Ali & Emily's fairytale wedding in the woods

Photos by Matt Miller at Our Labor of Love
Photos by Matt Miller at Our Labor of Love

The offbeat bride: Ali – Senior Consultant

Her offbeat partner: Emily – Nursing Student / OR Scheduler

Location & date of wedding: Family friend's property on Lake Champlain in Georgia, VT — August 7, 2010

What made our wedding offbeat:We are two chicks :)

All our guests slept in campers on the property all weekend!

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We, along with family and friends, DIYed or borrowed all the decorations. All the flowers were handpicked by our family and friends. We planned our wedding from Tampa, FL and drove to Vermont the weekend before the big day with tons of DIY goodies and Emily's wedding dress.

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We had our ceremony in the woods, with haybales covered in burlap for seats.

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We performed bits and pieces of a traditional handfasting during our ceremony.

I just love that Emily is doing a rock 'n' roll kick jump and that peek of her thigh highs is hot.  It's like the perfect combo of sexy and fun!
I just love that Emily is doing a rock 'n' roll kick jump and that peek of her thigh highs is hot. It's like the perfect combo of sexy and fun!

Tell us about the ceremony: Emily and I were married by a family friend in Vermont. We had done quite a bit of research to write our own ceremony and we really liked the idea of a handfasting to unite us. Below is an excerpt from the handfasting. The officiant read and one of our best friends Ashley, tied the rope around our hands while Ben Harper "Forever" played in the background.

Emily, take Ali's hands, palms up,
so you may see the gift that they are to you.
These are the hands of your best friend, young and strong and vibrant with love,
that are holding yours on your wedding day,
as she promises to love you all the days of her life.

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Now Ali, please take Emily's hands, palms up,
so you may see the gift that they are to you:
These are the hands of your best friend, smooth, young, and carefree,
that are holding yours on your wedding day,
as she promises to love you all the days of her life.
Now, please join hands so that they may be fasted in the ways of old.
Remember then as your hands are fasted, these are not the ties that bind…

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Our biggest challenge: Planning a Vermont wedding from Tampa, Florida having only visited the venue one time before!

Some of the small challenges included Emily's veil not arriving until an hour before the ceremony.

Since the ceremony and reception were both outside we were incredibly nervous about the uncontrollable factor of good/bad weather. Luckily, the weather Friday and Saturday were gorgeous.

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My favorite moment: The most meaningful moment was the first time Emily and I saw each other. We took pictures before the ceremony and were able to spend some time with just each other.

Another meaningful moment was prior to the actual ceremony when Emily and I took a looked around and saw all our family and friends helping set up the reception site and ceremony.

The toasts by our friends were also unforgettable.

My funniest moment: During the wedding ceremony, when I (Ali) was finished saying my wedding vows to Emily, she leaned in to kiss me because she thought they were so sweet and, right in front of all the guests, I rejected her because I thought the rule was that you couldn't kiss until you were pronounced married. Everyone laughed so hard and Emily couldn't believe, on our wedding day, I would pull away from a kiss.

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Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? Late Thursday night, we got a call from our photographer, Matt Miller of Our Labor of Love, saying his Friday flight was cancelled and he didn't think they would arrive in time for our Welcome Party that night. We were dissapointed and a bit sad to be honest, but again felt that there is nothing we could do so we continued to enjoy the people around us. Matt is so incredibly awesome that he called around to photographers in Vermont and hired someone to drive to our Welcome Party and photograph since he could not be there. It was amazing and we cannot thank him enough!

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My advice for offbeat brides: If you have the opportunity, take the time to see each other before the ceremony and take the pictures that don't require your family and wedding party. The anticipation of seeing each other by yourselves is awesome plus you get to the cocktail hour sooner!

And don't sweat the small stuff! Everything will work out and the wedding will go on! Remember the number one reason for that day is you are marrying the person you love!"

What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? Don't waste time worrying about the people that chose not to come to your wedding and know that those friends and family that show up are the perfect combination of personalities to make your wedding a dream come true.

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Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!



  1. I honestly don't know if I've ever seen so many genuine, completely joyful smiles in wedding pictures! This wedding profile just makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside on this gloomy UK December day! You two look amazing and obviously had a freaking fabulous day. Also, may I say…rocker kick thigh-his? Eee-yow! You go, girl!

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    • This is my favorite wedding on Offbeat Bride – the story and the pictures are so joyful! Thank you Ali and Emily! I really like the veil, and I may wear something like it when I get married to my boi sweetheart next year.

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  2. Woohoo! Georgia, VT!!! I work right down the road! oh this makes me so giddy!!! I don't think this wedding could make me happier today. So cheerful. My partner also tried to kiss me during the ceremony and I pushed him away, haha! And it's our 2-year anniversary today. YAY!

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  3. Two gorgeous women!

    My 4 year old son saw me looking at the picture of you two on the swing and he asked "Who are they?" I told him it was a lady and a lady getting married. He told me "It's a lady and a princess lady." :) I stand corrected.

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  4. You guys look like you really know how to make one another laugh. Congratulations on your beautiful wedding!

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  5. WOW! What a fun wedding. I love the untraditional photos. The jump, the pyramid… THOSE SHOES!!!! LOVE everything about this one! Thanks for sharing!!

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  6. Emily and Ali congratulations….what a beautiful wedding day! True love is such an amazing gift cherish it always

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  7. What a gorgeous couple and what amazing photos! Even though I'm in NE Ohio and there's almost a foot of snow on the ground right now, I feel like it's August again just looking at them. So sunny & happy.

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  8. I LOVE this wedding! I saw it on 100 layer cake a few weeks ago and it is precious. I don't know either of you beautiful brides but the details seem to really capture your personalities (the shoes, the photos, the ties). How do you jump so high?

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      • Yeah, I wanna know too! How did you all jump so high? Killer legs, Emily :)

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  9. Congratulations!
    What a thoughtful and charming photographer to get another photographer to cover for him!

    And what thoughtful and charming hand-fasting reading!
    Y'all are so delightful!

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  10. wow, those are some STUNNING photos – you both look so happy and gorgeous and wow, just wow. what an amazing day it must have been!

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  11. Gorgeous, beautiful wedding! So simple yet absolutely stunning. And you both are just gorgeous. Congrats!!!!!

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  12. What an amazing geniunly beautiful couple! I was smiling the entire time I was reading about the wedding. And I agree with previous comments that you can tell all of the smiles and love were so honest. Congratulations to the both of you and thank you for sharing! :)

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  13. Anyone feeling the slightest bit cynical need only look at your wedding photos to know that love is real and weddings can be more than a stressful day full of excess and formality.

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  14. Yeahy VT!!! My fiance and I had been looking for a place like the one picture in this wedding for so long. We settled for a Farm instead. You're wedding was GORGEOUS!

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  15. OMG the venue of the ceremony is a dream. i want something like that for my own wedding. stunning :)

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  16. This wedding made me cry! You both are gorgeous, and you look so genuinely happy in every picture. I hope I can be as carefree and joyful on my wedding day!

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  17. In all fairness it should also be added that the veil was only purchased the day before the wedding. I made and express mailed it to her day of order. I had a 2 year old and 3 month old baby at the time. I went out of my way to make the veil for her.

    I'm not saying this to be rude of hasty butI share this site with my customers so they can see the beautiful touch this veil adds.

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    • The veil is so pretty! I'm looking you up on Etsy right now!

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  18. I absolutely adore the handfasting vows you both said, is there anyway I could "borrow" them for my own handfasting?

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  19. I've never replied to a wedding story before, but your smiles just drew me in. I can see so much love and pure happiness in each of your faces! I hope my outdoor wedding is half as beautiful as yours.

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  20. WICKED, awesome amazing! I love VT. My folks live there. :-) Your wedding ROCKS my socks and thanks so much for sharing! <3 Hugs and MAPLE SYRUP SHOTS FOREVER! :-D

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  21. This is so beautiful and so touching! You both looked amazing! Such a cute couple!

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  22. What a beautiful and genuine wedding! You both look so happy and so free. Your photographer is very talented and created beautiful works of art for you to treasure forever!

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  23. Ali & Emily are such a beautiful couple! Thank you for sharing your special day!

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  24. I'm having s delightfully emotional day already, but this post totally sold me on hay bale seating. For us it's a nod to old school small family circuses. My face is leaking happy! This wedding is so touching. Good luck Ali and Emily!

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