Kristy & Kevin's colorful crafty Midwest barn dance wedding

By on Sep. 19th
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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!