Kavisa & Schuyler's nature-embracing Baha'i wedding

August 11 |
K&S Wedding
Photos submitted by the couple.

The offbeat bride: Kavisa, associate working to end educational inequality via the non-profit Teach For All (and Offbeat Bride Tribe member)

Her offbeat partner: Schuyler, Medical Student and Freelance Website Designer

Location & date of wedding: Central Park's The Pool in the upper west side, NYC — July 17, 2010

What made our wedding offbeat: We tried to make the wedding as environmentally friendly as possible while staying true to ourselves, our religions and staying within budget. I am a Baha'i and my husband is a non-practicing Buddhist. The only requirement for a Baha'i wedding is that both the bride and groom say one verse in front of at least two witnesses, so that left all the other details up to us to plan.

My mom reading a Baha'i prayer
Kavisa's mom reading a Baha'i prayer

We walked in to a saxophone playing "In A Sentimental Mood" by Duke Ellington. Each of the eight wedding party members read selected readings that expressed how my husband and I felt about love and marriage. We ended the ceremony by jumping the broom to honor my African American ancestry.

ring nest
Ring nest!

We did a few things to "green" our wedding. First, my dress was hand made from 70% bamboo and 25% organic cotton blend; Our wedding invitations were plantable; Our bridesmaids all wore dresses they can and have already worn again; We tried to limit all consumerist add-ons; The wedding and reception were outside during the day; The food included vegan wedding cake and Caribbean vegan seitan curry.

ring and vow exchange

To stay within budget we held the reception at my parents' house in Westchester, NY. The permit to have a wedding in Central Park was only twenty-five dollars. We made the invitations, wedding programs, bouquets, DJ play lists and drinks ourselves. My parents helped with the setting up for the reception.

K&S Wedding

Our biggest challenge: Keeping the wedding small. Originally we wanted a guest list around fifty people. Although, I have four siblings, my husband has three and my mother is one of six. Plus people invited themselves, RSVPing although they never got an formal invitation or guilt tripping us. In the beginning we were more strict about it. However, by the end we grew exhausted from the conflicts and threw caution to the wind, hoping it would not explode our budget. Fortunately, we received many gracious gifts and finical support from some surprising sources. We had about 90 guests and enjoyed sharing our special day with all of them.

strong women

My favorite moment: When my mom read a Baha'i wedding prayer right after we exchanged wedding vows and rings. Even though I am the only Baha'i in my family it was nice to have my mother bless us. I just closed my eyes, leaned my head on my husband's shoulder and felt total bliss.

Tanzanite engagement ring (we met in Tanzania and you can only get this stone there), titanium wedding bands, love entwined

My advice for offbeat brides: People should leave your wedding feeling like you and your partner's personality shined through. Using wedding porn for inspiration is great but put your own spin on it.

K&S Wedding

Fight the good fight. Some times you have to compromise especially if other people are helping out financially. However, some things you have to stick to your guns with. For me it was having a vegan cake since both I and my husband are vegans. Also, keeping the reception simple.

Reception at my parent's house

first dance to "Never Knew I Needed" by Ne-Yo. The guests blew bubbles as we twirled)

What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding?
It's ok to go back and forth between stressed out to really excited during the planning stages. However, once you start that walk down the aisle allow nothing to ruin the pure bliss of it.

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

  1. oh so pretty!! i love the dark skin agianst the bright white. the wedding is fantastic!!!!!!!!

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  2. I cannot believe that.dress.is.ecofriendly!!!! OMG, so beautiful. Well done, the colors, amazing, the whole thing, wowwowwow.

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  3. What a beautiful celebration! It looks like everyone had a marvelous time. (And your mention of how guests/non-guests ended up being supportive in spite of the list constraints is encouraging!)

    And now I am off to go check out Titanium Knights… etsy looks increasingly appealing for buying rings, and yours are lovely.

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  4. I love how natural this wedding feels! Even though it's in a big city, it's so relaxed and lovely. Congrats to both of you!

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  5. You are both gorgeous, and clearly incredibly happy!! I bet the cake was delicious. I'm currently "flirting" with veganism myself and I really want to try vegan cake.

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    • Thanks for all the positive thoughts/comments!
      I forgot to include that the vegan wedding cake is from Whole Foods. It was delicious :)

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  6. Thanks for all your nice comments. I also wanted to add that my vest was sewn by my mother from a hemp-silk fabric that is also very sustainable and green.

    It also matched Kavisa's dress beautifully (natural fiber color). I got the material at Hemptraders.com in case you're curious.

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  7. Central Park has always been my oasis as I am a born and raised New Yorker.

    Your wedding was simply, beautiful. Congrats.

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  8. This is, by far, the most beautiful wedding I have EVER seen!!!
    Congrats and Happy 1 month anniversary!
    Can you please tell me where you got the Bridesmaids jewelry?
    Thank you.
    Shari

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      • Thanks Kavisa!
        I hadn't noticed the necklace in your hair!
        How beautiful!
        I have long locs too and it is a wonderful hair style!
        I want to be like you when I grow up! :)
        You are a beautiful spirit.
        Peace and many blessings to you and Schuyler.
        Shari

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  9. This was a really lovely wedding, and that everything down to the clothing is eco-friendly just blows my mind.
    The guests inviting themselves scares me witless, but it's great that you had help in so many unexpected places. Must be all that good karma.

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  10. Can't believe your beautiful dress is eco-friendly! It's lovely and I love how you've incorporated so much green into it without losing any aethetics.

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  11. Beautiful! Everything looks lovely. I'm going to check out the bamboo gowns! ;)

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  12. Thank you so much for what you shared…especially about being anti-wedding magazing craziness and finding your true bliss in creating the day you desire. It's funny how many people give their two cents worth when the ones who truly love you will share your joy and celebrate your love with the two of you. My parents aren't living and it's been a challenge at times..it's nice to hear this type of story.

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  13. thank you for lovely posting I can show children that life with caring about Nature is even more beautiful. did you have an electric car? can you plant a tree for the little children who need to grow up green? janet Cundall

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  14. I feel such joy looking at your photos!!! What a precious pair you are. Like others have said: NYC yet so peaceful. That dress is so simple yet so very, very lovely. LOVE everything about your wedding and reception. (BTW: I spent 7 years in Tanzania during my teen years so it's neat to read that you met there.)

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