Dana and Sheldon's handmade extravaganza of fun wedding

November 23 |

Dude, they had a barbeque fountain! I am now completley obsessed with this idea and must find a way to have one someday. Also, there are cows! And a puppy! Aaaand Dana embroidered her Save the Dates, handmade fabric flower bouts and corsages, and made napkins out of vintage sheets. They, also, built their own dance floor. That's some serious DIY action. For realz. – Becca

It's official!
Photos by Juniper Photography

The offbeat bride: Dana, library professional and crafty diva

Her offbeat partner: Sheldon, librarian

Location & date of wedding: At my parent's ranch, Indianola, OK — September 18, 2010

What made our wedding offbeat: Our wedding was an all-out handmade affair. We did everything ourselves, I even made my own wedding dress. Since we went DIY we saved a ton and had a dream wedding for under $6000.

First Dance :)
They built their own dance floor.

Our wedding party was very untraditional having two guys and a gal on each side. My best friends are two gay men and they had to be in my wedding and everyone respected that.

We, also, not only had kids at our wedding, but we went out of the way to make them feel like honored guests by having a kids activity center and kids-only dance at the reception.

Kissing in the field

The scenery was gorgeous
Quilt covered hay bales as ceremony seating = some serious awesomeness.
Tell us about the ceremony: We had a non-religious ceremony (because we hate being preached at when we attend weddings), but we're both spiritual people so it was important for us to have someone bless our marriage. Since my husband is Native American (Chickasaw), we asked his uncle to say a blessing for us. He shared a traditional Chickasaw blessing in Navajo (because he doesn't speak Chickasaw) and it meant so much to us.
DIY Photobooth
DIY Photobooth

Love LettersOur biggest challenge: I am really good with visual details, but I'm not detail-oriented when it comes to planning the big picture. This posed some problems. Because we didn't have a wedding planner, it was up to me to figure out every single detail of the wedding weekend and tell that to someone else before the wedding so people weren't bothering me the day of. Thankfully, I have friends that helped me focus my ideas and write a timeline and list of everyone's duties. We still had a few flubs here and there, but they didn't matter in the grand scheme of things.

Getting Married on the ranchMy favorite moment: Getting to have my best friends be a part of my wedding party meant the world to me. I will also never forget taking photos at sunset with my new husband — getting to have that alone time (even if the photographer was there) right after the wedding was wonderful. It was especially fun because the cattle came out to be a part of the shoot.

My funniest moment: Me snorting really loudly as I walked down the aisle still gives me the giggles. And the kids only dance at the reception was a hoot! The kids were having a blast and all the parents were on the sidelines making sure no one got too close to the tiki torches we had around the dance floor.

Barbecue FountainWas there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? My family made all of the food for the reception and I was sure that we wouldn't have enough. We also had a barbeque fountain and I was terrified that we would get a huge gust of wind covering all of our guests with sauce. Everything was great though. We had plenty of food and everyone thought the barbeque sauce fountain was awesome. [Intern's note: Because it is the awesome thing evar!!!]

Our mini-us cake toppersMy advice for offbeat brides: If you have an idea, go for it! Find a way to make it happen. We desperately wanted to do as much as we could ourselves and it all worked out. Don't be hindered by insecurities and use every favor and resource you possibly can. Don't be afraid to ask for help from friends that know what they're doing; from our experience, people really want to help in any way they can so just ask.

Our "looking sassy" photoWhat was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? While everyone will tell you it's your day, it really isn't. You're planning a wedding for more people than yourself and while it's important to have the things that you want, you still need to think about your guests and all the people that are making the day possible. We continued to tell ourselves that our wedding was really for everyone else (otherwise we would have eloped) and that really helped us not only make the day awesome for ourselves, but everyone else felt special too.

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
Since I made a lot of our wedding decor we didn't have many vendors.

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!



  1. Thanks so much for featuring our wedding! It was a very plesant surprise to find in my blog reader this morning :)

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      • Thanks! I'm glad you got some ideas, that's my whole reason for sharing!

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    • Hi Dana,

      You are so crafty and creative, great job! My offbeat fiance is loving the BBQ sauce fountain. We are having a "wedding weekend" and one of the days is a pig roast and I think that may have a place in it.

      I'm very curious about your DIY photo booth. I've seen a tutorial on that here on the Offbeat Bride but I'm always wondering about how different people manage it. I thought your photos from it came out well; was there a photographer or did the guests control the camera on a computer? Any feedback or details about this would be greatly appreciated.

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      • Hi Kathleen,
        I keep meaning to do a blog post out our photobooth and it just hasn't happened yet. Here's what we did:

        – I have a DSLR Canon Rebel T1i which we had on a tripod. We also had a radio remote for the camera. This one: http://www.amazon.com/Aputure-Coworker-Wireless-Shutter-Compatible/dp/B002KDXQKG/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1301004753&sr=8-2

        – We used the media cable that came with the camera to hook it up to an external tv you can kind of see the set up here: http://www.craftyminx.com/2010/10/wedding-wednesday_diy-photobooth.html This is where it can get annoying, if you have a small hd tv use that because it will allow guests to see themselves in the tv before they take the photo. If you use an older tube tv, it will only show the picture after the photo has been taken. Not sure why but this was my experience. I tried to hook the camera up to my computer, but that caused the remote shooting canon program on my computer to override the wireless remote.

        -For camera settings, I used the auto focus and the av setting so I could set up the exposure etc and then the person taking the picture could hold the button on the remote halfway to focus and then all the way to take the picture. It worked well for me but I didn't have a lot of time to try anything else and I don't have a lot of photography experience.

        -We had a poster with instructions by the camera and everyone got the hang of it really quickly.

        -This doesn't set up an automatic printing function. There are some programs that can be purchased to do all of that but they were all for pc's and we only have a mac so I didn't want to try and make that work and most of those work with web cams not actual cameras and I didn't want to waste the money to try it out. Since we had so many kids at the wedding this was the best option for us because our nieces alone took 300 pictures haha.

        -I ended up having to edit all of our photos because we didn't have studio lights or anything set up and we were outside in the dark. After editing, I just posted them all to Facebook and flickr for our friends to see and then they could save them and print them as they wanted to.

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  2. Dana!! How long did it take you to do all the Save the Dates!!! You are my hero!!! Martha Stewart watch out!!! Love your wedding!! Congratulations to the both of you, it looked wonderful!!

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    • Thank you! The Save the Dates were really easy. I just stitched one which probably took a few hours and then photographed it and had them printed up on postcards at vistaprint.

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  3. What an awesome wedding! Dana you are such an inspiration. Just when I think I might be getting in over my head because I want to diy as much as I can I saw your wedding, and its just the little push I need. Your dress is awesome too! Who am I kidding, everything is awesome, lol. Congratulations to you both. :)

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  4. First of all, your bridesman (pictured with the rainbow/black socks) and the sleepy wedding puppy are both completely adorable, although in completely different ways. ;)

    Secondly, this wedding was totally impressive! Looks like a lot of work, and it's very inspiring to aspiring DIYers like myself. :) Having a kids activity center seems like a great idea for couples who are less child-friendly than you guys are, as well… it would keep them out of the way. :)

    You and the husband looked fabulous–congrats on the day!

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  5. Ahhh! I love this wedding! You did amazing job doing everything yourselves. I'm from Iowa and there is something about this wedding that speaks to my down-home country girl side. Congratulations to you both on getting married and putting on such an awesome wedding!

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  6. Wow!!! I work right down the hall from her!

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  7. This looks like the most fun wedding ever! And what a beautiful location!

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  8. I'm so bummed to see that I can't buy THAT EXACT DRESS RIGHT NOW! It's gorgeous. I love it.

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  9. OMG DANA! I love it! Did you make the fabric/button flowers yourself? I need to know how! I'm doing some button and felt bouquets.

    I love your wedding. I can't believe how much you did yourself, and well! It looks like we even have similar colors! Your and your husband look so incredibly happy and perfect together!

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      • You are wonderful! I love you! :D
        My mom is wonderful at this, and is already crocheting some flowers for me. I was hoping to have different kinds of flower bouquets for the different tables (tissue paper, felt, button, fabric, crochet, etc) so thank you for giving me one more!

        May you be poor in misfortunes
        and rich in blessings.

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  10. This has been my favorite wedding I've seen on here yet! I love what you said about the wedding being for everyone else, that's exactly how I feel! I also love how you DIY'd so much of it. Doing that is totally my instincts, but everyone keeps telling me not to do too many DIY projects. Well screw them! You have inspired me! I can do whatever I want, including a home made cheese table!

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    • Thank you! Do whatever is comfortable for you. Other people won't get it. If I would have stopped making things I would have been a nervous wreck so even though I was doing a lot, it was helping me be less nervous. I didn't worry about what wasn't going to get done, I just knew that whatever did get finished would be awesome.

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  11. Oh man I have been obsessed with cows for as long as I can remember… it makes me so happy to see that someone did this.

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  12. awesome! love it!! i totally got the oklahoma vibe from your wedding pictures. im getting married in april in okc and will probably be stealing many of your ideas! :)

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  13. Dana is stunning. I love the red hair and the red lipstick. That dress was amazing. Thanks so much for sharing such a beautiful wedding.

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  14. I have nothing really useful to add, except I love this, and her haircolor is awesome, and I can't believe she made that dress, and this makes me want to put all sorts of things in a fountain (ranch dressing for veggies? soy sauce and sushi? perhaps!)

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  15. OMG GO YOU FOR MAKING YOUR OWN WEDDING DRESS

    Sewing is a dying art, I swear. It's awesome to hear when folks make their own dresses (or have them made by someone they know). Soooo much more meaningful than buying something impersonal off the rack, shipped in from a factory overseas!

    You totally rock for making your own clothes.

    And I'll need to show my husband that BBQ fountain. He will LOVE IT.

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  16. Thank you so much for the awesome comments everyone!! I'm so glad that so many of you found this helpful. You all are great :)

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  17. we were dead set on a nacho cheese fountain for our reception and it went over so incredibly well, but a bbq sauce fountain sounds great too! im wondering what other liquids could be done… maple syrup perhaps?!?

    xo.

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  18. Love this wedding, so inspiring! I am going for a very DIY wedding too and will be borrowing many of these ideas. I was wondering what type of lights were hung with the paper lanters. Are they just regular holiday-type lights?

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  19. Congratulations!
    Your wedding looks divine,very well thought out and it shows!
    Sams = win! I love going there even though some of the novelty has warn off now.
    Did you have a good experience ordering flowers from Sams?

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    • It was a great experience the flowers were absolutely beautiful and they arrived right on time. There were some weird communication issues with them regarding shipping but their customer service people were great!

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      • Dana,
        Thanks ever so much for the information. I'm glad to hear they have good customer service people.
        Thanks and congrats once more!

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  20. I so have to steal that BBQ fountain idea! My fiance and I are getting married on my farm in Maryland this coming April. I also like your seating… quilt covered straw bales and logs for end tables! How many guests did you have, and where did you get all the quilts?

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    • We had about 150 people there and most of the quilts were my mom's but we also borrowed some from sheldon's mom and a couple of family friends.

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  21. I LOVE that you kept the focus on guests and the children as well. I get so tired of hearing brides on tv and in magazines/blogs say, "it's our day- we are going to do what we want".. actually you are creating a party for your GUESTS…. yeesh. So refreshing to read from a bride with the same viewpoint as myself! We have three children, aside from all of our nephews and nieces- so having a kid friendly wedding is HIGH on our list. Weddings are about family- and children are family too (I couldn't imagine not having them there!) I am stealing your idea of a kids- only dance- how awesome! Congrats to you two- what a beautiful wedding.

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  22. Ahhhh!!! I am in DIY Heaven!!! My mind is whirling with new inspiration. What a beautiful wedding – amazing personal details

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  23. Dana, I was just wondering if you just free handed the Save the Date pattern or what? I would love to try out that idea!

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    • Sarah, I sketched out what I wanted then cleaned up the pattern in photoshop before I stitched it.

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  24. Oh!! I'm half Navajo!! Anyhoo, I loooooove this, all of it. <3

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