Tricia & Barrett's floral-free chic art gallery wedding

July 20 |
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Photos by Helmut Walker Photography

The offbeat bride: Tricia, blogger, food writer (and Tribe member)

Her offbeat partner: Barrett, creative director

Location & date of wedding: Barrett's work in Deep Ellum, Dallas, TX — May 29, 2010

What made our wedding offbeat: We wanted a floral-free, cake-free party where we could really relax with our guests while we celebrated. The goal of the night was to not have anyone telling us what we had to do next.

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We started off the night with cocktail hour before the ceremony so that people could warm up the room and get to know each other. We wanted our guests to surround us during the ceremony, so we had everyone sitting at dinner tables and we got married in the middle of them.

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The venue was a gallery space in my husband's work building. Because there were paintings on the wall, we didn't need to decorate. There were no flowers. Instead I made my own bouquet out of wires and crystals, completely inspired by one I saw on Offbeat Bride.

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There was no cake either. Instead, we had cheesecake lollipops. Our centerpieces were antique Blenko glass vases that we borrowed from a local store owner who happens to collect them. I walked down the aisle to Pearl Jam's "Just Breathe," my bridemaids wore whatever they wanted and had peacock feather hair pieces, and the groomsmen and the groom all wore Converse.

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Our guest book was made up of photos that guests took in our homemade photo booth. The end result was a stress-free day that allowed us to really visit with our guests and celebrate in our own way.

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Tell us about the ceremony: Our officiant read a poem I picked by Mari Nichols-Haining called "Why Marriage?" that spoke to us very much.

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Because to the depths of me, I long to love one person,
With all my heart, my soul, my mind, my body…

Because I need a forever friend to trust with the intimacies of me,
Who won't hold them against me,
Who loves me when I'm unlikable,
Who sees the small child in me, and
Who looks for the divine potential of me…

Because I need to cuddle in the warmth of the night
With someone who thanks God for me,
With someone I feel blessed to hold…

Because marriage means opportunity
To grow in love in friendship…

Because marriage is a discipline
To be added to a list of achievements…

Because marriages do not fail, people fail
When they enter into marriage
Expecting another to make them whole…

Because, knowing this,
I promise myself to take full responsibility
For my spiritual, mental and physical wholeness
I create me,
I take half of the responsibility for my marriage
Together we create our marriage…

Because with this understanding
The possibilities are limitless.

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We also did a reading from "The Velveteen Rabbit," and took a moment to individually recognize members of our family who have been married for 35+ years.

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triciaBarrett_wedding032Our biggest challenge: We insisted on a child-free wedding because we wanted a very quiet ceremony and had a lot of valuable, breakable objects and artwork around the room.

Some friends and family couldn't come because they couldn't make accommodations for their children, but we had to be fair and keep the same rules for everyone.

My favorite moment: Seeing my vision for the entire day (that had been doubted by some) come together into such a gorgeous party was very rewarding. I also loved having my father walk me down the aisle to my favorite Pearl Jam song — it was really special.

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After the ceremony, my husband and I went and ate dinner by ourselves for 20 minutes to soak up everything that happened in the ceremony. It was very private and romantic, and we loved just being able to reflect.

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My funniest moment: Our officiant began the ceremony just like in "The Princess Bride." "Mah-waaaage… Mah-waaaaage is what bwings us togevaaaaaah today."

Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? The space we used is a very stark, loft-style space. I was a little worried we wouldn't be able to transform the room into something special, but we really liked it after hanging little white Christmas lights from the ceiling.

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My advice for offbeat brides: From the very beginning, make a list of what you must have, and what you can live without. For instance, we were all about the food and photography, not so much the cake, gown, and flowers. Reference this list to keep your original idea grounded, because trust me, you will lose sight of the big picture every now and then.

Eliminate as much as you can from the beginning. We didn't need a rehearsal dinner or a band. Having less to stress about gives you more time to enjoy everything! Look around your neighborhood for ideas. We got our centerpieces from a store owner across the street who happens to collect vases and had them displayed in his window.

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Find out about your friends' talents and use them as resources. I had my hair and makeup done for free this way. And try to use the day of the wedding to enjoy yourself, not DO everything yourself. Hiring a wedding coordinator for just the day of the wedding is well worth the money.

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What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? Get your partner's help. If something isn't in your budget, that doesn't mean you can't have it… you just have to get creative. And be sure that you always say please and thank-you.

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Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

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  1. Tricia, I love this! We have a similar space. Can I ask how you did the music for your processional? We've been puzzling over the best way to run it – have a family member hit play/pause, or have the officiant run it somehow? Any tips would be great.

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    • We were lucky to have audio set up already in the building, so we had a friend queue the music on his computer with our iTunes playlists on it and hook that up to the audio. He sort of stood guard during the ceremony to start the music when we kissed ("Linus and Lucy" from Peanuts). After the ceremony was over, he clicked on the last playlist and just left it going.

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      • I am truly inspired by this wedding. I have been so stressed out about having it all put together, and ow i see how beautiful simplicity can be. Thank you so much. I hope my wedding can inspire as well

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      • Cool, thanks for the info. I think we're just going to have to designate someone as Music Person. :)

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  2. You're space is beautiful and love the vases, its nice to see a wedding where the centerpieces are so apparent.

    As for your photos, they're beautiful and your bad 1950's housewife porn had me in stitches!

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    • Thank you so much! And the pin ups are actually from my blog, whatthebleephappened.com. I didn't even mean to put those up there! :)

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  3. That reading is PERFECT! On the short side, informal, to-the-point. I'll be taking that thank youuuu!

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  4. This is a lot like what we wanted! No flowers, no cake, and cocktail hour before the ceremony.

    Can I ask how getting married in the middle of the tables worked out for you? I'd like to do that too, but I'm not sure I'll be able to convince my FH.

    Thanks!

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    • Getting married in the middle of tables worked perfectly and I can't recommend it enough. Someone had talked about setting up aisles or chairs and then moving them after the ceremony and bringing in tables… we were like "what a complete waste of time and energy." In the long run, no one cares about where they sit during a ceremony. This way our families could have really great reserved tables right next to us. That meant a lot to have them so close.
      We had the tables spaced out on both sides of the room with an area in the middle that was wide enough to be an aisle, altar, and dance floor. Your guests can take better photos of their own this way too.

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  5. I absolutely love your crystal and wire bouquet and the space you used. It seems that child-free weddings are trending right now (we were invited to three this year). Being the mom to three kids who never sit or be quiet, I can understand! Congrats and here's to a long, happy life together (I'm on 19 years!)

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  6. best marriage poem ever thank you and good luck with your marriage

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    • Thank you so much. I hope others are inspired by it and share it.

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  7. I love that you did a reading from "The Velveteen Rabbit." It is one of my favorite children's stories. I have several versions of it and read it to my son all the time. The space that we are looking at is an old bank building and I had not decided where to stand for the ceremony. I think the idea of getting married in the middle of the tables is wonderful. Might just have to borrow that idea. Congrats and may you have many blessed and happy years together.

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  8. You can't believe how refreshing it is to see another bride who didn't give a toss about needing flowers. I had a flower free wedding and it bothered my mum so much that she snipped a few snowballs from the hedge because "a bride needs a bouquet."

    Your photographer also did an amazing job at capturing your moments.

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  9. No flowers and no cake? No big deal! Totally nontraditional, but I think that's an awesome way to save money that most brides don't think of…

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  10. That poem was so beautiful! It put my thoughts about marriage into words perfectly, I think I'm going to have to have it at my wedding.

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  11. Hi Tricia! So, was wondering since you said you did DIY photobooth, what software and camera you used. Your photobooth pics are so clear. I know it has to do with light too — you have great lighting in there — but just curious. :) Thanks! I am looking into Sparkbooth software right now.

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    • Hi Tricia,

      Me too! I would LOVE some more details regarding your home made photo booth. Set up, instructions for guests – did you have someone man the booth or did guests figure it out?

      Also was it tricky to get people to understand the cocktail hour and mingling before the ceremony? Did you mingle too and then leave to re-enter and walk down the isle with dad or did you hide until that moment and it was a big reveal? I know it's been a few months since this was posted but any help would be much appreciated!

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      • I'd like to know how the cocktail hour worked too!

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      • The photobooth was created by a friend- he built it- basically large white box that you step into with a LOT of studio quality lighting. (It helps that my husband and the photobooth photographer work for a production company) The camera was set with a fish-eye lens. To really take advantage of the effect you had to stand reaaaaaaally close to it- like within 6 inches.

        We had a photographer at the photo booth who printed the photos out as they were taken and there was a photo album, pens and scotch tape on a table next to the booth. We put on the bottom of the wedding program "Don't forget to visit the photo booth!"

        We had glasses of wine pre-poured on a table that guests saw as soon as they walked in- I think this helped indicate "Grab a drink!" I missed cocktail hour because I wanted to make my big entrance so my girlfriends and I stayed upstairs with champagne and watched everyone downstairs.

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    • I believe the photographer (a coworker of my husband) used Lightroom or Photoshop. There was a TON of lighting.

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  12. Yes me too, I'd love to find out about DIY photo-boothes. I was consideing looking into hiring a traditional boothe so we could have proper photo-strips to stick in the guest book. Would be so much fun!
    I love your wedding details, so inspiring!

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      • That was also a helpful link, however, it is for Sparkbooth which does not utilize software that can be used with a Canon external digital camera. Sparkbooth is only for use with a webcam at the moment. I was more interested in how Tricia got her nice digital camera set up and with which software. :)

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  13. I just recently find your post. I have been looking for art gallery in Dallas Fort Worth for wedding. I love your wedding and pictures. I especially like the lights and stairs. Do you mind to let me know what art gallery is? Thank you so much.

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    • Sorry I'm just now seeing this- it's a private business that typically doesn't use this space for events, but for a gallery wedding you may want to check out Samuel Lynne Galleries or the Dallas Contemporary.

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  14. I read the "Being real" passage at my mom's wedding 18 years ago…she's reading it in my wedding in July!

    Love everything about your wedding!! Congratulations!

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  15. As a hairstylist, please don't assume that your friends are happy to do your hair and makeup (or whatever else) for free. At least offer to pay them something, they may refuse and ask that you accept their talent as your wedding gift (that may be what happened here, so I'm not passing any judgement on the bride) But it's extremely insulting to me when my friends think they can use me for a service that would normally cost$50+ and don't even offer any compensation.

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  16. My friends that did my hair and makeup offered their services as a wedding gift and I was so grateful for their generosity. The same with the gentlemen who handled the sound and the photo booth- they offered as a gift and we are forever thankful to them.
    My comment about using your friends talents and resources was not meant to to sound entitled. I hope that any Offbeat Bride will use their friends for support and ideas, and if they get hair/makeup out of it, that's great too. :)

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