The offbeat bride: Morgan, Massage Therapist (and Tribe member)
Her offbeat partner: Ryan, Bartender and Student
Date and location of wedding: Milo McIver State Park, Estacada, Oregon — September 4, 2011
What made our wedding offbeat: I wanted my wedding day to be exactly what my five-year-old self would have liked it to be. That was my driving inspiration. I was a super imaginative kid who lived in a total fantasy world where in an instant I could turn my room into a magical forest full of fairies and romance. Then as the years passed, I slowly lost that imaginative child in me. I grew cold and my dreaming came to an end. Meeting my husband changed all of that. He filled me up with such love and emotion it was magical. Every time I look at him I see my glowing prince who came to save me. He is my knight in shining armor and I am once again a dreamer.
We had a fully costumed Pagan handfasting celebration. The Pagan influence was perfect for our theme and our love for Mother Earth! It also gave us the freedom to truly construct our own ceremony to the way we felt fit us. And since I collect gnomes, fairies, and mushrooms, I already had a lot of our wedding decor in our household! My mother-in-law is a wonderful seamstress and made our costumes, and my sister-in law is a pastry chef who did our cake.
Tell us about the ceremony: My bridesmaids were costumed as the five Pagan elements. We wanted to be surrounded by our friends and family, so instead of setting up a traditional aisle, we had our guests circle around us. We then opened our circle by calling the four winds. We picked four couples to represent each direction of wind. We walked around in a clockwise circle lighting a candle at each direction while each couple gave us a blessing.
Following the Calling, we lit our unity cauldron and said our vows. The handfasting was next followed by our kiss. We exited and jumped the broom to the song: "Damn it Feels Good to be a Gangster" by the Geto Boys.
Our biggest challenge: My biggest challenge was letting things go. I had the view of the "perfect" wedding in my head, and it was hard to let things go that were part of that vision. The day of the wedding, my BBQ sauce fountain broke down. That was something I was sooo psyched for, but when Ryan broke the news it was so hard to care. Once the day came, everything that needed to fell into place, and the things that didn't fell by the wayside.
My favorite moment: I loved the pre-ceremony festivities. The morning of the wedding, everyone showed up to help set up, and it was such a fun time being with all of our loved ones. We had a "party" tent set up for those who wanted to smoke and relax together. It was such a fun and rare moment to have with our entire family and friends that set the mood for the whole day.
Secondly, I loved writing my vows. I was standing in the woods, alone with just a pen and paper. I was really able to reflect on my relationship with Ryan and why I was committing myself to him. It was very emotional and beautiful moment to have to myself.
Last but sooo not the least, at the end of our ceremony when Ryan leaned in and said to me, "I will always come for you." And he will.
My funniest moment: We did a dance competition to the song "Moves Like Jagger" by Maroon 5. It was so funny seeing all of our guests get into it! My husband was amazing and came in a close second to our wedding coordinator, Brent, who can dance the socks off anybody.
Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? I was very careful to go into the day with no expectations. I wanted to be open to the experiences and memories of whatever would come our way. The day of the wedding, timing got a little hectic and we were running out of time for photo taking. It was nearly impossible to get all our drunken family and friends rounded up for photos. I think the chaos helped make them even more fun.
My advice for offbeat brides: Fill your wedding with personal touches everywhere. Our guest favors were personalized steins the guests also used for our kegs (we are huge beer snobs). Our wedding cake was rainbow (for our support of marriage equality), and our guest greeter was a skeleton (since I am a massage therapist). It was so fun coming up with all the fun ideas and seeing the guests put together the significance!
What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? I learned how important it is to take time in your wedding planning to focus and take care of YOU! Drop the wedding for an hour of two every night for some yoga and a bath. Keeping myself happy and healthy was key for keeping Bridezilla locked away! This wedding planning should be fun and if it is not, change what you are doing.
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Venue: Milo McIver State Park Site: Maple
- Photography: Jesse Schafer
- Moccasins: Etsy seller Earthgarden
- Bridesmaids hairpieces: Earworks by Emily Ross
Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!