Sara & Rob's piñatas and flip-flops island wedding

By on Mar. 29th

"Photos

The offbeat bride: Sara, Project Manager

Her offbeat partner: Rob, Project Manager

Date and location of wedding: Odd Fellows Hall, Orcas Island, Washington, July 16, 2011

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: First, I was the one who proposed. Then I didn't want the wedding. I thought a lovely trip to the courthouse would be great, but he wanted the wedding. We compromised and decided it had to be tiny, and we were going to pay for the whole thing ourselves. We did several DIY projects including the invitations, handfasting cords, and the guest book. We kept saying "it's going to be this totally great party but we just happen to be getting married at that amazing party." That was our mantra and we stuck tightly to it.

Tell us about the ceremony: My best friend was our mistress of ceremonies and our officiant. I trust her completely and told her from the beginning to write the ceremony however she wanted. I gave her allowance for one F-bomb. The only other rule was either my mom (who was my maid of honor) or Rob needed to review it prior to the day. Her words were perfect and her F-bomb was "It's about fucking time!"

While my friend was conducting the ceremony, my daughter held up cue cards so people would know when to laugh, applaud, etc. It was a really fun way for her to be involved. Rob and I chose to walk each other down the aisle so the only people walking up the aisle before us were our attendants (one each). We linked arms at the end of the aisle and very happily walked together to the front. At the beginning of the ceremony our officiant asked "who gives this man to this woman? I mean this woman to this man?" and at that moment the audience, on cue, said "WE DO!"

We also did a handfasting primarily because we like the symbolism behind it. While making these huge promises to each other, it was so much more real to be holding hands and physically bound to one another.

Our biggest challenge: Paying for it all ourselves was probably the most difficult. My parents offered money a few times when we first started planning and we very adamantly refused. Primarily because we didn't want any of the implied obligation that comes with taking money. We have a very small amount of wedding debt now, but in six months or less it will be gone.

The other thing that seemed to be hard for people was we told them they could wear whatever they wanted, including our attendants. We had to really emphasize this to get people on board. It was not a priority for us to have perfect matching photos, or for our friends and family to spend a lot of money on something they may not wear again. My Dad is a Harley biker guy, as is my step-mom. Our officiant would live in flip-flops, sweats, and tank tops if given the chance. We wanted our wedding to be authentic for us as well as our guests. After the formal pictures were taken, our officiant and my daughter were in sweats, flip-flops, and tank tops and it was perfect!

My favorite moment: We had originally planned to write our own vows in addition to the pledges we were taking during our handfasting ceremony. But the night before, both of us tired from decorating all day, we decided not to do it. Our officiant, when told that it was going to be cut, said "were not cutting it, so you better come up with something. After 10 years you can ad-lib vows." Standing there in those moments of complete improv was by far the most amazing part of the whole day.

We rouchambeaud for who was going to say their vows first. I always lose at this game, but I can't help myself from playing it. True to form, I lost and Rob went first. We each only spoke a few sentences, but it was at that time that the emotion of the moment just poured out of us both. I couldn't stop myself from crying. It was such an honest and pure moment. Thank the universe for waterproof makeup!

My funniest moment: The piñatas had to be the funniest. We bought two and stuffed them each with $50 of scratch lottery tickets. Our officiant ran the pulling of the rope, and several people got turns. It really feels like it was a moment when you had to be there, so it's hard to describe. But seeing several of your friends with blindfolds swinging around a large stick and missing the target several times is definitely something everyone should experience.

Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? Sort of. I had planned for my guests to create my bouquet for me based on an idea I found on Offbeat Bride. Basically, we were going to source red flowers locally on the island and have each guest select one to go into my bouquet. The day before I sent my daughter out to find the flowers. She came back with a small bouquet of carnations and said the florist was rude to her because she didn't understand what we were trying to do.

The good news is, my countess of creation and her amazing mother anticipated this happening and planned for it. Her mom made all our floral centerpieces and also made me a bouquet just in case. Her bouquet was so amazing anyway and it ended up being the perfect solution. But even if that didn't happen, the carnations, or even no flowers would have been just fine.

Have you been married before and if so, what did you do differently? EVERYTHING! I was bridezilla the last time. It was a huge wedding, full of every American tradition I could get my hands on. And it was more about money and show than about what was really important. Rob and I have been together 10 years and celebrated that officially a few days before the wedding. We have a very tested and true love. And our wedding was only about that. This made it really easy to just go with the flow. I refused to stress out over cake, paper, decorations, or anything else because there are things that are so much more important. Our relationship with each other and with our friends and family were paramount to any and everything else.

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Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

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