Emma & Ted's vodka-soaked, playful wedding celebration

January 7 |

In honor of Russian New Year's (the week between New Year's and Orthodox Christmas), we're having an Eastern European (aka Russian) theme week! Day 5 of Eastern European week brings us Emma & Ted's three day long wedding. The wedding featured lots of vodka as a nod to the groom's Russian heritage. -Becca

group side
Photos by Shane Greb

The offbeat bride: Emma (and Tribe member)

Her offbeat partner: Ted

Location & date of wedding: Our house, St. Elias, and Camp Ben in Austin, TX and Driftwood, TX — June 6 and 7, 2010

What made our wedding offbeat: Our wedding was a three day long, rambunctious celebration. There was a farm fresh dinner party at our house the first night and the ceremony and a potluck the next day. The reception, with barbecue, swimming, and camping, took place on the third day. foods

We managed to shove our love of good food, our dedication to local and independent businesses, our artistic (read: "weird") sensibilities, an abundance of Stolichnaya vodka, and the groom's Russian heritage all together for three days of fun.

In addition to that, almost everything from the reception décor to my sea-foam green dress was DIY.

He Man TrappedI cut a stamp from rubber for our invitations and programs.

Our guest book was a bunch of cut out paper birds for our guests to write on and string from branches.

He-Man played a prominent role as itinerary holder for each centerpiece.

My reception bouquet was a megaphone with flowers and ribbons attached to it.

We had wedding cheese piled high with berries instead of cake.

with pleasureOver-all, it was a very fun-focused, laid back celebration. Although our ceremony was "traditional," we opted out of most western wedding traditions such as giving the bride away, reading vows, maids of honor, bouquet and garter tosses, cake cutting, first dances, etc.

The festivities started with a toast of vodka and ended days later with a bunch of us dragging a keg into the middle of Onion Creek, where we sat till the wee hours of the morning singing songs and being ridiculous.

get out the vodka

crownedTell us about the ceremony: We had a Russian Orthodox ceremony. It was about an hour long, so it would take too many words to do a description justice.

However, my favorite aspect of the ceremony was how calming and mesmerizing the service was. The whole interior seemed to shimmer around us with all the chandeliers, gilt paintings, and tall stained glass windows gleaming in the afternoon sunlight.

Ted and I entered the church together and, throughout, we were quiet and held hands. The priest gave us long candle sticks to hold in our other hands; we took them home with us and now they are nested together on a table in our living room.

dress twirlOur biggest challenge: Because our families don't live anywhere near Austin, TX, I did most of the sewing and decoration-making myself. It was fun, but stressful. Our parents and siblings arrived the day before the festivities and they were such an amazing help in pulling all the loose ends together!

My favorite moment: At the time of our marriage, we'd been together for nearly eight years. In the middle of the ceremony, the priest took our hands so that he could entwine our pinkie fingers to symbolize our new unity. The three of us looked at each other in confusion when we discovered that Ted and I had already linked pinkies a while ago. For me, this moment represented our already resolute union.

Also, I really loved it when we entered the gathering hall beneath the church where all our guests greeted us directly after the ceremony. Everyone kept yelling "Gorka, gorka" (kiss, kiss), and we did, and it was so magical.

Emily and Pete toastMy funniest moment: During the reception, Ted's uncle gave the first toast and wished us well in our married life. Then, he started talking about how we needed to get used to monogamy, and that all of the house keys we had given out over the years to our loose friends needed to be returned immediately. In response, everyone at the reception (friends, family, and children) came up to us and started dropping keys on our table and pretended to look guilty. It was a joke, of course, and we couldn't stop laughing.

over the years.

Meeeeeeeat!Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? We invited over 100 people and were a little stressed that we wouldn't have enough food and drink for all our guests. It turned out to be the exact opposite and we ended up inviting nearby campers to take some barbecue and beer off of our hands. They were very happy to help. I think we still have some wedding vodka in our freezer.

crownedMy advice for offbeat brides: I know it's not practical for everyone, but having our ceremony and reception on two different days gave us plenty of time to set up and break down. Spacing out the events meant we could relax and let loose. It also meant that we got to spend that much extra time with friends and family we hadn't seen in ages.

What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? Our big take-away was the satisfaction of having our two families meet and come together.

BeBe on my fingerCare to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!



  1. Aw! I didn't want the pictures to end. Looks like such a wonderful event/celebration- congratulations!!

    3 agree
    • Yes, it made life easier. Also – if I’m writing the rules – a two day wedding = two day anniversaries!

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    • With the guest book, there was a lot of paper cutting, but you can save some time by using a bird stamp. That way you don’t have to draw a whole flock of birds.

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  2. I try avoiding commenting on offbeatbride now that I am not a bride lol, but this week has had so many awesome weddings… and such a variety!

    Love you wedding, and love how full of love it seemed!

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  3. Love the keys! Hilarious! At my aunt's wedding her friends sent her a telegram saying "stop everying, the test was negative" which brought roars of laughter (from everyone except my grandmother…:) ) – nothing like a bit of mildly risqué humour to bring out the laughter!

    1 agrees
  4. Yay fellow Austin Offbeat Bride! I love Antonelli's!

    Your wedding celebration looks wonderful, and I love that you spread it out. Everyone looks so happy! Congratulations!

    1 agrees
  5. YAY fellow Austin Bride! Love your entire celebration- so beautiful!

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  6. Oh golly the part about the pinkies made my heart a-flutter!! So touching!

    And the uncle with the keys-what a jokester! Love it.

    You telling it and from what it sounds like just feels so genuine and awesome. Congrats!

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