Nina & Sean's 1950's inspired, quirky courthouse wedding

By on Jul 29th

The offbeat bride: Nina, Regional Planner

Her offbeat partner: Sean, Soon-to-be Nursing student

Location & date of wedding: Athens-Clarke County courthouse, Georgia — June 18, 2010

What made our wedding offbeat: Sean and I have been together for years, and for a while we had talked about getting married in Michigan, where we're from, at a lake house somewhere. We weren't officially engaged, and nothing had really been planned, but that was the goal. Then, one morning while we were getting ready for work, I asked him to marry me in Georgia instead, at the courthouse – kind of a big deal for me, since I'm not really the spontaneous type! ceremony

We knew we wanted to be as laid-back as possible about the whole thing, and as more of our out-of-town friends and family told us they planned on coming into town to be with us, we decided to have a reception at a local pizza place after the civil ceremony to celebrate.

We both love late-fifties/early-sixties style, so we took the opportunity to add some of those elements to our wedding clothes. My friends and I made paper flowers out of magazines to decorate the tables. My mom kept asking me about boutonnieres and a bouquet-she felt like I would one day regret not having some of these wedding-y things, but I resisted until I came across the button bouquet concept. The night before the wedding, my 'girls' helped me put it together. One of my favorite nights of all time! ceremony

The day of the wedding, I cried through the entire ceremony, surprising no one more than myself!

Our biggest challenge: Money was of course a challenge, and we overcame it by having a courthouse ceremony and renting out a room at a local restaurant instead of dealing with a separate venue, catering, etc. Decorations were kept to a minimum, and most of them were handmade by my friends and I over wine and food – giving us a reason to get together.

Also, at the last moment, my brother was unable to make it. This was really hard for me because we've always been really close and it was hard to imagine him not being with me on that day. I was still getting married, though, and had so many wonderful family members and friends in town. So I had to let go of my disappointment and focus on everything else.


Button votives to match the brides bouquet!

My favorite moment: The civil ceremony was truly the most meaningful. Since we got married at the courthouse and chose not to write our own vows, we didn't have a rehearsal or anything. So, while I had heard those same words before, I didn't realize how moving it would be to say them for myself.

My funniest moment: Someone realized that the bottom side of one of the magazine flowers was cut from an article on diarrhea remedies! ceremony

My advice for offbeat brides: Make sure that your partner is involved in every decision about the wedding. While there were some things I might have done if it were just about me (which doesn't make sense, really!), we had agreed that we were going to make decisions as a team – so compromises were necessary. The most important thing is that you are BOTH happy, comfortable, and calm so that you can fully enjoy your day.

Also, understand the fact that some people won't get your wedding, and they may be judgmental, even if polite. When I told a pedicurist that we were getting married, the first words out of her mouth were, "let me see your ring!" I told her that wasn't really my style (I didn't want an engagement ring), that I proposed to him, and that we were getting married at the courthouse. Her response was, "ohhh, well, whatever works for you, I guess." You've gotta laugh that off. reception

That said, don't downplay your wedding because it's not full of pomp and circumstance – I realized after we got engaged that I was doing just that, and promptly stopped myself. Be confident in your decisions, because no matter what, it's a big life moment.

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!