Emily & Craig's elegant DIY bistro teeny tiny wedding

By on May. 27th

The offbeat bride: Emily, Middle Childhood Education student

Her offbeat partner: Craig, Neuro Nerd

Location and date of wedding: Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist and Elements Bistro in Downtown Cleveland, Ohio — July 31, 2010

What made our wedding offbeat: I chose a moissanite wedding set. We promised ourselves early into our relationship that we would keep our focus on family and not bury ourselves in a financial pit hole. Between student loans and already having a child, I was still able to get the ring of my dreams at a price that was manageable. Moissanite exceeded my expectations. I told Craig that if he really loves me he would never buy me a real diamond again!

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IMG_0674The morning of the wedding, we both rolled out of bed and ate oatmeal together. We opted out of tradition and spent the morning together because we knew that the rest of the day would be a whirlwind! It was comforting to have breakfast together as if it were any other day.

IMG_0661We both come from very large families but we had a wedding of only 32 people. This included immediate family and their offspring only. It was hard for some family members to appreciate but we wouldn't change anything! I also hand-made everything including save the dates, the bouquet, centerpieces, menu cards, banners, collages, the guest book, crossword puzzles, name cards, invitations, announcements… and a veil.

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IMG_0056Tell us about the ceremony: The wedding ceremony was an out of body experience. It was overwhelming. I felt like I was going through the motions even though I forgot everything I was supposed to do. We got married in a cathedral that houses over 400 people. Our wedding consisted of about 30 people. It felt like it took me six years just to walk down the aisle because the church is so huge. My father could have retired by the time he got me to the altar.

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Our biggest challenge: Originally I was not going to wear a veil but my hairdresser totally lost her nut and shaved a raging bald spot on the back of my head! So I fashioned a veil out of a salad bowl, some tulle, and a brooch two days before the wedding. Came out to be pretty kicking! Additionally, even though we wanted to get married in a church, we wanted the ceremony to be as short as possible. Anybody who has been to a Catholic mass knows that is near to impossible. So we sat down with our officiant and had him chose the shortest versions of everything. He hooked us up and got us in and out of there in 45 minutes!

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IMG_0096My favorite moment: Since we had gotten ready together, kissing Craig before he left for the church was the most memorable experience. I remember thinking "This is my last kiss from my fiancé and the first of many to come!" Craig's sister-in-law is an opera singer and she sang the entire mass for us. She was very patient in helping me find music selections and sang a solo after communion. IMG_0703It was beautiful and her voice sounded amazing echoing throughout the huge cathedral. I also loved all of the loving support from our family, all the surprises from everybody, the decorated car, flower petals on the bed, and the groom's cake. Everybody went above and beyond what we had expected. It felt amazing to be joining such a fantastic family!

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IMG_0317Last of all, my brothers got together and found us a lawyer so Craig could adopt my son Kyler. They paid for the legal fees as a wedding gift so we could legally be a family. I cried when I read the card they gave me. Knowing this was important to us but that we couldn't have afforded it otherwise was heartfelt and extremely generous.

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IMG_0344Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? I remember crying numerous times after the incident with my hair. I felt so bad for Craig when he tried to console me for my messed up 'do. I mean seriously, what was he going to do? Glue the hair back onto my head? He even said, "It's not that bad. At least my bald spot is bigger. Now you know how I feel everyday." But in the end everything worked out. I made a veil that I actually liked.

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My advice for offbeat brides: Keep it simple. I was so hung up on the details — name cards being placed perfectly, the water level in the vases being all the same — all that small stuff that nobody notices! I repeat… NOBODY notices.

IMG_0658Want to save money?

  • Scale back the guest list. We were able to give all our guests a lush evening because we cut the list. Less people=less postage, food, booze, and most importantly STRESS!
  • Afternoon Reception. We got married at noon and had a late lunch reception. This allowed us to rent an entire bistro for 1/10th of the price of a local hotel. (Keep in mind when renting a hall you are paying a hefty price because you are paying for the tables, linens, plates, food, etc. This was a big money-saver when we chose our reception venue)
  • Try to avoid the word "wedding" when purchasing things for your wedding. Things specifically for weddings are marked up. If you want bubbles, try the toy store before a wedding website. When looking at wedding guestbooks, I found a great one but it was $50. Fortunately, I was able to whip up the same kind of document on Microsoft Publisher and printed out the pages, shoved them in $10 scrapbook and got the same effect!

IMG_0664Tradition is not a bad thing. Though we had some offbeat aspects to our engagement/wedding, we stuck with the things that were most important to us, such as having our ceremony in our church. It was meaningful to us and our families. Ignore everybody's rude comments. I was told countless times that I would regret not having a big wedding. Even the lingerie sales lady at Macy's told me I was foolish for having a small wedding. But we held strong to what we knew was important to us.

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Casual bistro burgers FTW!

IMG_0655What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? Weddings are sometimes for the people who love you and want to celebrate your happiness. We thought of eloping but knew our families would be devastated. We love our wedding so much more now that it is over and daily life has resumed.

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Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

  • Bride's Dress: David's Bridal
  • Bride's Shoes: Target. They were $15. Talk about a deaaaaal!
  • Son's Tux: eBay
  • Rings: Moissaniteco.com
  • Bouquet: Allfloral.com, Michaels, Pat Catans. I threw a lot of miscellaneous things that I thought would look cool together like ribbons, feathers, flowers, berries, and beads.
  • Veil: Made by me. Six yards of tulle later, I perfected an eight-layered veil with a salad bowl, rotary cutter, and a brooch.
  • Cake/Cupcakes: Made by my awesome mother-in-law.

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!