Kristy & Kevin's colorful crafty Midwest barn dance wedding

September 19 |
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Photos by Joel Martin

The offbeat bride: Kristy, Art teacher

Her offbeat partner: Kevin, Language Arts teacher

Location & date of wedding: Gibbs Farm, Minneapolis, MN, — July 10, 2010

What made our wedding offbeat: We both hadn't really thought much about weddings and didn't know what all the traditions were, so by default we were offbeat. We made a list of what was important to us and designed our wedding around that and didn't include anything traditional that didn't feel right. We wanted: simple ceremony, outdoors, near the city, relatively inexpensive, a fun party, and involving our family and friends as much as possible.

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We couldn't imagine it lasting only one day and the majority of our guests were from out-of-town, so we had events all weekend. This included a Friday afternoon bike ride tour around the lakes, a Friday night welcome happy hour, a Saturday morning 5k walk/run, and Sunday barbecue at our house. The events were great and the only time I felt like I really got to spend time with people!

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We wrote our own vows. We found our officiant through a friend, and we wrote the simple ceremony with her. My music teacher friend did the music with an electric keyboard.

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We made so many things! Our friend designed our invites, my sister made my button bouquet, I made programs on fans, we made photo tent centerpieces, I found fun fabrics and made table runners, and learned to sew for them!

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Action-packed save-the-date!

I made a photo booth full of funny props for people to wear, which turned out to be a huge hit. Our friend made our music playlist. Another friend made a slide show of photos for us to play before dinner. The week before the wedding our house was a crafty mess, with my dad in the middle of it all painting a wedding sign. It was great!

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We really wanted to do something our guests wouldn't normally do, so we decided to get an international world dance instructor to get the party started! It was indeed weird and everyone laughed a lot. We rented a school bus to get people to and from the wedding, which was fun and very functional.

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Tell us about the ceremony: Our ceremony was standing outdoors, and lasted about 15 minutes. Kevin, our officiant, and I stood on the front porch of an old historical house. We asked all the little kids there to be our flower kids when they arrived, so there were many, and they were adorable. Then my parents both walked me down the aisle.

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We had a couple of friends do readings of their choice, but my favorite part was the sing-along. My music friend found the sheet music for the Muppets wedding song, "He'll Make Me Happy," and her five-year-old sang the first part. Everyone sang the chorus which we also put on our fan programs.

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We had our four siblings do the "unity tree." They brought soil from both of our childhood houses and combined them together in a cherry tree that we will plant in our new yard together. After the ceremony, we rode off on our bikes, and then rode right back for the party!

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Our biggest challenge: How to get the wedding tasks done on time without it taking over our lives! Since it was a DIY wedding, there were a million little odds and ends to take care of. It really helped us to have Sunday night meetings with our wedding checklist. We had races to see who could finish their tasks first which made it a little more fun.

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I also had a hard time with my dress. I originally bought a vintage dress for $100, and tried to make it work with several visits to a tailor. One month before the wedding, I realized I didn't feel that good in the dress, and bought one online that I ended up loving. Luckily, it fit!

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My favorite moment: Kevin reading his vows, my parents' and friends' heartfelt speeches, and looking out and seeing everyone I love in the world in one happy place! Also I loved all the wedding events. Also, it was neat to see our close friends and family all pitching in and helping out.

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My funniest moment: We forgot about my dad! He ended up taking the late bus shuttle to the wedding, and arrived just in time (with my dress steamer) to walk me down the aisle.

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My advice for offbeat brides: Don't forget the serving utensils! Have meetings with your partner to make sure that you divvy up tasks and you don't have to talk about "tasks" for the rest of the week. To make the photos go quickly, make a list of needed people and a minute-to-minute schedule.

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What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? It is over so fast. I was really glad for the extra events along with the wedding, or I would have felt like I didn't get to spend time with anyone. I didn't think a photographer was that important originally, but after the whole thing is over in a blink of an eye, I really enjoyed reliving it through the photos.

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Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

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  1. Great shots!

    Who was the vendor used for the school bus? Planning my own midwestern barn wedding and looking for transport! Thanx!

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    • Shoot! We both can't remember who we ended up using. We just googled and price checked with a few places. We reserved the bus from 5-12 and the driver made 2 trips to the wedding, and then drove back and forth starting at 8 every hour, for anyone leaving earlier.

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  2. Oh wow, I really love the Save the Date picture and the follow-up Just Married picture! So perfect!

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  3. This sure looks like fun! I know exactly what you mean about reliving it through the photos! You look lovely in your replacement dress and the two of you are adorable! Especially the photo kissing in the bus.

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  4. Having ALL the kids be flower children = genius

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  5. ::fistbump:: I had an instrumental version of "He'll make me happy" as my music. It's perfection, and everything looks like it was lovely.

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  6. Where did you find the sheet music for "He'll make me happy"? We want to use it for our November wedding but can't find the sheet music ANYWHERE! Could you help? Rebecca reynoldsdesigns@hotmail.com

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    • Hi I would suggest looking it up on Youtube.com I found a few listings there… you can check them out to see if those songs are right for your wedding… Hope this helps.. good luck!!

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    • Hey! My friend found it in a really obscure place–like a library in Ohio?! I am checking with her and I will get back to you. Love that song!

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    • Hi! I was wondering if you had any luck finding the sheet music. My fiancé, mom, brother, and I have ALL been searching for "He'll Make Me Happy" sheet music, and we're still striking out. It seems like it must be out there somewhere! If someone happens to read this and has it, I would be so SO grateful if you would send it to me at thecraftysheep@gmail.com I'm getting married July 7th, 2012, and judging by the message board, I don't have to tell anyone how special this song is!

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  7. My fiance and I are considering Gibbs Farm for our wedding possibly next summer. Your pictures are great! Would you mind if I ask a ballpark figure for how much the tent, tables, and chairs ran? Did you rent dishes through your caterer?

    Thank you! And, again, your wedding looks like it was an awesomely amazing time!

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  8. Love it. A 5K before the wedding? That's wonderful! I'm thinking it might be a great day-before warmup to do with some friends.

    And I've been planning to use "He'll Make Me Happy" for my down-the-aisle song too. LOVE the idea of printing the chorus for guests to sing. I was thinking of doing something like that but worried it could flop, but since we'll have over 100 guests and a good deal of them will be theater folk, I don't foresee a problem!

    I hope your marriage has been as fun-filled as your wedding!

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  9. Has anyone else used, or checked into this site? If so, how did it go?

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