Kate & Matt get weddinged in a backyard

Shoes!The offbeat bride: Kate, admin lackey (midwife-wanna-be)

Her offbeat partner: Matt, wind turbine tech

Location & date of wedding: My parents' backyard in Wadsworth, Ohio. May 10, 2008.

What made our wedding offbeat: Well, first of all, we were already married! We met in a chemistry class last fall, got engaged by Thanksgiving, and decided we wanted to be married in February. So we went down to the courthouse with our parents while still planning the small ceremony in May.

Matt & I wanted a ceremony and dinner that was small, non-formal, and personal. No big, cold, overly-glittery venue for us. We didn't want to spend much money, and neither of us had much time to put into planning, since we both work and go to school. I have much more fun planning events like this, though, so I gladly took on most of that task.

We knew we didn't want to break the bank, being students. We considered doing a small 30-guest dinner at our new apartment, but my parents were gracious enough to allow us to have it in their backyard, bringing the guest list to 70. My mom, a Master gardener, had a beautiful backdrop for our ceremony. I stole flowers for my bouquet and the corsages/boutonierres from her gardens (and her maple tree). We rented some tents and tables and were all set.

The back of the dressI did lots of historical costuming when I worked in theatre after college, and since I love the victorian look, I made a dress that had that sort of flavor while still being calm enough for the backyard. A few weekends, 30 yards of chiffon, and some last-minute help from Mom and some friends, and I was set to go.

I wanted a good photographer, but we didn't want to shell out thousands, so we found someone on Craigslist trying to break into the wedding business. She took our photos, we gave her portfolio fodder, and everyone was happy!

We hated the idea of selecting some random officiant off of some list — and since we were already married, we realized it didn't matter if the person was recognized by the state or not. We wanted a religious ceremony but we don't really subscribe to any specific religion completely, and wanted someone open to that. We asked a college friend of mine, a youth minister, to officiate, and she was perfect.

Our biggest challenge: Deciding how much wedding to have. I didn't know until after the ceremony that Matt had never been to a wedding, except for his best friend's civil ceremony 7 years ago. It was a beautiful event, and they had 20 or so people back to their place for dinner afterwards. And that was what he always figured he'd do.

I had always figured — not knowing about OBB yet — that I'd have the cookie cutter wedding. So we butted heads a bit here and there. Once my parents agreed to have the wedding at their house things started falling into place, but it was still hard. Matt wasn't perfectly okay with having them pay for anything even though they would have no problem paying for it all (about $4,000, food & tents & all). We wanted to pay for a bigger percentage than them, but then my parents decided to need tents and that wasn't our original plan… it could have spun out of control, but we kept an eye on our spending, and made it work. Lots of compromise in this area… lots of compromise.

My favorite moment: Our vows. We got a basic ceremony script from our officiant, and we re-worded everything so it was just as we wanted it. Because of that, we both meant every word — exactly as a wedding should be. Those words were the reason for everyone to be there that day, and sometimes, through all the planning, it's easy to forget what it's all about. Seeing my husband ready to say those vows again was the best sight of the day. We both almost cried when we saw each other as the ceremony began… it was beautiful.

If you don't have the time to enjoy yourself AND do the DIY projects, you'd better pick the former.

My offbeat advice: It's great to DIY — but remember how much your time is worth. We had people coming from out of town that we hadn't seen in years, and I decided I'd rather spend the evening before the wedding chatting it up with them rather than going nuts wrapping up little favors or chopping veggies for a tray. It's important to make the wedding your own — and DIY was a big part of that for us with my dress, flowers, and table decor — but if you do it right, you don't have to rely on DIY to make it unique. All the little details — bought OR made by you and/or your friends — make it unique. If you don't have the time to enjoy yourself AND do the DIY projects, you'd better pick the former.

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn: Take a look at Kate & Matt getting weddinged in the backyard!

  1. I love how happy you both look!! That is how I want my wedding to be, HAPPY!!! Congratulations!

    1 agrees
  2. What beautiful pictures! Lovely dress and looks like it was a beautiful day weather-wise. I love the matching sneakers!

    1 agrees
  3. Kate, I live in PA and am currently planning my own 'offbeat wedding'….however, I was having doubts and reservations about the whole thing….at times I felt like it would not turn out great, because it is so different from the cookie cutter wedding. After seeing your pics and reading your story I am happy to say that I am feeling soooo much better about it. It WILL turn out great, because it is different, and OURS!

    Thanks!
    Jodi

  4. I'm doing alot of my September wedding myself and trying not to let it spin out of control. We spent the majority of our budget on locale (renting a luxury home in Lake Tahoe for the event itself and us after!).The photographer is a big deal for me and someone else had suggested Craig's List but I was a bit worried about it….sounds like it worked out very well for you….any suggestions on questions to ask and where to look or what to post in my area???

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