Monika & Alex's eclectic community-supported love celebration

By on Aug 21st

Offbeat Brides have been submitting lots of gorgeous woodsy weddings, so we've compiled a few of our favorites in a forest theme week including this DIYed wedding with a few surprises.

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Photos by Tracey Byrne

The offbeat bride: Monika, Microbiology Graduate Student

Her offbeat partner: Alex, USGS Contractor

Date and location of wedding: Ravenna Park and WithinSodo in Seattle, WA — July 1, 2012

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: We had been together for over five years, so marriage for us was all about taking that extra step to make a public commitment in front of all our favorite people. We said our vows loud enough for all to hear, and we did everything we could to make sure everyone was having fun and feeling loved.

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Our engagement was just four short months, so we involved as many friends as possible to make our dream wedding happen on both a short time scale and a tight budget. We told the wedding party to wear whatever they want as long as it's in some way lavender, purple, or paisley. We made our guests stand for our short outdoor ceremony and then our warehouse reception was relatively free-form with the focus on good food, good music, and good homebrew.

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Our friends did everything including making my dress, embellishing my shoes, DJing our reception, creating signage, growing edible flowers and arranging them into bouquets, creating "roses" out of bacon for the bouquets, baking gluten-free vegan cupcakes, brewing an incredible amount of homebrewed alcoholic beverages, and providing art supplies (to use in our guest book), and providing hula hoops for our reception.

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Three friends (all in the wedding party) learned our favorite song to play at the opening of our ceremony. We hired our friend to be our official photographer. Our friends at the farmers market gave us lots of meat, edible flowers, and bread for the wedding, and the man we buy our bread from was also one of our DJs.

Our neighbors allowed us to completely take over their house for the entire weekend of our wedding, including making space for out-of-towners to crash. Our good friend was our officiant, videographer, and an indispensable resource for writing our own wedding ceremony. Last but not least, my boss was the secret second officiant who added a bit of brilliantly unexpected theater to our ceremony.

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Tell us about the ceremony: Our ceremony began with our officiant, one bridesmaid, and one groomsmen walking down the aisle playing our song, "Dear Junk Beach" by the Dandelion Junk Queens on guitar, ukulele, and banjo. They were followed by the bridesmaids and groomsmen, Alex with his mom, our flower girl (likely tossing the beetles she collected before the ceremony in addition to flower petals), and finally my dad and me. Our officiant read a quote from our favorite naturalist, Aldo Leopold.

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We exchanged vows that we wrote ourselves, with references to our particular brand of nerdiness:

MONIKA: Our mycelium has fused together forming a divine symbiosis from two strong individuals.
ALEX: We have metamorphosed into our beloved union but retain our individual characteristics.
MONIKA: We use our vast networks to nurture and care for each other our synergy is the strong keystone of our blessed ecosystem.
ALEX: Our individual tributaries unite to drive our journey from isolated peaks to the open sea.
MONIKA: Together we'll adapt to our changing environment as we commit to maintaining our mutualistic bond until the end of time.
ALEX: Long and for forever may we share our love and be sustained in our fate.
IN UNISON:
I vow to always collaborate on our union and to not allow ambition to overshadow our bond and to contribute honestly and meaningfully through good times and bad and in sickness and health.
Long may it be so!

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Our biggest challenge: The short engagement proved challenging. Right away we made rules for our wedding: no one will stress out, and also… no one will stress about this wedding! I won't lie, I broke the first two rules of our wedding a few times. I made our wedding top priority in my life and I feel lucky that I was in a work/school/financial/life situation that allowed me to spend lots of time wedding planning and wedding crafting. I made lots of lists and got as many friends and family involved as I could.

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My favorite moment: At the beginning of our ceremony, our officiant asked the audience to spend a few minutes in silence, directing their thoughts, prayers, and wisdom toward us. At the end of the silence, each person chose a single word that defines love for them, and all at once, everyone yelled their word, three times. Having several dozen of our favorite people shower us with a verbal deluge of love was, to our surprise, incredibly powerful.

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My funniest moment: Once we finished our vows, our officiant turned to the best man to ask him for the rings. As planned, the best man did not have the rings, and the look on his face was priceless when he was asked for them. Suddenly, my boss shouted from the audience, "I Object!" Our officiant disagreed, they bantered, and my boss revealed that he has the rings and he is not yet convinced that we deserve them. We must pass the "Three Trials of Love" in order to win our rings.

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He asked us to stand back to back and describe each other's eyes, ears, and lastly, we had to do an interpretive dance of our vows. Despite the fact we knew in advance that this was going to happen, we failed to prepare anything, which made these Trials of Love seem like a true test that we had a lot of fun with in the moment. We passed the test, exchanged rings, kissed, and skipped back down the aisle.

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Interpretive vow dance!


My advice for offbeat brides: Have a solid plan for the day-of, and don't leave too many things for yourself to do in the hours before your wedding. I'm generally pretty laid back, and I assumed a loose plan of last-minute crafting was perfectly reasonable. I have no idea what happened, but I managed to accomplish absolutely nothing that I planned to do. My advice is to delegate any last-minute duties to someone else and focus entirely on relaxing and looking fab.

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Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!



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