Alanna & Nathan's Day of the Dead secluded outdoor wedding

November 1 |
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Photos by She-n-He Photography

The offbeat groom: Nathan, construction sales

His offbeat partner: Alanna, writer/editor (and Tribe member)

Location & date of wedding: Canyon of the Eagles resort, Burnet, TX — October 30, 2010

What made our wedding offbeat: We had a Day of the Dead-themed wedding since Alanna has traveled quite a bit in Mexico and studied Spanish. She collects Day of the Dead images and art and loves the style of Mexican art as well as the family-centric and positive, often humorous, attitude of the holiday. We decided to toss out most of the wedding conventions since neither of us considers ourself traditional: no bouquet toss, no father-daughter dance, and no wedding march. And if the bride looks good in red, she should wear red!

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We asked all of our guests to wear black. A few thought this was odd, but it resulted in some good pictures.

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We also invited guests to dress up for Halloween at the reception if they wanted to. We provided masks and makeup, but some guests went all out. Halloween is one of our favorite holidays as well, and many of our guests were staying for the whole weekend with us since most had come in from out-of-town.

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Alanna made as many things as she could to cut down on costs, including the cute postcard invitations, hand-painted tile favors, the silk fans carried by the bridesmaids, and the hairpiece and wire-wrapped necklace she wore.

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The resort we stayed at was super cheap, let us bring our own alcohol, and was at the end of a road on a lake. It can't get more secluded and private than that!

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Tell us about the ceremony: We got married in six minutes flat! We didn't realize how short it was until we watched the home video a friend recorded for us. From the first girl walking out to the final vodka shots to seal the deal was six minutes on the dot. It felt like time stopped for us, so we were shocked.

A good friend of Alanna's was the officiant. We dubbed her "Father Boyd" and made her a white-collar choker. I had been very nervous right before the ceremony, but luckily I got stung on the neck by a wasp, and the pain took all the nerves away.

1127468194_alanna + nate 172The bride's sister read a poem by Rumi.

When I am with you, we stay up all night.
When you're not here, I can't go to sleep.

Praise God for these two insomnias!
And the difference between them.

The minute I heard my first love story
I started looking for you, not knowing
how blind that was.

Lovers don't finally meet somewhere.
They're in each other all along.

We are the mirror as well as the face in it.
We are tasting the taste this minute
of eternity. We are pain
and what cures pain, both. We are
the sweet cold water and the jar that pours.

I want to hold you close like a lute, so we can cry out with loving.

You would rather throw stones at a mirror?
I am your mirror, and here are the stones.

The Essential Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks

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Our biggest challenge: The unexpected. We were both sick for the whole weekend. That's one of the things you don't think about when planning for a wedding. Luckily, we had a ton of helpful friends and family who got all the decor and setup taken care of while the bride lay in bed thinking she was going to die. We powered through though, and in the pictures you can't even tell. Other than that, the whole thing went off without a hitch.

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My favorite moment: Definitely the ceremony and reading our vows to each other. The sun was setting, the weather was perfect, and there was a breeze off the lake. Everyone around us was smiling and there was so much positive energy and love. The moment was endless and is imprinted on my mind forever.

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My funniest moment: There were several (Alanna thinks Nathan getting stung by a wasp is one, but he disagrees), but one of the best was seeing one of our couch surfing friends, a guy dressed in drag, dancing very closely with the bearded older husband of another friend.

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My advice for offbeat brides: Take care of yourself before the wedding. Exercise, eat right, and get enough sleep. Being sick for the wedding is something you can't really get around or ignore. Don't let the stress knock you out of the game.

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What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? We learned to ignore some of the setbacks that occurred during planning. Alanna had tried to purchase a dress online and was actually scammed for most of her bridal budget. We tried not to get discouraged, and just moved forward trying not to focus on the loss, eventually finding a better dress for much less. We tried not to sweat the small stuff, and focused on each other, our family and friends, and the awesome time we had together made our day awesome.

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Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

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  1. Your dress is absolutely gorgeous! I love all of the day of the dead details, especially the ones on the cake. I never even thought about becoming sick and dealing with that as well as all the wedding stress. You both hid it well in the photos though! Congratulations!

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  2. you'd never know you guys weren't feeling well, you both look radiant!! what a beautiful location, too.

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  3. I've been waiting for your profile to come up! I have obsessed over your dress ever since it showed up on Monday Montage! Love it!

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  4. all-around lovely! And I especially love the picture of you two with the woods in the background… And yay for grooms writing OBB posts! :)

    I don't want to focus on the bad things (especially since the dress was seriously AMAZING and I WANT IT), but how exactly was Alanna scammed, and how can others avoid it?! I was really worried about that for many parts of my wedding, even my photographer. Any advice on this subject? Even if it's just a website to avoid?

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  5. Thank you all for the sweet comments! I am more than happy to talk about the scam, I've written posts around the web about it in the attempt to help other brides. What it boils down to, is it's never a good idea to get your (most important day) gown online. Lots of things can happen, and I've heard horror stories from ladies that have ordered cheap fakes from Ebay dressmakers, often overseas…you have to try your dress on in person anyway, so unless you REALLY TRUST and know your online retailer, just stay away.
    What happened was a woman responded to a post of mine on a wedding site, looking for a particular dress. She said her store had it, and the store was a real store in Missouri with a real address. She offered to set up a layaway plan, and because it was such an expensive dress I jumped at the chance. Stupid move, never believe things are going to be that easy! If I had done more research, I would have found that they are unlicensed as well. Ultimate Formals in Carthage, MO- the police couldn't do anything even after doing an extensive investigation, it was just under $1,000 and an out of state purchase/theft. I got suspicious after a lack of response, then panicked when no one would answer calls and the business seemed to be closed. The police said there had been quite a few people calling with the same issue…terrible, awful thing to do, preying on brides who often have to pay for everything on their own, and have tight budgets anyway. I hope my story can help save someone else the pain of feeling like a fool…shop local, or if you can't find what you want, find a reputable business with references or who you've dealt with before. The big day is too important to worry about dealing with a thief!

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  6. Just adding to the chorus of congrats and awesome. :) I particularly LOVE the tattoo-dress matching.

    (Also, the streamers blowing in the wind in the picture alongside the title made me think of the way beta pleated sheets are depicted in protein modeling images.)

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  7. Men writing OBB stuff? Check. Amazing red dress? Check. Gorgeous outdoor wedding? Check. The coolest back tattoo I've ever seen? Double check.

    Yep – this is officially one of the coolest weddings I've seen on OBB.

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  8. That is the most beautiful dress I've ever seen! Super-inspiring!

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  9. These pictures are making me seriously reconsider my desire for a white dress. Gorgeous.

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  10. Since your dress is red was it dyed by the shop or a bridesmaid dress in red?? I love it and seriously want to know. I clicked on the link to the website and checked. It is great, but I am sad for you that your first purchase was with a scammer. I have seen pink, black, blue, red and green dresses on here. Fantastic as they can worn again later it a girl wants. More importantly, unless the bride is tan, (natural or otherwise) white can make you look washed out and ill. Best Wishes.

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