learn! hopefully our son – assuming he’ll marry some day – will also have a frugal ethic when he gets married.

  5. Christina says:

    I love this! It is so great to read about their wedding and the little details that made it so beautiful, unique and reflective of their values. I feel like if we were home, we’d have heard about this at church over Sunday morning coffee…. so thanks for filling me in:)

  6. Megan says:

    Thank you for sharing this! For most of my life, I have been committed to never marrying, but a lot of that has to do with the way that people marry in my culture. Now, I’m decidedly decided that it isn’t about the being married that so bothers me, but the process of focusing on wealth and opulence in opposition to love and true commitment. Anyhow, that’s my two cents for the day. I’m really excited to see people find happiness in eachother and thrift 🙂

  7. Beautiful article! I love the vintage-chic style of the wedding, and I LOVE her dress! Was it also from etsy?

  8. What a great wedding; love all the creative ideas. My own wedding dress was thrifted and so were my shoes.
    Found your blog via your comment on “Bag and Beret”

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