The offbeat bride: Christa, farmer
Her offbeat partner: Michael, farmer
Date and location of wedding: Bahner Farm (our farm), Belmont, Maine — July 4, 2010
What made our wedding offbeat: We had our wedding in the "backyard" between our ramshackle 1840s farmhouse and our vegetable fields. We grow and market vegetables for a living, and we really wanted everyone in our lives to be able to see us in our element. That meant having our wedding on our farm, in the middle of the growing season, when we were at our busiest. It was crazy, but turned out to be amazing.
Anyone who wanted to was invited to come up for the whole week before the wedding to help us get ready. Most of our friends camped on our farm and were there for multiple nights, which gave it a real camp/festival feel, and allowed us to spend time with friends in a way that we would not have if everyone had been here for just one day.
As a farm, it made sense economically and personally to include as much of our own bounty as possible in the celebration. For our reception, we roasted one of our own pigs, made a huge salad from our own veggies, and let our guests supply the rest as potluck dishes. A friend made us our cake with blueberries from one of our fields. We included curly garlic scapes in all the flower arrangements (and in my hair), and the rest of the flowers were leftovers from a friend's stand at the farmer's market the day before.
For decor, my sister and I bought dozens of strings of Christmas lights and candles on sale the day after Christmas, as well as dozens of yards of fabric from a discount warehouse. The fabric made beautiful and dramatic tablecloths and runners. I grew scarlet runner beans to climb the poles of the tent, and she made beautiful paper lanterns to hang with the lights.
Tell us about the ceremony: Of our various mixed heritages, the one we share the most is Scottish, so we tried to follow as many Scottish traditions as possible, from exchanging our clans' tartans during the ceremony, to hiring a bagpiper to play us down the aisle. My brother, who married us, wore his kilt.
My good friend, Elyse, read a poem that she had written for us. After walking through an arch made from axes and other tools (a tradition from my old summer job on the AMC Trail Crew in New Hampshire), we drove off on our 1991 Case IH 495 tractor for a few minutes of alone time after the ceremony.
I wore a dress from MnemosyneDesigns on Etsy. I chose a black dress that they made and requested that they make it in white for me, which they were happy to do. It was amazing, fit perfectly, and cost less than $100.
Mike wore a leather vest that he wears to every formal event in our lives. We both wore cowboy boots. The only clothing that we actually bought for the wedding were my dress, his pants, and the matching ties that the boys all wore.
Our biggest challenge: We had several challenges. The biggest was pulling off a wedding on a farm in Maine in July — a VERY busy time of year. To make it work, many of our friends pitched in the week before, not only to get ready for the wedding, but to help us with the farm work so that the wedding could happen at all. We also had the wedding on Sunday so that we could still attend our two Saturday farmer's markets.
My personal challenge was hiding my pregnancy from everyone. I was only seven weeks along, and we had just found out. Pretty tricky to not drink at your own wedding and not have people guessing. I found that dancing my ass off and constantly carrying a glass of juice or tonic water (both of which look like alcoholic drinks to the observer) worked pretty well.
My favorite moment: After the ceremony, we asked everyone present to sign a wedding certificate in the Quaker tradition, the same way my parents did at their wedding 28 years ago. My godmother, who specializes in calligraphy, made a beautiful poster size certificate for everyone to sign. It is my favorite memento of the day.
My advice for offbeat brides: However many porta-potties you think you need, get one more. Trust me. It ain't pretty.
Also, plan for some time off and alone time after your wedding. We took a honeymoon in October, when things weren't quite so busy for us, but I sure wished for a few days alone with Mike after the wedding.
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Dress: Mnemosyne Designs
- Poem: Elyse Fenton
- Fabric for decoration: Lorraine Fabrics, Pawtucket, RI
- Christmas lights: Ocean State Job Lot
Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!