Susan Beal gets her craft on #Real Weddings: Western US#crafty wedding#diy wedding#ipod#museum#oregon#portland March 19 | Ariel Meadow Stallings offbeatbride The offbeat bride: Susan Beal, writer (and Offbeat Bride lab rat!) My offbeat groom: Andrew Dickson, artist Location & date of wedding: August 7, 2005, Contemporary Crafts Museum, Portland, Oregon What made our wedding offbeat: We got married by our good friend Diane in the Church of Craft, at a craft museum, and threw a big party afterwards, so it really reflected the two of us! We DIYed everything we could (with a couple of exceptions) but we also did a lot of trading, and between that and some creative math we were able to pull off wine, beer, champagne, and dinner for 150 people, slightly under budget. We kind of split the difference between traditional and fun, and it turned out amazing. Everyone seemed to have a great time. We saved a lot of money on a few key things: we splurged on food from an amazing caterer, but instead of having the nine people on her staff serve it, I found two waiters and two bartenders on craigslist and hired them to work for the evening instead. Instead of a wedding cake, we had cupcakes, which were included in the food budget instead of billed as an extra expense. We got all the wine at Costco, the champagne at Trader Joe's, and kegs of beer from Andrew's favorite brewery. And our wonderful friends helped set things up and clean up the next day. I'm a jewelry designer, so I made all my own pieces, and I got to do part-trades for our flowers and photographs… plus I commissioned a Portland designer who sold my work in her store to make my dress for part-trade too — and I found the fabric in Los Angeles for $2 a yard, so the pink dress of my dreams turned out to be super affordable! I made my veil out of a yard of shimmer tulle and a vintage hair comb, and Andrew got his suit on sale at Macy's, during some weekend where everything was even more on sale if you got a store credit card. So all the cool extras didn't end up costing us that much… leaving us more cash to feed people with! Our biggest challenge: We DIYed our music, and our iPod froze in the a few hours into the reception, halfway through our first dance playlist — NOT ideal. It did get us through cocktails, the ceremony, and dinner, at least. So it definitely could have been worse… But our friends saved the day! They all ran out and grabbed CDs from their cars and then took turns playing DJ for the rest of the night. I didn't even notice anything was wrong until long after it had been fixed. If you do your own music, make sure you have back-ups of everything… or at least super cool friends handy. My favorite moment: My favorite moment was the very beginning of the ceremony. The song we walked in to was the Flaming Lips' "Do You Realize??" and when we heard it start, we had just a minute to whisper a few secret things to each other out on the deck, which was such a cool moment. And then we walked in together holding hands. I just felt so happy and loved and excited to come into this beautiful room together filled with our friends and family, and everyone started clapping and cheering as they saw us! It was just incredible. I know a lot of people like to have the very first moment they see each other be a big deal, but for us it was just so natural to walk in together and I absolutely loved it. My favorite wedding picture captures a lot of that! My offbeat advice: Decide what you both really want and stick to your guns about it… and save the compromises for things you aren't as passionate about. One thing that was great for us was that both sets of parents wanted to host a party in our respective hometowns a few months after the wedding, so they each got to include any traditions that were important to them then. We DIYed a lot of stuff, but one thing I'm so glad we splurged on was hiring a day-of wedding coordinator. Kara from Ella Portland was awesome and she kept everything flowing so nicely — there is nothing better than NOT having to think about what time it is, or if such-and-such is going to happen, during your own wedding. I promise it's worth it, whether it's a Type A friend giving you the service as a gift, or a paid professional! Enough talk — show me the wedding porn: Susan + Andrew = DIY LUV 4EVA! (Photos by Paul Rich Studio) Tell me all about your offbeat wedding! Reporter Name * Reporter Email * Original text Enter the original text here. Edited text* Enter your suggested copyedit here. Notes You can add a note for the editor here. * Required information. Fix Typo Ariel Meadow Stallings Author of Offbeat Bride: Creative Alternatives for Independent Brides, Ariel acts as the publisher of all the Offbeat Empire websites. She lives, loves, and dorks out hard in Seattle, WA. @offbeatariel @offbeatbride PREVIOUS Integrating lopsided family guestlists NEXT One bride's terrifying trip to a wedding show Show/Hide comments [ 1 ] […] today, she posted the interview she did with me about our wedding! If you're interested in pulling off a crafty wedding and reception on the cheap (hopefully […] Reply Join the conversation Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked * Comment Participate in this conversation via email No-drama comment policy Part of what makes the Offbeat Empire different is our commitment to civil, constructive commenting. Make sure you're familiar with our no-drama comment policy. 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