Raina & Mike's library wedding

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The offbeat bride: Raina, Graphic Designer

Her offbeat groom: Mike, freelance photographer and TV production guy

Location & date of wedding: The Clayville town library in Clayville, NY

What made our wedding offbeat: We really wanted to save a lot of money and keep it simple, simple, SIMPLE! We only had seven people at the ceremony besides the two of us.

We did it at the tiny library in the town I grew up in. It was perfect because it was so small on the inside, and it happed to be a church at one point which lent itself to the layout of the ceremony well. We didn't have a religious ceremony but it was kind of cute to be in an old church turned library (and my job involves designing book jackets, so it was extra special!).

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We spent the tiniest fraction of money you can on a wedding — we did this because we live in Brooklyn (high rent!) and our parents didn't have money to give us so we knew we just had to be creative. The first step was to cut out guests and the whole idea of a reception.

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I wore my mother's wedding dress from 1979 which just so happened to be exactly what I was looking for in a dress! The only expense there was to have it taken in slightly and cleaned up a bit. Mike wore his grandfather's wedding band, my mom and I did the flowers ourselves, and we had one of our good friends take all of the photos. Add in the cost of dinner for nine people and we spent literally under 600 dollars on EVERYTHING!

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It was small, intimate, and the day was so memorable because of it. Everyone involved had a part — my brother was my "man of honor"! I just couldn't have hoped for anything better.

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Our biggest challenge: Our biggest challenge was dealing with all of the family drama that came along with not inviting my grandmother, and our aunts and uncles and cousins. We had to hear a lot of snide remarks, and people being hurt that we didn't invite them! Our friends all understood — it's so hard to be young and live in such an expensive city, so they were just happy that we were doing it OUR way. Family, however, just didn't understand why we weren't doing this huge, 200 guest shindig. I just have NEVER wanted that, or the stress that comes with it.

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We had to politely explain, again and again and AGAIN (people just didn't get it) That this was OUR DAY! And we can do what WE want! It's a hard concept for family to grasp. We had a hard time keeping our cool having to tell them over and over, but in the end, we really didn't want to offend anyone.

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My favorite moment: My favorite moment of the day was right before my dad walked me down the aisle. While everyone was inside of the library waiting for us, we had a few minutes for a nervous chat and a few laughs, out in the lobby and just the look on my dad's face as we got ready to walk down the aisle (which was actually a row of bookshelves!) was wonderful and priceless. I always knew how much my dad loved me, but this was a moment that only happens once in a lifetime, and I'll never forget it. It sounds awfully cheesy, but I was loving it.

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My offbeat advice: Do what YOU want!!! I feel like I always read this advice on offbeat bride, but it's so, so important. If you want a small wedding, find a way! If you want a huge one, find a way! Make a budget, too. If it's 500 dollars, trust me, you can do it. If you want a huge wedding, that's fine, just plan out exactly what your vision is before you go forward. You can do it!

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn:

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  1. Beautiful. Just beautiful. I love the library aisle!

    I particularly enjoyed reading about you having your father walk you down the aisle. I don't agree with the whole 'giving my daughter away' thing either… I'm my own woman, but I am looking forward to that walk as I know my Dad really, really is too.

    6 agree
  2. This is beautiful, beautiful! I am a librarian, and would love to get married in a library! Congratulations on keeping to your vision, and on a lovely day!

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  3. I am giddy with envy (if that's possible!). What a beautiful, unique, amazing setting. Congratulations on a beautiful wedding and your marriage.

    3 agree
  4. Absolutely gorgeous! My mum worked in a library when I was younger so I love hanging out in libraries. Plus, how adorable are you and your dad? Bravo!

    1 agrees
  5. omg, i love this! now i wanna get married just so i can have a buncha books present.

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  6. Thank you all for your comments and compliments! I'm so glad you all enjoyed the photos!!

    3 agree
  7. Absolutely amazing. I love the simplicity and the love that is evident between the two. The fall scenery is breath-taking. I love everything about it.

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  8. Very pretty
    Do you have a close up picture of the back of your hair? I love it!

    1 agrees
  9. I loved your wedding and the pictures are great as well! I agree anyone can get married anywhere (well almost everywhere)and yes a wedding under 600 is possible! I did my second wedding for under 300 including a hand made wedding gown!and a light refreshment at the reception!. So it can be done! congrats to bride n groom!

    1 agrees
  10. This was such an encouraging story. I'm going to have to deal with members of family complaining that they wont be invited with lots of gossip to follow! It's stressful to even consider but it's great to read that it's been done before! Congrats on your marriage and sticking with what you really wanted on your special day!

    1 agrees
  11. I love the idea of getting married in a library; how incredibly romantic is that? The bride also looks like a vision; I wish I could steal her dress. Swoon!

    The one part I respectfully disagree with is the idea that you have to either a) not invite grandma or b) have a 200 person wedding. Although I totally understand the terror being sucked into some massive event as soon as you start relenting on your guest list etc, there are happy mediums you can find that will keep you and your family (more or less) happy. After all, it is their day too!

    For example, doing a tiny wedding and a slightly larger pot-luck/picnic reception for immediate family is a great option for brides who want to keep things small, low cost and keep their fams happy! Or doing a tea after the honeymoon with immediate family at your grandparents or parents house. It's worth thinking about low-key options like this, especially if people are really going to get hurt by not being included in some way (and who wants to start their married life off to drama and bad feeling?).

    Anyways, just my minor opinion! LOVE this wedding!

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    • Hey Lauren! I do totally get what you're saying. My mother in law actually threw us a little family picnic a few months later (really simple, just immediate family and an afternoon in the back yard) and it was nice to get to see some other family members we might not have seen otherwise. Not what I wanted, but since it was so important to my MIL, I let her throw it and we had a nice, low-key afternoon so everyone could feel involved. My family, on the other hand, has had more than their share of giant weddings and family events, so they were more than OK with not having ANOTHER event to attend! To each their own :)

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      • Oh! One more teeny thing, we DID in fact invite my Grandmother (who was our only living grandparent between the two of us at the time, and has since passed away), but she was ill and didn't feel up to it. When I wrote this I should have clarified that we didn't NOT invite here, she just did not attend.

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  12. omg how romantic! not to mention your celebrity "guests" like dickinson, poe, twain, thoreau, etc… awesome!!

    3 agree
  13. Your pictures are lovely. They appeal to me for so many reasons. For one reason, I lived at Frost Valley YMCA in Claryville NY for 2.5 years, and I never even knew Claryville had a library. I would always go to the Grahamsville library. I also like the way you kept it small.

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  14. your wedding makes me cry :) It's gorgeous and unconventional and romantic

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  15. I LOVE your dress! Your mom had great taste! :)

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  16. Im jealous of that moment you had with your dad. I wish I'd have that moment but unfortunately my dad's no longer with us
    I'm also jealous of how well you can pull off that stunning dress. Congrats! !

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  17. I love this wedding. And that first photo is amazing. I think it speaks the full 1000 words a picture can and all of its singing the love in this lovely wedding. Plus it shows off the detail on the bride's dress, which is gorgeous.

    0 agree

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