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

January 25 |

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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.
jars3
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.

aisle15
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.

coffee

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.

shoes

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn:

  1. Just beautiful. I'm not a religious person, but the part about the quarter mile walk and stopping halfway to pray made me teary-eyed. Very moving.

    18 agree
  2. How did you manage to keep it under $100 (excluding clothing) when "We hired a fashion photographer instead of a wedding photographer. We also had five other professional and freelance photographers and videographers." All those people cost less than $100?

    What was the total cost of the wedding including everything?

    13 agree
    • great question. photography is expensive! so are pretty dresses and suits!

      3 agree
      • yeah, as you saw they weren't included. however, my heels & his suit were both clearance. & all of my jewelry was inherited. & all of it is something we can wear again. yay!

        3 agree
    • I was one of MarieGael's freelance photographers – it turns out that her bit of advice works: "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."
      I was just happy to photograph such a happy event for my friend, I think that's how all the other ones felt as well, most of us (if not all) volunteered :)

      2 agree
      • ^_^ haha yes! & i didn't even realize it till during & after the wedding.

        0 agree
      • "People will show their true colors" Ain't that the truth about weddings overall.
        This is definitely my favorite wedding ever featured since I discovered this website a year ago. This is my dream wedding!!! No crazy budget, stand here, do that crap. It's so simple and beautiful and perfect!

        4 agree
    • RobHu, i'll try to answer as best i can.
      photography: all of our photography was free. my brother is the fashion photographer's assistant. we also have several friends who are photographers.

      music: both are our friends. so, they did it for free.

      mason jars: these usually cost quite a bit! i used a few i had inherited from my grandmother. i bought a couple vintage ones on ebay. then, i bought a few large lots of the plain ones you can get from the grocery store & hand painted them w/ glass paint. so, that was a little over $30.

      green depression glass: i inherited glass from my grandmother.

      mid century serving pieces: also inherited

      coffee makers: borrowed from friends who already owned them

      food: made by friends & family

      renting the cave: $36

      sign: made by another artist friend

      both of us, our families, most of our friends are artists. so, it makes it easier to be create solutions. also, rethinking what you already own & what you can borrow helps. it also means less waste.

      i hope i answered your question! ^_^

      9 agree
      • that's so wonderful. our talented friends who volunteered for our wedding (as musicians, mostly) made all the difference too! but kudos to keeping to such a budget and for incorporating so many inherited things with so much meaning. gorgeous wedding, beautiful couple.

        0 agree
      • oh & i forgot to add that the total cost for all the flowers were $20.

        i ordered the bouquet & 3 bunches of flowers for the tables from whole foods. the florist liked me so she threw in an orchid courage for my mom for free.

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        • lol & also those M & G cups were like $6 from anthropologie. i just remembered b/c i'm drinking coffee out of one. it's so nice to be able to reuse these things every day.

          0 agree
      • Good morning,
        I am absolutely in love with your fabulous wedding!! I did notice that you had mentioned you used vintage fabric for your outfit or something like that and became really excited. I am trying to have an eco friendly wedding and I have been wanting to use vintage fabric to create my bridesmaid dresses. Do you have any suggestions for doing something like this!!!!

        1 agrees
        • well, i didn't make my dress. sarah seven did. & she uses vintage fabric.

          but a quick google will find tons of stores that sell vintage fabric. you could even try to repurpose fabric from vintage clothes.

          0 agree
  3. This was beautiful. FH and I had always planned to walk in together, but our families threw a huge fit about it and we gave up the idea to cut down on drama. Reading about Marie-Gael and Michael's walk together was so touching, I'm really wishing we'd fought a little harder. Looks like it was an incredible experience.

    0 agree
  4. this has to be my very favorite wedding featured on OBB! so simple and beautiful- and it took place in my state!
    and those shoes are killer.

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  5. Fabulous wedding!!!! The walk through the woods on the path looked so peaceful. Just being in the presence of mother nature before the big moment must have been very special and moving. I too live in Ohio, Grove City to be exact and I have been to Ash Cave. Beautiful place. Congrats!

    1 agrees
  6. This is, hands down, the most beautiful wedding I have EVER seen. Congratulations to you both, and best of luck in your new life together!! ♥

    3 agree
  7. There are so many elements of this wedding that CALL to me! The clothes and shoes, the walk together, and keeping it simple… Wonderful job. And thank you for the reminder that you can break away from the usual and still have something really quite extraordinary.

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  8. OMG, I saw the original "teaser" photos and thought, "I know a cave like this in Ohio that would be perfect!"

    And this is the EXACT location I had been to. This wedding is GORGEOUS!! (kinda actually made me rethink the commitment ceremony that we nixed for next year).

    1 agrees
  9. What a beautiful and inspiring wedding.
    I am curious about some aspects concerning your guests – you said your wedding was open invitation, and that your friends and family were kind and talented enough to provide food.
    As someone in the midst of trying to plan catering and seating and accommodations for family, I can't imagine pulling something like that off. I.E., How did you manage to work everything out without knowing how many guests you would have or how much food would be available? Were all your family and friends very local?
    I very much appreciate and details or advice you might be able to offer.
    Congratulations on the beautiful celebration of your love, and thank you for sharing it with us!

    2 agree
  10. OK, for the first time since my wedding two summers ago, I am having INTENSE WEDDING JEALOUSY!

    Seriously, though, how stunning! It sort of reminds me of early American weddings, which would usually just happen in the home or at the home of a pastor or JoP, except in this case your home is the great outdoors.

    I love the advice to keep everything simple (ie, low-stress). I also love the bride's shoes. And yeah, everything else.

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    • thanks!

      yes, i think people who get their feelings hurt over tradition kinda forget that they didn't ALWAYS exist. those all started w/ someone doing something new.

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  11. my thoughts are if you keep it simple, there's less of a chance of things becoming complicated. acoms razor FTW!! i'm such a nerd!

    our "invites" were similar to save the dates. i hand made business cards. i altered a drawing i'd done to incorporate our date. & the url to a wedding site was on there. we just handed those out to people in person. the people who weren't local were emailed the url. the wedding site had an option to rsvp. so, we got over 50 on the wedsite. & then about 50 rsvp'd in person or email. so, we had to estimate that around 100 were coming. & it turned out that's about how many came.

    as for seating, b/c of the area, you just couldn't have seats. so, we made sure all of the food was finger foods. ya know, the kind of things you can eat w/ a napkin & coffee, coffee shop type foods that don't require a plate & silverware.

    as for local, most were within an hour's drive. some were 3, some 8.

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  12. If you don't mind me asking which honeymoon registry did you use? My fiance and I are toying with the idea of registering on one, but we aren't sure which site to go with.

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  13. Ohhhh. Well. That's wonderful. It's amazing what can happen when you boil it down to just what you need. Which is exactly why I always feel so sad when people say "they just can't afford to get married." Because somehow along the way we all (very much including myself here) lost track of the fact that the point is the marriage, the wedding is just the vehicle.

    Our grandmothers and great grandmothers really had it right.

    Lovely, lovely, lovely. Congratulations to you both.

    5 agree
  14. http://www.honeyfund.com/

    they don't take any money from you. you can customize like crazy. i suggest breaking it up into very small increments & also making a more traditional registry for those who don't have a computer.

    1 agrees
    • thanks for the honeymoon registry tip. does honeyfund allow your guests to use credit cards? we are debating between them and traveler's joy because it appears guests have to sign up for PayPal on honeyfund if they want to use a credit card. any advice would be great!

      1 agrees
      • travelersjoy, honeymoonwishes and depositagift all take credit cards. we chose to go with depositagift b/c it's the most flexible in terms of choices (you decide who pays the service fee) and the registries are the easiest for guests. plus they are really nice and helpful.

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      • if they wanna use a credit card, i think they need paypal. they also have a check & cash option. not sure if they can do it w/o.

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  15. i love this wedding so much!
    it makes me rethink some of my own wedding plans even.
    "keep it simple" is great advice, and i think a lot of us TRY to remember it, but sometimes we need to see a gorgeous wedding like this to remind us that simple really can still be a dream wedding.
    sometimes it's so easy to get wrapped up in the "pretty things" and the extra things, that we (at times) put the POINT of the wedding on the back burner: love and commitment.
    it's a good thing we have marie-gael & michael to remind us what it's all about. ^_^

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  16. So, so beautiful and so very inspiring. Thank you for sharing with us. Congrats!

    0 agree
  17. This wedding is absolutely gorgeous. It's making me think my own wedding plans it's so beautiful. Congratulations.

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  18. Forgot to add. You have one of the most adorable grooms evah. So cute!

    0 agree
    • hmm i replied to that, but it's not posting. thanks though!

      0 agree
  19. oh, i KNOW. he's gorgeous! add to that he's a writer, a musician, handy, & hilarious.

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  20. good question! they used a portable generator. that one was tricky. the breakfast was not in the cave, but at the beginning of the trail. the tables were along the opening. so the generator was closer to the parking.

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  21. LOL! I was planning to walk the aisle with my groom (who is irish) and wear light blue, and lo and behold, its a tradition! Here's me thinking I was being very romantic and creative :P. Oh well, still going to do that.

    AND OMG!!!!!!!!!! Your wedding is my favourite on offbeat bride, it was so simple and so beautiful. And i love the fact you got married in the morning, (again, what I was planning to do XD), but not ONLY in the morning, but at sunrise. SUNRISE.

    This has given me more encouragement to find a way to have our (as in my partner and myselfs) dream wedding day.

    Blessings, and congrats!

    0 agree
    • you'll have to message me your pics on obb tribe when you get it all done.

      0 agree
  22. Ash cave never looked better! It makes me happy to see a wedding planned near my hometown.

    0 agree
  23. It's all gorgeous but can I just say Love. The. Shoes.

    0 agree
  24. lol thanks! having a reason to buy some awesome shoes was a big part of the equation in choosing a tea length dress. hehe

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  25. Really wonderful.
    Congratulations on pulling off such a magnificent and simple event. :)

    1 agrees
  26. thanks! yeah, i'm not a morning person, but i read if you want your photos to look ethereal, do sunrise. if you want drama, do sunset. & since i had such an amazing photographer, i wanted to make the best use of his talent &give him some crazy lighting to work with.

    0 agree
  27. I think this may be the most amazing wedding I've ever seen, I'm in awe. There is so much thought and love put into it. And the fact that it cost about $100 makes it the perfect wedding.

    2 agree
  28. I love the idea of stopping and praying on the way. Love it. Also love the simplicity of it.

    1 agrees
  29. i just re-read the policy at the bottom and realized i wasn't supposed to do the above…my sincerest apologies…dana

    0 agree
  30. Thank you for the advice. We plan on doing a traditional registry also, due to people not having a computer and some of them are highly against the honeymoon registry. :)

    0 agree
  31. This is so inspiring. I want something simple yet deeply meaningful and it sounds as though you all did an outstanding job.

    0 agree
  32. So lovely. I also love how you asked yourselves what a wedding with just the two of you would be like. I haven't started planning much yet, but I hope I can keep some of your wedding advice in mind. Congrats!

    1 agrees
  33. ooo, and our wedding bands are mokume gane!

    0 agree
  34. I think this is my favorite wedding I've seen on here.

    2 agree
  35. How did you provide power for the coffee makers in the cave?

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  36. A beautiful wedding! Thank you so much for sharing this. I love the mason jar candles.

    0 agree
  37. I think the two "walking down the isle" photos look like stills from a movie! That is so very beautiful!

    0 agree
  38. I am not an outdoorsy girl BUT I loved this wedding! It was so beautiful and classy. I would never think to do a morning wedding but it was gorgeous! Congrats!!!

    0 agree
  39. I have so many fond memories of Ash Cave from when I was a little kid. I caught my first salamander near there ;-). The idea of a hike to reflect before the big moment is just so peaceful. Congrats on a gorgeous wedding! May you both have a fantastic marriage!

    0 agree
  40. this is my favorite quote: 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?

    such a wonderful way to get focused. i really respect you for being so in the moment.

    0 agree
  41. le sigh…this is such an amazing, beautiful, wonderful way to celebrate your marriage. also– love love your shoes!

    0 agree
    • can you believe i got them on clearance, at dsw (already a discount), with 2 coupons, & THEY WERE THE LAST PAIR!!!???

      0 agree
  42. What a sweet, touching wedding! I love the idea of having a wedding breakfast after the ceremony at dawn. You and your groom look wonderful–I love your hair–and the love and caring just leaps off the page. May you have many rich, blessed years together!

    0 agree
    • awe thanks!

      actually, the breakfast mostly took place before the wedding. you know how when you arrive at a wedding you're just kinda standing there w/ a ton of people you don't know waiting? well, this way people could grab a bite & warm up w/ a drink while mingling. a few people who arrived last minute grabbed a bite after.

      0 agree
  43. What a unique and beautiful wedding! I really loved the bride's advice about taking the time to remember and enjoy yourself – something that often gets overlooked.

    0 agree
  44. so what did you guys do afterwards? Did everyone just leave, or did you have a thing after too?

    0 agree
  45. we talked & ate some. then, we set off driving to our honeymoon in dc. we just picked the most posh place in a close city since we only had sat-mon b/c of his still being in school.
    & since it was all over by about 11am, nobody's day was gone. people used it as a vacation. my family rented a huge farmhouse & had a big dinner. a few used it as a romantic getaway since the place is known for secluded cabins & hot tubs. some spent the day hiking & seeing the sites. some used the day to volunteer.

    0 agree
  46. i didn't want to be one of those brides who gets so stressed they didn't remember anything.

    0 agree
  47. This is my all time favorite wedding EVER posted on Offbeat Bride. It literally made me tear up! Wow!

    0 agree
    • that's so sweet! i'm glad a day so close to our hearts has been able to touch so many.

      0 agree
  48. This is just wonderful! I've been to Hocking Hills many times and know how beautiful it is. I can just see you two walking down the path. Now I want to change all of my plans!

    0 agree
    • haha just stay true to to who the 2 of you are & what it means.

      0 agree
  49. "We hired a fashion photographer instead of a wedding photographer. We also had five other professional and freelance photographers and videographers. "

    For less than $100? Were these people friends?

    0 agree
    • that was already answered by the 2nd question, but i'll copy paste for you. thanks.

      RobHu: How did you manage to keep it under $100 (excluding clothing) when "We hired a fashion photographer instead of a wedding photographer. We also had five other professional and freelance photographers and videographers." All those people cost less than $100?
      What was the total cost of the wedding including everything?

      Ashley: I was one of MarieGael's freelance photographers – it turns out that her bit of advice works: "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."
      I was just happy to photograph such a happy event for my friend, I think that's how all the other ones felt as well, most of us (if not all) volunteered :)

      gaelgirl: ^_^ haha yes! & i didn't even realize it till during & after the wedding.
      RobHu, i'll try to answer as best i can.
      photography: all of our photography was free. my brother is the fashion photographer's assistant. we also have several friends who are photographers.
      music: both are our friends. so, they did it for free.
      mason jars: these usually cost quite a bit! i used a few i had inherited from my grandmother. i bought a couple vintage ones on ebay. then, i bought a few large lots of the plain ones you can get from the grocery store & hand painted them w/ glass paint. so, that was a little over $30.
      green depression glass: i inherited glass from my grandmother.
      mid century serving pieces: also inherited
      coffee makers: borrowed from friends who already owned them
      food: made by friends & family
      renting the cave: $36
      sign: made by another artist friend
      both of us, our families, most of our friends are artists. so, it makes it easier to be create solutions. also, rethinking what you already own & what you can borrow helps. it also means less waste.
      i hope i answered your question! ^_^

      Jill: that's so wonderful. our talented friends who volunteered for our wedding (as musicians, mostly) made all the difference too! but kudos to keeping to such a budget and for incorporating so many inherited things with so much meaning. gorgeous wedding, beautiful couple.

      gaegirl: oh & i forgot to add that the total cost for all the flowers were $20.
      i ordered the bouquet & 3 bunches of flowers for the tables from whole foods. the florist liked me so she threw in an orchid corsage for my mom for free.
      lol & also those M & G cups were like $6 from anthropologie. i just remembered b/c i'm drinking coffee out of one. it's so nice to be able to reuse these things every day.

      0 agree
  50. This is absolutely gorgeous and truly inspirational. I had this place (Hocking HIlls in general) earmarked as a possible location for my upcoming wedding and you just made my dream turn into more of a reality! I heard that this cave had been used as a location for weddings but without the photos and back story, I never thought it possible.

    Thank you for sharing!

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    • thanks! & i TOTALLY feel your pain w/ that one. i did all kinds of google image searches & the only things that would come up are the ones that local company throws. it's like a package plan.

      if you do it, feel free to post a q&a on obb tribe for problem solutions. just make sure you message me so i see it.

      0 agree
  51. Love this…I actually am getting married in Ash Cave next September, we think it is just beautiful! Your wedding looks like it was just amazing.

    0 agree
    • that's wonderful! you should message me on OBB tribe & we can discuss some of the issues w/ the area. problems & solutions b/c there are a few. :) glad this helps others!

      0 agree
    • you are both soo lucky having such a wonderful spot to get married. I am way jealous! We would love a cave but there are no wild caves nearby, and we have family travelling far enough as it is….We are in Australia

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      • i guess you just have to look. i'd lived in ohio for years & had no clue there was a park that beautiful. his mom just happened to live in it & brought it up.

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  52. i am so in love with everything about this wedding. your sunrise ceremony is inspiring. and all that gorgeous glowy morning light looks so dreamy!

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  53. This is more moving and beautiful than a fairytale. <3

    0 agree
    • thanks! & i didn't have to eat any poisonous apples or sing to blue birds & squirrels! hehe

      0 agree
  54. Wow, thanks for the great post! I have been feeling stressed about getting married – in a month – and this just reminded me that our guests are coming for the wedding and not for the entertainment/food/decor.
    Beautiful and just inspiring!

    0 agree
    • awe. BREATHE. just focus on how fortunate you are & invest in a massage or 10. hehe

      0 agree
  55. Love it! How'd you decide to go with a fashion photographer? What did you think were the pros and cons? I just love love love your photos!

    0 agree
    • well, for one, my brother is his assistant. so, i saw allot of his work. i really loved what he did w/ lighting & i respected him as an artist. i'm an artist also, so, having someone who's style doesn't clash with yours is very important.

      did you mean the pros & cons of a fashion photographer?

      0 agree
  56. This is the most beautiful and insirational wedding I have ever seen. A wedding about love not about material consumerism. You have really givin me hope for my wedding.

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  57. Did your disability in any way impact your wedding plans?

    0 agree
    • VERY MUCH SO!
      for one, at first we were planning a spring wedding, but michael saw that the traveling i had to do (90 miles) while dating was making me sicker (i have cfs). so, he brought up the idea of considering having the wedding sooner. then, i had to get it all ready within 3 months!
      i had made a huge effort to eat extremely healthy during that time to give my body a better chance of fighting things off (i also got h1n1 the week of my engagement party & bridal shower). so, on top of my normal vegan food, i stuck to mostly fresh fruits & veggies. i also made sure to give myself lots of time to rest & not pack my days w/ to-do lists & i avoided the pre-wedding day parties that most people do.
      so, yes being sick brings complications, but if there's one thing i've learned about life from being disabled, it's that you HAVE to prioritize & simplify. even if you aren't ill, it'll bring you peace.

      0 agree
      • cfs is not fun– my mother's had it for the last 16 years. Thank God you have a wonderful husband to take care of you, as does my mother. And your wedding is stunning and inspiring– as a poor young student hoping to get married in the next couple years, I got all sorts of ideas from it!

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  58. I love this! I was thinking of doing a vow renewal in Hocking but never thought about one of the caves. Can you reserve the cave?

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  59. oh & i still have really good directions. if you'd like them, just message me & i'll give them to you.

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  60. IN HONOR OF VEGAN WEEK ON OBB …

    i'm vegan! i made sure to have a few vegan & gf options at the wedding
    .
    TIP #1: it's much, much easier to do if you avoid the formal sit down where everyone eats the same thing.
    TIP #2: people are under the misconception that being vegan is complicated. it's not. it's extremely simple. so, don't over think it. most stuff comes out of the ground delicious & in it's own wrapper.

    1 agrees
  61. How beautiful!!!!!! Amazing!!! Almost makes me want to change my whole wedding around!!

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  62. This is the most beautiful wedding I have ever seen, period. My partner and I are having a larger wedding since we have such a large family but I hope that our wedding will be as beautiful as yours. I am disabled as well, I am happy to see that there are other offbeat brides that are as well. All my best to you and your husband.

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  63. Just wanted to say that since I read this post the first time, I've come back to it over and over. It's simple, beautiful, classy and well-suited. I've shown other people this post until they've rolled their eyes at me and said, "yes, we know." I hope I come up with something that I like even half as much. Congrats!

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  64. I love this wedding! We're considering doing our ceremony on an island in northern WI and I envision it looking similar to this. Let nature do the decorating. The simplicity is perfection.

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  65. This remains my absolute favorite wedding on offbeatbride. If gaelgirl is reading: how has newlywed/married life been for both of you?

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    • it's wonderful b/c i married someone i deeply respect. i think when you're planning a wedding, your main focus should actually be on BEING married, not becoming married. invest in your future, you know? it's exciting & wonderful. :) & thanks!

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  66. I know this is a way old post but I came back to it months later because I remembered your hair! I love HH because it was the first place FH and I ever went away together (Glenlaurel – lovely Scottish themed B&B/cottages) and while the cave wedding wouldn't be for me, it inspired me to think about what WAS us. So now with 8 days to go, I thought about your beautiful hair and wondered how it was styled? I'm on my own for hair, but I have long wavy hair and would love for it to end up looking like that!

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    • hi & thanks. we wet-set finger waves & then i slept in them.

      if you do this, i HIGHLY suggest doing a practice run or 2 b/c some people's hair looks best wet set, some dry. & you have to experiment w/ the amount of product & direction of wave.

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  67. Thank you for the advice! My fiance and I are going to sit down and have that conversation beginning with the question "if only the two of us attended our wedding…" I have a feeling that most of the decisions we have made up to this point have been about tradition and convenience for our guests, but not actually along the lines of what we want for OUR wedding! Thank you so much, you have altered the course of our wedding forever, in a better and more authentic way!

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  68. I think I've commented here before, but I keep coming back to this post– it's so lovely and simple, so beautiful and true. I've always wondered why we let weddings become these huge stressful expensive things, to the extent of putting off a wedding because it's too expensive. Your example is so wonderful- you wanted to be married, so you figured out a wedding you could manage at the time. It's beautiful and wonderful and warms my heart.

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    • yes, that was quite unexpected. a friend of the reporter read about it here & so they contacted me.

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      • My fiance and I really want to get married at Ash Cave, but when we called for me info they essentially told us we couldn't do a big wedding (more than five people) because parking is so hard to find in the fall. How did you guys get around that? Did having it early help?

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        • well, we did it super early. most people were parked by 7am. but there was PLENTY of parking. having the wedding signs held people off also. it wasn't an issue for us. now, if you were thinking about afternoon? yeah, it might be harder at that time of day. as soon as the wedding was over hikers started wandering in. there are a few in the background of our photos. unfortunately, there's nothing you can do about them. you CAN have a ton of people there though. you could even consider renting a shuttle or something from better parking, but i'd say it all depends on the time of day.

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  69. This is probably the most beautiful wedding I've seen. The location is PERFECT. And for under $100? How did you do that? Especially with five photographers!

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    • thank you very much. i got this question ALOT & i answered some of the specifics earlier, but here is a copy paste answer. photography: all of our photography was free. my brother is the fashion photographer's assistant. we also have several friends who are photographers.
      music: both are our friends. so, they did it for free.
      mason jars: these usually cost quite a bit! i used a few i had inherited from my grandmother. i bought a couple vintage ones on ebay. then, i bought a few large lots of the plain ones you can get from the grocery store & hand painted them w/ glass paint. so, that was a little over $30.
      green depression glass: i inherited glass from my grandmother.
      mid century serving pieces: also inherited
      coffee makers: borrowed from friends who already owned them
      food: made by friends & family
      renting the cave: $36
      sign: made by another artist friend
      flowers: getting them from whole foods & picking filler flowers made for very cheap
      both of us, our families, most of our friends are artists. so, it makes it easier to be create solutions. also, rethinking what you already own & what you can borrow helps. it also means less waste.
      i hope i answered your question! ^_^

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      • Wonderful! I've already spent $150 on our wedding, and it's still a year and a half off =S
        The photographer I WANT is $980, but I'm hoping I can get a friend for free or cheap (as much as I love her photos, that's just too steep a price!). I'm cringing at finding out what the venue we want will cost, but it's just too perfect (and where we live there aren't very many options, especially indoor). But luckly, with the help of friends and family, our major costs will be food, venue, and the photographer.

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        • well, try thinking really outside the box. ya know? you'd be surprised what can come up. ya know instead of thinking how will i afford what i want, think what can i afford that i also want? maybe a gallery will rent out a room, a historical building, a museum, an aquarium, an off hour library … can't do catering? what about ordering a few dozen pizzas & serving them on posh displays? ya know just throwing stuff out there. :D

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          • Well we REALLY want this one theater. He's a big Shakespeare buff and an actor, so a theater with a ton of Shakespeare references would be perfect (not to mention it's GORGEOUS). It even has a giant mural of Romeo and Juliet, and we started dating when we were both in that play.
            It has to be in town, because we need help from friends and family, since we'll be out of town for school until just before the wedding.

            Cooking our own food is another option, but again, we won't be in town until the night before the wedding (unless we decide to miss even more school), and I'm not going to make someone else do all the cooking for 100 people. Plus we will probably need gluten free vegan food, and I don't know any good recipes for that =S

            But everything else should be fairly cheap, since we're DIYing pretty much everything. We're making my dress (I got a corset for $45, and we're making the skirts), and I'm making my own bead bouquet. No flowers. It's in late october, so dry leaves would not only match better, but they're free! And we're keeping our current rings, to cut another cost. Mine is an old family heirloom and is platinum and diamonds, so it'll last forever. his is weaker, but we can get rings for an anniversary in the future when we can afford it.

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          • that sounds really cool!!!!

            as for people cooking food, it all depends on who you know. i never asked anyone to do it for me, but i had so many people who were dying to help out, but there wasn't much to do. a few of them loved cooking so i came up w/ the idea of them cooking a few snacks. & it made them happy.

            as far as gluten free & vegan …. having been vegan for over a decade, i can tell you it's not hard if you know how to cook. gluten free, however, is quite a challenge. i went through a year or 2 of that. here is a website that might help you. http://veganza.com/recipes/ gf & vegan
            http://blog.fatfreevegan.com/recipe-index all vegan, some gf

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          • Thanks for the links! I'm almost wondering if it's possible to have the caterers do some food, and we'll bring some, in order to make enough for everyone. That way the work load isn't too much on us, but the money load isn't too much on the wallet either :)

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          • yeah, i know whole foods does it. just don't say the word wedding. say party at a theatre. don't lie, just don't wedding it up.

            there's also bulk food stores. & consider that even though some places may not cater, they might fix a large to-go order that someone could pick up. maybe check the local coffee shops that might offer vegan & gf snacks & figure out who supplies them. ya know?

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  70. This is simply beautiful. We were just talking yesterday about Ash Cave as the site of our wedding, but I was wondering how I would decorate/ etc. This gives me great ideas. Thanks, and congrats!

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  71. I love Hocking Hills, I think it would be a lovely place for a small wedding. So beautiful!

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  72. Every time I see this wedding, it makes me smile. I just linked to it through a post on the Tribe and I had the same smile all over again. Love it.

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  73. Absolutely beautiful wedding and couple!
    It's so funny how similiar my wedding plans are to this! My fiance and I definitely want rustic, and vintage, and cheap! We are actually having out wedding in septerber at Ash Cave!! We love hocking hills, and are total nature buffs. Now that we have the location, we're looking for a reception hall, banquet room, barn..anything!
    What did you do for a reception?
    Thanks for posting yuor pictures. Absolutely gorgeous!

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  74. I know it is highly unlikely that you will get or respond to this BUT I am insanely curious… How did you find the cave? I ask because I love your location. However, I am unsure to go about finding somewhere similar closer to my family in Indiana.

    In addition, your wedding was BEAUTIFUL. I can only hope that mine turns out to wonderfully. Especially since I am planning from afar.

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  75. OMG This wedding is absolutely gorgeous!!! I teared up looking at all of the pictures. It's everything I hope my wedding can be! This is my favorite wedding that I've ever seen and it has inspired me in so many ways! Just beautiful!! <3

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  76. This has always been one of my favorite weddings on offbeat bride! It is simply stunning!

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  77. So tastefully exquiste…..& with an $100 budjet! Amazing!

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