The offbeat bride: Lauren, Fashion Designer
Her offbeat partner: Simon, Freelance Video Editor
Location & date of wedding: Hawkmeadow Llama Farm in Lee, Massachusetts — September 12, 2009
What made our wedding offbeat: We wanted to have a wedding that completely reflected our unique personalities. We chose a llama farm in the Berkshire Mountains for our location, and had a llama themed wedding.
We decorated with llama dolls from Bolivia. Our placecards were stone llamas from Bolivia and Peru. Our save-the-dates were handmade llamas made from alpaca fabric. Our handmade invitations featured a llama bride and groom. The day before the wedding, our guests enjoyed a special llama hike through the mountains. We had llama cookies, llama cupcakes, llama chocolate lollipops, and even a llama cake!
Having our wedding on a farm allowed us to grow our own flowers for the ceremony and reception. They were displayed in mismatched vases we collected from thrift stores. We wrote our own ceremony, which included readings written by our friends and family and a belly dance "blessing." My brother became ordained for the day and performed the ceremony.
Our wedding was also eco-friendly. The wedding party and wedding guests rode a school bus to and from the llama farm. The reception was not only vegetarian, but the sugarcane and corn starch plates, cups and silverware were also 100% compostable.
My husband and I choreographed our first dance, which involved glittery spandex and lifts.
For dessert, we utilized the farm's fire circle, and had a s'mores bar / bonfire, in addition to llama cupcakes, cookies, and chocolate lollipops.
Our biggest challenge: We had three biggest challenges. The first was convincing our families that a non-traditional, completely DIY wedding on a llama farm would not only be legal, but would be the most heartfelt, creative, memorable wedding any of our guests would ever attend. My Catholic mother was afraid that breaking the news to my super Catholic grandmother would kill her. Once my brother assured her that he would take the job of officiant seriously, my family was able to sleep at night.
Our families were also extremely concerned and critical of the fact that our wedding would be vegetarian. We endured endless criticism from people who worried that they would be hungry, and others who accused us of being cheap. We assured all of them that we had hired the best vegetarian caterer in New England, that there would be plenty of food that wasn't salad, and that it would be delicious. It was difficult to endure, but since we knew it would work out in the end, it was easier to push through.
The final challenge was making my dress! I spent two years making the dress, which featured thousands of handmade silk flowers. There were times when I cried into piles of fabric, thinking that I wouldn't finish on time. It was definitely worth the stress to be able to stand in front of everyone I know in an unforgettable masterpiece that I could say I made myself!
My favorite moment: My favorite moment was walking down the aisle, seeing the excited, bewildered, joyous faces of all of our guests. As I approached my husband, I saw our closest family and friends surrounding us at the altar, waiting to read us the words they had written for us, and my brother ready to marry us. I couldn't imagine getting married any other way.
My other favorite moment was being announced at the beginning of our reception. My husband and I had changed into glittery spandex outfits to accommodate our very upbeat, self-choreographed first dance. It was a surprise for everyone, but afterward our guests said they shouldn't have expected anything less!
My advice for offbeat brides: My best tip for planning a non-traditional wedding is to grow a thick skin. Realize that people are going to have criticism – that sometimes people are afraid of new things. A wedding is the celebration of the love between two people, and the best, most sincere way of expressing that love is by having a ceremony that truly reflects who you are as people and as a couple. If you create your own non-traditional celebration, it will be much more meaningful to you and to your guests. The people in my life who were most critical of our wedding choices before the big day are now the people who can not stop talking about how meaningful, unique, and FUN our wedding was!
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- The dress was a custom creation by the bride
- Groom's suit: Panzai
- Wedding planner: Kyle Bruens Goldman
- The decor was collected from different sources, including thrift shops and handycraft markets in South America.
- Photographer: Drive By Photography
- Vegetarian Caterer: Joan Embree
- Hawkmeadow Llama Farm