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.
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.
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.
Mike is an electrician, so he, with the help of friends, made the the magical lighting under the reception tree happen.
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.
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.
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.
"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."
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
What 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?
- Photography: Geoff L Johnson
- Dress: Julie Anne Daniels, Savannah
- Hat and veil: Tiffany Poucher
- Officiant: Geoffrey Albert
- Bride's custom rings: Jake Trout at Hell Bent Metal
- Groom's shirt: Esty seller TumbleandPopple
- Music: Acoustica
Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!