Evita & Michael's Beltane-Belle Époque DIY Fun-Fest!

By on Jun 30th

Remember that wonderful handfasting cord tutorial from OBT member Lepapillonvert? Well, we finally got the entire scoop on her very green, very DIY wedding!

The Offbeat Bride: Evita – Caregiver, Graphic Designer & Costumer

Her Offbeat Partner: Michael – Caregiver, Graphic Designer, High Voltage/Tesla Coil Enthusiast

Location & date of wedding: We rented a house on an amazing piece of property on Johns Island, SC. The ceremony took place in an oak grove a few hundred yards from the house and the reception was in our back yard — May 1, 2009.

What made our wedding offbeat: We met a little over three and a half years ago in the online absinthe community. We belong to a few, but it was the Wormwood Society where we had our formal introduction. Our love of one of history's most maligned beverages was one of the essential elements of our wedding.

We were handfasted on Beltane under a canopy of oaks using cords made by my husband. Michael and I walked into the grove from opposite sides at the same time and met at the altar. Steven, our officiant wore simple hemp clothing and was barefoot. Our ring bearer was our amazing 40 year old best friend. Our rings are the most tangible evidence of the commitment we've made to each other and we couldn't imagine entrusting the job of safeguarding them to someone who is not at the same emotional or mental level as us. We asked that our ring blessing ceremony happen before we arrived at the grove. We hoped would act to bond our guests in their own private ritual.

We also felt it was important to infuse our energy in as much of the day as possible, so we DIY'd a lot of elements — invitations, wedsite, dress, shoes, corset, flowers/boutonniere, cake stand, bistro table, labels, decorations, handfasting cords, cigar bands, mead, centerpieces, ring nest. Michael was deeply involved in the DIY process. Almost everything made/bought for our event can and has been repurposed in our lives. Like… our outfits, we're wearing them next when we attend Dragon*Con as part of a costume group. We even 'prepurposed' the green acorns for some of our Yule decorations.

Details

 

Our biggest challenge: Getting everything done! We had a major move at the end of January that also caused a venue change. We moved my mother out of her condo, my father out of his nursing home, and Michael & I moved out of the old family home, all into one house. That was a month lost as well as a week at the end of March when my mother had back surgery. Also, Michael unexpectedly had to go to Atlanta a few times for 3-5 day stretches. Thankfully we started working on several projects early and kept our promise to each other that if a project got overwhelming, it would get cut.

The house had been empty for a long time and the previous tenants had completely neglected the yard. We worked exhausting hours getting it to a state where we could welcome guests. I wish it was a little more put together but I honestly doubt anyone cared. Bonus is that we now have a fun place to hang out!

I'm incredibly detailed oriented, to the point of it being a fault at times. It's very easy for me to stare at a single piece of bark on each tree and not step back and see the forest. :) It can be a hindrance but it also serves as therapy. Several things went right over my head in the preparations and we are so thankful that our extraordinary friends were there to fill in the gaps with their collective hearts, minds and souls.

My favorite moment: I have a few that I'd like to share.

For us it would be a tie between exchanging our vows, and the time we spent in the grove midmorning to smudge/consecrate the area. We stood at 'our places' and held hands while the breeze softly surrounded us. It was incredibly grounding for both of us and allowed us some time to reconnect after the frenzy of the previous few days.

It is also very important to us to share in the wonderment of our friends. We wouldn't even be where we are today without the connections we have with each and every one of our friends and family. So, our wedding was not only a celebration of us but of them as well. Our day would not have been what it was with out them. We cashed in a lot of 'good friend' karma points to make everything happen. We are eternally indebted to them and are honored they are a part of our lives. Thank you!

My stepson Tyler made a toast to us that had most of our friends crying. I'll never forget it. My niece and nephew holding our besom as we jumped. As we were being driven to the grove my nephew was speeding towards us. He left it in the house!

I moderate an online community and my co-mod and I have become great friends during the process, but we had never met before. He traveled from Rotterdam to be with us. Michael and I are still blown away and we had a great time together.

My advice for other offbeat brides: Since we DIY'd so much, I'll try to share what I can with that experience. Be realistic with your projects and prioritize. Several projects ended up on the cut list because we simply did not have the time to finish them. DIY doesn't always mean that it everything will be cheaper, either. Sometimes it isn't that much more to buy that necklace/whatever from etsy/wherever than having to order/buy everything, pay for shipping or gas and then the time it will take you to make that item. 

We knew what we wanted early in the planning process and stuck to our vision. It made it a lot easier to not get distracted wanting to incorporate other ideas when seeing so many AWESOME things being done with other weddings. We also appreciated that it was an organic process and allowed for several elements to evolve and grow. We had some changes in our plans and thankfully our vision allowed for that to happen with ease.

 

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?:

  • Vintage Feather Hat – Frock of Ages in Candler Park, Atlanta.
  • The base of my shoes – Stefan's in L5P, Atlanta.
  • Silk Damask used for my dress, corset and Michael's vest – Millhousesilks. Sherri is wonderful to work with. If you see something you like and want more, just contact her. She'll be more than happy to set up what you need.
  • My reception dress came from the now defunct Lakewood Flea Market in Atlanta
  • My wedding band came from eBay and Michael's Ring was made by – Bellchamber Goldsmiths. Absolutely wonderful group.
  • Michael's Vest and Frock Coat were made by our friend Cat Robinson, aka The Sewing Goddess, and his pants were purchased from The Historical Emporium
  • Catering – Renata Dos Santos. Renata is friend of the family and we knew right off that she was the perfect choice. We love that she uses meats and produce grown locally. It was important to use to try to spend our money within the community. The goat used for the curry was raised by a friend of hers and she was out picking asparagus just a few days before the wedding.
  • White Ranunculus for my bouquet – Charleston Flower Market.
  • Olive & Black double-sided satin ribbon came from Sam Flax. We bought them in Atlanta bought were told they could be purchased online.
  • Absinthe – Drink Up New York.
  • Not everyone is as bat shit about absinthe as we are and we needed an alternative to the high ABV mead, so we had a keg of beer and some wine to broaden (or blur) the palate. For the beer, we choose to stay local with a keg of organic Kolsch from Coast Brewing. We ordered it through the Charleston Beer Exchange downtown. Love those guys, they're total beer dorks like I used to be.
  • Lucky Cat favors from .
  • Mosaic lanterns were on clearance at Lowe's.
  • Photography – Stacey Bode. I cannot say enough about this woman. I am not biased because she's my friend, she is so very talented. The more offbeat the better for her!

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!