Colleen & Phil's pagan DIY autumn wedding

June 21 |
Photos by Samantha Almeida

The offbeat bride: Colleen, Photographer

Her offbeat partner: Phil, Shipping Manager

Location & date of wedding: Snow's Pond and Rochester Grange Hall, Rochester, MA — October 10, 2010

What made our wedding offbeat: We tried very hard to save as much money as possible. Our wedding was held at the family pond (free!) and the Rochester Grange (cheap!). We had an iPod DJ, the food and cake were made by friends, and if something could be DIYed, it was. The bride's veil, the flower girl's dress, the invitations, all of the flowers, and practically everything else was handmade.

The entire wedding was painstakingly fall-themed. We were engaged for almost three years because I wanted to get married on 10.10.10 so badly.


We also combined our last names. My surname was MacDonald and Phil's surname was Ramos. We are now the MacRamos family. One of the reasons we chose to do this name change was the feeling that we are creating a new family, not just becoming a part of the Ramos family. We are now a part of each other's families.


Tell us about the ceremony: Our ceremony was semi-traditional. I walked down the aisle to "Rebel Heart" by The Coors. The ceremony was a self-written hand binding ceremony. We made it secular and kept it about the promises we were making to each other.


The bulk of our ceremony reading was about the amendment to Massachusetts law that now allows same-sex couples to marry. This was very important to me because the laws that would have prevented our marriage in the past are rectified, yet there is still one law that prevents others to marry.

It was especially important that Kevin, our officiant, read them. He is our daughter's "Fairy Godfather" and we hope for his chance to marry whom he chooses sooner rather than later.


My favorite moment: Even though our wedding was only one day, it was more like three sleepless days combined into one. It was a blessing that the bridal party was so helpful since we were so sleep-deprived in the days before the wedding. We set up everything ourselves the day before and some of the DIY items didn't get finished until 3:00 a.m. on the day of the wedding. The support was amazing.

Every moment up until the end of the ceremony was sheer perfection. The hand binding wasn't a complete disaster, despite a lack of practice. We both said our vows without stuttering. Plus, nobody fell!


IMG_0217Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? There was no parking at the pond, so I thought that transporting people from the Grange Hall would be a mess. My mom rented a school bus two days before the wedding and everyone got there safe and sound.


My advice for offbeat brides: Because of all the DIY, I felt that a three-year-long engagement was key. There were a lot of things I almost didn't finish, things I abandoned (a choreographed first dance, for example), and things with which you will need help.

We created some paper hearts from a tutorial on Offbeat Bride. It took a lot more time and effort than we had planned. I can't imagine how much time I spent on the little projects.


Our invitations had to be handmade since they had leaves from the ceremony site Mod-Podged onto them. But otherwise, save your sanity and DIY only what you know you can handle.

Awesome photo cut-out cake toppers!

IMG_0381Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

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  1. holy schizballs! Is that a computer aged photo used as a cake-topper?!?!?! If so, that's freaking BRILLIANT!

    3 agree
    • They are not computer aged (I didn't even know you could do such things!), it's just good old-fashioned age makeup. Turns out that Theatre Degree was good for something! :-)

      3 agree
      • Even MORE awesomer!! I do a mean old age makeup, but at 44, with a fiance of 54, we don't really "need" it anymore…lol

        Nice one, really cool concept

        2 agree
  2. so much to love here!
    the leaf arch, autumn colored bridesmaids, DIY galore, handmade hearts garland, MA in autumn and everything!

    2 agree
  3. Love the Autumn feel and all the little details in this wedding. Very well done!

    1 agrees
  4. Oh! I always wanted to walk down the aisle to that song! What a gorgeous fall wedding, congrats to you both!

    1 agrees
  5. Beautiful stuff! and I got a kick out of the little boy playing the DS in the back of the picture of them jumping the broom. ;)

    1 agrees
    • unfortunately, i did not. he stood in the middle of the aisle, not paying attention to anything but the game, and for our recessional didn't move out of the way until i had to physically move him.

  6. The pictures of so much Fall-ness make me feel warm and fuzzy inside. BEAUTIFUL

    1 agrees
  7. The wedding looks amazing congratulations !
    ps: am I the only one bothered by the "why it pays to make a man wait (for sex)" add in the related posts? What's with the reading suggestions recently ? I love offbeat bride and am surprised by some of the said "related posts" I've seen on it in the last few weeks…
    ps: I'm not criticizing and I really do love getting my offbeat bride fix everyday, it really just is a question in passing….

    1 agrees
    • Hey, Marie! The new "Related posts" module serves up links from some of our content partners, and it's an ongoing process to tweak our filters to ensure that the posts that show up there feel like a good fit with the Empire.

      I agree with you that this particular link is NOT a good fit. I've updated our filters to block that particular link, but please: if you ever see a link there that rubs you the wrong way, email us with the title of the link post and the website it's linking to so that I can keep tweaking our content filters to keep the icky stuff away.

      1 agrees
  8. I love the idea of combining your names! That's really beautiful.

  9. Lovely wedding!! I have always been interested in the idea of combining last names. And, now that I'm engaged to be married, I would really like to combine our names. How do you go about doing so?

  10. Hey Colleen!!!! I love all your amazing pics!! I thought you might like to see my wedding pics since it's obvious we have VERY similar taste! I just got married on the 15th of October, at night, by a cornfield in the country.. Check it out!! Yay! =)

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