Amanda & Mike's mega-handmade awesome farm wedding

February 9 |
011 Sealing the deal
Photos by Geoff L Johnson

The offbeat bride: Amanda, Director House of Awesome (and Art Gallery Director)

Her offbeat partner: Mike, Superintendent of Facilities and Procurement, House of Awesome (and Traffic Signal Technician and musician)

Date and location of wedding: Dairy Farm, Savannah, Georgia — November 5, 2011

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: We held both our ceremony and reception at the old dairy farm our home is adjacent to. Though it is in Savannah, it feels like you are somewhere out in the country and it's our favorite place. The dairy is private property and we were happy to gain the property owner's permission to hold our celebration there.

Our priorities were to have a personal place and ceremony, delicious REAL food that suited the eating styles of all of our guests, a relaxed atmosphere, good music, and lots of color. And of course we wanted to be eternally wedded. We tried keeping our spending as low as possible and where possible, traded, repurposed, and worked with what we had. We tried to keep the money that we spent within our community.

02 Table decor/ blue gator

02 Gift Table

Early on, we nixed the idea of a wedding party. I called on a group of my crafty lady-friends to be in my "Wedding Club." We met every couple of weeks to work on projects (like painting animal skulls, cutting table cloths, plucking mosses, etc.) As the wedding neared, the Club broke into smaller groups like "Team Awesome Tree Decor" and "Sign Mavens." Much fun was had.

02 Chair-back covers

Mike's mom and grandma made all of the chair back covers and table runners at their home in Las Vegas, then shipped them here to Savannah where a girlfriend and I screen-printed the octopus and oak tree motifs in her garage. Other friends stitched and stamped all of the napkins. I designed, assembled, and hand-addressed our invitations. Mike and I delivered local invitations on a fun motorcycle ride. My friend Renata made my fabulous fabric flower bouquet.

03  Getting dark

03 Wedding canopy

Mike is an electrician, so he, with the help of friends, made the the magical lighting under the reception tree happen.

010 walking across the pasture

As soon as I started thinking about wedding dresses, my mind lit on the trunk of vintage dresses that I had in storage. I'd been keeping them for some purpose, and the wedding day seemed right. I knew immediately that my friend Julie Anne, designer and seamstress extraordinaire, was the person to make me one special dress from all of those bits and pieces. My dress was made of the fabric of more than five dresses, an apron, a few other fabric scraps, and adorned with beads, French knots, and antique findings from the bottom of my mom's sewing box. I wish that I had been able to show it off a little more, but the evening turned a little chilly, requiring outerwear.

02 Under tree set up

We served homemade food at our reception, and generally wanted the feel to be as if our guests were having dinner at our home. All of the meat we served was wild and from within a 50-mile radius. We hired a family acquaintance to barbecue a wild hog, and chef friends prepared venison lasagna, roasted fall vegetables and greens. With friends and family, I made appetizers and a salad. Instead of a cake, we asked a handful of talented guests to make and bring batches of cookies. Neither Mike nor I are really into cake, and I follow a gluten-free diet, so cookies provided a delicious variety.

011 friends and relations

Tell us about the ceremony: We held our ceremony out in the marsh adjacent to the Dairy. A little "tree tunnel" opens out to a sweeping coastal landscape anchored by a lovely dead and twisted oak. The space required little preparation. We raked the soil to create an aisle and positioned borrowed park benches and a simple podium to direct our guests. We had seating just for the limited number of guests who needed it and kept the ceremony short.

011 serenade

"Team Awesome Tree Decor" adorned the tree tunnel with flitty squares of fabric and dyed lace. My dad walked me down the path while my brother played and sang Bob Dylan's "When I Paint My Masterpiece."

011

Not finding an existing ceremony that suited us and what we wanted to say to each other, we combined several ceremonies and rewrote them to better fit us and our commitment. This included zombies and an Albert Einstein quote. Our officiant, Geoffrey, did a fabulous job on the delivery.

02 Photo booth from behind

04 Photobooth…attack?

Our biggest challenge: Our biggest challenge was accomplishing all that we set out to do in the time that we gave ourselves to do it. We planned and produced the wedding, built a garage, re-landscaped our yard, and a few thousand other things in four months. We overcame this with the gracious help of our AWESOME friends and family. Without their talent, creativity, and hard work it would have been impossible.

011 love

My favorite moment: Mike holding my hands to keep me calm at the ceremony and feeling the presence of everyone there. The toasts that our parents and friends gave at the reception. It also meant a lot that no one let me know that I was running late or did anything to hurry my relaxed preparation. I turned off my phone/clock early in the afternoon and just went at my own pace. Mike told them whatever anyone did, not to rush me. When I found out, it felt like a gift.

012 Mr. & Mrs.

My funniest moment: The reaction of our guests when our officiant, Geoffrey, presented us at the end of the ceremony as "Mr. and Mrs. Awesome… er… RealLastName." Everyone hooted and cheered and Mike waved to everyone as though he had just been elected to office.

Mike's dad's toast which included fun facts about Mike's early years and advice to me to "let (Mike) continue to play music because it keeps him busy, and never play the memory game with him for money or let him read the car owner's manual."

03 Acoustica+ Joe

My advice for offbeat brides: Be realistic about what you can expect from yourself and from your friends and family. Everyone wants to do everything that they can, but you want everyone to still be ALIVE when the big day arrives. Leave a little room for the unexpected.

012 lipstickWhat was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? I learned that inviting imperfection as theme opens up incredible possibilities and takes a load off of everyone's shoulders. "Just right" was the way that everything turned out, not really a pre-conceived notion.

Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

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  1. It's so nice to see another Savannah wedding! Especially in a city that is so dominated by tourism and destination weddings. Feels good knowing that there are other couples that live here and get married here. Everything here looks so beautiful and happy!

    I especially love the phrase "Wedding Club." :) Cute!

    That lighting is fantastic. That's actually one of the biggest things I'm struggling with trying to figure out. How are you supposed to make it bright enough outside at night with limited lighting materials? If your husband and his friends are interested, I would love to talk to them about possibly using their services to light our reception at the lighthouse on Tybee. I'd rather our wedding money support locals and individuals than big stock companies.

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    • Yay! I'm getting married in Savannah next year :).

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    • Congratulations, Sariah.
      Mike would be happy to talk to you about lighting. You can email him at: fortyand2(at)gmail.com.

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  2. I absolutely adore your wedding- particularly your reception tree. What an amazing event. I can't imagine having anything but an unforgettable time.

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  3. I love the veil, the lighting under the tree, and the idea of a "reception tree". The shot of him looking at her during the ceremony is my absolute fave.

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  4. This is like a thousand pounds of inspiration for me. I really took away a lot of amazing ideas and thoughts from this post!

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  5. Oh my goodness. I am in LOVE with the lighting in the tree. I want to live in that picture.

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  6. Oh, how lovely! How lovely lovely lovely! I love all your colours and your beautiful tree!

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  7. I love your 'important lesson you learned from the wedding.' Fantastic advice :-)

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  8. This is my favorite Offbeat wedding I've seen so far. My favorite detail was the bride's red hair and the blue fascinator. The vivid contrast made me swoon!

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  9. Omg the tree is just making my day. And how did you get your hair to stay like that?!? It looks awesome!

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    • Thanks, donteatmenoo! Bobby pins and good luck…

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  10. Can we talk for a moment about that dress? I am soooo in love!!!! And as a former Savannahian, I am totally homesick after seeing that reception tree. Beautiful!!!!

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  11. OKAY SO. I am getting married in Savannah next year and am looking for a location! Can we possibly talk IRL or via email about your experiences here? This looks like maybe a perfect place for a wedding… if you could, please e-mail me whimseywisp at gmail dot com. THANK YOU. Seriously. Such a gorgeous and inspiring wedding!

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    • After looking at your wedsite (which is gorgeous and super helpful!) I have realised that this is NOT the ideal location for me. However, these photos and this wedding are definitely a huge inspiration! Very exciting to have a Savannah wedding on OBB. Thanks for posting :).

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    • If you need help finding venues or need a local to run around and take pictures for you, just let me know! More than happy to help out my fellow OBB :)

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  12. This wedding is not my personal style, but it is still one of my favorite weddings I have ever seen on this site. I love everything about it.

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  13. Love her special, vintage and gorgeous dress!!!! I really can't express my love of the dress!! So beautiful!! ANd the venue is wonderful!!! The tree and all the embellishments are 'WOW'!!

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  14. There are too many gorgeous details in this wedding – the tree, that fascinator, the chair covers (I <3 octopi!), the grooms beard, the beautiful dress, the croc for the cards…

    Mr and Mrs Awesome INDEED!! Congratulations, it looks like a very happy, beautiful day xx

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  15. Oh my gosh, this wedding is so fabulous! It's like it is sending out warm fuzzies straight to the heart!

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  16. OMG OMG that reception tree is one of the best wedding ideas I have ever seen!

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  17. Looks like you had a beautiful and flawless day! Congratulations :)

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  18. Hi! I am getting married in Savannah this August and am looking for a location. Would you mind sending me info about yours? Like Gabrielle, it looks like exactly what I'm looking for. Thank you!
    mollynichols8@gmail.com

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  19. Nice post which The dairy is private property and we were happy to gain the property owner's permission to hold our celebration there. Though it is in Savannah, it feels like are somewhere out in the country and it's a favorite place. Thanks a lot for posting.

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  20. I am in love with these chair covers and am trying to buy previously used items for my reception. Any idea of how I can get in touch with the bride?

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