The offbeat bride: Liz, actor/director/producer
Her offbeat partner: Joseph, scenic designer
Date and location of wedding: Rockledge Gardens, Rockledge, FL (the groom's family business) — August 20, 2011
Our offbeat wedding at a glance: Joseph and I are both theater professionals: he is a scenic designer and I am a producer/director. Planning parties and events is something I live for, and Joseph has quite a reputation for creating incredible spaces on a shoestring budget. We felt that the expectations for our DIY wedding were high, and we had every intention of rising to them. Our goal was to create a rockin' rainbow wedding on a tiny budget, and to minimize our environmental impact as much as possible.
We got married at Rockledge Gardens, an independent retail garden center that was started in the 1960s by Joseph's grandparents, and is currently owned and operated by his wonderful parents. The ceremony was in the greenhouse surrounded by plants and flowers, and for the reception, we turned a dusty, dingy, 80' x 50' storage warehouse into a garden ballroom.
Joseph designed a rainbow mural that was representative of our eight-year relationship to cover all four walls. He outlined it in chalk and the two of us with the help of his siblings spent the month leading up to the wedding painting it.
Tell us about the ceremony: We went camping on an island that Joseph's been going to since he was a kid to write our ceremony. It was officiated by Joseph's aunt, a Justice of the Peace. One tradition we borrowed from Offbeat Bride couples was a ring-warming. Our rings were made from old gold jewelery that was donated by my mother and the mother of our friend/mother-of-the-flower-girls, so we had them come up to begin the passing of our rings.
Since we were getting married in a garden, we decided to take two plants from our respective hometowns and plant them together in one pot as a symbol of unity. The lyrics to Bob Dylan's "Forever Young" were read at Joseph's parents wedding 32 years ago, and they are the happiest couple we know and say that they are more in love now than ever. We thought that was a good sign, so Joseph's parents read "Forever Young" at our ceremony.
Our biggest challenge: Getting my mom on board with the eco-friendly, church-less wedding was a bit of a challenge. I actually had her read the Offbeat Bride book and that really helped her to realize the importance of making this our day. Now she LOVES talking about our wedding to anyone who will listen.
My favorite moment: Two moments stand out to me as really special. The first was when I finally made it down the aisle and held Joseph's hands for the first time that day. Suddenly getting married was the easiest thing in the world.
The second was when the two of us took a walk to the river right after the ceremony (followed by our personal paparazzi). Joseph had been telling me on the walk that he saw a dolphin earlier that morning and that his mother had always told him that seeing a dolphin on your wedding day is good luck. When we made it to the river there were TWO dolphins swimming side by side along the dock!
My funniest moment: The flower girls had just walked down the aisle, and then it was my turn. I took one step when a huge train started barreling down the train tracks located right next to the greenhouse where we were getting married. The music was drowned out, and nothing at all could be focused on except the train. I stopped and waited. The train took a full five minutes to pass and when it finally did, everyone cheered. The music swelled and I made a far more dramatic entrance than I could have ever hoped for! Later, Joseph's uncle commented that it was the longest "wedding train" he had ever seen.
Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? In full embrace of our rainbow theme, we decided to have seven attendants on either side who would each wear a different color in the ROYGBIV spectrum. Sadly, BOTH of our yellows separately informed us rather late in the game that they wouldn't be able to attend our wedding after all. I didn't know how to ask replacements just a month ahead of the wedding without making them feel like they were second string.
Then I realized that my amazing friend Katie would be perfect. She already had her plane ticket was thrilled to fill in and not at all offended! For the groom's side, his yellow groomswoman was replaced by our wiener dog, Julian. I had an adorable yellow dog tuxedo made for him and he and Katie were an absolute hit!
I am vegan AND gluten-intolerant. Finding a caterer and baker to fit those needs would usually be next to impossible in small-town Florida, but it ended up being easy! Our caterer and baker were so accommodating, and loved the challenge of creating amazing wedding food within such constraints.
My advice for offbeat brides: Help your family come around to the idea of what fun a non-traditional wedding can be by showing them Offbeat Bride posts. It worked for me! Also, don't attempt to spend the week leading up to the wedding NOT sleeping in the same bed with your intended. I got the worst week of sleep in my life.
Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?
- Photography: Andrew Bruah
- Dress: handmade out of hemp by my friend and costume-designer extraordinaire Ashley Ann Woods
- Caterer: For Any Occasion Catering
- Cake: Heavenly Bake Shoppe
- Dog Tuxedo: Erica at PawzBoutique
Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!