Casey & Ari's cultural mish-mash autumn wedding

August 24 |
0147
Photos by Love Me Do Photography

The offbeat bride: Casey (Tribe member)

Her offbeat partner: Ari

Location & date of wedding: Stroudsmoor Country Inn, Pocono Mountains, Pennsylvania — October 17, 2010

What made our wedding offbeat: Ari and I chose from wedding traditions and our families' cultural/religious traditions and dropped the ones that didn't feel right. It was pretty Offbeat Lite in the end. A lot of little things were offbeat, though: We had a Best Woman instead of Best Man (or as she chose to be called, the Best Dame), and I called my 11-year-old cousin my "Flower Tween."

00300001

0407

Best Dame and her sister actually made us our big "sack-o-buttons." The button idea originally came from "The Godfather." I wanted to make my off-the-boat Italian father a button that said "Ask me a favor" (The Godfather cannot refuse a favor on the day of his daughter's wedding). And then funny inside jokes were made into buttons for the rest of our families and the bridal party. Other funny button phrases included: "One Man Wolf Pack" (The Hangover reference) and "Maid of Horror."

0411

Our DJ, Roots and Groove, was awesome, especially for finding a way to accommodate our conflicting tastes ('90s alt-rock and singer-songwriters meets heavy metal and classic blues rock), while still getting people off of their butts and dancing. Our photographer, Love Me Do Photography, took more journalistic style photos and less "posey" ones (Ari hates posing for pics) and put up an awesome photo booth. Our venue put together awesome table decorations with lanterns, black magic rose petals, and moss.

0418

I wore a birdcage veil with my grandmother's headpiece from her wedding. I wore red shoes since I have a bit of a Wizard of Oz thing.

0340

Things we nixed: receiving line, bouquet/garter toss, priests and/or rabbis, and matching dresses and tuxes (though the gals wore dresses from the same designer). Things we kept: a few cultural traditions, parent dances, and CAKE!

0598

Tell us about the ceremony: Neither of us are very religious, so we embraced more of our heritage rather than religion. It was an Irish-Italian-Jewish extravaganza. For the ceremony, we had a chuppah, did a Celtic Handfasting, had a unity candle, and Ari broke the glass. Ari's dad did a reading from Madeleine L'engle's "The Irrational Season," my dad walked me down the aisle, and our moms lit the tapers for the Unity Candle ceremony.

0514

Our officiant was my rocking cousin-in-law, Seth, who had performed a whole bunch of weddings as a Reverend of the online Universal Life Church. The ceremony he wrote was so perfect, so US, and even brought up how much of a conglomeration of different cultures it was. At the rehearsal dinner the night before, I addressed that fact there were so many different beliefs in attendance and then asked everyone to do a ring warming by saying a prayer, chant, Family Guy quote, etc. over our rings, and just wishing us general good luck.

0300

0285

Our biggest challenge: Our biggest challenge was definitely the budget. We decided on a location in the Poconos because it was much more affordable than NYC or Philly (where we are both from). Our small budget lead to some pretty heated guest list issues. Who we wanted to invite — as well as who our families wanted to invite — and who we could afford were in two completely different ball parks. So in the end, feathers were ruffled and parents grumbled, but we eventually had to cut people. Hopefully they still like us.

0388

1313

My favorite moment: I truly loved our ceremony. The traditions we chose to use and the vows we chose to say made it really special and meaningful for us. Our officiant's words were really meaningful, funny, and touching all at the same time.

I also put a lot of time into making the ambiance and decor really fit. I love the color red and I came up with this kind of vision of a red, bohemian, "autumn in the woods" wedding. The colors and flowers complimented the beautiful weather and it was awesome seeing everything look amazing as I walked down the aisle.

0204

1437
Ari and his dad doing Animal House's Shout!

My funniest moment: I'd have to say that the horah was the funniest part. Not only was my side of the family (the Italian/Irish side) totally confused about what to do at first, they ended up having a freaking blast doing it with the help of Ari's side of the family. I had been totally afraid of being lifted up into the chair, aaaand it turns out, I had good reason.

Apparently either my bodacious booty got the best of them, or those lifting my chair have very teensy arm muscles. I could feel my chair starting to dip to one corner and I thought to myself, "Casey, if you don't just jump off now, you're going to fall off." And so, I jumped! Ari was up in his chair, having turned his head to grab a napkin and when he turned back, his bride was no longer in her chair! Luckily, some of my big Italian relatives came to help, and I was back up in the chair in no time.

1042

My advice for offbeat brides: Try not to get too stressed out. I know that can be next to impossible. But just remember that this whole thing is about you and your future spouse. Don't worry about what other people think or what other people expect of you. Have wine handy. Have friends handy. Try not to yell at your friends! Make sure the people involved are really people you care about and who care about you guys. And again, have wine handy.

0049

0111

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

allowFullScreen="true" flashvars="offsite=true&lang=en-us&page_show_url=photos%2Ftheimproperphiladelphian%2Fsets%2F72157625257842343%2Fshow%2F&page_show_back_url=photos%2Ftheimproperphiladelphian%2Fsets%2F72157625257842343%2Fshow%2F&set_id=72157625257842343&jump_to=" width="800" height="500">

  1. what a lovely and personal day! the red is gorgeous and the ambiance really shows in the photos. congrats :)

    1 agrees
  2. Beautiful wedding. I really love the cake it looks too gorgeous to eat!

    1 agrees
  3. What a gorgeous wedding! That dress? Yowza!

    1 agrees
  4. LOVE the wedding, and that dress is STUNNING!!

    1 agrees
  5. Oh my goodness, Stroudsburg–HOME!! Congrats on probably the loveliest and most personal wedding Stroudsmoor has seen. The whole thing is a perfect fall wedding. If you had fireworks at the end of the evening, my parents would have seen them from their house!

    P.S. Do you call your grandmother "Grandmom?" I have never heard anyone else use that before. It made me smile :)

    1 agrees
    • Yup I do! Is that a Pennsylvania thing? (I'm from Philly). I guess Hubs does say "Grandma"

      1 agrees
      • I don't know if it's a PA thing, but I grew up just down the road in MD, and I have a Granma & Grampa, also a mom-mom & pop-pop :) I love how family names/designations change with locations!

      • Sorry, just now checking this…maybe it's a Philly/South Jersey thing? My whole family is from Burlington County, NJ, which is close to Philly. My grandfather on that side was Poppy, which I've also only heard once before. We call the other grandparents Mom Mom and Pop Pop! Definitely don't hear any of these here in Nebraska, where I live now!

        Awwww, now I want to call all of my grandparents :)

        • I had a Poppy, too! :] Grammy and Poppy are my Italian set. Nana and Pop Pop are my Pennsylvania Dutch set. Eastern PA FTW! :]

        • I used to call my Pop-pop Poppy or Pop as I got older :) It seemed more affectionate to me. And I called my remaining grandparents too after this :)

          1 agrees
  6. Beautiful wedding! The buttons are incredibly cute.

    Also, great idea on having a flower teen! Being that my future hubby nor myself knows any small kids, a flower teen might be the way to go. =)

    1 agrees
  7. I love, love, love, love, love this!! The colors, the buttons. *squee*
    My aunt works at the Stroudsmoor – – it's one of the most beautiful places I've been too.
    Congrats on your marriage!

    1 agrees

Join the conversation

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

No-drama comment policy

Part of what makes the Offbeat Empire different is our commitment to civil, constructive commenting. Make sure you're familiar with our no-drama comment policy.

Biz owners & wedding bloggers

Please just use your real name in your comment, not your business name or blog title. Our comments are not the place to pimp your website. If you want to promote your stuff on Offbeat Bride, join us as an advertiser instead.