Nicole & Sean's vintage-inspired, handmade, casual southern wedding

By on Oct. 15th

Photos by Shannon Michele

The offbeat bride: Nicole, Graphic Designer

Her offbeat partner: Sean, Sequential Artist (Comic Books and Illustration)

Location & date of wedding: Magnolia Plantation, Charleston, SC (City where the bride grew up!) –- April 18, 2009

What made our wedding offbeat: I handmade all of our invites and decorations, which included the place cards, table markers, cupcake markers, table decorations, programs, guestbook, and over 1,000 origami stars. We went for loads of cupcakes instead of one large cake, because I love to bake, and cupcakes are my specialty. People loved having six flavors to choose from!

We worked our nerd-ism in a bit by including some Harry Potter elements and a Legend of Zelda cake topper. For Harry Potter I had a silver badger charm on my bouquet (representing Hufflepuff), and we also had a "Hogwarts Toilet Seat" left on our gift table. We were fielding questions about that one all through the reception.

Our wedding reading was from Neil Gaiman's Stardust (read by my best online friend who traveled up for the wedding), and we did a bread breaking ceremony, which we shared with family and friends. The bread was from my favorite local baker, and was sweetened with honey butter I made from local organic honey.

One guest brought a Hogwarts toilet seat!

Everyone walked up the aisle to my favorite cello pieces (including one by a fave local indie artist, Ward Williams). We walked back down to "I've Just Seen A Face" from Across the Universe. We had a female officiant (my college youth minister!), and wrote our own vows. We really focused on equality, which we strive for in our relationship. I proposed to him a year and a half ago! Ring and all. :)

Our biggest challenge: I had a lot of frustration trying to find a dress that I didn't feel ridiculous in! So much was over the top, and I hated the idea of dropping so much money. We shopped around and found a decently priced dress, which I loved, and it turned out to be a test dress, so it's pretty rare! Unfortunately, we learned after purchasing it, that it couldn't be bustled, so I wore a party dress to the reception, for the exit, and for our portraits. I was so relieved to get out of the long dress and be able to walk again, so it worked out!

Working out the "giving away" was a problem, as I dislike the ideas behind it, but we were able to work something out in which both sets of parents had a bit to say during this part. They gave us their blessing, rather than passing us like property.

Somehow no one in the planning noticed that we'd accidentally ordered nothing but meat for lunch! (It was a BBQ.) No sides! Thank god we'd ordered separate food for the vegetarians. It was meatfest '09! Lots of BBQ and sweet tea to go around though!

Tables were named after places they had traveled together!

My favorite moment: We got caught in a huge line at the entrance to the plantation on the way to the wedding. There were two lines, but ours had come to a dead stop and I was late! I looked over at the other line and saw some of our friends from college, so I ran out of the car I was in and knocked on their window until they let me in. They were so excited to take me to the wedding (They kept saying "We got the bride!"). It was so funny. It also turned a stressful moment into a fun memory! They got me to the dressing room really quickly!

Watching Sean choke up over his vows was also such a precious moment to me. He's not always the wordiest guy, so I was a little worried with how they'd turn out, but he blew me away. It was so sweet and touching.

I was also thrilled to have my friend Jessica there. We're both so broke, but she made the trip from Texas anyway. We've been best friends via the Internet since 2004, and the wedding was only the second time we've met up! She did our reading and was wonderful.

My advice for offbeat brides: Have fun with it. It's so easy to get caught up in the stress, but ignore the convention, deviate from the plan, and enjoy yourself. At the end of the day you're still married.

The bride advises, 'Take fun photos.'

Get fun photos. Forget the posed stifled stuff. Our favorites were definitely the ones where everyone was goofing off. And make sure you get the photos. When the wedding is over things get thrown out, the flowers die, people go home, but the photos and video are the one thing (aside from your marriage!) that lasts! =)

Star Jars!

Finally, involve people you love. We had friends helping out with photography and doing readings. I used my favorite local baker for the cake, and it meant so much more to know someone I chat with regularly made it with me in mind. We also met up with all of our guest-friends for pizza the evening of the wedding. It all goes by so fast, so try to make sure and make time to be with the people who've come so far to see you. We were so glad we did. And stick to what means a lot to you, even if others don't see it. Growing up in Charleston I was always in love with its rich/dark history. To others- pretty! To me, history and intrigue.

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

  • Wedding dress: David's Bridal test dress
  • Party dress: Jessica McClintock
  • Hair/Bridal Portraits: Juliet Jones. Juliet was a godsend when our original photographer dropped us. She shot my portraits AND found me a photographer for my wedding.
  • Wedding Photography: Shannon Michele
  • Videography: Four Seasons Films (Our one huge splurge!)- Check out the trailer for our film.
  • Jewelry, veil, and feathered hair pins: Etsy
  • Groom's ring: Boone Titanium Rings. Affordable, attractive, intensely durable and hardcore!
  • Cupcakes: Fresh Cupcake
  • Cake and bread (for bread breaking ceremony): Back in the Day Bakery. Cheryl is one of the sweetest people I know!

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!