Marie-Gael & Michael's $100 wedding at sunrise, in a cave, in the middle of nowhere

By on Jan 25th

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The offbeat bride: Marie-Gael, disabled

Her offbeat partner: Michael, student English Literature Education

Location & date of wedding: Ash Cave, Hocking Hills, OH — 14 November 2009

What made our wedding offbeat: What wasn't offbeat!?

  • It was in the middle of the forest, in a cave, at sunrise.
  • The actual wedding and reception (not counting clothes) was under $100.
  • Most of the decorations and what we wore were vintage. So, I really didn't need to spend much because I used lots of inherited depression glass and jewelry.

breakfast

  • We handed out save the date business cards that I handmade with the url to our site en lieu of invites.ceremony
  • It was open invitation.
  • The food was home made by friends & family.
  • We had a traditional registry and a honeymoon registry, so we got a completely free honeymoon!
  • We hired a fashion photographer instead of a wedding photographer. We also had five other professional and freelance photographers and videographers.
  • Although I had bridesmaids, it was more of a gesture. I gave them no requirements.
  • No processional.
  • Before the wedding, there was a breakfast reception to allow people to mingle and warm up.
  • We walked each other down the aisle – an Irish tradition.
  • My dress was light blue (an Irish tradition but also a bit Alice) and tea length. It was custom made using vintage fabric.
  • Matthew played Irish fiddle to welcome everyone and devanna sang to close.
  • My flowers were monochromatic — they were all shades of green, organic, and locally grown.
  • I wore my hair down in finger waves.
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Vintage mason jars on the cave floor.

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Our biggest challenge: The hardest part was NOT being married to Michael.

Changing everything and planning a wedding in three months was daunting. We were planning a much later wedding, but I'm disabled and michael wanted to start taking care of me. Honestly though, it wasn't hard. It was just a bit "ack, how in the world will i plan this?" for maybe a day. If you actually trust who you're with, it's not really that scary.

Other than that, my only issue was a friend giving me the you'll see's. Ariel hit the nail on the head with that one.

sunrise ceremony

My favorite moment: Walking down the aisle.

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Walking down the "aisle."


Our "aisle" was actually a winding quarter mile trail through the woods. We walked together to the wedding. This is an old Irish tradition. Mid-way through our walk, Michael stopped us and prayed. That was such a beautiful moment for me. It was gorgeous to see the sun rise through the fog and trees, leaves all over the ground, the water fall and hearing Irish fiddle echoing all around. It was perfection.

My offbeat advice: When we discussed our wedding, we both asked each other, if nobody but the two of us attended our wedding, what would it be like? Oddly enough both of us had imagined getting married in a forest, but thought it would be impossible to do. It wasn't.

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Another important thing to do is REMEMBER. People get so stressed about planning that they forget and get distracted. If you keep plans simple, you'll enjoy yourself. I also made it a point to keep the week of the wedding fairly free of any activities. And the night before the wedding, I focused on how blessed i was and meditated on the seriousness of what I was embarking on. Going to bed early really helped.

Also, don't become a burden to those who care about you. Demanding everyone buy matching outfits and bend to your will puts un-needed stress on everyone. We didn't ask anyone to wear or do anything but arrive on time. People stepped up and helped us without us having to ask for anything. People will show their true colors. Just let them.

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Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn: